SACW | June 1-3, 2007
- South Asia Citizens Wire | June 1-3, 2007 | Dispatch No. 2414 - Year 9
 Sri Lanka: Halt Reckless Attacks that Victimise Civilians and
Negotiate Responsibly (National Peace Council)
 Bangladesh/Canada: Reject the Appeal for Asylum of Sheikh Mujib's
killer (Mozammel H. Khan)
 Amid growing political dissent, Pakistan aims to curtail live TV
 Southasian mea culpa - Self-criticism came more readily to our
forebears. (Jawed Naqvi)
 Video: Pakistan - Judicial Crisis and the Future of Democratic Reform
 Full text of the Affidavit of the 'non-functioning' Chief Justice
 India: Counterfeit Encounters and the 'Nation' (Harsh Mander)
 India: Art Imitates Life (Vinay Bharat-Ram)
 Audio: India - M.F. Husain in the Center of India Art Controversy
 Press Statement by All India Secular Forum
(i) Launch of Muktnaad: Youth Aman Karwan (Ahmedabad, 5 June 2007)
(ii) The Peaceworks human rights defenders programme (Calcutta, 18-26
National Peace Council
of Sri Lanka
12/14 Purana Vihara Road
Tel: 2818344, 2854127, 2819064
E Mail: npc@...
HALT RECKLESS ATTACKS THAT VICTIMISE CIVILIANS AND NEGOTIATE RESPONSIBLY
A continuous worsening of the human security of the people
accompanies the escalation of military operations between the
government and LTTE. Some of the more serious incidents in recent
weeks have included the closure of the entry points into the LTTE
controlled Wanni area, bomb blasts that have killed civilians in
Colombo, and the continuous assassinations, abductions and child
The National Peace Council condemns the recent attack by the LTTE on
a security force bus ina crowded suburb of Colombo on the main road
during rush hour. The remote-controlled claymore mine killed eight
persons, seven of them civilians, and has severely injured more than
thirty others, most of them civilians. This attack is in a long line
of similar attacks by both the government and LTTE that have
victimised civilians in the north and east, and also in Colombo.
In particular, the reckless use of bombs, whether by land or air,
that ostensibly have a military objective but which terrorise the
civilian population is an unacceptable means of combat. Such actions
are not in keeping with the goals of democracy, liberation and equal
rights that the protagonists to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict claim to
In the Wanni, the firing at the checkpoint of the International
Committee of the Red Cross last week has led to the closure of the
entry point into the LTTE-controlled territory at Omanthai. There is
the likelihood of a humanitarian crisis developing in those areas, as
food and other essential supplies will not be able to get through to
LTTE fighters and government security forces are destroying the
country's infrastructure with their bombs and artillery, and billions
are spent on more and more hi tech weaponry. While the country's
economy gets drained, those who benefit are the foreign arms
manufacturing companies and their commission agents.
Ironically, the government and LTTE both claim with words that they
are prepared to negotiate with one another. The National Peace
Council demands that they show with deeds what they claim with their
words. Being consistent in word and deed, thereby generating trust,
being prepared to share power and privileges with others, and valuing
life as the supreme value above all others, is the road to peace that
needs to be taken.
On behalf of the Governing Council
REJECT THE APPEAL FOR ASYLUM OF MOHIUDDIN IN CANADA
May 30, 2007
Ms. Dinae Finley
Honourable Minister of Immigration
Subject: Reject the Appeal for Asylum of convicted self-confessed killer
We have come to know from a report of the Toronto Star (May 30,
2007) that the government of Canada is considering giving Asylum to a
(once self-confessed) person by the name of Major (Retd.) Mohiuddin,
a citizen of Bangladesh. In 1975 Mr. Mohiuddin, in cold blood,
participated in the brutal killings of Bangabandhu (means 'friend of
his people') Sheikh Mujubur Rahman, the then President and founding
father of the Republic of Bangladesh including most of his family
members, the children and the unborn. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was not
only a great statesman, a few years ago he was adjudged the greatest
Bengali (in both Bangladesh and India) ever born by a survey by BBC
Trial of this heinous crime started in 1997 and it took two years
in open court with full legal help on the part of the convicts and
Mr. Mohiuddin was awarded death sentence, along with a dozen of his
co-accomplices, in absentia since Mohiuddin was absconding. The case
automatically went to the High court for review and the lower court
verdict was upheld. The appellate division of the Supreme Court has
yet to hear the appeal and the sentence could be carried out only if
the Supreme Court upholds the verdict. If Mohiuddin is sent to
Bangladesh, he will still have the opportunity to appeal and as such
he is not going to gallows automatically. All along, the higher
judiciary in Bangladesh has absolutely been independent and the
government of the day is no friend of Sheikh Hasina, the former PM
and one of the two surviving daughters (who has been on Germany on
the fateful night) of Mohiuddin's victims.
Canada is country where rule of law reins over the rule of tyranny;
it is believed to be a safe haven for those struggling for upholding
human rights and the right to life. It must not be transformed into a
den for any convicted killer who has taken away the right of his
fellow human souls' right to lives, in cold blood.
As a proud Canadian citizen and the convener of a Human Right group
whose members are relentlessly working to uphold human rights around
the Globe and Bangladesh in particular, I fervently appeal to the
Minister to reject the appeal of Asylum of Mr. Mohiuddin outright,
reemphasizing once again in clear term that the Canadian Society has
no room for convicted killers and the cold blooded murderers.
