Archive for February, 2011

Is Pakistan Next After Egypt?

Posted: February 28, 2011 in News and Views

Published in Boston Globe and sent by Sikander Ali-Houston Correspondent

THE REVOLUTIONS in the Arab streets, whatever their individual outcomes, have already overturned the dominant assumption of global geopolitics — that hundreds of millions of impoverished people will uncomplainingly accept their assignment to the antechamber of hell. The United States, meanwhile, has been faced with the radical obsolescence of its Cold War-rooted preference of strong-man “stability’’ over basic principles of justice. In 1979, with Iran’s popular overthrow of the shah, America was given a chance to re-examine its regional assumptions, but the Carter Doctrine militarized them by threatening war for the sake of oil. In 1989, when people power dismantled the Soviet empire, Washington declared its own empire, and replaced the Communist devil with an Islamic one. But what if the devil has a point?
The Obama administration’s initial ambivalence toward the popular Arab uprisings resulted less from uncertain political instincts than from the iron grip of a half-century old paradigm, the core principle of which, in the Mideast, is that oil matters more than human life. That paradigm is broken now, and Washington is chastened by the clear manifestation that its policies have been self-serving, callous, and even immoral. It is impossible to behold such developments without asking: What next? And to ask that question is to follow an automatic shift of the gaze toward Pakistan.
The United States has been preoccupied, as ever, more with the power elite of Pakistan than with the plight of its people, which makes it as wrong in its strategy toward that pivotal nation as toward the others. For the usual reasons of realpolitik, Washington has cozied up to one Pakistani dictator after another; ignored their corruptions; downplayed their mortal complicity in the most dangerous nuclear proliferation on the planet; turned a half-blind eye to the Pakistani military’s double game in Afghanistan. All the while, the same pressures that have blown the tops off half a dozen Arab states have been building there, too.
Pakistan is a country of 170 million people, 60 percent of whom live on less than $2 a day. Nearly that many are illiterate. In the last three years, unemployment has almost tripled to 14 percent, with the same increases in the cost of basic necessities that sparked unrest elsewhere. But Pakistan has also been staggered by last summer’s floods, which directly affected more than 20 million, and so devastated the nation’s agricultural infrastructure that by autumn the World Food Program was warning that 70 percent of the population lacked adequate access to nutrition. As if these “normal’’ pressures of natural disaster and economic inequity are not destabilizing enough, a massive Islamist insurgency, building on the primacy of tribal loyalties, increasingly threatens the Islamabad government. Early this month, as protests mounted to his west, the Pakistani prime minister made the by-then mandatory show of reform by dissolving his cabinet.
But the context for all of this in Pakistan is unique, for the more insecure Islamabad has felt, the more it has embraced the American-spawned fantasy of nuclear weapons as a source of all-trumping transcendent power. Since President Obama gave his historic speech in Prague two years ago, declaring a world purpose of nuclear elimination, Pakistan has been adding to its nuclear arsenal at a feverish clip, growing it from about 70 weapons to perhaps more than 100. The stated rationale for this is the threat from India, which is engaged in its own escalations, with highly touted military support from the United States — including a recent offer of dozens of prized F-35 stealth fighters. Nothing better demonstrates the stuck-in-amber obsolescence of US policy than this self-defeating — and profit-driven — fueling of the South Asia arms race. A balance of terror is no balance. So last week, Pakistan test-fired its nuclear-capable Babur cruise missile — a bow shot as much at Washington as at New Delhi.
And speaking of last week, what were those frenzied crowds in Pakistani streets calling for if not the lynching of Raymond Davis, the CIA operative who faces a murder trial in Lahore for his January killing of two Pakistanis? That Davis is tied to havoc-wreaking CIA drone strikes is enough to enrage a population, shackling his nation, once again, to the wrong side of history.

Report sent by – Foreign Report Desk.Sikander Ali M.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a lady health worker, a government employee, was raped by a notorious gangster with the help of two police informers. The First Information Report (FIR), a criminal case for legal proceedings was lodged by the police intentionally after five days of the attack in order to destroy the evidence. The police, instead of filing a rape case, filed a case of attempted rape so that perpetrators could not be tried for committing the heinous crime. The high raking police officers of the concerned district are coercing the victim to settle the case with perpetrators.

The alleged rapist was arrested for attempted rape but the police informers, who restrained the woman and who had beaten her during the rape, are enjoying the protection of the police.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Rehana Malik, 30, a lady health worker at Civil Hospital, Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province, also an employee of the health department of the government of Sindh, was raped in her house while her husband was out for his daily job. On December 9, 2010 at 8 pm three police informers and gangsters entered her house, locked her children in a room and one gangster, Gulzar Arain, who is known to run a drug den, overpowered and raped the victim with the help of two police informers, Shahid Jat and Shoukat Jat. The attackers also injured her during the rape and stole Rs. 85,000. (USD 1000) and jewelry of the same amount. The perpetrator, Arian raped her while the two accomplices held her hands and legs for the rape. After the rape the attackers threatened her that if she went to the police she would be raped in an open place.

