Category Archives: Citizens

The More Things Change…

…the more they remain the same

The ISI – a proxy for the Army, since Z.A.Bhutto’s creation of ISI’s infamous Political Cell – seems to be making it clear that it (too) is beyond accountability. After Malik Qayyum tried to show he still had some nuisance value by declaring to Hamid Mir that ‘a former head of a powerful intelligence agency had confirmed to him that (the missing person) Mr Janjua was dead’, there were news items about the police (possibly) investigating a handful of former and serving intelligence and army officers in relation to missing persons. Mrs Amina Janjua promptly responded to the possible muddying of the intelligence agency’s name by writing to The News.

She declares in this letter that she does not seek investigation against any ‘valuable’ national agency and does not wish their ‘good name’ to be called into question. She still considers her quest for justice for her missing husband to be noble, just as noble it would seem as she considers our national agencies to be. She declares that she holds the US responsible for her family’s woes and only seeks justice against the US… in a Pakistani court, one must add.

Both the petitioner and the court had a very different view of the same state and its agencies under the dictator Gen Musharraf. The tone and tenor with which this view was expressed was very different too. Indeed, one of Musharraf’s (completely fake) complaints against the SC was that it ‘had been setting free suspected terrorists’.

Mrs Janjua need not have bothered writing the letter. The 3-member SC bench had already declared, back in February, that the court “will not examine evidence against intelligence agencies in the missing persons’ case.” I guess she just wanted to make sure. Continue reading



Filed under Activism, Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, Citizens, Democracy, human rights, journalism, Judiciary, Justice, Pakistan, Taliban, USA, War On Terror

The 1935 Mindset

By Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf

Political stability has evaded Pakistan since 1947. Bureaucratic intrigues, repeated military interventions and exclusion of popular governments have fortified the role of elites. They have directly and indirectly toppled governments to ensure that Pakistan’s political clock clocks what they want. These elites have exploited the many gaps in political structure of Pakistan for entrenchment, wherein even apparently popular governments once in opposition adopted a similar approach. According to Rafay Alam: “There has been no revolutionary exertion of rights in this part of the world; it is not difficult to conclude that the Pakistani state did not acquire a fresh personality at its birth and that instead, it inherited the worst possible mindset for running a country.” Similarly, Dr Mubashir Hassan has often made slanted references to this invisible force capable of paralysing political governments. Continue reading


Filed under Army, Citizens, civil service, Colonialism, Democracy, History, Pakistan

Interview: Pakistan, “The Gender Discourse Needs to Be Linked to Local Realities”

Heinrick Boll Stiftung, The Green Political Foundation

Due to the offensive by the military only a few weeks ago, Pakistan came into the focus of the international public again. The power of the Taliban in connection with the attitude of the society was widely discussed, but once again gender and women issues were not highlighted. Durre Ahmed, chairperson and senior research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Gender and Culture in Lahore, about the current situation and development of the gender discourse in Pakistan.

In the current debate especially one phenomenon referred to as ‘radicalization’ or ‘Talibanization’ of society was often mentioned. What is the effect of this seemingly growing radicalisation of society on gender issues? What effect does it have on people’s psyche?

Durre Ahmed: As expected the effect is extremely negative. Where radicalisation is violent and obvious, the suppression of women is similarly violent and obvious. By its very nature, radicalisation is what I call a “hyper-masculinised” worldview of which religion is an important aspect. It has come into people’s psyches – of both male and female – through different mechanisms. At one hand, it expresses itself in rejection of women and of women’s bodies particularly. At another level, radicalisation understood as a mindset traps men in a vicious, arrested state of adolescent machismo.
But the gender discourse in Pakistan isn’t talking about any of these things. It remains stuck in a very narrow understanding of Islam and it selectively picks up ideas – which are there in all religions – to then suppress women. This is something, which I have been discussing and writing about for 15 years. I talk about it in Pakistan but because the gender debate is absent, there is only a small audience. However my work is trying to generate and create this discourse, trying to explain what is patriarchy, what is religion and how should it be understood psychologically.

Full interview can be found at

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Filed under Activism, Citizens, human rights, Islam, Islamism, Pakistan, Terrorism, violence, War On Terror, Women

One and a half billion people just want peace

The News, January 01, 2010

The two nations have repeatedly gone to war in the past. Their governments continue sabre rattling and spewing bellicose rhetoric. But identical nationwide opinion surveys conducted by the Jang Group and the Times of India Group in India and Pakistan show that a majority of the billion and a half people of the sub-continent want to live as peaceful and friendly neighbours and share the same humane goals like any other civilised polity; economic prosperity for all, education for the youth, health for the needy, absence of violence and elimination of existential threats. Continue reading


Filed under Citizens, India, Kashmir, Pakistan, poverty, south asia, Terrorism

NRO- The monster finally caged!

The monstrous crimes committed, to fabricate illogical laws and illegal ordinances, created by these criminals to protect their own self and others who participated in those practises to ruin Pakistan has now finally taken place with Supreme Court’s verdict on 16th December. The looters, plunderers will have to face the consequences of their actions and face those trials which they avoided through any means available to them- through NRO, through political needs of survival in the name of any reason and methods in the name of Pakistan. Now they will have to stand trial – NRO beneficiaries vs. people of Pakistan. These Machiavellian characters will have to be answerable to the people of Pakistan. The message to all who were benifacries one way or another is that no one is above the law. Those who have committed crimes through corruption and through power abuse will now have to face trials and face consequences of their actions. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Army, Citizens, civil service, Democracy, Economy, Education, human rights, Islamabad, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Jinnah's Pakistan, journalism, Justice, lawyers movement, Media, movements, Multinational Corporations, Pakistan, Parliament, Politics, poverty, Zardari

He hears and heeds the trees

By Ardeshir Cowasjee                Dawn, 06 Dec, 2009

The planet we live on is insignificant in the universal scheme, and parts of it will always be ruled over largely by the ignorant and those who are significant only because of their capability to do immense damage. They heed neither the elements nor the environment.

There is of course the rare bird. Queen Anne of England once asked an honest courtier what the cost would be were she to include London’s Green Park within the precincts of her palace. She was told: ‘A monarchy, Madam, a monarchy.’ We in Pakistan are now fortunate to have a chief justice of our country who can hear and heed trees and who understands the environment. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Citizens, Conservation, Environment, Justice, Lahore, Law, Pakistan

Diya – a Hero’s Daughter

Text & Photos by Fauzia Minallah


 Diya with her father Pervez Masih’s photograph

Diya is only three, she is lost and has many questions about her father Pervez Masih. Pervez was a janitor at the International Islamic University. On the fateful day when IIU was attacked by suicide bombers, he was the hero who stopped the terrorist from entering the cafeteria for female students. Pervez lost his life, while saving the lives of more than 300 students. Continue reading


Filed under Children, Citizens, human rights, minorities, Pakistan, poverty, Taliban, Terrorism