Prof. Mozammel H. Khan, Ph. D., P. Eng.
Canadian Committee for Human Rights and Democracy in Bangladesh
The Committee to Protect Journalists
AMID GROWING POLITICAL DISSENT, PAKISTAN AIMS TO CURTAIL LIVE TV COVERAGE
New York, June 1, 2007-The Committee to Protect Journalists is
concerned about reports that the Pakistani government will seek to
restrict live television broadcasts of anti-government demonstrations.
The reports, from several local news outlets and sources, come as
news outlets face increasing official pressure for covering the
street demonstrations sparked by President Pervez Musharraf's ouster
of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. The judge is seeking
reinstatement after being removed March 9 on allegations of
misconduct. After a live national television broadcast of a Bar
Association seminar on the issue, during which the audience chanted
anti-army slogans, Musharraf and Information Minister Mohammad Ali
Durrani both made critical remarks about the event and called for
Pakistanis to respect the military.
On Thursday, Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani told a
press conference that existing regulations covering live broadcasts
will be strictly enforced. The Nation on Friday quoted Durrani as
saying that private TV channels must seek prior permission to cover
sensitive live events and that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory
Authority rules prohibit the broadcast of programs "against the armed
forces and judiciary."
The Dawn daily, citing unnamed Information Ministry officials,
reported Friday that the government "was planning to make it
mandatory for televisions channels to seek prior permission for live
coverage of outdoor events." The newspaper said that "if applied
strictly, the government may restrict all live coverage, particularly
of events like opposition rallies or events relating to the judicial
"Restricting live outside broadcasts is blatant censorship that
undermines the government's repeated claims of fostering a free
press," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director. "Such censorship,
coupled with the threats and violence directed toward journalists in
recent months has put Pakistani media under tremendous pressure at a
time when the country most needs a free and unfettered press."
In a statement issued Friday, the Pakistan Federal Union of
Journalists (PFUJ) "deplored the government decision to impose a ban
on live coverage by private TV channels in violation of Article 19 of
the constitution." The PFUJ said it will challenge the rulings in
In an April 24 letter, CPJ called on Musharraf to "to reverse the
government's recent anti-press actions and allow for greater public
criticism of your administration in the media." In May, CPJ named
Pakistan one of the world's worst backsliders on press freedom after
documenting a series of anti-media incidents in 2007.
Himal South Asian
SOUTHASIAN MEA CULPA
Self-criticism came more readily to our forebears.
by Jawed Naqvi
Introspection and self-absorbed bigotry have traditionally walked
hand-in-hand in Southasia. Megalomaniac rulers, the leech-like
priestly classes and their bete noire, the serenely divine dervishes
representing the hoi polloi, have coexisted for centuries. Jawaharlal
Nehru himself quoted Alberuni, the 10th-century Afghan chronicler, to
support this lacerating critique of the Subcontinent. For India's
sciences, languages and its architectural splendour, Alberuni had
unalloyed praise. About its people, though, he said: "They are
haughty, foolishly vain, self-contained and stolid. They believe
there is no country like theirs, no nation like theirs, no science
like theirs, no religion like theirs." How did Nehru respond to such
criticism, centuries later? In the Discovery of India, he describes
Alberuni's views as "probably a correct enough description of the
temper of the people".
Alberuni was relentless in his scrutiny of India's cultural
demeanour, which he thought was not too dissimilar at times to any
frog in the well. "According to their belief", Alberuni wrote, there
is no race on earth like theirs, and no created being besides them
have any knowledge or science like theirs whatsoever. Their
haughtiness is such that if you tell them of any science or scholar
in Khorasan or Persia, they will think you to be either an ignoramus
or a liar. If, however, they had travelled and mixed with other
nations, they would soon change their mind, for their ancestors were
not as narrow-minded as the present generation is. It took a
large-hearted intellectual of Nehru's stature to understand and
accept this devastating commentary on historical India and its ruling
A 'foreigner' such as Alberuni should not, of course, be readily
accepted as a stand-alone source of such a harsh evaluation of a
people. Let us therefore turn to the home-grown Bhakti movement, in
medieval India. Straddling the entire diversity of the Subcontinent,
where it spread to the remotest of corners, the movement threw up an
amazingly critical worldview. And among its foremost objectives was a
square challenge of what the dervish-like Bhakti preachers considered
to be an incorrigible moral decay.
If we were to call a Hindu a 'rogue' in India today, we would risk
starting a communal flare-up. Similarly, neither would it be
politically wise to call a Muslim a 'pervert'. But 500 years ago, the
saint-poet Kabir was delivering these rebukes to both communities in
equal measure, through popular poetry. "The Hindu doesn't let you
touch his pots and pans over claims of possible contamination, but
you would often find him prostate at the prostitute's feet," he
declared. "Muslims marry their cousins, eat dead animals and scream
atop their fragile mosques as though God were deaf."
Far from being harassed or hounded by his powerful pre-Mughal
quarries, Kabir set off a bizarre competition between Hindus and
Muslims - both of whom he berated roundly - as each clamoured to
claim his legacy. The seer would be lucky today not to be lynched by
those he dared to address so acidly five centuries ago. Kabir lived
not far from the sacred ghats of the Ganga in Benaras, where
religious zealots recently hounded out the film crew of a movie about
Hindu widows. That movie, Water, had later to be shot in Sri Lanka,
and was subsequently widely lauded.