However, after the incident she went to Digri police station at 9.30 pm where she was told by the station house officer (SHO), Mr. Zulfiqar Khoso that as it was night nobody could record her statement and to come back the next day. She returned and spent the whole next day trying to file her report but in the evening was told that she should go back to home and the police station would send someone to see her. In the meanwhile news of the rape was reported in the media. The police telephoned her to come the house of Haji, an influential person of the town. There she found that police officials were also present. Haji and police officials pressured her to accept Rs. 10,000 (USD117) as compensation which she refused. One of the police officials, Munawar, the assistant sub inspector (ASI) took her signature on a plain paper forcefully saying he would make an application on her behalf. She asked the police officials to file a case of rape so that she could have a medical report.

It was only after five days of her rape, on December 13, that the FIR was filed. However, the FIR only mentioned that it had been an attempted rape. The report that Rehana had made mentioned that the accused person, Arain, actually raped her but this version was rejected by the SHO. The police cleverly deleted the names of the two other police informers from the FIR. She was given permission to have her medical checkup but as per their intention, any evidence of the assault had then been lost. On December 14, the SHO of Digri police station visited her house and pressured her to withdraw the case of rape against the perpetrators otherwise she would face problems for her family. On January 21, 2011, a human right activist, Hasrat Leghari, had written an application on behalf her to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the president, the prime minister and other authorities. On February 22, she was asked to come to police station and record her statement. But once again the police refused to take her statement and created their own. In the meantime the accused person, Arain, was arrested on the charges of attempt to rape her but the two police informers were not arrested. An application from the victim was moved to the Session Court of Mirpurkhas district that the police were providing protection to the perpetrators. On receiving her application the session judge rejected the bail application of the accused person.

On February 26, Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, the district police officer (DPO), the highest police officer of the district, also tried to coerce her to withdraw the case and said she would not get any positive response in the case. He further told her that the perpetrators would take revenge against her in the future.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Mrs. Rehana was working as health officer in Digri town at civil hospital since 2006 and has become popular in the neighbourhood for her work. Gulzar Arain, the gangster and police informer had been stalking her since 2009 whenever she went out for field work. He demanded that she have sex with him otherwise she would face dire consequences. On November 22 the accused person came to her house in the absence of her husband along with the two police informers, Shoukat and Shahid, and threatened that if she did not agree to have sex with him he would come and rape her so that she could not be able to show her face to the people. She reported this to the police but in typical fashion the police told to come back if and when the crime was committed as before that they could not go against him.

The husband of her is a labourer and has to go to other town for his job.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letter to the authorities to take action against the police officials of Digri town and the district police officer (DPO) of Mirpurkhas district for providing protection to the perpetrators of the rape. Also urge them to provide protection to the victim and her family and prosecute the perpetrators.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of violence against women calling for his intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

PAKISTAN: A lady health worker raped and forced by police to withdraw her complaint

Name of victim: Mrs. Rehana Malik, wife of Gulhassan, a lady health worker, resident of Digri town, district Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Gulzar Arain, police informer and gangster, resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
2. Mr. Shaukat Jat, police informer, Resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
3. Mr. Shahid Jat, police informer, Resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
4. Assistant Sub Inspector, Munawar, Digri police station, Digri town, Sindh province
5. Sub-Inspector Zulfiqar Khoso, Station Headquarter Officer (SHO), Digri police station, Digri town, Sindh province
6. Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, District Police Officer (DPO), Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

Date of incident: 9 December 2010
Place of incident: Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the rape of a lady health worker by a police informer and his accomplices and the support that the police are providing to the perpetrators.

I am appalled to know that a lady health worker of government of Sindh was raped by the police informer and gangsters but police have taken no action and not a single man was arrested on the rape charges. The two accomplices of the accused person are free and threatening the victim. The high police officials including DPO are using their official positions to influence the victim to withdraw her case against the perpetrators. This is very shameful act by the police whose duty is to protect the citizens from crime.

Rehana Malik, 30, a lady health worker at Civil Hospital, Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province, also an employee of the health department of the government of Sindh, was raped in her house while her husband was out for his daily job. On December 9, 2010 at 8 pm three police informers and gangsters entered her house, locked her children in a room and one gangster, Gulzar Arain, who is known to run a drug den, overpowered and raped the victim with the help of two police informers, Shahid Jat and Shoukat Jat. The attackers also injured her during the rape and stole Rs. 85,000. (USD 1000) and jewelry of the same amount. The perpetrator, Arian raped her while the two accomplices held her hands and legs for the rape. After the rape the attackers threatened her that if she went to the police she would be raped in an open place.

However, after the incident she went to Digri police station at 9.30 pm where she was told by the station house officer (SHO), Mr. Zulfiqar Khoso that as it was night nobody could record her statement and to come back the next day. She returned and spent the whole next day trying to file her report but in the evening was told that she should go back to home and the police station would send someone to see her. In the meanwhile news of the rape was reported in the media. The police telephoned her to come the house of Haji, an influential person of the town. There she found that police officials were also present. Haji and police officials pressured her to accept Rs. 10,000 (USD117) as compensation which she refused. One of the police officials, Munawar, the assistant sub inspector (ASI) took her signature on a plain paper forcefully saying he would make an application on her behalf. She asked the police officials to file a case of rape so that she could have a medical report.

