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Archive for category Pakistan’s Immortal Sons & Daughters: Shaheed

Pakistan Day 23 March, 2017

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Pakistan Day

23 March 2017

Mubarak to Global Pakistanis:

Under Protection of الله ﺗﻌﺎﻟﯽٰ:

Be Warned All Enemies

No Earthly Power Can Harm it

Pakistan Day Demands National Unity

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Although the Pakistan day is being celebrated every year on March 23, yet this time, this very day has come at a time when Pakistan stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing internal and external challenges and threats to the national security of the country, which demands selfless national unity among all the segments of society.

 

The 23rd of March 1940 was a watershed in the history of the Sub Continent when All India Muslim League passed the Resolution in Lahore for the creation of an independent state. Now, it is popularly called as Pakistan Resolution. Earlier, in his address to the Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930, the idea of a homeland for Muslims in their majority areas had been envisioned by the poet Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal and had become the aspiration of Indian Muslims.

 

In fact, the British colonialists in connivance with majority Hindu population had manipulated and targeted Muslims through every possible way. In that background, Muslims started the struggle for a separate state.

 

Prior to the Lahore session of Muslim League, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had specified to this historical congregation of the Muslims, the watch-words of ‘Faith, Unity and Discipline’ which were not only necessary for waging the battle for an independent homeland, but also for present Pakistan. So, while struggling against the enemies, the essence of these watch-words is the unity which is the real spirit of the Pakistan Resolution.

 

However, it was due to the selfless practical unity among the Muslims under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam that Pakistan became a tangible reality. But that unity started declining after passing through various crises, and the result was the separation of East Pakistan in 1971, as the India manipulated differences between East Pakistan and the West Pakistan.

 

However, the 23rd March which is celebrating by every Pakistani as the Pakistan Day, has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature, which are not only worrying all the citizens but are also creating division between the rulers and the opposition parties including rival politicians, taking the country towards anarchy.

 

The Pakistan Day has come at a time when Pakistan’s security forces have been facing a different war, while the enemy is also different, which employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external challenges. In these terms, Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and intelligence agencies against terrorists. In this respect, our Armed Forces have almost obtained their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) through military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state and had frightened the entire nation by their terror acts. In Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and other parts of the country including tribal areas our security forces and law-enforcing agencies have broken the terror networks and restored peace by eliminating and capturing terrorists. Unlike the past, peace has, especially, been restored in Balochistan and Karachi.

Besides, Pakistan launched a nationwide military operation codenamed Radd-ul-Fasaad earlier this year, which includes broad-spectrum security and counter-terrorism operations in Punjab and other cities of the country, while continuing the ongoing operations. The move came after a series of deadly bombings across the country all through February, which killed hundreds of civilians.

 

According to various news releases of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan’s security and law enforcement agencies have killed and arrested more than 600 suspects, terrorists and their facilitators, including capture of huge cache of arms and ammunition in a crackdown across the country, especially Punjab as part of the ongoing Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. The ISPR disclosed that some suspected terrorists were killed during an exchange of fire with security personnel. It said some Afghan nationals and RAW agents were among the arrested suspects.

 

Nevertheless, during this very day, it is also of particular attention that since the government of the Balochistan province announced general pardon and protection to the Baloch militants as part of the reconciliation process, many insurgents and their leaders have surrendered their arms and decided to work for the development of Pakistan and the province. However, civil, federal and provincial governments are making strenuous efforts to restore complete peace and order in the province. For this purpose, a paramilitary committee has also been formed by the ruling party to hold negotiations with the disgruntled elements. And the former Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif also supports political settlement—general pardon to the insurgents in Balochistan, so that, development works including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would bring unlimited benefits to the province and its people must be completed. Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa continues the same policy.

 

Unfortunately, it is because of lack of solidarity among our politicians, leaders, and media that foreign opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their secret agenda by destabilizing the country which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. In the past few years, nefarious designs of some foreign secret agencies like Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which have tactical support of American CIA can be gauged from a number of anti-Pakistan developments such as their support to insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, separatism in Balochistan and targeted killings especially in Karachi coupled with subversive acts all over the country.

 

Pakistan which has become a special arena of this different war and has faced terror activities such as suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings, ruthless beheadings of the innocent people, assaults on security personnel and prominent religious figures. Besides blowing children schools and attacking the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, the terrorists, particularly of the Afghan-based Indian-backed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also targeted mosques, Imambargahs, mausoleums, temples, Churches and disgraced dead bodies. Their pitiless acts resulted into killings of several persons in Pakistan. Although terror attacks have been reduced, yet RAW, CIA, and Mossad which are based in Afghanistan and are in connivance with the terror outfits like TTP, Daesh and other similar militant groups—their affiliated outfits have again started these acts of sabotage in Pakistan.

And it is also due to lack of national unity that Pakistan is also facing multi-faceted crises such as load shedding of gas and electricity, soaring prices, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid.

 

Externally, Pak Army and Rangers are, boldly, responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir including Working Boundary in Sialkot and other sectors. While the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. In this context, BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a staunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) stated on July 12, 2014, that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution.

 

Meanwhile, in response to the new Indian Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat’s statement of January 3, 2017 about the so-called “surgical strikes” in Pakistani side of Kashmir, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on January 5, 2016 rejected claims by his Indian counterpart Gen. Bipin Rawat about “so-called surgical strikes” and their possible recurrence. Gen. Qamar Bajwa made it clear that “Pakistan Armed Forces were fully geared to respond to any aggression by India.”

