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Pakistan Press (27 Aug 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Liberte Compromised: New Age Islam's Selection, 27 August 2016

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

27 August 2016

Liberte Compromised

By Benazir Jatoi

Endgame for MQM?

By Abbas Nasir

Lust for Land

By Irfan Husain

Rickety Criminal Justice

By Muhammad Ali Nekokara

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Liberte Compromised

By Benazir Jatoi

August 26, 2016

The writer is a barrister and UK solicitor who works with Aurat Foundation on law and governance issues

The law in 15 towns of France over the ban of the burkini, a fully covered up version of a swimsuit for Muslim women, is finally being enforced. Images have hit the news with four policemen surrounding a fully clothed woman on a beach in Nice, ensuring she removes her top full-sleeved layer of clothing. Onlookers clad in bikinis and shorts look on. It is reported that some chants of ‘go home’ and applause for the police action could be heard in the background. What a 360-degree turn the Western world seems to have taken with this image. In 1922 in the West, there are black and white images of women being questioned by police on the beach for wearing clothes that were considered too revealing — skirts too short, arms too bare. It’s 2016 and the police are back, this time questioning a woman’s morality, measuring it by how covered up she may be. Ironic, no? Actually more ironic is that some things haven’t changed at all; telling a woman what is right to wear, how to wear it, when to wear it seems to stay as is. Now cover up, now uncover. Too much skin showing. Too little skin showing. All in the name of morality. And now it seems all this is happening in the name of secularism.

A Muslim woman, in fully clad clothes on the beach in Cannes, was fined and ticketed with not “respecting good morals and secularism”. German cities are also considering banning Muslim women from wearing the burqa. Maintaining the status quo when it comes to morally policing women has not changed, just the reason for doing so has. The Burkini is now the latest threat to freedom and secularism in the Western world. More than ironic, this is farcical.

I am not sure what I feel about the Burqa, Burkini or any overtly covered gowns and headscarves to represent a faith. I believe linear, singly interpreted versions of any religion to be detrimental, mostly always to women. Such interpretations also undermine diverse cultural beliefs that are practised and go hand in hand with religion. But what I do believe and hold dearly is the freedom for people to express themselves, through spoken words or through the clothes they wear, regardless of whether I agree with their beliefs or not. Freedom. We call it Azadi. Liberte, isn’t that it France?

Now the famous French essential value, liberte, is threatened by women too covered up on a beach, in a park, at schools of learning. And with liberte compromised, egalite and fraternite are not far behind and questioned. The fire in the house eventually spreads to all the rooms.

Feminism, the ideology that in France took hold during the French Revolution, seems to be reeking of smoke as well. Believe it or not, many French feminists supported the ban of the burkini and headscarf in public spaces. And with this support, French feminists have excluded and failed to represent all women. I would have thought the beacon of feminism having stemmed from France, French feminists and liberals would be shouting from the rooftops disagreeing with this deliberate targeting of Muslim women.

But the real stench here seems to be that of racism and fear. The French are revisiting their colonial mindset and self-imposed cultural superiority, this time on home soil. My belief may not be similar to those more stringent Muslim women, in fact, probably completely contrary to what they believe in, but my belief in the freedom for women to do with their bodies as they please is rock solid. And if you are with me on that, then let’s use Evelyn Hall’s famous words to defend freedom of expression to register our protest — I may disapprove of what you wear, but I will defend to the death your right to wear it.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1170587/liberte-compromised/


Endgame for MQM?

By Abbas Nasir

August 27th, 2016

Although Dr Farooq Sattar has been in the public eye since he was first elected mayor of Karachi in 1987 it took him nearly three decades to come into his own after the MQM founder-leader Altaf Hussain crossed the red line one final time this week.

As someone described it on social media, Altaf Hussain seemed to have set off his suicide vest when he addressed his supporters and workers at the hunger strikers’ camp outside the Karachi Press Club as he incited attacks on media houses and launched a tirade against the country.

Given the sustained crackdown his party has been facing on account of its involvement in militancy and against the backdrop of charges that Altaf Hussain has been consorting with the Indian intelligence agency, the MQM leader found the pressure unbearable and seemed to press a self-destruct button.

There is no doubt that the man whose word was the law on the streets of Karachi will never again be a shadow of his former self.

There is no doubt that the man whose word was the law on the streets of Karachi, where many inhabitants lived and breathed at his pleasure, will never again be a shadow of his former self. What isn’t clear is how many others he will still take down with him as a result of his ‘suicide vest’ explosion?

