We've now uploaded the Statement of concern re Pakistan democratic process, safety of human rights defenders to the web. Some of you have already endorsed it. Those who would like to do so, please go to the link http://tinyurl.com/05012012
and enter your details. Feel free to pass this on. Text and endorsements so far below (includes some pretty big names).
Citizens' statement of concern about Pakistan, safety of human rights defenders; to be released to the media on Jan 5, 2012
We, the undersigned, express our grave concern that Pakistani human rights defenders are being threatened and intimidated for their stance in the `memogate' case. We are also concerned at the danger this crisis poses to Pakistan's democratic political process that had taken a step forward with the elections of 2008.
No elected civilian government in Pakistan has yet completed its tenure and handed over power to the next government following democratic elections. If the current government manages to do this, it will be a first step in an ongoing process that is essential to Pakistan's peace, progress and prosperity in the long run.
Those under threat include former Ambassador of Pakistan to the US, Husain Haqqani, who returned to Pakistan and tendered his resignation in order to ensure a free and fair inquiry into the `memogate' matter that he is accused of engineering.
The so-called `memogate' affair revolves around a letter that Amb Haqqani is accused of sending to then US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen allegedly at the behest of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, seeking American help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan. Mansur Ijaz, an American businessman of Pakistani origin, delivered the note to former US National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones to pass on to Adml Mullen allegedly at Amb Haqqani's behest. Amb Haqqani has denied writing any such memo at anyone's behest or asking Ijaz to deliver it to anyone.
Amb Haqqani has been barred from leaving the country, which is a denial of his fundamental right as a free citizen of Pakistan. Under threat both by the `religious' extremists and the security agencies, he is currently a virtual prisoner confined for his own safety to the Prime Minister's residence.
Also facing threats is his lawyer, former Supreme Court Bar Association President, Asma Jahangir, who has termed the Supreme Court judgment of Dec 30, 2011 a "victory" for the security establishment that she alleges is behind the case.
Amb Haqqani's wife, Farahnaz Ispahani, a Member of Pakistan's Parliament, also threatened, is currently in the US where she had come for medical checkups. Columnist Marvi Sirmed, who has written fearlessly against the `religious' extremists and in support of Amb Haqqani, has also been receiving threats, Columnist Marvi Sirmed, who has written fearlessly against the `religious' extremists and in support of Amb Haqqani, has also been receiving threats, as has senior journalist Najam Sethi. There are numerous other journalists and activists who live under threat for their outspoken views; some are forced to seek politial asylum abroad. This is essentially the case with anyone in Pakistan who counters or challenges the narrative of the ideological security state.
Without going into merits of the case, obvious contradictions in the `evidence', or political motivations behind it, it is evident that it is at the crux of a matter vital to Pakistan's politics, that is, whether Pakistan is going to be run by a civilian elected government along the lines of a parliamentary democracy that ensures fundamental rights, or along the lines of a ideological narrative dictated by the security establishment that holds fundamental rights subservient to its interpretation of `national security'.
Too many people in Pakistan have fallen to the ideological monster unleashed by the establishment pursuing a narrow, ideological interpretation of `national security'. It is time for a fundamental paradigm shift in Pakistan's politics, to allow the nation to fulfill its potential as a progressive, forward looking South Asian nation at peace with its neighbours and the world. We urge the Pakistan government, judiciary and security establishment to play their constitutional roles, cooperate with each other and focus on re-establishing the rule of law and in order to make this possible.
In the meantime, be aware that the world is watching to ensure that no harm comes to those who are taking a stand towards this end.