 

As regards the unity, no doubt, it was displayed among all segments of society, after the TTP massacred 132 school children at Army Public School and College in Peshawar on December 16, 2014—as the situation warranted bold and firm decisions to deal the menace of terrorism, especially the threat of the TTP and its banned affiliated groups which are still conducting subversive activities in Pakistan. In this regard, the government, encouraged by the resolve of public opinion responded prudently and lifted the moratorium on death penalty awarded to the criminals according to law. Taking note of the delicate moment, on January 2, 2015, political and military leaders agreed on a draft of legislative measures which paved the way for the establishment of special military trial courts. It was unanimously agreed that the 20 points (National Action Plan) enunciated in the All Parties Conference (APC) Resolution of December 24, 2014, shall be acted upon expeditiously—the bill as 22nd (Constitutional) Amendment has been enforced soon after its approval from the parliament. Now, special military courts have been established and the ruthless terrorists facing death penalty are rapidly being hanged. In this context, National Action plan must also be fully implemented to defeat the terrorists.

 

In fact, it is a war of every patriot Pakistani against terrorists, as the enemy is different, and it cannot leave the security forces alone to wage this different conflict of history. In this context, Pakistan Day demands the cooperation of every citizen, politician, and religious leader with the security forces and agencies to defeat these merciless terrorists.

 

While emphasizing national unity against terrorists, the former Army Chief and the present one Gen. Bajwa has stated the We will continue to go after the inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination.

 

Taking cognizance of the present critical situation, Pakistan Day demands selfless national unity which must be shown practically. This significant day demands that our political leaders must pledge that they will not manipulate their regional and provincial differences at the cost of the national interests so as to grab political power. In this connection, a blind dedication to one’s own race, tribe and creed should not be allowed to create hatred in one group against the other. They must avoid exploiting the ongoing thorny issues in order to increase their vote bank at the cost of the integration of the country. If any controversy arises, it can better be settled in consonance with the constitution. For this aim, in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external enemies against the integrity of the country, some of our political leaders, media houses and human rights groups must also stop manipulating any crisis against Pak Army and country’s primary secret agency, ISI whose image are deliberately being tarnished by the external plotters.

 

True and selfless unity against the foreign enemies requires that our rulers and leaders of other political parties and must create national cohesion among various segments of society. Particularly, our electronic media should give a matching response to the malicious propaganda of the US-led some western countries including India and Israel which are distorting the image of Pakistan, its army, and ISI.

 

Especially, on this very day, media must also project a soft image of Pakistan by highlighting national heroes and tourism sights of the county.

 

Nonetheless, at this crucial time, Pakistan’s survival lies in selfless national unity and strong cohesion as at present, even a layman can note that our country is in chaos and it seems as if there is a “war of all against all” in the sense of ‘Hobbesian state of nature.”

 

On the occasion of Pakistan Day, we must follow the essence of the Pakistan Resolution in real terms by displaying selfless unity in practical terms, which is not possible unless the government, the opposition leaders, civil societies and media owners including all other segments of society pledge to sign a charter of integration which is very necessary to pull the country out of the ongoing serious crises and threats.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: The US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

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The Military Bashing – Impact?

The Military Bashing
By
Waheed Hamid
 
The Pakistan  Army enjoys a unique position of  love and trust which it has acquired from the people of Pakistan. The Army is looked upon as part of the solution to all problems, a panacea, an “AmritDhara” as most of its ranks from a soldier to a general belong to the class which has its roots in the public. Today we find a definite   effort  to make it  look  as part of all problems.
 
UnknownThe international media then local media, a few politicians and now unfortunately government officials have joined  the chorus.  Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan while talking to a private channel said, Gen. Ashfaque Pervez Kayani has kept himself away from politics but people like Gen. Pasha still exist in the army which need to be purged.
 
While speaking on Balochistan he criticized the law enforcers more than condemning the terrorist. Hamid Mir of GEO regularly spreads hatred and blame on ISI and the Generals.
 
On the Karachi situation Nisar,s comments again focused on the army and he did show his reservations on the public appealing to the Army Chief  for peace in Karachi and called it  an insult to the Parliament.
 
The virus of Army bashing has spread deep and wide forgetting that 150.000 officers and men have been fighting the enemies of state in Swat, Bajaur, South Waziristan and North Waziristan for the last so many  years. Over 5000 soldiers have been martyred and 20.000 injured. How many word of sympathy from political leaders, government functionaries or media, not a single visit by President, the Commander-in-Chief, the Prime Minister, any other minister, senator or MNA, negligible condolence meetings. No good wishes or moral support for soldiers and officers or their bereaved families.
 
images-2Army knows that it draws moral sustenance from civil society and other pillars. Despite all this army keeps receiving a wave of criticism even from local players which remains far from truth but it dares to remain silent.
The Army has to accept a partial blame of getting into such a  position  . Indifference of the Army has been palpable and conspicuous . It never took cognizance of the changing mode of the civil society and the government. It has never tried to educate the civil society or challenge the recalcitrant and tormentors, cultivate the media or access the establishment, politicians and other stake holders. The simplistic view of only guarding the frontiers and not watching the psychological aspect of warfare hitting the local is a negligence for which it is paying.
 
However it remains a question that who had to guard their soldiers against such propaganda and is it not asking too much from army to accord physical as well as psychological  protection. 
 
We find few a Pakistanis playing with the enemies to make us believe that the Army is a financial drag on national economy. It consumes largest chunk of budget at the cost of health, education, infrastructure and civic amenities for the public.
 
