Entries Tagged 'riot gear' ↓

Long March

I’ve written a sort of eye-witness plus hopefulness account at Global Comment. Have a look:

This morning at the Lahore High Court, things looked bleak. There were maybe two hundred people in the entire complex by 11 a.m. Getting to the High Court itself was like playing a game of PacMan – constant blocks, looming riot police, retracing of steps to get as close as possible to the complex. Inside, it seemed that this thing wasn’t going to take off. One rally was stuck in Model Town with Nawaz Sharif. A hundred people were stuck a block away from the court, getting beaten up by the police.

Then they started coming. Lawyers began filtering in from all across the barricaded city; followed by the first batch of protesters from around the block; then the Student Action Committee; the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan; the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, an Islamic political party; the Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Imran Khan’s party. By 12:30 pm, the premises were filling up and the square in front of the High Court gates was teeming with people shouting slogans and waving flags.

Read the rest of this article.

Fuck Off Out of My Country

Yesterday: Well, Bush, McCain, Obama: it’s all the same to me. US ground troops landed a helicopter on Pakistani soil, got out, shot a bunch of villagers “indiscriminately” says Dawn, got back into their helicopter and fucked off. (Edit: yesterday it said “indiscriminately” and today I can’t find the source in Dawn.)

The bit in scare quotes are the bit I’m scared of. And the bit that’s disputed. Along with ground troops actually coming in. I googled the story and most US sources or international media are reporting it as if it was definitely Al-Qaeda that was hit. What we have is that 20 people died, most of them women and children. Someone got back from one of the agencies recently, which is what those parts of the northwest are called, like Waziristan. He was corroborating other stories. That the local “Taliban” are just thugs for hire and always have been. And that the locals, from the community, are now putting together militias of their own to fight the thugs and keep them off their land.

Today: The US is claiming it was soldiers that died and there was no ground attack. And it was all coordinated with the Pakistanis. Look here. And at the longer AP report.

Obama, McCain, Bush. They’d all go looking for bin Laden in Pakistan, unilaterally, without worrying about fucking with Pakistani sovereignty or killing innocent Pakistanis just living their lives between one set of bullies and another.

Talk about Black Flag Days. When Zardari is elected president tomorrow, vile stain of a man that he is, find me a ray of fucking sunshine then.

“He tried to kill my daddy!”

A while ago, Asif Ali Zardari was interviewed by the BBC about what would eventually happen regarding the restoration of the judiciary. Zardari equivocated in his sleazy fashion, saying that, because he wants the “majesty of law” restored, “we” will come up with a plan that does not allow for the abuse of power that Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s SC was able to get away with. When asked what he meant, Zardari lost his shit, essentially, and said

I have come to power… People’s Party has come to power. We have lost our leader to politics, the fourth leader we’re losing to politics, we intend to \change the system… so that no other Asif Zardari stays in prison under trial for 8 years and Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry does not say, I have not read the case so I can hear the case … in that case i was languishing in prison for two years and i went to Chaudhry Iftikhar five times. The judiciary has killed my father in law, they admit judicious murder

Sound familiar? Yeah. To me too.

یعنی انہوں نے صاف کہہ دیا ے کہ کسی صورت افتخار چودھری کو اپنے عہدہ پر بحال نہیں کیا جائے گاـ یا چیف جائے گا یا اسکا اقتدارـ تو اگر تیرہ سے اٹھائیس اور اٹھائیس سے سو بندہ بھی بینچ پر لانا پڑا یا آئین میں ترمیمیں کر کر کہ اس کا بھوسہ بنانا پڑا تو سب جائز ہےـ بس زرداری صاحب کو انکا انتقام حاصل ہوـ

اس طرح تو پھر بش نے بڑا تھیک کام کیا کہ صدام ٓحسین پر غصہ ہے تو عراق پر بم گرا دوـ آصف زرداری کو چودھری افتخار نے جیل میں ڈالا تو پاکستان کی عدلیہ کو آئین میں لپیٹ کر گنگا میں بہا دوـ

مجھے معلوم ہے کہ پرانی بات ہو گئی ہےـ لیکن بات بجا ہےـ ڈوگر کی عدلیہ میڈیا کا نوٹس لے کر اس سے ڈانٹ کھا کر نوٹنکی بنتی جا رہی ہےـ زندہ بادـ

Chay Magazine Call for Submissions

Call for submissions
(Visit http://chaymagazine.org for details)

Deadline: May 15, 2008

Having observed in Pakistani society, a disturbing tendency towards fear and shame around issues of sex and sexuality – that is to say, around a normal human interaction – the founders of Chay Magazine feel that sex and sexuality should enter the public discourse. The taboo and silence around sex and sexuality are oppressive on all of us, irrespective of gender, and lead, at the very least, to unhappiness in our daily lives and, more often, to violence, shame, depression, ill health and general social malaise. We at Chay Magazine endeavor to bring to the Pakistani reading public a place to converse about those things we are most shy of. Our hope is that, through this, we can become braver and stronger, more powerful, self-assured, and just and fair members of society.

