Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Invitation to the Amnesty International USA and Washington-Pakistan

Dear Pakistani-Americans:

(InformPress.com) - Amnesty International USA and Washington-PakistanForum (WPF) invite you to attend our next meeting to analyze the humanrights crisis in Pakistan and discuss some proposed activities at theUnited States Congress, U.S. State Department and American Think-Tank institutions.
NOTE: The Washington-Pakistan Forum (WPF) is only the name of a group of Pakistani-Americans with common causes and mutual interests. The WPF is not an official or formal organization.
All members and supporters of the Pakistan Justice Forum (PJF) -http://www.JusticeForum.info - Government Reform Council (GRC) and Human Rights Foundation (HRF), and the media-press are also hereby invited to this special meeting.

When: Friday, 18 January 2008

Time: 5 p.m.

Where: Amnesty International USA office, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE,5th Floor, Washington DC 20003, USA.

Metro: Eastern Market. Orange and Blue lines.

Note: There is a Citibank and a U.S. Post Office on the ground floorof the building.
For information contact: tkumar@aiusa.org or telephone: 202-544-0200,ext. 224.

T. Kumar

Advocacy Director for Asia & Pacific

Amnesty International USA

Telephone: 202-544-0200 ext. 224Fax: 202-546-7142

Email: tkumar@aiusa.org

Website: http://www.amnestyusa.org

A Case Before the Nation

By Dr. Haider Mehdi

People of Pakistan! Let us, for the sake of deliberation and in good faith, give the benefit of the doubt to Gen.(retired) Pervez Musharraf and accept all of his claims: Yes, Benazir killed herself by hitting the car’s sunroof lever. Yes, she was warned not to hold a political rally. Yes, no state agency was involved in her gruesome murder. Yes, the Sharif brothers went into exile at their own request. Yes, the former Chief Justice of Pakistan was rightfully sacked. Yes, several civil society activists and lawyers deserve to be put in jail. Yes, Gen. (retd.) Pervez Musharraf is the best thing that has ever happened to Pakistan in its 60-year history. Yes, the General (retd.) has given unprecedented economic prosperity and political stability as well as true democracy to this country. Yes, the majority of Pakistanis are extremists and terrorists. Yes, Pakistan’s survival as a nation is dependent on American goodwill and fighting its war on terror. Yes, without the General (retd.), Pakistan has no future. Yes, the General (retd.) is the promised “messiah” and so on and so on.

Having admitted all that is claimed by the incumbent leader, the nation still needs some kind of criteria to evaluate the performance of its political leadership. After all, that is a common process in a democratically-run nation – and the General (retd.) asserts that present-day Pakistan is a true democracy shaped and gifted by him and supported by American benevolence.

Leadership performance evaluations are generally conducted within specifically defined frameworks. General characteristics attributed to political leadership are: vision, willing followers, influence, situational adaptability and communication excellence. These five concepts, though not giving a complete picture, present an underpinning of an effective political leadership. Can Musharraf’s performance be evaluated by the application of these five concepts? Perhaps these notions are too broad and the discussion could be a complex and lengthy process.

It would seem more appropriate to look at Musharraf’s performance within a more specific framework. One such perspective is the notion of charismatic political leadership. Is Musharraf a charismatic leader? Charisma, originally a Greek word, means divine gift, and scholars have attributed such a leader with “having considerable power over followers, especially in times of crisis.” A charismatic leadership is gifted with “(a) formulation of a strategic vision, (b) inspiration and empowerment of followers, and (c) superior articulation and impressive management skills.” Charisma is directly related to a leader’s behavior; it is an ability to tie the self-concepts of the followers in with the nation’s vision, goals, identity and purpose.

The questions are: Has the General (retd.) been able to invoke followers’ loyalty at a massive national level? Has he succeeded in inspiring and empowering the masses? Has Pervez Musharraf been successful in giving strategic goal-oriented visionary leadership to the nation? Has he proven effective in present-day national crisis management by acknowledging the self-concepts of the masses with their national vision, goals, identity and purpose? Has the General (retd.) demonstrated superior management skills at resolving the economic and political problematics faced by the nation? Does he enjoy considerable power over the masses by virtue of his personal behavior and attributes? Has he been able to positively influence the masses at large and provide the civil society in particular with a legendary and imaginative leap in political doctrine or ideology?