Altaf Hussain’s huge support base in the sprawling metropolis remains intact as does, sadly, the ethnic divide which he exploited so skilfully to propel himself to power. But unless another Musharraf era is somewhere round the corner, the sort of muscle the MQM leader is accustomed to is going to be no more.

How will a man used to wielding absolute power, the power of life and death, over a city and its populace reconcile to being a much lesser mortal is the key question. The party may be at the receiving end of a crackdown but it’s impossible to say all the militants have been neutralised.

Some may be lying low and waiting for orders to strike or resurface with a bang. It is this uncertainty over the remaining muscle and a support base which will, for now, remain committed to the party founder that is forcing Farooq Sattar into his daily high-wire acts.

Having been forced or convinced to opt for silence at least for now, all those who know Altaf Hussain recognise that he has an immense ego, enjoys Pied Piper-like control over hundreds of thousands of followers in Sindh’s urban centres and remains unstable, volatile and incendiary in the best of times.

He is someone who doesn’t mind being videotaped fantasising about torturing opponents with power drills and hammers. His supporters insist their leader was mocking allegations that the MQM indulges in such practices when he was filmed making that statement.

But the relish with which the MQM leader was referring to such scenarios was scary and sickening at the same time, particularly because over the years dozens of bodies have been found dumped in and around Karachi bearing such torture marks.

To the reader whose sensibilities are offended by my mention of matters so grotesque and who feels my view is exaggerated, any reporter who has covered Karachi will bear me out. One isn’t living some morbid fantasy but making a statement of fact.

Every member of the ‘sector’ set-up of the MQM which the Rangers now seem to be dismantling as part of an intelligence-driven campaign must be aware that most of these charges are real and not imaginary or mere propaganda as the party often suggests.

Of course, many voters who show up in droves on election day to accord the party dizzying successes rubbish such allegations as propaganda and believe that they belong to a persecuted or at least a neglected community which, without the MQM and its leader, would be much worse off.

This state of siege does not afford the voter an opportunity to connect the dots and realise that over the life of the MQM whilst there have been crackdowns and lives lost in such actions, many leaders who Altaf Hussain perceived as disloyal or a challenge to his authority also met violent ends. Were their murders coincidental?

I can think of Azeem Tariq, Altaf Hussain’s second in command and the party’s chairman, Dr Imran Farooq who was once the founder’s right-hand man and senior leader Khalid bin Walid just to name three whose killing can’t be laid at the door of the authorities or any opponent. There are many more.

At the same time, so many of the grievances and the insecurity that led to the meteoric rise of the MQM, remain; one need only drive through Karachi and see the broken roads and mountain heaps of garbage as mere glaring symbols of why many in the city still feel alienated.

Critics argue that Farooq Sattar is doing what he is at the bidding of the party leader and once the crisis is averted it would be back to business as usual. I don’t have the means to confirm this or say with certainty it is rubbish.

But to me Farooq Sattar appears like I have never seen him these past 30 years. He sounds more, and more, like his own man albeit one who is fully aware of the pitfalls of the project he has undertaken. The authorities have two choices.

They could back him and help him steer the party gently and delicately towards distancing itself from Altaf Hussain’s politics and moving towards an entirely democratic ethos. Simultaneously, the mopping up of the militant wing elements should continue.

Or they could continue to express unhappiness that he hasn’t gone far enough via voices such as Mustafa Kamal and Amir Liaquat Hussain and have him subjected to daily media grilling questioning his motives to whatever end.

I would opt for the former. Wish I could read the minds under berets and peak caps.

Abbas Nasir is a former editor of Dawn.

Source: dawn.com/news/1280188/endgame-for-mqm


Lust for Land

By Irfan Husain

August 27th, 2016

IT’S become a cliché to say that all countries have armies, but in Pakistan, the army has a country.

But clichés have an element of truth. I was reminded of this while reading Dawn’s recent investigative report about the Karachi Defence Housing Authority’s land-grab in the squatter colony Qayyumabad. According to this detailed account, around 30 acres were set aside by the municipal authorities for amenities like power generation, water purification, a school and a playing field for the deprived people of this slum.

But DHA had its eyes on this land, and after a series of legal and administrative manoeuvring — to say nothing of muscle flexing — has managed to have the disputed land transferred. It has also been reported that a key player was a retired major who was selling commercial plots even before the paperwork had been completed.

It’s not only the military that has deprived the poor of land.