It was only after five days of her rape, on December 13, that the FIR was filed. However, the FIR only mentioned that it had been an attempted rape. The report that Rehana had made mentioned that the accused person, Arain, actually raped her but this version was rejected by the SHO. The police cleverly deleted the names of the two other police informers from the FIR. She was given permission to have her medical checkup but as per their intention, any evidence of the assault had then been lost. On December 14, the SHO of Digri police station visited her house and pressured her to withdraw the case of rape against the perpetrators otherwise she would face problems for her family. On January 21, 2011, a human right activist, Hasrat Leghari, had written an application on behalf her to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the president, the prime minister and other authorities. On February 22, she was asked to come to police station and record her statement. But once again the police refused to take her statement and created their own. In the meantime the accused person, Arain, was arrested on the charges of attempt to rape her but the two police informers were not arrested. An application from the victim was moved to the Session Court of Mirpurkhas district that the police were providing protection to the perpetrators. On receiving her application the session judge rejected the bail application of the accused person.

On February 26, Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, the district police officer (DPO), the highest police officer of the district, also tried to coerce her to withdraw the case and said she would not get any positive response in the case. He further told her that the perpetrators would take revenge against her in the future.

I am shocked to know that police are turning the case into attempt to rape just to save the police informer and drug peddlers. These types of crimes are happening daily in Pakistan because there is no effort from the government to make reforms in the policing system and make it accountable in the law. The police find it easy to manipulate the cases in their own favour to save perpetrators.

I urge you to prosecute all the police officials who are turning the case of rape in to attempt to murder and threatening victim to take back her case. Please also provide security and protection to the victim and her family and also register a case of rape against the perpetrators.

Yours sincerely,

—————-
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9204801/9214171
Fax: +92 51 9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9221596
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

3. Syed Qaim Ali Shah
Chief Minister
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
E-mail: pppsindh@yahoo.com

4. Mr. Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani
Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +9251-9204108
Email: sarfaraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

5. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Soomro
Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs & Criminal Prosecution Service
Sindh Assembly Building,
Court road, Karachi, Sindh province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9211982
E-mail: secy.law@sindh.gov.pk

6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
High Court Building
Saddar, Karachi
Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9213220
E-mail: info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

7. Ms. Nadia Gabol
Minister for Human Rights
Government of Sindh,
Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9207044
Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043
E-mail: lukshmil@yahoo.com

8. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

9. Inspector General of Police
Police Head office, I. I. Chundrigar road
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9212051
E-mail: ppo.sindh@sindhpolice.gov.pk

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

AP Report – United Nation Security Council has imposed sanctions on Libya’s Gadhafi which also includes arms embargo. It is an attempt to halt his deadly crack down on protestors. Sanctions have been imposed on him, his five children and top ten associates. Voting unanimously after daylong discussions interrupted with breaks to consult with capitals back home, the council imposed an asset freeze on Gadhafi, his four sons and one daughter and a travel ban on the whole family along with 10 other close associates. The council also backed an arms embargo.

United Nation Security Council members also agreed 15-0 to refer the Gadhafi regime’s deadly crackdown on people protesting his rule to a permanent war crimes tribunal for an investigation of possible crimes against humanity.The council said its actions were aimed at “deploring the gross and systematic violation of human rights, including the repression of peaceful demonstrators.” And members expressed concern about civilian deaths, “rejecting unequivocally the incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population made from the highest level of the Libyan government.”

The uprising that began Feb. 15 has swept over nearly the entire eastern half of the country, breaking cities there out of his regime’s hold. Gadhafi and his backers continue to hold the capital Tripoli and have threatened to put down protests aggressively. There have been reports that Gadhafi’s government forces have been firing indiscriminately on peaceful protesters and that as many as 1,000 people have died. The day was consumed mainly with haggling behind closed doors over language that would refer Libya’s violent crackdown on protesters to the International Criminal Court, or ICC, at the Hague. All 15 nations on the council ultimately approved referring the case to the permanent war crimes tribunal.

Council members did not consider imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, and no U.N.-sanctioned military action was planned. NATO also has ruled out any intervention in Libya. The Libyan mission to the U.N., run by diplomats who have renounced Gadhafi, told the council in a letter that it supported measures “to hold to account those responsible for the armed attacks against the Libyan civilians, including through the International Criminal Court.”

The letter was signed by Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham, a former longtime Gadhafi supporter who had a dramatic change of heart after the crackdown worsened. Shalgham pleaded with the council on Friday to move quickly to halt the bloodshed in his country. Earlier Saturday, in Ankara, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the council not to impose sanctions, warning that the Libyan people, not Gadhafi’s government, would suffer most.

Also Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Gadhafi needs to do what’s right for his country by “leaving now.” The White House on Friday announced sweeping new sanctions and temporarily abandoned its embassy in Tripoli as a final flight carrying American citizens left the embattled capital. The U.S. put an immediate freeze on all assets of the Libyan government held in American banks and other U.S. institutions. The sanctions also freeze assets held by Gadhafi and four of his children.

Britain and Canada, meanwhile, temporarily suspended operations at their embassies in Tripoli and evacuated their diplomatic staff. Gadhafi is no stranger to international isolation. U.N. sanctions were slapped on his country after suspected Libyan agents planted a bomb that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people, mostly Americans.

Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing in 2003 and pledged to end efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. and Libya in 2009 exchanged ambassadors for the first time in 35 years, after Libya paid about $2.7 billion in compensation to the families of the Lockerbie victims.

In Geneva on Friday, the U.N. Human Rights Council called for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity in Libya and recommended Libya’s suspension from membership of the world body’s top human rights body

Associated Press reporters Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin and Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report.

Demand for rights meet with harsh treatment

According to the reports of different media and individual sources on facebook, the protest of Sindh Education Lower Staff met with a harsh and violent reaction of Karachi police. Police applied baton charge and used tear gas to prevent the nonviolent protestors of Low Paid Contract Employees of Provincial Education Department, from marching towards the Parliament and the Chief Minister House. Eye witnesses, passers-by and media reports say protestors were acting nonviolently and demanding their employment rights from the appropriate authorities which is legal, legitimate and moral. Police applied baton charge and tear gas in which two protestors were injured while more than 12 were arrested. Those who were arrested were harassed and kept at Artillery police station, Karachi. Protest call was given by All Sindh Education Department Lower Staff Association which was attended by low paid contract staff from different parts of the province.

by Jang_News-Thanks Jang News

Media also reported that after massive protest from the lower staff the Sindh Minister for Education and Literacy Department Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq assured them for regularization of their jobs, but the government so far has not regularized the employees. According to the Lower Staff Association representatives, the government has also stopped salaries of contract basis employees working in Karachi, Hyderabad and other parts of the Sindh. The representative of the Lower Staff Association told media that both Provincial Minister and Secretary of Education promised to hold meeting with them on their issues but unfortunately it never happened. Further added that Sindh Minister for Education and Literacy Department Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq had assured them for regularization of their jobs, but the government so far has not regularized the employees.

This protest of Lower Staff Association reveals the sorry state of affairs in the southern province of province where people are beaten and tortured if they demand their rights guaranteed by both the Constitution of Pakistan and the international human rights law. This news also shows that how much people trust on the promises made by the Government and their officials. This erosion of people’s trust has not happened in one day. It is the result of constant breach of their trust on the government and their representatives. As reports say that the Sindh Minister and Secretary for Education were supposed to hold meetings with the protestors but unfortunately that promise was not honored by them.

Pakistan which has ratified both the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) has obligation to restrain from such treatment to the people who demand their rights which are legal.

Pakistan and Sindh Government authorities should not prevent people from exercising their rights peacefully and nonviolently. If people were stopped from protests and not allowed to let their frustration by nonviolent means like march and rallies. They may resort to violent means which may create more problems for the government.

Being a state party to a Key Convention of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Signatory to two other two conventions, Pakistan and Sindh government must ensure that human rights of people are respected, protected and realized in Pakistan in line with international standards where Pakistan Government has made pledges and commitments with international community. The inhumane way police is treating protestors shows how much these obligations and promises of Pakistani government with the international community are being honored on the ground. RightsNOW Pakistan urges the Pakistan and Sindh Government to comply with its obligation to both national and international law and regularize the employees and issue them their withheld salaires.

Higher Authorities of Sindh Police should take an immediate notice of such cruel behavior of their officials towards the nonviolent protesters and hold accountable to those who were involved in the act. evident in the picture. Civil Servant Act of Pakistan which regulate the appointment and other terms of services of police and other department should comply with the meaning of the name of the Act ‘servant’ and restraint themselves from issuing orders to their colleagues to treat protesters harshly and inhumanely and ensure that their sub-ordinate treat masses as the real civil servants do in other civilized countries.

Ministers, Chief Ministers and other highest Government officials must not forget that it is their duty and obligation to meet people, listen their pains and problems, and take immediate and appropriate measures for their redressal. They are on these positions just because of these people. Once people decided to ACT; such violent measures  of authorities will fail  prevent people to throw them away from power. Egypt, Tunisia and other countries are examples and authorities must learn lessons from them.

RightsNOW Pakistan appreciate the role of Marvi Memon, a journalist and member National Assembly for standing the rights of education employees and inter-positioning between police and protestors to create space for them so they could continue their protest and save themselves from violence of police.

 

You Have the Power

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Articles

By John Abbe

I met Ali Palh a couple of years ago, when he was in the Nonviolent Peaceforce in Sri Lanka and participated in a workshop I was offering there on Nonviolent Communication. We saw each other again just recently when I was visiting family in my home town of Boston, Massachusetts in the USA.

John Abbe

 

I had some awareness of the situation in Pakistan, but Ali shared more including the serious  malnutrition of children in Sindh province. He told me about this website, and asked if I would write something for you. I firmly believe in the power each of us has to make a difference, even in the most difficult circumstances,  as Pakistan and Sindh are facing and so in mind I wrote this.

You can forget this, but you cannot prevent it from being true. Other people (and animals, plants, the planets and stars, etc.) all have power as well, but in regard to the way you experience the world, and your ability to do things in it, you have ultimate power.We know this is true because there are people who model this for us, despite being in the most horrible circumstances. When Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner in South Africa for organizing against apartheid he did not despair. Until he realized he might never again have the chance to express his love to the people who mattered to him, and he lost awareness of his power. When he regained it, he found a way forward: he loved his guards, through the tiny windows of interactions he had with them around them bringing him food, and occasionally letting him out of his cell.