  Dr Farrukh  in his article “Military”holds the figure to prove that major portions are eaten by debt servicing, subsidy to public sector enterprises and Public Sector Development Programmes. He neglected to mention massive leakage through corruption, inefficiency and incompetence. The three services all together is consuming only 17 percent of all government expenditure, and only 2.5 percent of GDP brought down from 3.6 percent over a decade.
 
pak navy by pak defence blog by mubashir taqiAccording to Dr Farrukh, more than fifty countries are spending greater Coalition Support Fund, while the fact is that Army has received less than two billion Dollars out of ten billion Dollars released by US Government.
 
  Mubashar Luqman in his program proves India is Pakistan centric through the deployments of Indian army and yet a few Pakistanis criticize Army being India centric. The ratio of defence budget between India and Pak was 1-3 ratio but now this ratio has become 1-6. The reason is that budget was reduced to 18 percent and if we keep doing this under the misperception of the ones who  keep working on personal business interests at cost of national interests will we not compromise on our defence.
 
A part of  society , bureaucrats, politicians and so called intelligentsia grudge Army’s indulgence in commercial activities.
 
Facts are twisted, lies fed to the public that commercial enterprises of Army are subsidized by state, that Army is exempted from paying duties and taxes, that such indulgence adversely affects operational readiness. Ayesha Siddiqa was paid by US to write her pack of lies against her own country,s Armed Forces
 
Army has never tried to defend itself or educate the public. Defense Housing Authorities and Askari Housing Schemes are maligned to no limit. Housing authorities are blamed for acquiring State land at throw away prices. The  land for these schemes are  purchased from open market Housing Schemes provide decent living to retired officers and men. The management skills of these society with clean and fraud less environment tend to raise the prices of plots through open market system. Each army person pays for his plot and its development charges . Army Housing Schemes and Defense Housing Authorities are criticized, yet most dream of living in the areas, because of its clean ambiance, safety and security, civic amenities.
 
Few know  that Army’s indulgence in commercial activities is motivated by the urge of providing welfare to retired-personnel who retire at an early age of 40-45 years. It does not affect preparedness for war. Officers and men on active duty are not posted to these concerns.
 
“Great nations know that value of a school teacher is more than a general in peace time and in war a Sepoy assumes priority over vice chancellor of university therefore they invest in both to uphold sovereignty and integrity of the nation”.
 
To our unfortunate luck we fail to condemn those who are destroying our schools and are ensuring a dark future of the coming generation.
 
However, we keep falling prey to foreign propaganda in criticizing the ones who are fighting and sacrificing their today for our tomorrow not realizing their job is different. To move towards the bullet when it leaves the enemy’s barrel.


 
COMMENTS:
 
We need maturity as a nation but more so by those in power. People at the top have to develop sense of responsibility and learn to remain quite if they do not know the facts. Trying to demonize your own Armed Forces can have serious consequences for the nation. 
Our media must realize that independence of media does not mean a license to tell lies or become a tool in the hands of our enemies… mh
Fauj sub Khaa Gayee – The Fact is that We collect only 10% of the actual revenue that Pakistan can generate. This forms the backbone of our budget of which in 2012, 16 % went to Defence. If we collected 20% of Revenue, Defence would consume 8% and if we collected 40% this figure would reduce to 4%, and if we collected 80% like Western countries we would be spendind only 2% on Defence. So where is the problem? Defence spending or Tax collection? With Non Tax Payers flooding Parliament do we expect them to focus on Tax Collection while they have a “whipping boy” who does not even whimper…
Waheed Hameed
Waheed has pointed out the current state of Army Bashing so popular and in vogue with our politicians and the Parliament these days  but has not included the effects of this bashing on the morale and psychological state of mind of all soldiers. Include in this the current glee our Anchors and politicians are having at Musharraf,s trial. It is not just for the hatred of Musharraf but it is also for humiliation of an Army Chief. What then is the remedy.? The Army leadership has to think hard and ensure that this great institution of which we are all rightly so proud and which has come to the rescue of the Nation in all calamities and against all dangers is not destroyed. Not by our known enemies but at the hands of those it has helped in coming to power through providing a favorable environment for democracy. Is this the revenge of democracy which the politicians talked about. Despair in the face of continuous attacks and unjustified blame game is a dangerous state.

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BRIAN CLOUGHLEY : Medals for Murder

Wailing Widows and Hi-Tech Bombardiers

Medals for Murder

by BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

On the internet there have been photographs going round of a row of puffy-faced North Korean generals with flabby chests covered in medals.  Their decorations are absurd, of course, because none of these chubbies has heard a shot fired in anger. And western propaganda machines are understandably publicizing the pictures at this time of tension with the regime of pot-bellied, moon-faced and deranged President Kim Jong Un.  But it’s unlikely that the North Koreans will publish photographs of the equally generous medal-chests of American or other nations’ generals, if only because they’ve got no sense of humor.

Have you ever wondered how many medals have been awarded to foreign soldiers in Afghanistan who have been fighting America’s Longest War?  We can’t establish the exact number, because we’ll never know how many soldiers have endured service in that God-forsaken hellhole.  But given average annual strength over the past few years of about 40,000 foreign troops, each having a six-month tour of duty, it’s getting on to half a million national medals. Then there is the other medal awarded to everyone for having been there:  the International Security and Assistance Force Medal. Add half a million.  So that’s at least a million little circles of metal attached to ribbons that are pinned on the chests of all these military people.

