Emad's Blog (Under Renovation)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Remember, Remember... The 3rd of November

The martial law has now been imposed for a week in this country. Today is a national holiday in celebration of the National Poet, Iqbal, widely known to have envisioned the making of what is now Pakistan at a time when our ancestors were slaves to the Empire. We're still slaves today. Some of us are physically captive, but today our rulers are holding our minds in the shackles of slavery. Iqbal's son has commented, 'Once (Iqbal) he had told me, while looking up at a comet in the sky that one day that comet will return (in 2010) and I will see it through the eyes of my grandchildren. Today, I am certain, looking through his son's eyes, he's ashamed as he looks upon the ugliness that governs what was his vision. Today, I am certain that had he been here, along with Jinnah (who was also a barrister of law), he would be on the streets, with the lawyers, fighting the tyranny that grips us all'. On that note, Respect to the lawyers.

This state has been holding us hostage for a week today. The General and his brutality continues to crack down the whip on anyone that dares to be the voice of dissent. Little does he know that with every baton that falls on the head of someone that believes, many others begin to join that state of mind. Little does he know that when he looks at us and tells the media that we're not much of an opposition since the emergency will be lifted shortly and we'd be gone, that it really isn't merely about the emergency any more. It's about what he has done to paralyze this country. Little does he know what he faces. Someone ought to give him a lesson of history where these 'non-opponents' brought down one of his predecessors, Ayub Khan. Little does he know.

The protests are spreading at a rapid pace now. People are beginning to question the motives of this emergency and are clearly seeing the answer as an attack on the judiciary, and that alone. There are two key things that have to be mentioned in this context:
  1. 'Benny Booto' (thanks for the correction on the second name of the formerly Ms Bhutto) and her party, in their demands from the government for 'restoration' of democracy, have made NO mention for the restoration of the independent judiciary. It is clear that no political party wants to see a judiciary that would hamper their endless power, should they come into government (Explains my earlier compelling question for why they're not out on the streets).
  2. Legally speaking, the judges were suspended on the basis of not taking the oath under the PCO (the order that replaced the Constitution). Given that, as soon as we get out of emergency, the law would suggest that the PCO would be removed and those judges that had taken the oath under the constitution (and are now suspended) would be reinstated. Not only that, those 4 Supreme Court judges, that have taken the oath of loyalty to Musharraf would have to be removed and jailed since an earlier ruling by the Courts says that anyone taking such that oath would be held in contempt of court. Interesting. Yet not something that is likely to happen.
While Benny continues to become a 'national hero' by 'standing up to Musharraf' today, I am fairly sure that her intentions remain malicious and her final outcome is for them to rule together. There was a lot of drama on this on TV today, I'm sure, as Benny didn't get to go to lead the 'rally' that was 'disallowed' by federal govt. Also, on TV (well, through the internet), I came across this clipping from the police manhandling people in Rawalpindi today. Disgusting images. Wonder how the cops face their own families.. their kids.. when they go home after a day's dirty work. (Again, Facebook Note readers, you can see it on the original blogpost)

In other peculiar news, apparently the professors that have been 'released' didn't actually get formal bail. They were sitting at the house where they were arrested for about 3 days without charge and threatened and roughed up. Out of nowhere at some point, the cops come in, and tell them - we're leaving, you can go now - ! Obviously the captives were quite suspicious of this and thought that if they step out they would be shot for 'trying to escape'. Eventually they did get out and leave for their homes. Now, since they have all been charged with disturbance of public order, and haven't officially been bailed out, they're technically fugitives and the state could come back and screw them over at ANY point. Have you heard of ANYTHING more bizarre?!

As a short update of events happening around the world and led largely by students, LUMS students have continued to protest and rally for the fifth consecutive day. This is especially impressive since their final exams are starting. Watch out for a really effective thing coming out of LUMS real soon (It's a surprise!). Other colleges are starting black band days and organizing themselves further. Thankfully, after realizing that students will not let themselves be intimidated by their presence, riot police has been removed from a lot of institutions including LUMS. Guess they were more needed for Benny and for Rawalpindi today.

In addition to that, Flash protests are making insane amounts of headway in Karachi as a group of young people went to Seaview Beach today and did what they're good at. The positive thing was that they got extra placards and people simply joined in and they ended up as a group about 50% larger than they came. Eye witnesses say that everyone from a family with a small 2 yr old kid to the CEO of an important Pakistani company joined in to support the cause. (No pictures to post due to obvious safety reasons).