Our focus is on Pakistani society and our themes emerge from this context. However, Pakistan is only our starting point. Chay Magazine aims to enter the fray of international feminist discourse and, as such, we invite writers of all nationalities, geographies, stripes to contribute. We are not so much interested in where you come from as in what you have to say.

For the first few issues, we have outlined some broad themes, which are listed below. While we are looking in particular for work around those themes, we are always looking ahead to later issues so, if you have some work kicking around that you’d like to submit, feel free.

Let’s Talk about Sex
o Talking about sex and sexuality – why do it, the taboos around it, the problems with it, the silences
o Sex/Gender, gender roles and gender identity
o Talking about sex and romance
o Standards of “moral” conduct relating to sex

The Politics of Sex
o Sex-positivity
o Sex and feminism in Pakistan
o The politics of shame
o Religion and sex(uality)
o Visions for a new Pakistani Feminism

o Sex: enjoyment, coercion, guilt, force
o Sex and marriage
o Domestic violence and rape
o Virginity

o Saying no and saying yes
o “Sluts” and “whores”
o Sex-work
o Religion and Sex
o Virginity
o Re-appropriating language

We are looking for

– Feature Articles 500-1000 words. These can be analysis, commentary, historical explorations or any other non-fiction on the theme of the issue.
– Poetry and Fiction. There is no real restriction on the subject of the poem or story. If it gives a nod in the direction of the theme, we’re happy. Please send no more than 3 poems or fiction pieces in the vicinity of 1000 words.
– Artwork. Again, there is no particular restriction on artwork. If there is particular work you are interested in submitting, please email in with a query.
– Translations. We accept original translations of thematically relevant works in any genre, from any language.

Send queries and submissions to: chaymagazine AT gmail DOT com . Please attach .rtf or .doc files (we cannot accept .docx files), .jpg or .pdf for images. Please send in a small bio along with your submission as well.

We are an utterly non-profit, non-commercial, money-less concern; therefore we cannot offer any compensation to our writers. In time, we hope to become rich, famous and commercial, at which point we hope to offer you pots of money.

Kyla Pasha and Sarah Suhail
Co-executive editors, Chay Magazine

PU Guards Beat Up Activists

This is from the Student Action Committee.


Today, the true nature of the establishment was unleashed in full colours. As a sequel to yesterday’s assault against a PU teacher and an activist, both senior advisors for the Student Action Committee, by the Punjab College guards, today, the administration of the same university detained and brutally beat up four people, representative of the Student Action Committee (Lahore) including one female.


A Punjab University faculty member, a Fast faculty member, two students and a seasoned female activist returned outside Punjab College in the morning to distribute flyers amongst the students. While engaging with students, none were on college property but were maintaining a distance by remaining on the green belt next to the Canal Road.


More than a dozen private guards, acting on the Principals orders grabbed them and without any hesitation, dragged all four of them, including the lady, and a driver, through the school corridors, where students were witness to this disgraceful act. The female activist was dragged so forcefully that she lost her balance and fell, only to be violently dragged up. These four SAC representatives and the driver were locked in a room, without any justifications.

Continue reading →

Wheat Shortage and General Economic Crisis

There’s a massive wheat shortage in Pakistan. In case you were unaware, here are some (very few) links alerting to the situation. Most are in Urdu.

سندھ سے آٹا غائب

آٹے بجلی کا بحران

روزنامہ وقت: بحرانوں کا میگاڈیبارٹمنٹل سٹور

میرا پاکستان: مٹی پاؤ

Pakistan Army Guards Grain

Regarding Muslims

I haven’t been able to check email regularly since I got to Seattle because I don’t have internet at home yet. Hopefully I’ll have it soon. So right now, I’m sitting at a lovely diner-cum-coffee shop in ravenna and catching up on things.

DA made this point after the assassination of Benazir: in short, that Muslims need to stop killing Muslims. Go read the whole thing because he writes well and lacks bullshit, and because he’s right.

Then Kameelah made a comment that linked to a set of article that I think are important. Particularly interesting are Ihsan and MuslimMatters.