Flood Victims in Sindh- You Have Powe

This had the effect that some of them eventually refused to continue to take part in imprisoning him. So, reclaiming your power can lead to unexpectedly powerful outcomes. But just as important was the “income” Mandela received, not when he learned the effect he had on others, but the immediate effect upon himself, because being able to express his love again nurtured him tremendously.

Floods victim in Punjab- This cot is their home

Are you imprisoned in some way? Are there things that you tell yourself you “have to” do, or should/must/can’t, etc.? Mandela could not see his loved ones because he was physically prevented from doing so. Most of us live in prisons that are mostly our own making – I don’t really have to do paid work I don’t love, it’s just that if I don’t I may eventually have to move out of the co-operative house I live in, and be reduced to begging for food. That “prison” isn’t only of my own making, it also has to do with the rest of the world – the economic and social/political world I live in (which can be cruel in its lack of caring for people’s basic needs), and the natural world (there are some basic physical needs which if I do not satisfy, I will die). Whatever the apparent source of my imprisonment, Mandela’s experience makes it obvious that it is always possible for me to reclaim my power in response to my “prison” and maintain a positive attitude, and that often it is even possible to come up with strategies that will really make a difference.

 

Too Many Affected-Too Less Available-People Jostling for food

The thing that has most helped me to develop and nurture my personal power* is Nonviolent Communication, and more generally (from long before I had heard of that) all of the deeply honest and compassionate conversations I have had with friends, lovers, and family. I’ve also been supported by meditation and mindfulness, journalling, and long walks. My life would be simple if I thought that spreading personal processes was enough for us to make a world that works for all, but the challenges we face are systemic in nature, and call for a systemic response. Personal development is an important part of that, but there is so much more that is called for. In a later post I may explore the larger scales and what we can do about them.

Tom-Atlee

Thomas Friedman suggests that the special strength of Egypt’s youth-led revolutionary movement has been “the fact that it represented every political strain, every segment and class in Egyptian society.” But then he turns around and says that diversity “is also its weakness. It still has no accepted political platform or leadership.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/opinion/13friedman.html

Of course, from a majoritarian electoral perspective, he’s right. But that perspective may not provide the most potent and useful democratic approaches for Egypt’s future — or ours.

If Egypt’s 21st century revolutionaries want their revolution to turn the world, they will make this supposed weakness — their inclusive diversity — into the greatest strength of their emergent democracy. They will cherish, develop and institutionalize their cross-section diversity AS a political platform AND AS the principle underlying their new forms of democratic leadership.

My advice: Make random selection as fundamental to Egyptian democracy as majority vote will be. Properly institutionalized, random selection is harder to manipulate and co-opt than elections. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition

* Unbeknownst to most citizens in modern democracies, ancient Athens’ democracy functioned largely through random selection. Athenians even picked their public officials by lot in a process known as “sortition”. Aristotle reported that “it is thought to be democratic for the offices to be assigned by lot, for them to be elected is oligarchic” ! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition

* While we certainly don’t need to choose our public officials by lot, perhaps it might be good to balance them out with a fourth branch of government made up of randomly selected citizens, as proposed by the Yale School of Democratic Reform (downloadable from http://services.bepress.com/jpd/vol3/iss1/art9/ ).  In any case, we can use random selection to oversee the activities of politicians, to generate public wisdom, and to work through major public issues. http://co-intelligence.org/CDCUsesAndPotency.html

* Random selection of citizens produces a microcosm of the community through which we can discover an overview of public opinion (through polling) or develop informed public judgment (through deliberation). http://co-intelligence.org/CIPol_publicjudgment.html

* Ad hoc, randomly selected citizen deliberative councils like Citizens Juries have proven at least as perceptive in policy creation, policy review, and watchdogging democracy as traditional juries have in determining the guilt of accused criminals. http://co-intelligence.org/CDCUsesAndPotency.html

* Annual, randomly selected citizen “Wisdom Councils” can awaken the citizenry to its “We the People” power and provide grassroots inspiration, guidance and oversight for the functioning of their community or country. http://tobe.net/DF/DF/DF/wisdom-council.html

* People scientifically selected for their conflicting interests, beliefs, or demographics from a randomly selected survey pool can work through major social tensions in well-publicized, high quality conversations, with a powerful effect on their fellow citizens. http://co-intelligence.org/S-Canadaadvrsariesdream.html

In the long-term, a revolutionary challenge for Egypt and all the rest of us who love democracy is to create cultures that understand and honor randomly selected forums, that do them well, and that institutionalize and empower them in all parts of our public, private and social sectors.

Even now, high-visibilty forums of randomly selected Egyptians, run independently in parallel, could be competing to generate brilliant ideas for the structure of their new democracy. Then elections and widespread conversations — online and off — could decide on the best of the best.

It is time for new and old democracies alike to start tapping the collective intelligence, collective creativity, and collective wisdom of their WHOLE society. Well designed randomly selected citizen forums may be the best and most secure way to do that in the intensely competitive environment of modern politics.