Religious and nationalist fervour share a common characteristic:
their followers believe that theirs is the best. There is great irony
in this regard contained in a moving poem by Allama Iqbal, one which
India later chose to accord the status of a national song. In the
1930s, Iqbal wrote: "Saare jahaan se achha Hindustan hamara" (Our
Hindustan is better than any other nation in the world). Now, if you
were to take a fleeting poetic thought such as this to heart, hitch
it to a newfound nuclear prowess, and you happen to be surrounded by
countries who fear your overbearing narcissism, you would spell
trouble for both yourself and those neighbours you seek to befriend.
This is more or less how SAARC - the brainchild of Gen Ziaur Rahman -
was born in 1985. "To tell you frankly, we were all a little allergic
to India, so we decided to engage it collectively," explained General
Hossain Mohammed Ershad, who hosted the first summit in Dhaka.
(Ershad made these remarks in a televised discussion with this writer
in 1997.) India's army had helped to liberate Bangladesh from a
sectarian, Punjabi-dominated West Pakistan. And yet, Dhaka chose to
turn against its former 'benefactors' in New Delhi. Was there
something wrong with India's body language towards Bangladesh
following the brief honeymoon period in 1971-72, that such tension
should arise between India and Bangladesh that today you can cut with
a knife? It seems so, but the problem has never been publicly or
truthfully discussed. Is Bangladesh an ungrateful neighbour? Perhaps
both sides could use a little self-criticism?
But let us not pick on any one country. Instead, let us discuss all
the SAARC member states, and their chemistry with each other. There
are admittedly ethnic tensions between Bhutan and Nepal related to
the refugee matter. There may also be some small issues pertaining to
a trade corridor between Nepal and Bangladesh. But that is about it.
There is no foul chemistry between these countries, much less any
suspicion of an imminent military assault. So why is it that India
has been viewed with such disfavour by its neighbours?
Take India's helping hand to Sri Lanka. In the 1970s, it had
militarily bailed out Sirimavo Bandaranaike's Sinhalese-dominated
government in the face of a Marxist revolt. It also gave moral and
political support - including alleged military training - to Sri
Lanka's Tamil minorities. And yet, Rajiv Gandhi was butted by a
miffed Sinhalese soldier at an official guard of honour in Colombo,
before being killed by a Sri Lankan Tamil woman near Madras some
years later. It was all extremely tragic, but how do we explain this
bristling rage from the very people one had tried to help?
Or, take India's ties with landlocked Nepal. The one lasting memory
among the people there - despite India being the artery, a veritable
lifeline to Kathmandu - is the image of the crippling economic
blockade that New Delhi imposed on its northern neighbour in 1989.
Some Nepali analysts acknowledge the culpability of the royal palace
in forcing India's hand, but the lasting rancour in Kathmandu is
palpably anti-Indian. Why? Was there introspection, much less any
self-criticism, by either India or Nepal over this easily avoidable
standoff? If there was, we have not heard of it.
A country such as Bhutan, supposed to be umbilically linked with
India's political and diplomatic postures, finds itself occasionally
strained by the bear hug. The tiny Maldives, whose government the
Indian Navy saved from a certain coup in 1988, does not exactly seem
to reciprocate the enthusiasm with which India seeks its welfare.
About India-Pakistan ties, the less said the better. Each side bears
such enormous and deep-rooted grudges against the other that we
should count ourselves truly lucky that the nuclear-armed neighbours
are currently at least talking.
Far from making an objective and critical self-evaluation of their
poor bilateral relations, the rhetoric from India and Pakistan has
been marked by double standards. For example, Pakistan has often
slammed Indian-sponsored elections in Jammu & Kashmir as 'fake', but
has not considered making room for a credible civilian democracy in
its own wider patch. Another example is worth recalling. India held
up the last Kathmandu SAARC Summit because it disapproved of a
military coup against Nawaz Sharif by General Pervez Musharraf. But
India seemed to have forgotten that the first host of the SAARC
summit, Gen Ershad, was himself a military dictator with blood on his
hands. And who was the Pakistani leader at that summit shaking hands
with Rajiv Gandhi? General Zia ul-Haq, of course, the guru of all
It was Imtiaz Alam, the Pakistani founder and secretary-general of
the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA, a promising platform
for Southasian media until it began carting dubious politicians
around for powwows at fancy holiday resorts), who once hit the nail
directly on the head. A few days after India and Pakistan exploded
their bombs in May 1998, Alam visited Delhi for a discussion with the
Indian media on the road ahead. His observations at the end of the
conference were withering: "We are here ready to concede that
Pakistan has done horrible things in Jammu & Kashmir. We have
fomented terrorism there. But we want the Indians also to say 'mea
culpa'. But all we hear from them is, 'Yes, you are right, Pakistan
has done a lot of harm to us!'"
Clearly, the media in Southasia has, for the most part, followed
rather than challenged the accusatory stance of its jingoistic
political leaderships. We refer derisively to American and British
journalists in Iraq as the 'embedded media', but do we ever look at
our own culpability in this regard? Continually and truthfully doing
so could, little by little, work to bring about a revolutionary
change - perhaps with regards to what Alberuni and Kabir found
missing in our spirits.
Pakistan: Judicial Crisis and the Future of Democratic Reform
Date: May 29, 2007
Time: 12:00 noon - 1:15 p.m.