What’s the point of  all these shiny gongs?  What are they supposed to signify?   I don’t disapprove of medals as such, because some are indicative of honorable military service, usually in dangerous and horrible circumstances, and in a number of cases they are awarded for great bravery.  It is pleasing that the new Secretaries of State and Defense in Washington have medals — not that their experience and courage deterred a bunch of pathetic chair-bound dummies from trying to block their appointments.  And they are proof that at least some metal is awarded for mettle.  So don’t get me wrong about medals.  After all, I’ve got ten, and they look very pretty and I like wearing them on ceremonial occasions. Six of them, however, are just glitter garbage, handed out for having done nothing in particular.

But some medals are awarded for propaganda purposes, and if you think back to the dishonorable and disgraceful way in which some US senior officers — very senior officers indeed — told deliberate lies about the award of a posthumous bravery medal to Pat Tillman, then you wonder about military integrity.

You might not remember the Pat Tillman affair, so please allow me remind you what happened on the death of this American football player who joined the Army Rangers rather than take up a multi-million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals.  After his death in Afghanistan in April ten years ago there was a memorial service at which his family “were told that he was killed while running up a hill in pursuit of the enemy. He was awarded a Silver Star for his courageous actions. A month and two days after his death, the family learned that Pat had been shot three times in the head by his own troops in a ‘friendly fire’ incident.”   Make no mistake:  Pat was a brave man.  He deserved a medal for courage because he exposed himself to deadly danger when he stood up and shouted to his panicking comrades to stop firing because there wasn’t an enemy within miles.  But a gang of despicable and dishonorable generals used his status and bravery as a propaganda tool for their own putrid purposes.  It’s like the repulsive fraud about Private Jessica Lynch during the invasion of Iraq — and countless other tawdry deceptions.  The farcical Lynch affair was the stage-managed rescue of a 19-year old supply clerk who was in a convoy that got lost and was shot at by Iraqi troops. She was slightly wounded and the Iraqis took her to a hospital where she was looked after very well (“The nurses tried to soothe me and return me,” she said, later.)  There were no guards, and she was in no danger.  But the hospital was assaulted by dozens of US special forces especially for propaganda purposes, which no doubt earned everyone concerned a few more chest-chinking bits of metal.  She got six of them.  And as she told the US Congress in April 2007:  “I am still confused as to why they [the US army] chose to lie and tried to make me a legend.”  It all stinks, of course;  but so long as the medals keep coming, who cares?  And who cares about what’s been happening in Afghanistan, the land where medals outnumber soldiers, and soldiers die for nothing?

And not only soldiers die for nothing in Afghanistan.  The New York Times reported in February that two Afghan kids gathering firewood  “were killed by weapons fired from a NATO helicopter,” causing the commander in Afghanistan, US General Joseph Dunford, to “offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed.”  But do you think the killer pilot will wear his medals with pride?  And might General Dunford ever wonder,  as he dons his uniform jacket, heavy with badges and blazonry, and rigid with rows of ribbons, if he truly deserves the medals he got at the time that two seven year-old Afghan boys were blasted to ragged gobbets of blood-gushing flesh by a missile from one of his hi-tech gunships?

Every time I learn of a soldier being killed in Afghanistan I think of his family — probably because I’m an old soldier and once had to go to the house of an army widow who didn’t know she was a widow until I told her.  That was a long time ago, but I wonder, now, what a young army major (or whatever) thinks when he forms up to the front door of a doomed family and rings the bell and lifts his chin and squares his shoulders and delivers the sentence of death —  but I also think of the weeping Afghan army widows who face lives of despair and hopelessness. (There is never a word in the Western media about the many, many thousands of them.)   And I think of Afghan family compounds where loving parents are told to their frantic anguish that their tiny boys have vanished forever because some bungling foreigners imagined they were terrorists.  Who deserves medals for killing kids?

In our celebrity-worshipping age, in which not much matters to countless millions of people except Oscars, Nascars and shrieking excitement at rah-rah sport, it’s difficult to come to terms with reality.  Which is one reason why handing out medals is so important to those who want to manipulate people in the cause of war.  They’re the cheer-breeders.

One of the most bizarre pieces of news to hit the media recently concerned the decision by the Administration in Washington to award a bravery decoration to government workers who from armchairs direct drones to kill supposed enemies and in the process slaughter totally guiltless people from time to time.  I have to say that when I first read the report I thought it might be an amusing if somewhat sick spoof dreamed up by London’s Private Eye magazine or the satirical online site, The Onion.  Alas: not so.  This grotesque report was no sardonic send-up;  it was perfectly serious official notification that the United States of America approves of and conducts assassinations. Further, the Land of the Free,  the World’s Greatest Democracy, was announcing to the world that its uniformed minions who kill kids by mouse-tap deserve medals for displaying courage.

Drone drivers are honored by the newly-invented US Distinguished Warfare Medal, which ranks above the Bronze Star which is awarded “for acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.”   But how can there be heroism involved in controlling drone strikes?  And how does an air-conditioned screen-studded hi-tech parlor behind massive security walls count as a combat zone?

It seems that Defense Secretary Hagel may be able to cancel the bizarre decision to award gallantry medals to switch-flicking mouse-tappers. But the very fact that the medal was created at all is a sad commentary on the state of decorations and the degradation of Democracy.

Drone operators have killed 400 civilians in their strikes in Pakistan alone. We’ll never know how many ordinary citizens they’ve killed in Afghanistan or Yemen or other countries into which the CIA and the US Air Force propel their savage explosive daggers.