PS: THERE ARE MORE DEMOCRATIC INNOVATIONS…

Random selection may be my favorite angle on revolutionizing democracy, but hundreds of other democratic innovations are being thought up and tested around the world. Some, like organizing with social networks, are evolving right under our noses in Egypt and elsewhere.

Many such ideas and methods are listed on the Innovations in Democracy Project website http://democracyinnovations.org, which is currently being updated, expanded and transformed into a wiki.

In the meantime, some great sources for democratic innovations to inform grassroots revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere include

What new versions of these and other democratic breakthroughs will we see from social innovators — especially tech-savvy, street-savvy youth — in the months and years to come? Many, I hope.

Together they could evolve into ever more wise and powerful forms of democracy that enable global civilization to finally ripen into a collectively intelligent, sustainable, and mature form of joyful aliveness for all of us on this “little blue dot” of a planet spinning around our average star-sun in its unimaginably vast spiral galaxy sailing through an unbelievably creative universe whose innovative spirit is operating even now within, among, and through the tiny humans alive in your home, at my desk, and in Cairo’s Tahrir Square…

Tom Atlee is a writer and activist can be reached at cii@igc.org

 

 

Tariq Alam Abro- Popular Sindhi Writer

Tariq Alam Abro, prominent sindhi writer, novelist, poet and columnist has been admitted to the hospital at Karachi. Reasons of illness have not yet been confirmed. Naseer Mirza, another popular sindhi writer, columnist, announcer and close friend of Tariq shared this sadenews through  his facebook status and requested all friends to pray for Tariq’s good health, long life and fast recovery. We are waiting for further information and will share as soon as we receive any.

Sindh, one of the provinces of Pakistan, also known as Mehran or Indus Valley, 5000 years old civilization, land of mystics, poets and peace-lovers. Land of Shah Bhitai, Qalaander Shahbaz, Sachal, Sami, Ayaz, Akash, Zulifqar, Benazir and Haleem Baghi.

Sindh – Land of Poets, Tolerance and Peace

In Bina Shah’s words, “Sindh is not just a state, it is a state of mind; real beauty of Sindh is not in rivers, forests but in tolerance, peace and harmony.” That beauty of Sindh has inspired Linda Bay Brown, British poet, based in UK, who has seen Sindh through Zaib Sindhi’s eyes. Linda got inspired by Sindh’s beauty and wrote a poem which was later translated by Sindh writer Hidayat Baloch and published in daily Kawish, popular Sindhi newspaper. We are thankful to Zaib Sindhi and Hidayat Baloch who are ‘Ambassadors of Sindh’ who linked a land of poets with a British Poetess, a lady with a sweet heart and a kind soul, whose love for Sindh is boundless and borderless. Linda’s poetry for us is a gift as well as a prayer for flood victims of Sindh and Pakistan. Poet/Poetess’ prayer never go unheard. It is my firm belief.

God will give us way to get out of the difficult situation, flood has created. and will protect us from future calamities.After reading Linda’s  Poetry, I felt personally moved and thought to share that lovely gift of Linda for victims of flood in Sindh with you through RightsNOW Pakistan, a magnanimous task Zaib Sindh and Hidayat Balouch have already done through Kawish. We requested Linda for interview and she agreed to share her poetry and thoughts. You are so generous woman Linda!

RightNowPak- How would you describe yourself both as a person and as a poet?

Linda: I am a woman of 59 and a mother of two adult sons and living in England, UK. I have always enjoyed writing since being very young along with other artistic activities such as cooking, drawing and painting. As a poet I would rate myself along the lines of the US artist Grandma Moses, in as much as my work is straight from the heart, mostly spontaneous and often breaks ‘the rules’ . I feel that any art should be something you ‘feel’ deeply within your core. Rules and regulations don’t always allow for spontaneity and passion . Although I see the sense in adhering to meterage and stanza size, I feel lassitude can work in some cases too. However, I mostly like to read and write rhyming verse but again this doesn’t always have to be the case. I find some non rhyming stanzas too much like a list of ‘one liners’ but all writers are different and varied and should be able to stay faithful to their chosen style, changing only if they feel they want to. Like painting artists some poets like to change the mood and feel of their work. Love, loss. colours. nature and all four seasons inspire me to write, as does the moon, sun, water of oceans ans rivers. I endeavour to carry a note book with me in order to note flashes of inspiration. In recent years I have encouraged many people to display their feelings through writing poetry and prose. I am pleased to see that some still enjoy writing still and with improvement as time goes by.

RightsNowPak: How you became a poet? When did you write first time and on what subject?

Linda: Sadly, or perhaps not, I was born largely deaf and as a result would often retreat into my own daydreaming world since I sometimes couldn’t keep up with the hearing world very easily. I became very watchful and learned many things simply by watching others and how they did things. As I grew up i became adept at reading body language and some lip reading. I developed an ability to sense others feelings of joy and pain. Throughout I was lucky enough to have the most wonderful mother who was kind , caring and encouraging and as a result it was for this wonderful lady and her love for many children that she raised alone since the death of my father when I was very young that I wrote my first poem.

