Archive for the ‘Emergency Rule 2007’ Category

Khan’s arrest – the drama at PU, as it unfolded

Imran Khan, as earlier announced by his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf party, had decided to give his arrest in a student protest rally at University of the Punjab today. Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing called the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) had clearly stated that Imran will not be welcome on his arrival at the campus on grounds of avoiding politics in the university, which, for a voilent, unpopular, politically-inspired body like the IJT, is an absurd reason for not allowing Imran’s peace protest rally against the emergency rule.

According to the plan, Imran Khan, arrived at the University’s New Campus at around 12 noon and was immediately surrounded by members of the IJT who pushed him into the university’s Centre for Higher Energy Physics (CHEPS) building. While he was being kept ‘hostage’ in there, Mr. Khan was reportedly tortured and manhandled by the IJT workers and plain-clothed men of the secret agencies. Hundreds of students including the IJT members and Khan’s supporters gathered at the place and exchanged harsh words and fought with each other.

‘Sound Bombs’ were heard repeatedly, intended to disperse or create panic in the crowd of over 400 students as more than two dozens of foreign journalists, local reporters and cameramen covered the events by continuously running around the building to get a better picture of what was happening inside.

Imran was later handled to and arrested by the agencies as the whole event remained largely peaceful with canal road blockade, restricted entry into the area and about 800 policemen depoyed around the campus premises.

Watch Video here: Imran Khan’s Detention

BB troubles DHA residents

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Benazir is giving a tough time to DHA residents in particular and Lahorites in general. There have been huge traffic jams, extra security measures, heavy deployment of cops and heavy VIP movement in the city.

Image Credit: DT

BB in Lahore – Day 2

Benazir is in Lahore for the last two days and has brought international media’s focus along with her. She now seems to be mending her ways and finally giving a strong stare at people running the current Government.

As by now, BB remains under house arrest at her DHA residence in Lahore.

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LUMS protest coverage on NYT and DawnNews

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The protests that have been taking place all around Pakistani university campuses are getting national and international coverage as well. This photograph, taken at LUMS on 9th November 2007, appeared on the main page of New York Times today. It is now available at NYT’s A Call for Eyewitness Photos, Video and Text From Pakistan post.

The protests at LUMS were also covered in a DawnNews report.

You can watch live video streaming of DawnNews channel here.

The sense; common

I haven’t posted anything for quite a while.
The reasons are numerous. I won’t go into them.

The winter has arrived with a touch of extra excitement in our country. At the political front, social front, even economic front… but before we go into details, let’s remind ourselves of the true “perspective” of things for a while.

The adrenaline is definitely rushing in our nation’s veins these days and some might feel the history is being made here… the truth is, we just don’t know much to make any statement, or take any side.

We know for a fact that not having any civil rights is not a good idea. Freedom, basic fundamental rights… we would feel disturbed if we don’t have them… and rightly so.

To some extent we also know what circumstances led to this eventuality. Media playing live coverage of suicide bombings… corrupt politicians playing their agenda and cards one after the other… won’t they take some blame for what’s happening today?

Do we really know if judiciary was actually fighting for the nation’s rights, or was there a more narrow agenda involved there too… a personal vengeance at the cost of national interests? maybe… maybe not.

We also don’t know what choices the government had at hand? Was emergency better of the many evils? Or were there many better options that they simply ignored? In other words, was it a last resort to maintain order, or a convenient lifeline option to maintain power?

As I said, there’s quite a lot that we just don’t know.

What we do know, nonetheless, is that we have been there, done that, over and over again.

In 60 years of Pakistan’s history there have been around 30 under pure military rule.
In 60 years we hardly had 10 with free and independent media. Even less with free and independent judiciary.
Militancy is nothing new to us as well. We knew Taliban long before the world heard the word for the first time.
We have had our share of corrupt politicians right from the word go. We probably had more than our share.

Tragic as it is, the above is our history. We are in it together.

No matter what side we take today, no matter what story we believe in, we must take a moment to remember our history and learn from it.

We must also remember that there are certain elements in all circles; government, opposition parties, lawyers, media, students… everywhere, who are honest to their job and believe in what they are doing. At the same time there are certain elements in all these circles who are running a personal agenda, playing their cards one after the other, leading the country to hell.

No matter which side we are on, we need to ensure we are with the right people within that group. At the end of the day most of us have the same goals to achieve. Let hope we all get there together!!!

Iqbal Day Protest at LUMS

A fellow sent this report on Friday’s Iqbal Day happenings at LUMS. Students and faculty members again joined hands to raise a voice against opression and injustice.