Editor, Pakistan Weekly, "The Friday Times"
Pakistani journalist, completing the book, Crossed Swords: Pakistan
and Its Army, for Oxford University Press
Research Fellow, Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs,
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and
Author of Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and
America's War on Terror
Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
VIEW EVENT: http://multimedia.heritage.org/content/wm/Lehrman-052907a.wvx
 [ the original and unedited text of the Affidavit of the
'non-functioning' Chief Justice of Pakistan]
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN
Constitutional Original Petition No: ___21___ /2007
Chief Justice of Pakistan,
Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry,
Chief Justice House,
The President of Pakistan,
The Referring Authority,
AFFIDAVIT OF THE PETITIONER,
MR. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry,
Chief Justice of Pakistan,
I, Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, The Chief Justice of
Pakistan (hereinafter referred to as the "deponent") do hereby
solemnly affirm and state on oath as follows:
That the deponent has filed the titled petition in this Hon'ble Court
under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of
Pakistan 1973, inter alia, assailing the Reference No.43/2007 dated
March 09, 2007; Notification No. F.1 (2)/2005.A.II dated 09-03-2007,
whereby the deponent was illegally and unlawfully restrained to
perform his constitutional functions as a judge of this Hon'ble Court
and as Chief Justice of Pakistan; Order dated March 09, 2007 passed
by the Supreme Judicial Council; Notification No.F.1(2)2005.A.II
dated 15-03-2007 whereby the deponent was sent on compulsory leave
with retrospective effect and the constitution and competence of the
Supreme Judicial Council as well as the mode and manner of the
proceedings before the Council.
2. This affidavit is being filed in support of the contentions,
assertions and pleas raised in the above titled petition. The
deponent verifies that the contents of the titled affidavit are true
and correct to the best of his knowledge, information and belief and
nothing has been concealed. In addition to the facts narrated in the
titled petition; the deponent states that:
A. On March 09, 2007, the deponent headed Bench No.1 of this Hon'ble
Court as Chief Justice of Pakistan and heard several cases till about
10.30am. The Bench rose briefly and had to reassemble for the day
except the deponent who left for the Army House, Rawalpindi to meet
the President of Pakistan (hereinafter referred to as "Respondent")
B. The deponent arrived at Army House, Rawalpindi at about 11-30am
along with his staff/protocol staff. The deponent was shown to a
waiting room/visitors room. After five minutes of his arrival, the
Respondent, wearing his Military Uniform came into the room along
with his MS and ADC. As soon as the Respondent took his seat, a
number of TV cameramen and photographers were also ushered into the
room. They took several pictures and made movie footage.
C. While discussing the SAARC Law Conference, SAARC Chief Justices
Conference and the concluding session of the Golden Jubilee ceremony
of the Supreme Court, the Respondent said that a compliant against
the deponent had been received by him (Respondent) from a Judge of
the Peshawar High Court. The deponent replied that it was not based
on true facts as his case had been decided by a two member bench and
that attempts were being made to maliciously involve the other member
of the Bench as well. On this the Respondent said that there are a
few more complaints against the deponent as well. After saying so, he
directed his staff to call the other persons.
D. On the direction of the Respondent, the 'other persons' entered
the room. They included the Prime Minster, DG MI, DG ISI, DG IB, COS
and another official. All officials (except DG, IB and COS) were in
E. The Respondent started reading from small pieces of paper with
notes on them which he had in his hand. There was no single
consolidated document. The allegations which were being put to the
deponent had been taken from the contents of a notorious letter
written by Mr. Naeem Bukhari with absolutely no substance in them.
The deponent strongly refuted these allegations as being baseless and
engineered to defame him personally and the judiciary as a whole. The
deponent promptly denied the veracity and credibility of these
allegations as well.
F. On this the Respondent said that the deponent had obtained cars
from the Supreme Court for his family. The allegation was vehemently
denied by the deponent. The Respondent went on to say that the
deponent was being driven in a Mercedes, to which the deponent
promptly replied 'here is the Prime Minister, ask him, he has sent
the Car himself'. The PM did not reply to this answer even by
gesture. Surprisingly the Respondent went on to say that the deponent
had interfered in the affairs of Lahore High Court and had not
accepted and taken heed of most of the recommendations of the Chief
Justice of Lahore High Court.
G. The Respondent insisted that the deponent should resign. The
Respondent also said that in case of deponent's resignation, he (the
Respondent) would 'accommodate' him (the deponent). He also said in
case of refusal to resign, the deponent will have to face the
reference which could be a bigger embarrassment for the deponent. The
deponent finally and more resolutely said 'I wouldn't resign and
would face any reference since I am innocent; I have not violated any
code of conduct or any law, rule or regulation; I believe that I am
myself the guardian of law. I strongly believe in God who will help
me'. This ignited the fury of the Respondent; he stood up angrily and
left the room along with his MS, COS and the Prime Minister of
Pakistan, saying that others would show evidence to the deponent.
(This has now been admitted by the Respondent in his interview given
to AAJ TV). The meeting continued for not more than 30 minutes.
H. The DG MI, DG ISI and DG IB remained behind and continued to sit
with the deponent. They did not show the deponent a single piece of
evidence. In fact, no official except DG ISI had some documents with
him but he also did not show any thing to the deponent. They,
however, said that the deponent had secured a seat for his son in
Bolan Medical College when the deponent was serving as a Judge of
Balochistan High Court. They (except DG, IB) insisted that deponent
resign while the deponent continued to assert strongly that the
allegations were baseless and for a collateral purpose.