Linda – Poet with sweet heart and kind soul

RightsNowPak- How do you know Sindh? Have you ever travelled to that part of the world?
Linda: Last year I forged an internet friendship via Facebook with a well known and respected writer of plays, films and poetry who introduced me to Sindh, it’s history and culture. As did other friends that I made through my friend Mr. Zaib Sindhi and Facebook . Often I would receive messages and links to subjects of great interest to me, such as Mohenjo-daro. In chat I would often be told about such things as Eid or the Festival of Culture. At times I googled some things to learn more about the Province. I felt deeply the pain of the people suffering the floods from the Indus river and indeed the aftermath of such fate. Over the last year I have been inspired byt the love the Sindhies have for their history , their culture , THEIR Sindh ! Strangely I feel a connection that I cannot explain yet I am from a vastly different back ground and culture. I am sorry but it is as simple as that.

RightsNowPak: Heard you have written a poem on for and about Sindh?

Linda: Yes, province of Sindh and also the victims of the recent awful and treacherous flood there there.  I gifted this poem to the people of Sindh via the poet Zaib Sindhi, the first Sindhi I got to know through the Internet. I wrote this poem called,  ‘All Washed Out’ through the eyes of a Sindhi person.

1.River no longer laps at my feet

It is now drowning out the street

No longer running crystal clear

Soil of ancients washed up here

—————————————-

2.Wet gritty fossil dust leaching

Far wide and quickly reaching

Every field barn loft and home

Making a watery sodden tomb

——————————————–

3.Running hard fast and scared

Stricken people unprepared

For this dank flowing sorrow

Some won’t live for tomorrow

——————————————–

4.Fathers, husbands and sons

Toiling to close all river runs

Feeling weary as they stride

To stem full dirty flowing tide

———————————————

5.Farmers cry for drowning fields

Wave goodbye to feeding yields

Weeping mothers cradle babes

In their wet and darkened caves

—————————————-

6.Oh what has mother nature done

Are we to struggle again alone

Greater world you have a choice

To help us back to singing voice

————————————————

7.Do not let your  hearts forget

For it’s no where near over yet

Raging waters may now subside

But the aftermath’s a painful ride

———————————————-

8.As you go about your busy day

Please don’t forget us we pray

We didn’t deserve this nightmare

So show us please that you care

——————————————

Linda’s poetry published in Kawish-Translated by Hidayat Baloch

RightsNOW: In your poem, stanza # 4-‘River no longer laps at my feet,about men and stanza  5 about women, “Weeping mothers cradle babes. How do you see it from gender perspective and how do you define it?

From a gender point of view regarding the floods I felt that the onus was strongly upon the males to protect their families which is obviously a huge stress when fighting against the odds with such raging torrents of water. they will go and seek help to bring back to the family, Women are (usually) intent on staying with the children and the elderly at the risk of endangering their own lives. I think that is indigenous to their gender and inbuilt into them regardless of culture. In both genders I saw huge fear and weariness in pictures and news footage of this awful and destructive flood.

RightsNow-Pak- You have mentioned ‘Sindhi poets Shah Lalif, Sachal Sarmast and Sheikh Ayaz. Have you read them? What do you think about them?
Linda: Yes I have heard of the various Sindhi poets such as , Latif, Ayaz and Sarmast due to reading some interpreted quotes displayed upon Facebook members wall or page under the heading of notes or status. Indeed I have been sent books on these poets and their scribes by my friends and modern day poets Mr. Sindhi and Mr. Hidayat Baloch. Sadly, due to caring for my husband who is a sufferer of brain cancer I have found little time to read and digest their contents but hope to in the future. Just as poets of ancient times here have much to offer and inspire modern readers and writers I feel sure the Sindhi poets of old do too.

RightsNow-Pak: The floods in Pakistan in 2010 have done massive destruction in Pakistan and Sindh? Do you think the response both from national and international community is proportional to the destruction?

Linda: You asked me if I think the response both from national and international community is proportional to the destruction and devastation of the 2010 floods. Internationally I confess I do not know exact figures or facts but I do know I was compelled to contribute and I did so but am not prepared to say how except that it was at local level within Sindh, in order for help to get where it was most needed. I did however read that generally the response wasn’t as huge as it could have been and if that is true then I would suspect this is due in part to worldwide recession leaving many out of work but possibly more so due to fear instilled in people by the terrorist activities of recent history. T be fair I can’t honestly say without full possession of the facts but I do know that many fear what is happening in the world today. It is such a shame that peace seems to evade us all and that a crisis may possibly be less assisted due to fear and misunderstanding on all fronts.

Nationally, since I do not live in Sindh nor anywhere in Pakistan I know nothing about the contributions made . What I do know though is that in my country we have a very profound saying … ‘action speaks louder than words’ . In other words, reciting, reading and talking about kindnesses and generous deeds towards those less fortunate is not a anything like as good as actually doing something or contributing towards helping them. In Britain/UK you will find it is a regular occurrence for the wealthy and famous members of the population to donate, organise or indeed help greatly to organise charitable events in order to raise monies for the needy and the poor. It is highly approved and appreciated by everyone at every level in life. You will also find specifically set up organisations to whom you can donate or turn to for advice regarding the particular cause that they assist. I believe anyone who is selfless enough to help the needy should be applauded for without such help many causes would be lost. Each nation will surely do it’s best to help their suffering and needy won’t they ?