Friday, November 9, 2007

On the 5th Day of protests at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, students organised a peaceful gathering, characterised by motivational speeches by students and a faculty member, as well as rousing poetry to mark Iqbal Day, Allama Iqbal being widely known as the Poet of the East, who was a moving force behind the very idea of Pakistan. This was followed by a protest march across the campus. This march from the sports auditorium to the cafeteria has become a veritable tradition for these students in the past few days, a symbol of their persisting resistance against accepting the imposition of emergency rule, which many regard as Pakistan’s third martial law.

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There were further emotive speeches protesting injustice. One of the chief grievances of the students was the repressive behavior of the security forces towards other university students’ who had held demonstrations. Reports of police brutality towards students of FAST and UET were the talk of the campus today. The university was barricaded by riot police on Wednesday and dozens of male and female police officers on Thursday. On Wednesday, officers armed with long batons snooped all over the university premises prior to the rally, perhaps in order to intimidate protestors. Today, though, there was no sign of the police outside the gates, much to the relief of the students, some of whom are beginning to get a positively hedged-in feeling by this time. After all, it has been a long time since most Pakistanis have experienced such a highly repressive environment and this conciousness has been especially increased, after the unprecendently freeer hand the media was given by the Musharraf regime until recently.

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Pindi & Peshawar events

Earlier in the morning, Benazir Bhutto was prevented from leading a rally of PPP supporters at Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi when security forces surrounded her Islamabad residence and put her under house-arrest.

Authorities have said that such an action was necessary due to security concerns and for that matter, Section 144 banning all public gatherings, protests or processions has been imposed in Rawalpindi/Islamabad. Around 6,000 policemen are guarding the planned vanue in Pindi while BB’s Zardari House is now barb-wired and surrounded by at least 200 personnel.

Meanwhile, Peshawar suffered from the first bomb blast since Emergency Rule, near a serving minister’s house. What it shows is that you cannot bring law and order situation under control by targeting the intelligentsia and representatives of the civil society while showing a soft hand to the ‘real’ terrorists preaching their own agenda on their private FM radio stations.

*Campus Updates* Friday’s Protest by Students @ FAST – NU, Pakistan – 9th November

Latest Updates:

9th November 2007
15:39hrs: Peaceful Protest by 500 – 600 students held after Juma Prayers.
15:44hrs: Some early photos aired showing students wearing Black Arm Bands gathered peacefully for an effective protest.
15:52hrs: Media came for coverage but was not allowed by the organizers to shoot the videos and photos.

Details:

[09/09/07 – 15:39hrs]
A peaceful protest was held today at FAST-NU (National University of Emerging Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan aka FAST – NUCES or formerly, SAHICS). Around 500-600 students gathered backstage after Jumma Prayers for a Peaceful protest. All the students were Wearing Black Arm Bands as a sign of protest. Few faculty members also addressed the student gathering.

More details and updates about the protest.. coming up!

[09/09/07 – 15:44hrs]
Some early photos aired showing students wearing Black Arm Bands gathered peacefully for an effective protest. Students and some faculty members gathered at the backstage of the campus after Jumma prayer.

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[09/09/07 – 15:52hrs]
Media did come for coverage but they were not allowed to take any pictures or videos. Videos and pictures were taken by FAST-NU students themselves and will be published later.

Students protest at the New Campus

Today, students from the Institute of Communication Studies (Mass Communication Department), Punjab University led a small protest march within the University’s New Campus.

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A group of almost 20 students, boys and girls, marched from their department to the neighboring buildings of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Institute of Administrative Sciences (IAS), Institute of Business & Information Technology (IBIT), English Department and the Punjab University Psychology Department where, at each place, more people were added to the march.

The whole protest procession completed its round-trip in less than 30 minutes and ended at ICS. Though students were quite few in number, around 40, but all of them were in high spirits and expressed their concerns on the present crisis by chanting slogans and walking along in a peaceful way.

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As the University staff discusses a proper response, more protests and student – staff marches are being planned on campus. The objective strictly remains to protest peacefully and to confine them within the University Campus boundaries.

PU joins the movement

Professors and students of University of the Punjab (PU), Pakistan’s largest educational institution, have also joined LUMS and FAST in condemning the rule of Emergency in Pakistan.

A staff meeting was organized here on Wednesday which was attended by prominent members of the university faculty, professors and deans of different departments. The committee reviewed the current situation in Pakistan and later lead a small, peaceful protest rally within the university premises.

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