I. During the subsequent hours, the deponent was forced to stay in
that room. Sometimes, all the persons would leave the deponent alone
in that room but would not allow the deponent to leave it. It was
obvious that the deponent was being watched by a close circuit camera
because whenever he tried to open the door to go out, he was
confronted by an officer who prevented the exit of the deponent;
several times the deponent expressed the desire to leave but was told
by military officials to stay/wait. Once the deponent was even told
that respondent would be seeing him again. At one point, the deponent
requested that at least his staff/protocol officer be called inside
the room as the deponent wanted to talk to him but was told that he
could not come inside. The deponent then requested that his
staff/protocol officer be told to pass on the message to the
deponent's family that he was at Army House, Rawalpindi and that his
programme to go to Lahore had been cancelled.
J. Despite several attempts to leave the room and the Army House, the
deponent was made to stay there on one pretext or the other. His
request to bring his car to the porch for departure was also denied.
After the first meeting with the Respondent which lasted for not more
than 30 minutes, the deponent was kept there 'absolutely against his
will' till past 5pm.
K. After 5pm, DG MI came in again and told the deponent that his car
was outside to drive him 'home'. DG, MI came out of the room and once
outside told the deponent, 'this is a bad day, now you are taking a
separate way and you are informed that you have been "restrained to
work as a judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of Pakistan''.
L. When the deponent saw the car of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, he
discovered that his car had been stripped of both the flag of
Pakistan and the emblem flag. The staff officer of the deponent
informed him that Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal had taken oath as Acting
Chief Justice and it had been shown on TV. The driver also informed
the deponent that he had been instructed not to take the deponent to
the Supreme Court while on way to the residence of the deponent.
M. While on the way, the deponent directed the driver to go to
Supreme Court but an Army official prevented the deponent's car near
the Sports Complex from proceeding further. In the meanwhile, Mr.
Tariq Masood Yasin, SP, also appeared; He ordered the driver to come
out of car so that he could drive the deponent and also asked the
deponent's gunman to come out of the car as well. The deponent said
'okay, I will not go to the Supreme Court but my driver will drive my
car and my gunman will escort me home'. Only then, did Mr. Tariq
Masood Yasin, SP agree to let the car be driven by deponent's driver.
N. The deponent got home at about 5.45pm and was shocked to see
police officials and agencies personnel without uniform all over his
residence. The deponent also discovered that landline phones had
already been disconnected; Cell Phones, TV, Cables and DSL had been
jammed or disconnected. The deponent and his family were completely
cut off for several days from the outside world.
O. By 9pm, March 09, 2007, the vehicles which were in official use of
the deponent including a Mercedes had been taken away by means of a
lifter. Latter on, the same night, one vehicle was brought back but
the key was not handed over to the deponent or someone on his behalf.
P. On March 10, 2007, the deponent received a 'Notice' from Supreme
Judicial Council ("Council") whereby the deponent came to know that a
Reference (No.43/2007) had been filed by the Respondent before the
Council. There was also a copy of the Order passed by the Council
whereby deponent had been restrained to function as a Judge of the
Supreme Court and or Chief Justice of Pakistan. The copy of the
aforesaid Reference had also been appended with the Notice with
without any annexure or supporting documents for perusal of the
Q. It was also surprising for the deponent to note that the aforesaid
reference came up for hearing on March 9, 2007 after 6pm in indecent
haste. Two members of the Council as was evident from news published
in daily Nawa-i-Waqt dated March 10, 2007, had been flown to
Islamabad in special flights, from Lahore and Karachi simply to
participate in a meeting of the Council. In fact, no meeting had been
called by the Secretary of the Council namely Mr. Faqir Hussain. No
one had issued either agenda for the meeting or notice thereof.
R. The Council, rather than merely scrutinizing the material, if at
all and serving notice on the deponent (without prejudice to the
rights and interest of the deponent as averred in the titled
petition), went ahead and passed an order very detrimental to the
interests of the deponent as well as the interests of the
institution. The deponent was restrained to perform his functions as
a Judge of the Supreme Court Judge and or Chief Justice of Pakistan.
S. The deponent further states that he had been detained along with
his family members including his infant child of seven years from the
evening of March 9, 2007 till March 13, 2007. The personal and
private life of the deponent and his family suffered a great shock
and the concept of privacy appeared as if it was an impotent word.
The deponent could not use any vehicle since there was none. The
deponent had to walk till the other end of the road when the police
officer confronted him and manhandled him as has now been established
by a judicial enquiry.
T. The Supreme Court staff attached to the deponent was reportedly
missing and had been kept at an unknown place. An attempt was being
made to fabricate the evidence through them by coercive means against
the deponent. Even other employees working at the residence of the
Deponent were taken and made to appear before some agency officials.
They were released after 2/3 days. The grocery man was not allowed to
go to collect grocery; he was made to wait till an agency official
accompanied him to the market and back.
U. The chamber of the deponent was sealed and certain files laying
therein were removed and some of them had been handed over to the ISI
under the supervision of the newly appointed Registrar. Such an act
was contrary to all norms and practices of judiciary. The deponent
being the CJP was entitled to occupy his chamber along with his staff.
V. On account of deployment of heavy contingents, no one was allowed
to meet the deponent freely, in as much as his colleagues were not
allowed access to meet him. Even a retired judge of this Hon'ble
Court Mr Justice (R) Munir A Sheikh was not allowed to meet the
W. The deponent was not all alone to suffer this agony. Even his
children were not allowed to go to school, college and university.
The deponent and his family members were deprived of basic amenities
of life, i.e. medicines and Doctors, etc.