The military has long been expanding its footprint across Pakistan’s cities through its multiplying defence societies. Land is acquired at nominal rates from provincial governments, and developed with money taken as advance payments for residential and commercial plots from officers. Allotment letters are then sold to civilians at several multiples of the price they paid.

Thus, some of the richest families in the country live in some of the most garish houses in these housing colonies. We have become so accustomed to this unending land-grab that we don’t notice that Pakistan is probably unique in this respect.

As Dr Ayesha Siddiqa has noted in her book Military Inc, militaries in China, Egypt and Indonesia run large business enterprises. And while we are up there with our Fauji Foun­dation, to the best of my knowledge, our officers have done better than their counterparts in other countries with their defence societies. In addition, they have also benefited from vast tracts of agricultural land in Punjab and Sindh.

For over 15 years, military authorities have been locked in a conflict with peasant farmers in Okara over tenancy rights. The army has reportedly been running farms and dairy plants in the area for years, and is trying to force local farmers to sign new, disadvantageous tenancy agreements. Protests have been crushed with much violence.

But the military has not been alone in depriving the poor of their land and their rights. A few months ago, this newspaper ran another investigative report that focused on the breaches of laws and regulations by a project on the outskirts of Karachi. Here, a well-connected tycoon is alleged to have used his clout with the Sindh government to bulldoze huts and throw locals out to create the infrastructure for his giant housing project.

In Islamabad, poor Christians have been living in fear of eviction from their Katchi Abadi as the Capital Development Authority seeks the Supreme Court’s approval to level the slum. As reported, retired chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has recently written a (poorly drafted) letter to the current chief justice seeking his intervention to have a plot allotted to him.

In a country with a rapidly growing population, pressure on urban housing will obviously increase. But this alone doesn’t explain the insatiable lust for land that has afflicted so many wheeler-dealers. Speculation happens everywhere, but in Pakistan it has reached fever pitch as qabza groups use political connections and violence to grab land.

So when did it all start? Younger readers might be unaware of this, but the country’s birth was accompanied by our first land-grab. As refugees fled across the new border with just the clothes on their backs, many clutched documents proving ownership of property. To compensate them for their loss, the newly established Evacuee Property Trust handed them equivalent hou­ses or agricultural land abandoned by Hindus and Sikhs fleeing in the opposite direction.

However, many Mus­­lim claimants were desperate for cash and sold their claims to well-heeled businessmen who then proceeded to acquire choice properties for peanuts. Thus were many early fortunes made in Pakistan.

But these grabs pale into insignificance when compared to some of the army’s manoeuvres. For instance, under Ayub Khan, retired officers were allotted agricultural land in Punjab on the pretext that they would be able to defend the area against an Indian attack. In Sindh, land made available for farming with the building of dams and canals was also allotted to officers.

I can understand such generosity with state lands if the beneficiaries are the dependents of servicemen who have fallen in battle. But surely officers who retire after their normal time in uniform leave with a reasonable pension package. And officers who retire at an early age almost invariably find jobs

But since this has now become a service perk, surely it can be restricted to one plot per officer. When Musharraf seized power in 1999, he released his assets; these included several plots that were then estimated at many millions.

As long as this unseemly acquisition of land by the military continues, it might be seen as a colonising force.

Source: dawn.com/news/1280186/lust-for-land


Rickety Criminal Justice

By Muhammad Ali Nekokara

August 27th, 2016

REPORTS of kidnapping and the abduction of children have emerged as a serious issue in recent months across Pakistan. Earlier this month, the Peshawar Police, with the help of the Intelligence Bureau, arrested a gang which, shockingly, included doctors, lady health visitors and nurses, involved in the abduction and trading of newborns. The arrest of the gang, although reassuring, is distressing at the same time. The gang leader had been arrested by Islamabad Police in 2015 for similar crimes, and was subsequently released on bail.

Why can’t criminals and repeat offenders involved in such odious crimes be brought to justice? The answer to this question from actors of the criminal justice system (CJS) would entangle us in a ‘blame game’ in which no one is a winner and the citizens are the ultimate losers.

A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of attending a discussion on CJS arranged by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency and presided over by the vice chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council. Leaders of the Supreme Court Bar Association, PBC and the prosecutor general Punjab were present along with political and media representatives. Disappointment, contempt and hostility towards the police and lack of respect in different organs of the CJS for each other were alarmingly obvious in the session.

How can the justice system operate when there is no trust among its components?