Unfortunately, the answers to all of these questions are not in the affirmative. The fact of the matter is that the nation, as a whole, is completely alienated from Musharraf’s political doctrines. Civil society is in turmoil like never before. State violence has reached unprecedented levels. Political chaos has reached unmanageable scales. The nation has been going through one crisis followed by another ever since the General (retd.) came to power some eight years ago. The era of confusion, national disarray and multiple political exigencies is a testament to the fact that the General (retd.) does not possess the credentials of a charismatic leader, nor has he the qualities that inspire people, empower followers or offer a vision, goal, identity or purpose to the nation.

Another conceptual framework in which a leader’s performance can be evaluated is to look at his/her management style. Management is a process of getting work done through others. It involves planning, organizing, leading and controlling, which are critical steps in getting the national agenda accomplished. A vital element in a political leader’s management style is that he/she uses influence rather than relying on authority or positional power to accomplish the desired end results. Concurrently, outstanding national leaders focus on political variation and accommodation of diverse points-of-view, inspire change and deal with national turbulence with imaginative innovation rather than relying on the status quo and constancy – the art of creating national harmony comes out of the craftsmanship to seek concord, congruity, peace and unison out of chaotic conditions -- rather than the other way around.

Once again, unfortunately as it is, the General’s (retd.) leadership has offered none of the dynamism of a successful, innovative management style. The national agenda remains obscure under his leadership. The masses face unprecedented price hikes, inflation is sky-rocketing, the poverty level is increasing and the socio-economic gap in the society is widening. The law and order situation in the country has never been so bad. The national consciousness has been decimated by psychological pressures of oppressive cultural and political trends espoused by the incumbent regime. The nation has lost its bearings over its national identity and purpose by overwhelming capitalistic and foreign-dominated political policies and economic planning. The General (retd.) completely relies on his authority and positional power to alter national institutions, the constitution and the day-to-day running of state affairs. The common people are suffering and in agony like never before in the chronicles of this nation. We have come to live in most dangerous times under the present political dispensation engineered by the General’s (retd.) leadership. It is quite evident that the General (retd.) has not demonstrated the prowess of an outstanding leader in national management. It is a sad and unflattering commentary on Musharraf’s leadership.

The General (retd.) claims that his intentions have been thoroughly noble and conceived in the goodness of his heart and mind – “Pakistan First” has been his symbolic patriotic slogan.

A phrase attributed to an anonymous writer warns: “Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hardboiled egg.”

Albert Camus, the world renowned Algerian-French writer, extensively wrote on the French oppression of the Algerian populous. “The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”

On one hand, Vladimir Lenin combined ideological intentions with full-scale political actions by granting independence to Finland in appreciation of their national sentiments at the time of Bolshevik Revolution, without a bullet fired or a Finish citizen killed.

Americans, on the other hand, nearly obliterated by force an entire civilization and population of native American Indians – in pursuit of American national objectives. Ironically, the similar ideology of “the clash of civilizations” is at play in the contemporary political situation focusing on the premise: “accept Westernization or perish.”

There are lessons for the General (retd.) to learn in all of these historical events. Indeed, history is made of actions and not intentions – the General’s political actions have caused permanent and irreparable damage to the national edifice to an extent that it seems most appropriate for him to take an exit from the politics of the country. That would be an honorable course of action now.

I rest my case. The entire nation has to be the jury – in the end, it is the people of Pakistan who will be the judge.

Hold your breath – you may be in for surprises either way…!

The Nation, January 15, 2008

Honorary Membership Bestowed upon Chief Justice Iftikhar

NEW YORK— Today the New York City Bar Association bestowed one of itshighest honors—honorary membership—upon Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Pakistan's Supreme Court Chief Justice. This award recognizes the Chief Justice's efforts to uphold Pakistan's independent judiciary.

The conferment of honorary membership in Chaudhry's absence representsthe first time in the Bar Association's history that the requirement of in-person bestowment has been waived. Chaudhry is currentlydetained under house arrest in the aftermath of Pakistan's emergencyrule.

In September 2007, prior to President Pervez Musharraf's suspension of the Pakistani Constitution in early November 2007, the NYC BarAssociation's Honors Committee, chaired by U.S. District Judge Jed S.Rakoff, unanimously recommended Chaudhry's honorary membership to theAssociation's Executive Committee. Chaudhry had intended to visit NewYork to formally accept the award, but the ongoing political strifehas prevented him from leaving Pakistan.

