Emad's Blog (Under Renovation)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Martial Law Day 5 - We're On!

Due to some blogger issues I wasn't able to make an update last night. Also, I have edited the template of this blog a bit and removed some links and pictures. While I am perfectly sure no one's going to come after little old me, my dearest friends (unnamed of course) have convinced me to just stay on the safe side. Also I have edited some recent posts to remove certain pictures and content that could single out any individuals and be a threat to them. For future reference, I will continue to posts pics and vids but try and be sensitive to this bit.

After the protest on Monday, a few things have developed. Most to the positive. I sent some footage I had to CNN through their IReports portal. I don't know yet whether that was a smart move as I've been getting calls and emails from them since. It's 2AM right now and they want to call for an interview right now, for an ireports special they will be having on Friday. Sadly, some of their interviewers sounded rather scared for me! haha! I hope any content that goes through isn't 'manufactured' by them as I'm afraid for that. I guess that's a cost that has to be borne in order to reach maximum levels of proliferation for the happenings in the country. The other scary thing was that the CNN people told me that they were in fact in serious need for content and little was coming through.

Currently, on the whole there is a general state of apathy, and it's very easy to live a normal life without even realizing that something is wrong. The fact that the media is off air results in the state especially 1) getting away with their atrocities, 2)keeping people ill informed and giving a false sense of political inactivity. But that is fast changing, which brings me to the events of today.

An important note right now to all my friends and readers is to be very careful in creating opinions based around what the media is telling you. Due to recent contact with these guys on this story, they are really trying to add as much sellable spice as possible. Please double check with someone in the country, if you can. This stems from how an event at LUMS today was misquoted in the local and international media as a 'violent protest where students pelleted security forces with stones'. Not true.

Allow me to clarify and update.

LUMS Protestors on campus

On this 5th Day of Martial Law in the country, LUMS students came together to take a small walk to the park next to the university and come back. However, at first ray of sunlight, police forces showed up at the gate and started to wander maliciously. In lieu of that, the protest was shifted to within campus and began to proceed, partly silently through the campus up to the main gate. However, given the fast massing riot police outside (with enough batons and tear gas canisters for a battle with Godzilla! Oh and did I mention the further show of brutality - Prison Van!), and reports on similar events in the country (more details below), the administration requested that the procession does not pass the main gate as the cops were literally looking for an excuse to play. In a show of intimidation, they had already 'closed' the gate using a few spare batons. Anyway, so the protest turned back, made a round of the main campus and dispersed. Live to fight another day. A few brave souls though went and sat near the gate on the sidewalk within the campus in completely silent protest giving no reason for a showdown. Of course they were joined by a few others but it concluded without event.

Silent protesters sitting at the gate

Elsewhere, LUMS played a huge leadership role by informing and inspiring universities (through various means) all over north Pakistan. This has yielded tremendous results. All over the region, universities such as FAST, Islamic International University (IIU), Hamdard University and many others have joined in. Quaid-e-Azam university in Islamabad deserves special mention for their first protest in over 25 years of history. FAST, on the other hand, has been locked down with the students inside. As of last reports, the place is sealed to prevent a situation getting out of control. Unconfirmed reports say that the police has asked them to hand over a few students that they have made a list of as being active, or they will not leave, and the university - students and admin united - are unwilling to meet this demand and are refusing to hand over any one. Nationwide students are beginning to look for ways to have their voices heard. Extreme care is required though since property right don't mean anything right now and reports say that people being arrested are now being booked under an extreme anti-terrorism act.

If you want to stay on top of the game and receive updates at a more regular interval than I offer - Please Visit the page of THE EMERGENCY TIMES - It's a blog made by LUMS student body posting updates of protests from all over. Also includes a wide range of videos and pictures from various college campuses right now (Link also on Sidebar).

Recent Photo - Police Vehicles still outside LUMS for 'Good measure'

Given these recent happenings, I am extremely proud to belong this institution of learning. While our students have and hopefully never will move away from a peaceful manner of activity, to most LUMS has always remains a symbol of a completely depoliticized bubble. But you see, When you prick a bubble, it bursts.

While Musharraf can silence a few hundred lawyers and arrest a thousand or so civil society workers and journalists, little would he have dreamed that he would end up agitating the students, because once a student begins to believe in something, seldom does he/she back off.

There is now going to be a series of organized protests in this region of the country. Some organization is also beginning to come through in Karachi, so updates on those too as and when they come.

Standing United, to fight tyranny.

Favorite Slogan: 'Only One Coup per Dictator Please!'
Fun Fact: The President of Pakistan is the Honorary Chancellor of LUMS (Guess who!)
Compelling Question: Where are all the damn political parties? (PPP did a token small scale rally today though)
Fun Fact 2: When Imran Khan was being put under house arrest, being a sportsman, and rather uncharacteristic for a politician, the man apparently scaled a fairly high wall to jump over and 'run away' on his two legs! Respect.
Fun Fact 3: Federal Ministers are trying to go to India to watch CRICKET right now! Indian authorities have denied their visas. Guess our neighbors feel the gravity of the situation more than these idiots.

Stay Tuned. Remember us in your prayers. Of course, if you can do more, it'll put us in an eternal debt to you.

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6 Comments:

  • Thanks for this! Stay safe.
    Big hugs
    xx

    By Blogger bine, At 8/11/07 11:42  

  • more power to you and and people at LUMS! We across the border are quite saddened by this latest turn and hope things return to normal asap for you guys, especially with more political parties getting into the act.

    By Blogger Abs, At 8/11/07 17:41  

  • Thank you for your updates Emad - please be safe!!!

    Love,
    Tori

    By Blogger Tori, At 20/11/07 18:15  

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