Over western Pakistan the terror drones drift soundlessly in the sky, and sometimes they twinkle in reflected sunlight;  and when villagers see them they freeze in fear.  Might there be someone in their village who has had a CIA-supplied micro-chip planted on them?  Perhaps a chip-stuck truck came into their village that morning, and the spark-eyed mouse-tapping Controllers in their armchairs are waiting for activation.  Maybe one of their neighbors hates them and has told someone-who-knows-someone that they support a terrorist.  (That’s a popular means of local eradication.)  But there’s no point in villagers fleeing their homes, because they might run in the wrong direction.  They might seek refuge, these terrified families,  in compounds identified as “hostile” by the hi-tech Controllers. Then — BLAMMO!

Shrieking terror.  Blood-gushing shredded corpses.  Wailing widows.

And Distinguished Warfare Medals all round.  For murder.

Brian Cloughley’s website is www.beecluff.com

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Shaheed Parveen Rehman: A Modern Muslim Saint Falls Victim to Karachi Terrorists & Land Mafia

Parveen Rehman, a leading social worker in Pakistan was shot dead by unidentified gunmen amid rising ethnic, sectarian and criminal violence in Karachi city. 56-year-old Parveen was killed right outside Orangi, on March 13, 2013, where she headed the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP), one of Pakistan’s most successful non-profit organisations, which helps poor communities.

Orangi is considered Asia’s largest slum and houses close to a million people in Karachi. A trained architect, Parveen also worked tirelessly to document land in the ever growing slum and in Karachi, to protect it from the city’s notorious land mafia, who she had been receiving death threats from for years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parveen Rahman. Image from Twitter courtesy Alexpressed

On his blog Alexressed Diary of a concerned Pakistani, Ale Natiq writes:

Most people know her as the Director of the Orangi Pilot Project but she was more than a mere NGO Director. She and her organisation have left footprints across a wide area of Karachi and have influenced several thousand lives. It will not be unfair to say that she influenced the lives of half a million people or half the population of Orangi in one way or the other. Karachi’s slums and katchi abadis have lost a mother figure.

Among other milestones, the OPP is known for initiating one of the most successful community-driven sanitation programs in the world. Since its inception in 1980, it has helped 2 million people improve their sanitation by installing underground sewer pipes and indoor toilets across Pakistan.

Steve Inskeep, host of NPR’s Morning Edition and Author of Instant City Life and Death in Karachi, which features an interview with Parveen, remembers on Twitter:

 @NPRInskeep: Outsiders would get a little tense just visiting Orangi, the vast gang-infested zone of Karachi where Rahman cheerfully worked each day.

Karachi Violence

The day Parveen was murdered, seven other people were killed in various incidents of violence in the city. There was a feeling of extreme loss and grief among Pakistan’s Twitterati. Pakistan Director at Human Rights Watch Ali Dayan Hasan tweeted on March 14, 2013:

@AliDayan (Ali Dayan Hasan): Slowly but surely, everyone and everything good in our country is being targeted and killed.#ParveenRehman #Pakistan

Others including journalists Beena Sarwar, Mohammad Hanif and columnist Cyril Almeida echoed his sentiments:

@beenasarwar (beena sarwar)#ParveenRehman RT @mohammedhanif: this is the saddest thing. And we thought we have seen too much sadness. Can’t even muster up anger

@cyalm (cyril almeida): A selfish thought tonight: am sick at the thought of the growing number of ppl in my phone book who have been cut down. Too much death.

@BhopalHouse (Faiza S Khan): I realise, I’ve known for some time, that no depths to which Pak won’t sink. Grateful that I still feel heartbroken. Soon that too will end.

@AmSayeed (Amima Sayeed): the negative propaganda against NGOs has led to this:#ParveenRehman shot dead. It is the blind hatred that doesnt see contributions!!

Tribute to social worker Parveen Rehman killed by terrorist in Karachi, Image by Ayuib. Copyright Demoyix (14/3/2013)

Parveen’s Fight against Karachi’s Land Mafia

Before joining the OPP in 1982, Parveen worked as a architect. She continued to teach at various architecture schools over the years to create socially-responsible architects in the country. Parveen, had spent years documenting land in the fringes of the ever-expanding metropolis Karachi. According to her students and colleagues she had been receiving death threats from the mafia involved in grabbing precious land in the city:

Ms Rehman was an ardent compiler of the record of precious lands, which were on the fringes of the city in shape of villages but were speedily vanishing into its vastness because of ever-increasing demand by thousands of families who were shifting to Karachi every year from across the country. She said on record that around 1,500 goths (villages) had been merged into the city since 15 years. Land-grabbers subdivided them into plots and earned billions by their sale.

Journalist Fahad Desmukh tweeted his audio interview with Parveen Rehman in which she talks about threats from the land mafia in Karachi: 

@desmukh (Fahad Desmukh): Parveen Rehman: “We said all that you can do is kill us. What else can you do? We’re not afraid of you” #LandMafia

SesapZai an artist from Pakistan writes in her blog:

It almost seems to me that people in Pakistan do not want to develop; development is a looming monster that becomes a huge threat as soon as someone tries to push it forward. And rather than supporting and encouraging such brave humanitarians — like Parveen Rehman — who’d dedicated as well as put their lives on the line, to help the poorest in the region live better lives, they are instead murdered. And with them, all hopes and dreams for a better, more economically sufficient future, wither away too.

Creative Commons License

Written by Qurratulain Zaman 
Posted 16 March 2013 7:28 GMT · Print version Print version

 
 

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CHARLES PIERSON : Are Pakistanis People?