Endorsed (listed alphabetically; names still coming in will be updated later):
A. Chhachhi, Sociologist, Netherlands
Abdul Ghafoor Chaudhry Social Activist Canada
Abdul Hamid Bashani Khan, Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public, Canada
Abdullah Hussein Novelist Lahore
Dr Abdullah Qureshi Medical Doctor Verona,Italy
Afzal Tahir Kashmir International Front/United Kashmir Journal, London, United Kingdom
Ahmad Rafay Alam, Lawyer
Ali Kazmi Student Islamabad, Pakistan
Ali Arqam Blogger, Social Activist Peshawar
Ammar Yasir, Marketing Head, Tea Break Networks Karachi
Annie Syedah Student United States
Anushka Jatoi Student Karachi
Asif Khan Earth Day Network Washington DC
Ayesha Humayun Khan Citizen of Pakistan Dubai
Ayesha Jalal, historian, Boston/Lahore
Ayesha Siddiqa, Political Scientist, Pakistan
Beena Sarwar, journalist
Faisal Mahmood Officer in National Bank Malir
Faraz Sheikh, social activist, Lahore
Farooq Tariq, spokesperson Labour Party Pakistan, Lahore
Fazil Jamili, Poet, Journalist
Fakhar Ul-Islam Project Manager United Kingdom
Fayaz Ahmad Historian Peshawar
Ghazi Salahuddin, journalist and columnist, Karachi
Hamad Ur Rehman CEO/ a human and social rights activist. Lyallpur.
Haris Gazdar, researcher
Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web (sacw.net)
Ibrahim Sajid Malick, Technologist, New York
Dr. Ijaz Khan Professor of International relations University of Peshawar
Dr. Ilmana Fasih, physician, health activist, blogger Canada
Iqbal Alavi, social activist
Irfan Mufti South Asia Partnership Pakistan Lahore, Pakistan
Kamyla Marvi Citizen Karachi
Khawar Mumtaz, Shirkat Gah. Pakistan
Kiran Nazish Journalist, Activist, Lahore
Karamat Ali, Labour Rights and Peace activist
Meera Ghani, Environmental and Peace Activist, Belgium
Mehmal Sarfraz, Journalist, Lahore
Mehr Alwy Finance Manager UK
Michael Renner Researcher U.S. / Germany
Dr. Mohammad Taqi, Physician & Columnist
Muhammad Idris Khattak Researcher OSI Pakistan
Mohsin Sayeed Journalist Karachi
Moniza Inam, journalist, Dawn, Karachi
N. D. Pancholi, Secretary, Indian Renaissance Institute, Ghaziabad (UP), India
Nadeem Yousafi Businessman Peshawar, Pakistan.
Noman Quadri, student
Noorjehan Bilgrami Artsist Karachi
Dr. Osama Siddique, Law Professor, Pakistan
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Physicist
Dr Pritam Singh DPhil, Reader in Economics, Faculty of Business, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Qurratulain Zaman Media Consultant, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
S. Abbas Raza, Editor, 3QuarksDaily.com
S. M. Naseem, economist
Saba Hamid, Actor, Pakistan
Saba Quraishi, activist, United States
Sabahat Ashraf ("iFaqeer") Communcator. Citizen. Fakir. Silicon Valley, California
Sadiqa Salahuddin, educationist, Indus Resource Centre, Pakistan
Saleha Haque Student University of Salford, UK
Sana Saleem Activist, Blogger Karachi
Sarah Suhail Lawyer
Sehba Sarwar Writer
Shahla Haeri, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Boston University
Shandana Mohmand, Political Scientist, UK
Shahnawaz Student Karachi
Shama Noman Educationist
Shayan Afzal Khan, Citizen and activist, Pakistan
Shahzad Ahmad Country Coordinator, Bytes for All, Pakistan
Siddharth Nayak Managing Director , The Jurists ; President : All India Law Students Association New Delhi
Soulat Pasha director Titan Energy Karachi
Tahera Ahmad Physician Germany
Tahir Saeed Senior clinical psychologist Ireland
Tazeen Project Director, Intermedia
Waqas Ali CRSD Peshawar
Yasser Latif Hamdani, Lawyer
Zeeba T. Hashmi Citizen Lahore
Zohra Yusuf, human rights activist
Zulfiqar Shah, The Institute for Social Movements, Pakistan Hyderabad