The problem with the CJS is not just lack of funds, weak laws and poor skills. An equally troubling aspect is the disconnect between its various actors including the police, judiciary, lawyers, prosecution and prison personnel.

This disconnect is very evident in incidents such as lawyers assaulting police investigators and judges of the lower courts. This creates pressure for other important actors of the system. The courts blame the police for defective investigation and lawyers for seeking endless adjournments. The lawyers complain of poor training, low rewards and insufficient facilities in the courts. Police officers grumble about the difficult standards set for evidence collection; non-availability of witnesses; the dearth of witness protection programmes; and ridiculing and humiliating behaviour in court. Prosecutors bemoan their status as ‘poor relatives’ of the CJS. This generates a narrative which has a paralysing effect on the wheels of justice.

The dysfunctional relationship has serious social and legal costs — the acquittal of terrorists, conviction of the innocent and fast-tracked justice for the powerful and inordinate delays for the not so well-connected. Importantly, it pushes people towards desperation instead of giving them hope.

The clearly flailing wheels of the CJS thus need to be aligned first. All the organs of the justice system are structurally interdependent and cannot carry out their responsibilities if they work in isolation. Any kind of capacity-building, legislative and monetary support would founder on the rock of self-righteousness unless the relevant actors are constructively engaged to collaborate in the public interest.

Appropriate institutional arrangements are critical to reducing the disconnect because they can promote inclusive dialogue within the justice system. The current institutional arrangements are set out in Police Order 2002 (which provides for district criminal justice coordination committees (DCJCC). Headed by a district and sessions judge, such a committee includes the district heads of police, prosecution, investigation, prisons, parole and probation as members. These committees continue to function in Punjab and KP to date whereas in Balochistan and Sindh they were dissolved with the repeal of Police Order 2002 in 2011.

The DCJCCs’ impact since their inception remains insignificant mainly because there is no institutional arrangement at the provincial level to watch and evaluate their performance. They could have played a better role in addressing the ‘disconnect’ within the criminal justice system had the district heads been supervised by their respective provincial heads.

The law and justice commission of the Supreme Court exercised its leadership by notifying the provincial justice committees in 2015. The mandate of these committees includes coordination, planning and guiding reforms in the justice sector. The role of the provincial governments, particularly the political executive and the high courts, is decisive in ensuring effective oversight and reforms in the system at the provincial level. It would, therefore, have been better had the provincial governments taken ownership and instituted provincial criminal justice coordination committees (PCJCCs) by amending their respective police laws.

Punjab and KP need to amend Police Order 2002 and the KP Police Order 2016 respectively to provide for PCJCCs. Sindh and Balochistan also need to institute similar arrangements ideally by reactivating and amending Police Order 2002.

These provincial committees can deliberate legislative reforms, support capacity-building, effectively demand more funds from the government and develop feedback mechanisms, in addition to supervising the district criminal justice coordination committees. The PCJCC may include the chief justice of the high court as chairperson and the law minister, chief secretary, IGP, home secretary, the advocate general, prosecutor general, IG prisons, the vice chairman of the Provincial Bar Council and a CJS expert as members.

There is an urgent need to move beyond the posture of self-righteousness to legal, political and moral responsibility and role realisation.

The strain and disconnect can only be reduced through the exercise of leadership by the leaders of the judiciary, lawyers, police and prosecution, in addition to the political executive. The judiciary, being constitutionally the most independent institution in the country, is in an ideal position to bring all other actors of the criminal justice system together and even nudge the political executive towards serious reforms in the justice system.

In the words of the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize of 2007, Al Gore, “The next generation will ask us one of two questions … ‘What were you thinking; why didn’t you act?’”

Or they can ask: ‘How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis…?

It is time to act for a safe future for our coming generations.

Source: dawn.com/news/1280189/rickety-criminal-justice

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/liberte-compromised--new-age-islam-s-selection,-27-august-2016/d/108377


  • Land lust.

    The situation in India and Pakistan is very similar.

    I have campared this like A father/mother is standing outside with all power allowing to rape his children.

    This two nation had reached to same point which I anology above.

    In India cheap politician and business Mann do same thing land grab, allow to kill different ethnic and religious group and Milatary of India is like father and mother I mentioned it is for allowing to do all atrocities on Indian

    Similarly in Pakistan Milatary and politician establishment is to loot their own people at the extent of cleansing and killing of this people.

    I wish sometime this both country should balkanised at some point, rather than Milatary pimp standing outside to protect borders and let all bad things happen inside then country.

    By Aayina - 8/27/2016 11:48:34 AM

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