X. Even when ordered by the Council, the deponent was deprived of the
assistance of his counsels to seek legal assistance regarding legal
and factual issues involved in the reference. The deponent and his
family have been made to go through a lot of mental, physical and
emotional agony, torture and embarrassment and words could never be
enough to properly and adequately express that.
Y. All these tactics were used to put pressure on the deponent so
that he may tender his resignation from the office of the Chief
Justice of Pakistan. But after March 13, 2007 when the deponent
succeeded in establishing at least some contact with his lawyers team
during a brief appearance before the Council and after March 16,
2007, the on going pressure to 'resign the office' was released to
Z. The deponent now believes that his entire house has been bugged
and at the Sindh House which is located right opposite the residence
of the deponent, the officials of the agencies other than police have
established a place therein to keep an eye on those who come and
visit me, etc.
AA. On account of the facts stated hereinabove, the children of the
deponents are so scared that they could not go to school or
university. As a result thereof, one of my daughters failed to appear
in her exams (1st year, Federal Board) whereas my other daughter who
is a student of Bahria university is not being allowed to take her
examination (1st semester) due to lack of attendance in internal
studies. My younger son is also not in a position to attend his
school because of circumstances through which I am passing.
Verified on oath this ___29____day of __May__2007 at Islamabad that
the contents of the above affidavit are true and correct to the best
of my knowledge, belief and information and nothing has been
concealed therein from this Hon'ble Court.
Hindustan Times 13 June, 2007
COUNTERFEIT ENCOUNTERS AND THE 'NATION'
by Harsh Mander
The current wave of outrage in the country over the horrific murders
by the men in khaki in Gujarat is likely to be transient, a passing
squall. The dust that it raises will rapidly settle, and we will
forget, in the same way as we have expelled from memory so many
similar inequities of the recent past: the women who stripped
themselves naked in anguish in Manipur to protest the violations of
security forces, the staged killings of innocents as militants in
Kashmir, the mass cremations of thousands of young men who were
abducted by the police and later dubbed Khalistani extremists in
Punjab in the troubled eighties, counterfeit encounter killings of
alleged Naxalite sympathisers in backwaters of rural ferment and
oppression for decades in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Chatisgarh, and
bogus encounters of alleged terrorists in the country's capital, to
name just a few. Even less do we even register the routine killings
of the poorest tribals or dalits after torture and extortion in rural
police outposts, or numerous judicial commissions of enquiry that
testify to the open participation of men in uniform in the slaughter
of minorities in communal riots.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, in 1996, submitted a report to
the Supreme Court that established that in just three crematoria of
Amritsar, as many as 2097 illegal cremations were carried out by
security forces between 1984 and 1995. An independent human rights
investigation established that illegal disposal of bodies by security
forces were not confined to three crematoria of Amritsar.
Disappearances occurred in all districts of Punjab. In nearly 60 per
cent of the cases, the persons who 'disappeared' was subsequently
reported to have died in police 'encounters'. The victims included
doctors, lawyers, journalists, students, businessmen, even government
civil and police employees. In over 25 per cent if the cases, the
police not only took away the victim; it also destroyed, damaged or
confiscated family property. In an equal number, police abducted and
killed more than one member of the same family. The police routinely
refused to inform the victims' families, and extorted money from them.
The Supreme Court referred the matter to the National Human Rights
Commission, and did nothing when the Commission took a minimalist
interpretation of its ambit. After around ten years of tortuous
proceedings, pursued resolutely by brave and devastated families of
the victims and supported by dedicated human rights defenders like
Indira Jaising, Ram Narayan Kumar and Ashok Agrawaal, the Commission
refused in the end to hold any officer or agency accountable for the
violations, and declined to investigate disappearances,
extra-judicial executions, custodial deaths and illegal cremations
In Andhra Pradesh, again for a decade, a committee of concerned
citizens convened by SR Sankaran, have tirelessly pressed for the
deployment of moral, democratic and legal instruments to try to stem
the unending brutal spiral of violence that has seized many
impoverished districts of Telengana. They observe that the State
continues to portray the Naxalite movement as a law and order
problem, and refuses to recognise it as an expression of people's
aspirations to a life of dignity and equality. The State response
remains violent, including physically liquidating hundreds, mainly
youth, in encounters. The committee finds that these 'encounter
killings are not isolated aberrations or unintended transgressions of
law by individual police personnel' but is in fact a deliberate
system response of the State to crush a complex societal problem
through indiscriminate killings. It concludes that 'encounters
introduce terror as a component of governance and erode its very
But there are few to heed these voices of humanity. In Gujarat, in
response to a question from a member of the assembly, as many as 21
encounter killings by the state police were reported between 2003 and
2006. But the list submitted by the Gujarat government did not
include the names of Sohrabuddin and Kauserbi, which is a grave
breach of privilege. A deliberate murky cloud of official secrecy
continues to cloud the numbers and circumstances of encounter deaths
by the Gujarat State police.
However, even this limited official report again raises disturbing
questions. Six of those killed were already in police custody, and it
is incredible that they could possess firearms in custody to warrant
killing by the police in self defence. In one case, the police claim
that two policemen fired six rounds to kill a man with a dummy
revolver. In no case was there a post mortem, or the statutory
magisterial enquiry. There are no materials to even subsequently
justify the inference that they were terrorists or grave offenders.
All these facts were brought to the notice of the Supreme Court in a
petition earlier this year by BG Verghese and lawyer Nitya
Ramakrishnan, but the court did not find enough basis to order an
enquiry into the encounter killings.