Yesterday, I looked at the pictures of the Lahore High Court bombing that came before a lawyers’ rally and killed some 60 people, mostly policemen. The pictures are terrible. The streets are lined with bodies. This bombing, for those of you who don’t know, was 2 days ago, January 10, 2008.

And it’s Muharram. Ashura is upon us and it commemorates fitna. Fitna, though you can follow the link to wikipedia, which does a fine job, is when Muslims kill other Muslims for the sake of power, or under the impression that they are right and other Muslims are wrong, or under the impression that they are real Muslims and other Muslims are not.

Every Ashura, someone finds a Shi’a mosque and opens fire at Zuhr prayer time, or walks in and blows himself up. Every Ashura. It’s practically tradition now. It’s because some Sunnis, in the words of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (who do not get linked in any fashion), believe the Shi’a to follow the Imams of Kufr. Kufr is an all-encompassing word meaning anything from unbelief to disobedience, and a kafir is considered outside the fold of Islam.

(A random aside: I think it’s because I’m in the States that I suddenly feel the need to explain very basic terms. Go figure.)

A kafir is outside the fold of Islam. What has happened to Muslims that we go about looking for kafirs the way Bush and Musharraf are looking for terrorists? What motivates this made search for, identification of and then assault on “kafirs”? How is the world served by killing people? I just have no comprehension. I don’t even have a notion. I can usually empathize enough with some vision I oppose that I can get into it, see where they’re coming from. I just don’t see where these folks are coming from. It’s not that I’ve never had the urge to hit someone or wished someone disappeared off the face of the earth; I just can’t see making a life’s work out of it.

Tangentially: I had Shabbat dinner at Joel’s last night.  I had Shabbat dinner last week too, but last week there were some people who were either not Jews or Jews who were non-practicing to the point of not knowing what was going on. This week was a smaller dinner and everyone around me was Jewish in every way. They sang Shalom Aleichem in three separate tunes. Then they sang Eshat Chayal, which is a song in praise of homemakers, particularly the makers of the home where the dinner is being had. After dinner, there was more noisy singing and banging on tables.

And my thought was, you know, Muslims have no joy.  It’s something I notice about Christians too, in some way, whenever I go to church for Christmas with my family (which I haven’t done in a long time). Puritan values do not encourage joy. We do not enjoy anything about our religion. The things we do enjoy, in Pakistan anyway we completely blast the joy as “culture” or worse, “Hindu practice”. So nothing fun is associated with Islam. If we sing at milads or whatever, we consider that bid’a, innovation, because we’re not sure if music is allowed in Islam. If we see Sufis dancing, we think that that is most certainly forbidden because, well, dancing leads to sex. And sex is terrible.

I’ve never had a desire to  be a Jew because, well, I’m not one. If the logic of that escapes you, I take the blame but will fail to explain further.

But the perpetual terror and paranoia in which Muslims live with their religion – that at any moment they are going to fuck something up and God, being irrational and weird (n’auzubillah), is going to smite them by overturning a mountain or sending a plague of locusts or poisoning the wells or something. It makes Muslims a constipated, slightly hysterical people who are painful company.

So yeah, maybe I get why people run out and kill other people, or themselves. If you do not release your sphincter at some point, life ain’t worth living and might as well take a few other motherfuckers with you.  They probably get more than their share of good shits.

I’m just sayin.


I’ve been trying to figure out what I think about Benazir Bhutto’s death. I woke up in Austin, TX, to this news and it’s almost all I’ve been doing. “Doing” what, I’m not sure. Just watching and reading the news, I suppose. I really wish I was home.

All I have is a couple of unconnected observations:

  • I have no idea what “the terrorists” would gain from the death of Benazir. I don’t think it was any kind of religion-based concern that killed her.
  • On the other hand, if it was a suicide attack, I don’t know how a non-religious concern recruits someone to kill themselves for a non-religious cause.
  • Related to all this, does anyone know if the suicide bomber of Benazir’s Karachi welcome was ever identified?
  • Mariam pointed out that Benazir was Musharraf best bet, so the idea that he would have engineered this is perhaps something that should be considered with a grain or two of salt.
  • On yet another hand, Benazir goes, elections are stopped, Musharraf declares emergency/martial law again and he doesn’t have to pretend to respect the constitution or do anything for democracy in the country.
  • Any non-Musharraf military motivation is absolutely beyond me to speculate on. I have absolutely no idea about Kiyani doing anything with a different agenda than Musharraf’s. Anyone with insigh, please help me out.

