EmergencyPlus - Protest at LUMS
Scheduled at a short notice, the protest at LUMS was heavily attended by students and faculty.
Among others, one of the things that were highlighted was that this 'EmergencyPlus' as it's been nicknamed is a mere euphemism for a state of marshal law - A member of the LUMS management board has been arrested and the numbers are increasing. A couple of students protesting at the High Court in Lahore were also threatened with arrest but then left to walk. Some of the faculty members were not even protesting when arrested.
One of the professors arrested, the Head of the Economics Department, Dr Ali Cheema is actually quite close to me and supervised my bachelors thesis for which we had a number of field research trips in rural areas of Pakistan. He's a well respected, cheerful, and soft spoken academic, a Rhodes scholar and has been working with the government (Ironically) on research projects in the area of Economics. He even led a team including me to deliver a lecture at the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) - a civil bureaucrats academy.
Surely a man such as him 'is highly dangerous with a vast knowledge of explosive devices' and such and cannot be transported in anything but prison van.
Apparently under this state of the constitution, any individual may be detained for 30 days or beyond without even being charged. This is not on! We might not have civil rights, but there's a thing called basic Human Rights and among others, the state is directly abusing its power to take away our right to knowledge.
When Musharraf spoke to the US in his speech his words and apologies for Pakistan and Pakistani 'not being ready' for democracy was a slap on the face of our civilization, or according to him, the lack thereof. Amidst other things, there were rumors that subordinates within the military had staged a counter-coup and that Musharraf was being held captive. The General was quick to shun them as a "Joke of the Highest Order". Joke indeed. And a very (sic!) funny one.
I love the spin that was put on it, "For students and faculty and media and judiciary, for every Pakistani - This is our War on Terrorism - A war on State Terrorism!". Next protest scheduled for Thursday with an aim is to mobilize students across the city. In the mean time, life remains normal and the pockets of protesters on the street remain limited to outside the courts and the Press Clubs. Almost too normal actually and as written in this article describing where different stakeholders stand: "Most Pakistanis showed little reaction to the state of emergency, with no mass street protests or big displays of support for Gen Musharraf's move. There is widespread disenchantment with the failures of democracy in the country and the failures of successive military rulers to do any better."
Thank you all from across the world, all my close friends for your wishes and thoughts. I'll keep you updated. Don't fall prey to the spin doctors that you hear and see on TV. Be safe.
Download, Read and Forward to Media Contacts: LUMS Press Release on the faculty arrests.