Each nation must strike a fine ethical and political balance between
protecting its security and the rights of its people. In India, the
choice of the executive, and even the judiciary, have tilted mostly
in favour of permitting the uniformed forces to break the law of the
land with impunity, even to kill, especially in times of perceived
threats to national integrity - cheered along by most segments of the
middle classes. Policemen themselves often claim that are motivated
by a higher love for the nation. Many are, but not those who kill
unarmed people in defiance of the law of the land. KPS Gill, who led
the security forces in Punjab in the decisive 'bullet for bullet'
bloody combat against militancy of the late 1980s, describes his
forces as men who 'fight and die for India' and 'who risked their
lives in defence of the State'. The disgraced Gujarat police officer
Vanjara also fashions his encounter killings as 'deshbhakti'
(patriotism), and claims that with his arrest, 'the battle lines are
drawn', presumably in his war against the Muslim community, which is
of course viciously demonised as terrorists implacably unfaithful to
their motherland. LK Advani as the Union Home Minister in 2001
announced in Punjab that his government was 'contemplating steps to
provide legal protection and relief to the personnel of the security
forces facing prosecution for alleged excesses during anti-insurgency
operations' in Punjab, Kashmir and the north-east.
A faked killing is not an aberration of a few runaway miscreant
police officers; it is an integral if shadowy element of the system
itself, one in which the State eliminates people outside the process
of the law, as an instrument to tame civic dissent. These bullets
indeed crush with State terror and lawlessness, the weakest and most
disenfranchised of our people, particularly if they are restive -
religious and ethnic minorities, dalits and tribal people,
agricultural workers and slum dwellers. These are the very people who
are excluded from that 'nation' which the trigger-happy police forces
claim to defend.
We may forget and move on, but for those loved ones were felled by
furtive bullets fired by agents of a democratic State that functions
lawlessly, there will be no closure or healing. They may never have
even seen the bodies of their loved ones, and the dead have no
opportunity to defend their honour. It is only truth, however ugly,
told with unflinching honesty, which would heal their unassuaged
agony. For this to happen, the leaders, the courts and the people of
this land need to stand tall on the side of justice. No State is
genuinely secure of foundations of injustice.
The Times of India
31 May, 2007
ART IMITATES LIFE
by Vinay Bharat-Ram
Why should I defend M F Husain? By doing so I am defending my own
identity as an Indian and Hindu. The controversies raised by his
detractors over his paintings being "obscene" are laughable.
To make such a claim on the basis of Hindu sentiments is deeply
offensive, not only to Hindus of this generation but also to our
I draw attention to Konark and Khajuraho, albeit with some
trepidation. What if some misguided representatives of the sangh
parivar or their ilk would set out to destroy these priceless
heritage sites much in the same manner as the Taliban destroyed the
The depiction of sensuality in modern works of art pales in
comparison to the sculptural splendour of male and female poses
depicted in both Konark and Khajuraho, the former being the temple of
the Sun God and the latter built around the temples of Shiva,
Lakshmana and other gods and goddesses.
One of the universal symbols of Hindus is the Shivling positioned on
Parvati's yoni, which has been the object of worship for centuries.
There is perhaps no more explicit propitiation of a phallic symbol in
any culture. If we go to the temple of Kamakhya, we would witness
Hindus worshipping Parvati's genitals.
Not only that, the red liquid that pours from the deity is applied on
the foreheads of worshippers. We have the venerable Kamasutra which
has for ages been regarded as a handbook of erotic pleasure.
Husain has drawn criticism for his portrayal of Bharat Mata in the
nude, never mind that the Goddess Kali is always shown without
I would say that in this case obscenity lies in the eye of the
beholder. I see her breasts as symbolic of nurturing the infants of
the land and her fertility, that of populating Bharat with sons and
Husain has celebrated Bharat Mata no differently than i would worship
the Shivling as representing procreation.
If we were to explore this theme further, we would come across
explicit poetic descriptions of the love-making of Radha and Krishna
in Jayadeva's Geet Govind, not to mention the long passages on
Likewise, one could quote endless romantic passages about Shiva and
Parvati from Kalidasa's Kumara Sambhavam, as well as shlokas
describing Goddess Saraswati's breasts.
Our culture is ancient and arguably not without its blemishes such as
the caste system and the once prevalent practice of sati.
At another level, however, it has prided itself on its inclusiveness
and plurality. Vedantic and Puranic beliefs, for example, do not
converge; yet they coexist.
There is no single revealed truth in the Vedas. In fact, they talk
about a perpetual search for the truth.
The Puranas, on the other hand, give us innumerable gods and
goddesses to worship while they seldom connect with the Vedas.
Together, they range from the worldly to the other-worldly without
imposing any single body of beliefs. Our ancient tracts, in fact,
also include treatises on atheism.
Furthermore, as Amartya Sen says, India has had a long tradition of
critical reasoning and public deliberation not only in science,
mathematics and philosophy but also in various forms of artistic
Unsurprisingly, therefore, different religions flourished here and
different art forms have found freedom of expression.
It is sad, indeed, that 60 years after political independence we seem
to be heading towards cultural bondage.
We see Hindu culture being hijacked by a set of unlettered youth
whose patron saints are some frustrated old men with their own
In the name of hurting Hindu sentiment, for example, somebody kicked
up a row about Shilpa Shetty being kissed by Richard Gere.