Please join me in thanking Linda for her lovely boundless and borderless love for us. Thanks for the lovely gift of her poetry. Thanks a lot to Zaib Sindhi and Hidayat Baloch for great ambassadorial work for promoting Sindh and Sindhis at international level. We saw Sindh in Linda’s poetry now lets see her in this video posted by Farhan Abbassi.In case, it does not run here. Click ‘Watch on the Youtube’ on the screen or visit–>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx4Mr5gVuBA

Thanks a lot Linda for being with us. Meharbanion (thanks)

Report by bangkok Correspondent-

According to recent report from Bangkok, capital of Thailand, Ahmadis who fled to Thailand from Pakistan in January were detained by the immigration authorities of Thailand in January, have not got asylum yet. These Ahmedis fled from Pakistan to avoid religious persecution there. Pakistan, home of four million Ahmedis, declared them non-muslims in 1974 by an act of parliamment. The reason behind parliamnets’ act was the perception of majority to consider them heretics because they revere another prophet as well as the prophet Muhammad. In May last year, one gun man stormed two Ahmedi mosques in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city and killed more than 90 people caught in the gunfire and grenade attacks. BBC reported that three suicide bomber later blew themselves up while twos’ attempt was foiled and they were captured. Details:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10190389

Picture by Inkishaf. Pakistan

Dr. Iftikhar, their representtive in Bangkok told the media that they had to leave Pakistan because the level of threat against them have reached to high level. Accoridng to him, hundreds of Ahmadis have been murdered in Pakistan just because of their faith. They had to flee because posters were pasted on walls saying ‘Ahmadisdeserve to be killed.’ Such poster always incite public hatred agaisnt them. A number of laws havee been passed that make it a criminal offence for Ahmadis to profess, practice and preach their faith in Pakistan. These laws have made it a crime for members of Ahmadis community to refer to their places of worship as mosque and even bar them from extending the common muslim greetings in arabic-called Assalm-a-alaikum Ahmadi sources reported.

These Ahmadis have arrived in Bangkok in search of refuge and portection from persecution in Pakistan but there also they face the similar kind of challenges of arrest and detentions. Jesuit Refugee Serivce reported on Janaury 18 that, “scaredcared and disorientated, the group, including many women and children, was bundled into police vans and driven to Bangkok’s immigration detention centre, where they were processed and sent to cour for violating Thailand’s strict immigration policy.

Under Thailand’s law refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand without a valid visa regardless of whether or not they are documented by UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) are considered ‘illegal entrants’ by the authorities. People who are persecuted at home and detened in Thailand are at the mercy of God, said a human rights activist in Bangkok. However, International Refugee Convention 1951 and its portocol is about portection to refugees, these people are still waiting for these laws and international community come and help them in these difficult circumstances.

According to recent reports, group of Ahmedis fled from Pakistan and ended up in Thailand is  waiting desperately for UNHCR’s help which can recognise them as refugees and facilitate their resettlement to a third country they are forced to live in fear and with uncertainty.

Report by Hammed Channa

Coalition of three organizations celebrated ‘Amun Deeharo’ or Peace Day on Saint Valentines’ Day. The Coalition works on different social issues and focused on peace, harmony, empowerment of women, labor rights. The Coalition covers the area of Mirpurkhas but is well connected with other national and international organizations support their work.

Amun (Peace) Rally Mirpurkhas

The purpose of celebration of Valentine’s Day was to reject the extremism and get the message of Mystic poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai across the world. All participants of the rally were wearing yellow color scarves, bands and dresses. Peace rally started from station chowk at 11 am and reached at market chowk by passing through the post office. Number of people in the rally significantly increased when it reached to the market where a person from different walks of lives streamed into the rally as a sign of solidarity.

Sundar one of the participants, sang peace song ‘Amun Zindabad (Live Long Peace) in his melodious voice and got lot of applause from the participants of the rally as well as shopkeepers and by standards. One interesting aspect of the rally which can also be seen in the pictures is active participation of women.  

Women Dancing for peace

Mr. Hameed channa, Miss Nusrat miano, Zeeshan laghari, Taj baloch, Wajid laghari and others addressed the rally. Afterwards, the rally turned to the press club where participants chanted loud slogans, “BUNIAD PARSTI MURDABAD, AMUN ZINDABAD “ (Peace-Live Long- Death to extremism).At the press, Coalition organized the cultural show where Abdul Qadir Mithu and other folk artists showed a great performance and spread the message of peace and harmony. Followed by the cultural dance by Suljhial Sartian Sath one of the organizations in the collation, led by a women activist, to relay the message of peace.  

One of the organizer addressing the rally

One should not forget the Sindh is a province of Pakistan where massive floods in 2010 destroyed infrastructure, crops, caused death and displacement but have not shaken people’s will and determination, who still celebrate peace and harmony day and live with hope for the best. This and other such kind of celebration by the people of Pakistan and Sindh have lot to tell both the world and international community that Pakistanis are peace lovers, not extremists.