One thing is absolutely undeniable: Killing Pakistanis is not something that anyone has a problem with. Not the military, not the political parties, not various religious concerns. No one. We always complain that American military policy is premised on the notion that an American life is worth more than any other life in the world. Well, we don’t think anything of Pakistani lives either.

I keep trying to think something analytical and rational. But I’m just upset. Anyone else just upset?

Talk about Judicial Activism

Suddenly, BBC Urdu has started featuring more stories on judicial activism in other countries, namely India. This story is interesting in that it addresses responsible campaigning, “fake gun battles” which is something I’d never heard of and leadership culpability. Also, it’s about Nirdender Modi, which is always a la-a-augh.

You’re thinking of Lalu Prasad Yadav. He’s a different kind of laugh.

India’s supreme court has sought clarification from a politician over remarks he made during an election meeting in western Gujarat…

Media reports suggested that Mr Modi had “justified” the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Muslim civilian…

In March, the Gujarat police admitted – at a hearing of the Supreme Court – that Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Muslim civilian, was killed in a staged gun-battle…

They are alleged to have attempted to cover up the killing by claiming he belonged to an Islamic militant group.

Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government then admitted that the missing wife of Mr Sheikh, Kausar Bi, was also killed and her body was burnt…

The supreme court has asked Mr Modi to reply by end of January.
It rejected his contention that the remarks on Mr Sheikh were “political”, and he was reacting to election speeches made by the opposition.

Read the whole thing here. It’s quite the story – secular country, no religious campaigning, but Hindu nationalist says killing an innocent Muslim is justified, but then the SC takes notice of it and says explain yourself.

This is the kind of thing that was happening before November 3, 2007. And should be happening now.

Instead, the LHC Chief took notice of the people sitting outside a Justice’s house, who was about to be evicted because he didn’t take the oath, and told the police to arrest them. They were subsequently brought before anti-terrorism court. The SAC went on a hunger strike and through a concatenation of circumstances, Musharraf asked for all “but the gravest” cases against students, civil society members and professors to be withdrawn.

Lawyers are protesting today. Every Thursday, apparently, until the judiciary is restored.

Judges Evicted and Forced to Retire

The judges of the Pakistani superior courts who refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order – the one that abrogates the 1973 constitution and removes fundamental rights like free speech, free movement, freedom from unlawful detention – are now being evicted from their homes and forced to retire.

When they would have retired:

  1. Justice Saair Ali: 2008
  2. Justice M A Shahid Siddiqui: 2008
  3. Justice Muhammad Jehangir Arshad: 2008
  4. Justice Khwaja Muhammad Shareef: 2010
  5. Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry: 2012
  6. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar: 2016
  7. Justice Asif Saeed Khos: 2016
  8. Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed: 2016
  9. Justice Iqbal Hameedurrahman: 2018
  10. Justice Umer Ata Bandiyal: 2020

Source: BBCUrdu.com.

According to the same article, the new judges, the fake judges who took oath under the PCO, are being assigned housing in the judges colony that has been assigned to the rebellious judges, even though there are empty houses in the colony.

This is a systematic evisceration of the judiciary. I’m not sure how it is that we’re allowing this to happen.

A student of mine sent this around last night. It’s part of a much longer email:

What Musharraf did 8 years ago was overthrow a system of democracy via a coup, and on Nov 3rd he imposed martial law. NOT an emergency, it is a Martial Law. In this one month an 2 days his regime,

  • his dictatorial regime has arrested more than 7000 innocent people: even peaceful elderly foriegn peace activists, whose only acitivity was to cordially converse with students. (Look them up under “US Code Pink” on google)
  • Musharraf has worsened the situation in Swat where now people, thanks to the dimwitted military tactics, face the losing end of economic warfare. Which simply means people are going hungry, starving. Previously, his tactics only agitated the militants when he sat on the lal masjid affair for so long that in the ended it exploded. The militants lost their families in that: now they are retaliating
  • He, Musharraf has physically harmed people from all stratas of society. Lawyers are in critical health conditions, activists are swept away into unknown prisons. Lawyers are such a threat in their committed peaceful stance that even their wives are being threatened!! I guess, Musharaff the progressive can see the potential of women!
  • we are now globally considered more dangerous than Iran: the US considers Iran a threat to its nation. We are considered more dangerous…we could be the next Iraq!
  • we have lost billions of dollars in foreign investment. Oh a high growth rate does not mean everyone in the country can now eat more. Food inflation is somewhere new 12%. The poor are starving more than in the last so many years. Karachi Stock Exchange saw what is known as the blackest day where it lost more than $300 billion
  • In his hopefully well founded fear, the great President Musharraf is threatening to arrest students. Students from elite private universities. Professors. Finally the poor people who study years into oblivion to teach ungrateful students are at least making the news!! Why is Musharraf threatened by the people educated in these institutes, those teaching in these institutes.