A highly regarded young artist at the fine arts faculty of M S
University was imprisoned for having painted some objectionable
pictures, which also led to the suspension of the head of the
If we go back a little in time, Deepa Mehta's shooting of the film
Water in Varanasi was abandoned because some hooligans, no doubt with
state support, claimed that Hindu culture was being shown in a poor
There were objections to a kissing scene in Dhoom-II, starring
Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, forgetting that in far more prudish
times in the 1930s kissing in films was not found to be objectionable.
The latest uproar over Vasundhara Raje Scindia, chief minister of
Rajasthan, being portrayed as Goddess Annapurna in a poster which has
ostensibly hurt Hindu sentiment.
What about the thousands of Ramleelas every year in which ordinary
people dress up as Lord Ram, Hanuman and Sita? The list of atrocities
committed on society in the name of moral policing is a long one.
It is ironical that it is all in the name of protecting Hindu
culture. The truth is that we have acquiesced in the rape of our
culture, allowing motivated forces to talk down to us about
protecting Hindu values.
How dare any group try to miniaturise a gloriously inclusive
civilisation to fit its constrained mindset and then impose it on us
with the use of muscle power?
Let confrontation take the form of informed debate, as has been our
tradition since the first millennium BCE. Is the Hindu Taliban too
cowardly to choose that path?
The writer is CMD, DCM Group.
M.F. HUSAIN IN THE CENTER OF INDIA ART CONTROVERSY
by Philip Reeves
Broadcast on National Public Radio in the US on May 29, 2007.
Interviews with Husain, Rajeev Dhavan, Ram Rahman, Parul Dave
Mukherjee and Shubha Mudgal singing her protest, Anjolie Ela Menon
speaking at the Delhi protest.
Listen to the broadcast:
All India Secular Forum
[2 June 2007]
All India Secular Forum strongly condemns the action of the
Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Margao, Goa, banning lecture organised
by the Citizen's Initiative for Communal Harmony (CICH) in
association with the Goan Ramnath Kare Law College in Margao on May
24 th 2007. The lecture was on "Communal Threats To Secular Democracy
In India" by the General Secretary of All India Secular Forum Prof.
Ram Puniyani and well known activist working for peace and communal
harmony. The SDM acted upon a letter from one citizen Shivanand
Karapurkar apprehending social tension in view of the lecture. The
letter was also addressed to the Election Commission taking advantage
of the forthcoming elections in Goa. The Chief Election Commissioner
later admitted that the action of the SDM was wrong but refused to
take any action against him. The SDM's action will only embolden the
communal forces which do not have people's support but cleverly
manipulate state machinery to subvert democratic rights of the people
who had gathered to listen to the lecture. We laud the courage of the
management of Kare Law College who, inspite of severe pressure from
fundamentalist forces in Margao to cancel the lecture, opted to
pursue the agenda of peace and harmony .
The incident shows that the civil servants, including the police are
either communalised or always take a path of least resistance, even
if that be against the rule books and against the Constitutional
Values. Our fragile democracy is vulnerable communal and
fundamentalist forces and we require robust civil liberties movement
to make such police officers and civil servants accountable to law.
All India Secular Forum calls upon all the democratic forces to
strongly condemn the curbs placed on the free speech at the instance
of communal forces who swear in the name of the Constitution to be
able to form the government and subvert the Constitutional values.
All India Secular Forum also calls upon the people of Goa to defeat
the communal and anti-democratic communal forces, viz. the Sangh
All India Secular Forum
C/o. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism
602 & 603 Silver Star, Prabhat Colony Rd., Behind BEST Bus Depo, Santacruz (E),
Mumbai: - 400 055.
We invite you to the flag off ceremony of
Muktnaad: Youth Aman Karwan
on June 5, 2007 at 11am
Behavarioul Science Centre ( BSC)
Xavier's College Campus, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad
Exhibition and performance of Street Play: H...Sa
Three Youth Aman Karwans will leave Ahmedabad on 5th afternoon and
would travel across Gujarat covering all 25 districts doing close to
1000 performances over the the next three months. In all these 1000
locations they will hold discussions, debate on various
issues,perform, screen films, put up exhibitions and also locate new
young people to join the movement for restoring democracy .
Please do join us.
PS:- This is an invitation to attend which is going to many media
friends too, please donot file any stories . We request you to cover
the actual flag off and write after you have seen the programme.
In The Rights Direction
The Peaceworks human rights defenders programme
A human rights workshop at SWAYAM, 9/2B Deodar Street,
Calcutta-700019 conducted by human rights lawyers Oishik Sircar and
The PEACEWORKS Human Rights Development programme is an initiative to
work with young people to train them and to create a collective of
human rights defenders.
It is a process of capacity building and sensitizing young volunteers
through interactive workshops and films on gender, sexuality,
globalization, and law, to enable them to understand with precision,
conceptual issues concerning social justice.
18 JUNE TO 26 JUNE
ELIGIBILITY: AGE 18 AND ABOVE
REGISTRATION FEE: RS 1000
LAST DATE FOR
REGISTRATION: 10 JUNE
SEAGULL ARTS AND MEDIA RESOURCE CENTRE
36C, S.P. MUKHERJEE ROAD,
Buzz for secularism, on the dangers of fundamentalism(s), on
matters of peace and democratisation in South
Asia. SACW is an independent & non-profit
citizens wire service run since 1998 by South
Asia Citizens Web: www.sacw.net/
SACW archive is available at: bridget.jatol.com/pipermail/sacw_insaf.net/
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.