FEBRUARY 11, 2013 
 
POINTS TO PONDER IN MOMENTS OF SELF REFLECTION & IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WHEN THOUGHTS OF MORTALITY CLOUD THE MIND
 Chidl victims in North Waziristan, Pakistan, after a US drone attack 12 Oct 2012
 
 
 

There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin

 

  • Can American people live with the collective guilt of killing innocent people every day?

  • Will there be accountability of people. who fire the drones one day?

  • Are victims of drone attacks images in a video game and can be dehumanized? 

  • Would Jesus approve of Drone Attacks?

  • Would any Faith on this Earth sanction Drone attacks as morally correct? 

 

Innocent Lives
 
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Are Pakistanis People?

by CHARLES PIERSON

Do only American deaths matter?  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence thinks so.  During last Thursday’s confirmation hearing for John O. Brennan as CIA Director the Committee’s exclusive focus was on American deaths from drones.  Not one Committee member asked about the hundreds of innocent Pakistanis, Afghans, Yemenis, Libyans, and Somalis, many of them children, who have lost their lives as “collateral damage” in U.S. drone strikes.

U.S. execution of its own citizens is a serious matter.  Keep in mind, though, that only three Americans have been killed by drone strikes.  The best-known is the American-born radical cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, a member of
images-188Al-Qaeda who was killed in Yemen in September 2011.  Al-Awlaki was referred to repeatedly on Thursday.  (Al-Awlaki’s 16-year old son, also killed in a drone strike, went unmentioned.)

The most charitable explanation for the Committee’s failure to ask about foreign deaths is that the Committee members accept assurances by the President and Brennan that the U.S. has done its best to keep civilian casualties low.  The United States paints drones as surgically precise weapons which kill terrorists while taking few civilian lives.  Speaking publicly in June 2011, Brennan said that no civilians had been killed by drones for nearly a year.  When that claim raised eyebrows, Brennan backpedaled, telling the New York Times a few days later that there had been no “credible evidence” of civilian casualties for the past year.  (The independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism contends that at least 45 civilians were killed by drones during that period.)  What does Brennan think now?  All Brennan would say on Thursday, in answer to a question from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), is that Administration use of drones is “very judicious” and that drones are used only as a “last resort” to save lives when capture is impossible.

 

Drone strikes have killed a few high-ranking members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  On August 5, 2009, a U.S. drone killed Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistan Taliban.  Mehsud is believed to have been behind the assassination of former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.  However, the drone which killed Mehsud and his wife also obliterated the entire building they were in, killing nine other people.  According to Medea Benjamin, this was the United States’ fifteenth attempt to kill Mehsud.  Along the way, U.S. drones killed between 204 and 321 people.  Were all of them terrorists?

The White House refuses to say how many civilians have been killed by drones.  Instead, the White House inflates kill figures by deeming every male of military age in a target area a militant.  Conflicting figures on civilian deaths abound.  The New American Foundation think tank which monitors drone attacks estimates that 16% of those killed by drones are noncombatants.  Many victims are children:  176 children in the period from 2004 to mid-September 2012 according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  Estimates from within Pakistan are considerably higher:  as high as 90%, according to the Pakistani government.  The independent Pakistani NGO Pakistan Body Count claims civilian casualties of from 75% to 80% since the drone strikes began.

High numbers of civilian casualties are to be expected given how U.S. drone strikes are conducted.  Hellfire missiles are fired into wedding parties and funerals.  “Secondary” strikes are launched on rescuers who rush to aid the injured following an initial drone strike.  The Senate Intelligence Committee asked about none of these practices.

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Drones have killed so many Pakistanis that they have become the number one recruiting tool for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  Anti-American feeling in Pakistan runs high.  Asked why, Pakistani Foreign Minister Rabbani Khar’d answered with one word:  “Drones.”

I know several Pakistanis and have learned this:  Pakistanis are human beings.  Earlier, I offered one explanation of why the Committee may not have asked about civilian deaths among Pakistanis (and among Yemenis, Afghans, and others):  the Committee believes the Administration when it says that civilian deaths have been kept low.  That’s the charitable explanation.  An alternative, ugly explanation, is that the Senate and the Administration don’t believe foreigners are human beings.  Or maybe they just don’t believe Muslims are.

There’s an exchange in Huckleberry Finn where Huck tells a woman a fabricated story about a boiler explosion on a riverboat.  “Was anyone hurt?” the lady asks.  “No, ma’am,” Huck says:  “Killed a nigger.”  “Well, I’m glad no one was hurt,” the lady says.  Twain’s point was that to White Southerners Blacks did not count as people.  The death of a Black isn’t the death of anyone:  it doesn’t even register.  The same psychopathology was at work in the Nazis’ extermination of Jewishuntermenschen—subhumans.  It was at work at My Lai.  And I am afraid that it is at work every time a drone hits.

Are Americans more important than non-Americans?  This is an odd position to take in a nation which can’t stop gassing about how Christian we are.  Philosopher Richard Rorty talks about a “circle of sympathy.”  At the lowest level of moral development we care only about our own family or tribe.  As conscience develops, we are able to extend our concern to also encompass our nation, race, or co-religionists.  That’s the stage Americans are stuck at now.  When Al-Qaeda and the Taliban take innocent lives we rightly condemn them.  Yet we ourselves have yet to move on to the highest moral stage where every human being receives our respect.  It’s well past time we made that leap.