The mistake President Musharraf made was to grant civil liberties in the first place. To a generation, mine and those after me, who were not used to freedoms being so openly acknowledged as good, this “emergency”, this PCO, this abrogation of the constitution is a huge disappointment. Those who thought he was a nice enough dictator realize now – myself included – that a dictator is a dictator is a dictator, and that’s all there is to it.

Geo Ordered to Shut Down

At 1:12 a.m. on this Friday night, I’ve just gotten home from a dinner to find on the news that Geo TV’s international broadcast from Dubai is also being shut down. So I turn on the live stream from the channel’s website. And it’s running the same “ad” over and over again: the Geo logo, dramatic newsy music and the repetition of the mantra: “Geo aur jeenay do.”

Live and let live. Continue reading →

Police, Brute Force and the Question of Rights

Sadaf Aziz has written this article for the Jurist, an online law magazine out of the University of Pittsburgh. She has made some excellent observations about the nature of rights and the function of police in crisis situations created by the state.

The sheer repugnance that memories of the past week awaken should disturb the last vestige of a mutuality of relations between this government and private citizens. We should all rest assured that our relation to the police is no longer what it was before fear of reprisal became the only operative principle dictating compliance with official dictate. It is more than a little ironic that the exemplary adherents of law, lawyers, are the representative group for society in this face-off with the government. Clearly the lawyers are aware that a fundamental condition of their compact with the government has been altered or challenged.

Read the rest.


I’ve been watching Geo TV’s Capital Talk on Pakistan Politics and they’re saying some important things. I’m going to transcribe the parts I think are important ,but I strongly suggest you go check it ou because it shows, among other things, where in the Frontier province, militants have taken off the flag of Pakistan and put up their own flag!

معملہ یہ ہے کہ دیکھنا یہ چاہیے کہ آخر ساری اگر کابینا فنکشن کر رہی ہے، وزیر اعظم موجود ہے، اسمبلی موجود ہے گورنر موجود ہے ، صوبائی اسمبلی موجود ہے، نگران حکومت جو ہے فرنٹیر میں وہ بھی کام کر رہی ہے ـ اور سارے افسر کام کر رہے ہیں، فوج کام کر رہی ہےـ بیت اللہ محسود اور فضل اللہ بھی کام رہے ہیں، اپنا کام جو ایمرجنسی سے پہلے کر رہے تھے ـ صرف میڈیا اور جوڈشری ٹارگٹ کر رہے ہیں ـ میڈیا اسلیے بنی کہ شروع سے دعوے تو بڑے کیے جاتے ہیں ہم بھی سنتے ہیں آپ نے بھی سنا کہ میڈیا کو ہم نے آزادی دی اتنی آزادی دی کہ وہ خوات ہی نہیں دیکھ سکتے ـ بات debateable یہ ہے کہ وہ آزادی کسطرح ملی کیسے ملی ـ بھائی یہ تو ایک ملک ہے نا 16 کروڑ عوام کا ـ آپ خود کابل گئے ہیں ـ کابل جو ایک ملک بھی نہیں ہے وہاں ۹ چینل ہیں ـ اب یہ نہیں ہے کہ کرزئی صاحب کہیں کہ میرے دور مین ۹ چینل کھلے ہیں ـ معملہ یہ ہے کہ global village ہے ایک وقت آنا ہوتا ہے، تعین ہوتا ہے، mature ہوتی ہیں چیزیں ـ اس وقت یہ ٹی وی چینل آنے ہی تھےـ اسلئے میں سمجھتا ہوں کہ یہ جو ایک بے باکی تھی میڈیا کی اور میڈیا ساری چیزیں قوم کے سامنے دکھا رہا تھا بتا رہا تھا.ـــــ [باقی سجچ نہیں آیا

مکمل پروگرام دیکھیں، بہت دلچسب تجزیے ہیں ـ ایک ایم ایم اے کے سینیٹری، ایک ایم این اے ، راولپنڈی پریس کلب کے صدر ، پی پی پنجاب کے صدر آپس میں بہت عمدہ بحث کر رہے ہیں ـ

آپ سب سے سوال: جس بندے کے پاس نیٹ نہ ہو، اسکو خبریں کسطرح مل رہی ہیں ؟ سنا تھا کچھ چھوٹے شہروں مین تھوڑی تھوڑی دیر کے لئے جیو آج وغیرہ کھلتے ہیں ـ کیا یہ صحیح ہے ؟