Elsewhere in the world, protests continue as a number of them are planned over the weekend, including a remarkably important one at 10 Downing Street, London (British PM's House) and one in San Fransisco, USA tomorrow. There is also one in Washington, DC and something in Chicago. NYC part II and others coming shortly. Power to you all! Also, the Pakistani students in the U.S. are beginning a drive to contact congressmen and senators that are alums of their colleges (since most of these guys are at Ivy League schools, you can imagine the impact of this one!) to put pressure on Musharraf.

Already under international pressure, he has said that elections will be had soon and the emergency will be lifted. Again, the Judiciary?!

A daily 'Emergency Telegraph' has also started circulated and can be available to you on request.

In the media update, CNN and BBC were taken off air again today and remain so. BBC has also started to try and cover this youth movement and many including myself have been in contact with them on different stories. Also trying to reach out to newer channels such as Sky News. A fun idea that's just come up (thanks SAK, this one is creative!).. Take a guess.. FOX NEWS! Haha. I'm contacting the Gods of Propaganda with footage of the happenings here. Let's see how this one turns out.

Finally, I got yet another answer to an FAQ that the 'apathetics' are asking: 'If not Musharraf, we'll end up with those other civilian leaders that are no better. So in a way its good for him to stay.'

Perhaps the point of this isn't about what the alternative leadership has to offer. Perhaps what we're fighting for is not for those people to come to power, but for the constitution of Pakistan and for the institutions of democracy. Who constitutes the pool of viable choices right now is inconsequential. After all, you need to first have the right to choose before you even see who you could choose. If that right and the institutions of democracy you're fighting for are not developed and protected, in all certainty your 'choice pool' will never improve anyway.

I can buy that!

To A Better Tomorrow. For My Grandchildren.

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  • there is nothing that picks me up like reading your blog. protest, standing up for one's beliefs, true love for pakistan - it's all there, it's happening, and you are the living proof.

    thank you also for the concern, the phone calls (that i tend to forget but still!!!), for the laughs too.

    these times will never be forgotten!


    By Blogger cileia, At 10/11/07 03:13  

  • Dude very well written blog.. really straight from the heart..

    I got no mentions :( except for the sex beast that people have come to love me as :p

    By Blogger Nabeel, At 10/11/07 10:40  

  • How does one get in touch with you?

    By Blogger Pixie, At 10/11/07 20:55  

  • hey man,

    just want you to know that I think you are doing an awesome job blogging what is going on, you're site has become one of my must-reads each day for pakistan news...

    i am working for a magazine here in Egypt that might be looking for a story from Pakistan on all this - mail me if you would be interested: tom(dot)gara(at)gmail.com

    By Blogger Tom Gara, At 11/11/07 12:40  

  • @Cileia: I totally meant that thing about the role you're playing..!

    @NK: You don't need a mention, my dear! your enthusiasm is contagious

    @pixie: comment reply on your blog - you can email me

    @tom: reply in your inbox

    By Blogger eMad, At 11/11/07 17:33  

  • Thank you so much for the poignant, informative and heart-felt words you're posting. It really helps 'outsiders' like me to get a different perspective on what's happening.

    best wishes from WENA

    By Blogger Rob, At 13/11/07 21:25  

  • You know, I still think we're better off with a dictatorship. I mean, your last point is 100% valid - that we're standing up for the law; for democracy. But our democratic leaders - at least all the available choices - are even worse than Musharraf. Which is why I say it's better. Booto is certainly the worst (though highly likely) choice for next in power.

    I don't even trust Imran Khan, though he takes a very strong stand against Mushy. It's just that whoever comes into power goes totally berserk. I don't trust anyone. It's certainly meant to be black day everyday...

    By Blogger Nubeals, At 14/11/07 01:35  

  • @Rob: Hey! Thanks for reading. Although, don't forget that the posts are fairly loaded with my own opinion on events here too, yeah. A large number of people are carryin on normal life without any thought to this issue, actually.. Hope you're havin a great time travellin around on the visits! :)

    @nubleas: While our definition of 'better off' surely remains divergent, I do think that the key question here is that of sustainability. Our civilian 'democratic' leaders will remain completely bad as long as we don't strengthen the institutions of democracy: in principle while we're missing a number of preconditions, democracy is a process of learning. If we don't give it a chance, we will never even be able to reach a stage we can develop and bring into power positive leadership for this country. Sure we might not have those people now, but we're only ever going to get them if we can create that environment.

    By Blogger eMad, At 14/11/07 03:24  

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