Charles Pierson can be reached at: chapierson@yahoo.com

 

Reference

 

Assessing the Laws of the Drone Wars

February 10, 2013

President Obama’s defenders note he ended the Iraq War, is drawing down forces in Afghanistan and has resisted a new war in Syria. In other words, they say drone attacks on al-Qaeda suspects have ratcheted down the levels of violence left behind by President Bush. But critics say the drone attacks are still war crimes.

 

By Dennis J. Bernstein

New disclosures regarding President Barack Obama’s use of armed drones to hunt down and kill suspected al-Qaeda terrorists thousands of miles from the United States raise troubling questions about the U.S. Constitution and international law.

In the following interview with Dennis J. Bernstein of Pacifica’s “Flashpoint” program, Marjorie Cohn, professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former President of the National Lawyers Guild, assesses a White Paper from the Justice Department summarizing the legal arguments justifying the drone attacks.

DB: You say the White Paper runs afoul of international and U.S. law. Please explain.

MC: The White Paper allows the government to kill a U.S. citizen who is not on the battlefield, if some high government official who is supposedly informed about the situation thinks that the target is a senior Al Qaeda leader who poses an imminent threat of a violent attack against the United States. So how do they define “imminence”? Well, it doesn’t require any clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.

So it completely dilutes this whole idea of imminent threat. Under well-established principles of international law and the UN Charter, one country can use military force against another only in self-defense. But under the Caroline case, which is the gold standard here, the “necessity for self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” That means we are going to be attacked right away and we can use force.

But the very nebulous test that the White Paper lays out even allows the targeted killing of somebody who is considered to be a “continuing” threat, whatever that means. The most disturbing part of it says that U.S. citizens can be killed even when there is no “clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

So we have a global battlefield, where if there is someone, anywhere, who might be associated with Al Qaeda, according to a high government official, then Obama can authorize (it’s not even clear Obama himself has to authorize these targeted killings, these drone attacks) on Terror Tuesday (thanks to the New York Times expose several months ago) who he is going to kill after consulting with John Brennan.

John Brennan, of course, is his counter-terrorism guru who is up for confirmation to be CIA Director. Very incestuous. John Brennan has said that targeted killings constitute lawful self-defense.

One of the most disturbing things here is the amassing of executive power with no review by the courts, no checks and balances. So the courts will have no opportunity to interpret what “imminence” means, or what “continuing” threat means. The White Paper cites John Yoo’s claim that courts have no role to play in what the President does in this so-called War on Terror where the whole world is a battlefield. I say so-called War on Terror because terrorism is a tactic. It’s not an enemy. You don’t declare war on a tactic.

And the White Paper refers to Yoo’s view that judicial review constitutes “judicial encroachment” on the judgments by the President and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force. The White Paper cites Hamdi v. Rumsfeld which says the President has the authority to hold US citizens caught on the battlefield in Afghanistan as enemy combatants. But in Hamdi, the Supreme Court stated that a U.S. citizen who is being detained as an enemy combatant is entitled to due process. Due process means an arrest and a fair trial. It doesn’t mean just taking him out with a drone.

Also, there’s another interesting passage in this White Paper. It says “judicial enforcement [a court reviewing these kill orders of the executive] of such orders would require the court to supervise inherently predictive judgments by the President and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force against a member of an enemy force against which Congress has authorized the use of force.” Inherently predictive. Does that mean that the court can’t review decisions made with a crystal ball because it’s too mushy? I don’t know.

Certainly courts are competent to make emergency decisions under FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The FISA Court meets in secret and authorizes wiretaps requested by the Executive Branch. Courts can do this. Courts can act in emergencies to review and check and balance what the executive is doing. That’s what our Constitution is all about.

DB: Congress is looking for some original documents about what’s going on here. The White Paper is sort of a restatement of national security documents that we probably haven’t been able to see yet. What about the Geneva Conventions? It sort of throws that in the garbage.

MC: Well, it does because the Geneva Conventions define willful killing as a grave breach. And grave breaches are punishable as war crimes. So this also violates the Geneva Conventions. Although the White Paper says that they are going to follow the well-established principle of proportionality – proportionality means that an attack cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage – I don’t see how they can actually put that into practice because the force is going to be excessive. When you see how they are using drones, they are taking out convoys, and they are killing civilians, large numbers of civilians.

There’s another principle of international law called distinction, which requires that the attack be directed only at legitimate military targets. We know from the New York Times exposé that the kill list that Brennan brings to Obama to decide who he is going to take out without a trial – basically execute – can be used even if they don’t have a name, or if they are present in an area where there are suspicious “patterns of behavior.” These are known as signature strikes. That means that bombs are dropped on unidentified people who are in an area where suspicious activity is taking place.  That goes even beyond targeted killings.

Targeted killings are considered to be illegal. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, expressed grave concerns about these targeted killings, saying that they may constitute war crimes. He called on the Obama administration to explain how its drone strikes comport with international law and to specify the bases for the decisions to kill rather than capture particular individuals.

The White Paper says that one of the requirements before they can take someone out is that capture is “infeasible.” As you go on and read this memo, infeasible begins to look like inconvenient. We have these very mushy terms, with no clear standards that comply with international law. Yet there is no oversight by any court, and Congress has no role either. So we don’t have checks and balances.

Even the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that Congress passed a few days after 9/11 doesn’t authorize this. The AUMF allows the President to use force against groups and countries that had supported the 9/11 attacks. But when the Bush administration asked Congress for open-ended military authority “to deter and preempt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States,” Congress specifically rejected that open-ended military authority. Congress has not authorized this, and it’s not clear whether Congress would authorize it. …

DB:  When one looks at this Obama policy and compares it to Bush, essentially Obama has chosen, well, we’ll do a little less torture, or skip the torture, and we’ll just kill them.