Last spring Chief Justice Chaudhry was suspended by Musharraf, but later reinstated after the suspension was found illegal by Pakistan's Supreme Court. In November, with the Supreme Court expected to rulewithin days on the legality of President Musharraf's re-election, Musharraf declared a state of emergency and suspended the Pakistani Constitution. When the Chief Justice refused to sign the "provisional constitutional order" enabling the emergency decree, Musharraf removed him and many other judges from office and placed them under housearrest.

"Today the New York City Bar Association has been obliged to deviatefrom a decades-old policy of requiring that honorary membership be presented to the honoree in person," Judge Rakoff said. "We cannot allow the abysmal events occurring in Pakistan to derail the bestowment of an honor so rightfully deserved. Chief Justice Chaudhry has made tremendous contributions to the independence of Pakistan's judiciary. We remain hopeful that the Chief Justice will come to New York in the near future to celebrate this honor."
The Association has also written to President Musharraf again urging the restoration of the Pakistani constitution and the release of those unlawfully detained and the reinstatement of Chief Justice Chaudhry and the other judges relieved of their duties since November 3, 2007.

The letter was signed by Association President Barry Kamins, who said,"Lawyers around the world must continue to speak out for judicial independence and in support of those lawyers and judges who remainunder detention in Pakistan. We cannot allow their plight to be overlooked, and must press our governments to do what they can to seek restoration of the rule of law."
The NYC Bar Association is an independent non-governmental organization with more than 22,000 members in 50 countries. Over the past 10 years, the NYC Bar has given honorary membership only seven other times, to persons ranging from U.S. Chief Justice Rehnquist, to Chief Justice Bhagwati of the Indian Supreme Court, to Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the International Court of Justice who will be accepting his award, in person, on May 16, 2008.

About the Association:
The New York City Bar Association (www.nycbar.org) was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public's welfare remains one of the Association's highest priorities.

Protest in Belgium

Brussels (Belgium), 20th January 2008

Dear Colleagues,

Do you know that in Pakistan, Honourable Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudary is still under house arrest? President of Supreme Court bar association Mr.Aitzaz Ahsan is still under house arrest? Independent judiciary have been slaughtered by Dictator Mushsrraf?

Do you know human rights are being brutally violated by Dictator Musharraf and police force is used in an unprecedented way against those who want to express their feelings against brutal regime of tyrant Musharraf?

Do you know that Media is still under strict Govt. Control and people in Pakistan have no access to popular private channels? Pressure tactics are used by Dictator Musharraf to stop the voice of media? Do you know that people in Pakistan have been deprived from life necessities like Bread, electricity and gas due to negligence of present Govt. of General (R) Pervez Musharraf?Do you know political leaders and citizens are losing their lives in terrorist attacks and Govt. has failed to provide any security?

If you are concerned about these issues and want to express your feelings, please join the protest in Brussels (Belgium) on 20th January, 2008 on arrival of General (R) Pervez Musharraf in Brussels. Details of the protest are as follows:

Date: 20.01.2008

Time: 1500 Hrs

Venue: Place la Bourse, Brussels, Belgium

Time: 2000 Hrs

Venue: Hotel Conrad Brussels at Avenue Louis, Brussels, Belgium

Contacts:Belgium:Sheikh Majid (Coordinator PTI Belgium) Phone: 0032 485 688 735; email:ventiuno2007@yahoo.fr

Blogs back online

The blogs are back online. For those still having difficulty getting access, use the pkblogs.com website. In the meantime, in order to prevent such eventualities from occurring again, we are working on a website where we will transfer our archives.
If you wish to subscribe to the newsletter, send an email to theemergencytimes@gmail.com,

Thanks for the support, everyone,

In Complete Unity,

The Emergency Times Team

Blogs banned in Pakistan

In another desperate measure, the government has banned access to blogs (particularly blogspot/wordpress) from Pakistan. Hence, The Emergency Times and other such avenues of information are no longer accessible to Pakistanis.
Don't worry. They can't stop us.

Sites you can use to access banned blogs:

1) www.pkblogs.com
So for instance you want to access The Emergency Times, type

2) Free Online Anonymizers such as

Anonymizers, conceal your IP hence making tracking activity even harder.

Stay safe. Stay a step ahead.

We will continue to work on our newsletter, which will be mailed out everyday. If you wish to subscribe to it, send an email to theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Let's thwart this new attempt of the state to deprive the people of their right to information.

In Complete Unity,

The Emergency Times Team.

P.S. If you have not had chance to have a look at the draconian cyber crimes bill it is posted at:
Though it doesn't make a difference to the current regime. There are already many held without any crimes.