MC: Obama has expanded these drone attacks far beyond what the Bush administration was doing. There are many thorny issues, such as indefinite detention, how detainees are treated, and under what circumstances they can be released. The Obama administration evidently feels that it’s cleaner and easier just to kill them. Then you don’t have to worry about bad publicity from housing them at Guantanamo, not giving them a fair trial, holding them indefinitely. This goes beyond the torture policy.

Now I don’t want to say that killing with drones is worse than the illegal and outrageous invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that the Bush administration began, in which thousands and thousands and thousands of people have been killed or seriously maimed. So I wouldn’t say that Obama is worse than Bush. But certainly Obama is following in the tradition of the Bush administration and John Yoo’s expansive view of executive power where whatever the President does is unreviewable.

DB: I would say they continue the process of destroying the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the necessary checks and balances that restrain war, that the people depend on.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor of human rights at Thomas Jefferson School and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her most recent book is The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse. See www.marjoriecohn.com.

Dennis J. Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.  You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net. He can be contacted at dennisjberstein@gmail.com.

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4 comments on “Assessing the Laws of the Drone Wars”

  1. I’ve been watching the comments section of this article, and I made a little bet with myself: “No matter how long I wait, I’ll be the first one to comment”. It’s because every “Progressive” who reads this article has to admit to him or herself that they have blindly supported, in the same sycophantic manner as reactionary Republicans do, a political platform that is in many ways far worse than that of the Presidency they railed against for eight years. The Bush years gave us war of aggression, indefinite detention, shredding of the Constitution, abandonment of the Geneva Conventions and torture. This one has given us most of that and more. State sanctioned assassination, codification of Constitutional breaches, indefinite detention and wars of aggression are waged without concern for Congressional oversight. The Republicans are delighted. First, because Democrats have granted them a bulletproof amnesty. Only hypocrisy could indict them now. The financial community has been absolved of the biggest financial scam in the history of the world. I could go on, but these are enough to make my point. The “progressive” community sold itself for the sake of a few “wedge issue” concessions, like sympathy for GLBT initiatives and lip service to reproductive freedom. In return, they took a “pass” on things like 1st, 4th and 5th Amendment rights. The Radical right, by the same token, is clamoring over 2nd Amendment rights, while the distraction is providing cover for the dismantling of protections which should be cherished by anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year (Most of us).

    Once forfeited, these protections are nearly impossible to reclaim. Disciples on the left approve of the Executive authorities wielded now, but just wait until they fall into the hands of another “Tricky” Dick Nixon, or a Joe McCarthy. If you think there’s an “Imperial” presidency now, just imagine the incentive to expand it in the future. Power over life and death is an intoxicating perquisite. Failure to prosecute these Constitutional transgressions has made them precedents. None of you seem to realize it yet, but the great “experiment” in Democracy is over. You’re all arguing over irrelevancies while the Titanic is sinking, and reassuring yourselves that, “Don’t worry, we have plenty of buckets and mops”.

    “Progressives” in America have been courting the lipstick and ignoring the pig. Now that you’re married, try to keep in mind: you brought it on yourselves. All of these transgressions have been fostered by entangling alliances and abrogation of the rules of law. International law, U.N. Resolutions, the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles have all been subverted in order to maintain a contrived schizophrenic foreign policy that has made us a target for terrorism. The ensuing vicious cycle insures further transgressions which will perpetuate the terrorism and validate the continued cycle of violence, not to mention the continued erosion of rights held sacred since the Magna Carta. Tyranny is a strange bedfellow. It knows no loyalty and keeps no friends. Before he was murdered, Albrecht Haushofer awoke from a similar honeymoon, warm and cozy next to the tyrant pig. He wrote this poem before he died at the hands of the Gestapo:
    I am guilty, But not in the way you think.
    I should have earlier recognized my duty;
    I should have more sharply called evil evil;
    I reined in my judgment too long.
    I did warn, But not enough, and clear;
    And today I know what I was guilty of.
    I won’t live long enough to see it, but I suspect that those who campaigned hardest to corrupt these protections in the name of misguided loyalty may, like Haushofer, find that it was themselves they betrayed. Sooner or later, there’s a morning after. Lipstick only lasts so long. For the time being, American “Progressives” are still warm and cozy. Eventually, they’ll roll over, and the denial will finally wear off. “Enemy of the State” after all, is a title the tyrants never define.

    • Members of a military force involved in combat under the “Laws of War” are “combatants”. Civilians engaged in hostilities on that same battlefield may be considered “unlawful combatants”. We prosecuted and imprisoned people for that. But, we want to have our cake and eat it too. When the CIA and contract civilians engage in these activities, they too could technically be…”unlawful combatants”…? Not to resort to John Brennan’s dodge, but I’m no legal scholar. During my long military career, I was thoroughly indoctrinated in things like the Geneva Conventions and Laws of War…but I guess the government expects us veterans to just pretend none of that matters anymore. The short answer is that we’re now witnessing “Victors’ Justice”. As Winston Churchill noted regarding the legality of some of his transgressions, “History shall be kind to me, for I intend to write it”.

      Pakistani War Criminals Gen.Pervez Musharraf, Pervez Kayani, Asif Zardari, who can be tried in Hague for culpability in Drone War

       

      reference:

      http://consortiumnews.com/2013/02/10/assessing-the-laws-of-the-drone-wars/

      http://upstatedroneaction.org/flyers/NamingThePakistaniDead.pdf

       

 

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