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Dec 12th, 2007

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The Emergency Times Quote of the Day
“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.” Voltaire

GOR Detainees released; all charges dropped
Omar G
The GOR Detainees - students, lawyers and citizens standing guard outside the upright but ailing Justice Siddiqi's house - have been released. Today, at around 5: 30p.m, they were brought amidst great excitement to the Student Action Committee's hunger strike camp outside the Press Club. Amidst the loud beat of dhols and thunderous clapping by the around 80 students, lawyers, media people and ordinary by-standers, the detainees were heralded into the hunger strike camp which the students successfully manned for more than three long days and chilly, rainy nights. Finally, the hunger and cold braved by students paid off in pressuring the government to release the innocent students and lawyers. We are particularly confident of the fact that it was not the government's magnanimity but our pressure which actualized this victory because of an intra-government fax that we were able to intercept, last night. Students and lawyers made several fiery speeches at this moment of triumph. The students celebrated the fact that they had lived up to the challenge posed to them by staying united and committed until the release of their fellows. Both students and lawyers vowed to continue the struggle until the judiciary, constitution and fundamental freedoms are restored to Pakistan. Participants also thanked all the ordinary people who had expressed solidarity with the students during the last three days, and also the Press Club and the media community for their unflinching support. At the end there was a brief 'bhangra' session by students who could not contain their jubilation at the release of their peers. Some by-standers, later identified as intelligence agents, could not resist joining in the dance. Although the students successfully identified the agents, the agents were forgiven and allowed to leave intact because the students would never stoop so low as to deny anyone some innocent fun. The gathering dispersed peacefully. Students dismantled the hunger strike camp, cleaned the footpath and then left.

The Real CJP of Pakistan responds to Musharraf
The statement of General (rtd) Pervaiz Musharaf during an interview with Al Jazeera TV that the CJP wanted to remove him illegally is absolutely incorrect simply for the reason that I was not a member of the bench which comprised 11 Honorable Judge's (four have since taken oath under the PCO) and the case which was still being heard was to continue on Monday, November 5, 2007. This is the same Supreme Court which decided in favor of General (rtd) Musharaf on his dual office case and I was not member of that bench and the decision was applauded. If a case is decided in favor all is well. But if there is a self created fear it will be against you then the Supreme Court is called as conspirator, so much so that the case which was being heard on the merits and which had not been decided yet and where the Governments (General (rtd) Musharaf) own counsel were delaying it on one pretext or an other. Let no one forget that I did not sit on either of the benches despite the fact that in accordance with the judicial system prevailing in Pakistan every judge is independent and therefore in a position to give a decision on any case placed before him. General (rtd) Musharaf has taken different positions and enumerated different reasons for justifying his actions of Nov 3 rd Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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2007. Details in this behalf I will discuss no sooner than I am released from this illegal custody which is against all norms of law and morality. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Chief Justice of Pakistan

Thus Spake Gramsci
Zainul Abedin (Courtesy The News)
"I turn and turn in my cell like a fly that doesn't know where to die", was the cry of agony by Antonio Gramsci in the prison he was condemned to by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Gramsci painted not just his own pain. Darkness had fallen upon Italy. Mussolini had seized power in October 1922 and established his rule with a combination of bribe and barbarity. In the November of 1926, faced with a crisis that nearly toppled him, Mussolini had consolidated his regime through emergency laws also known as "Exceptional Laws". Parliament was rendered meaningless. Opponents of the regime were jailed in their thousands; many of them were murdered and quite a few had just--disappeared. The judiciary had winced a bit but had been straightened up. The constitution was being violated with abandon and the laws rewritten. Teachers in schools and universities had to swear an oath of loyalty to the regime. The press too had been gagged with newspapers' offices being attacked, burnt and closed down. Only those who possessed a certificate of approval from the regime could practise journalism. The fiercest opposition to all this was also the most isolated and had not come from the main democratic parties. It was also memorably brave. The main democratic parties opposing Mussolini's misrule couldn't agree among themselves. They feared mass radicalization as much as they opposed the fascist rule. Gramsci's efforts, in his days of freedom, to win them over to the idea of a countrywide "political strike" had met with failure. He had said: "Will there be a compromise between fascism and the opposition bloc? A compromise cannot be totally ruled out. However, the crisis which the country is passing through is not a superficial phenomenon, curable with little measures and little expedients. If such a thing occurred, it would mean the suicide of the major democratic parties...There cannot exist a representative assembly under a fascist regime. Every assembly at once becomes a legionaries' encampment, or the antechamber of a brothel for drunken junior officers." These words had fallen on deaf ears. But the regime was facing a formidable moral and intellectual challenge in the person of Antonio Gramsci, Marxist theoretician and head of the Italian Communist Party. In his speech to the Italian parliament on May 16, 1925, he had torn to shreds the Great Leader's idea of how he was serving the country and the nation. And then he had said: "Notwithstanding your…speeches, you have not overcome your contradictions: you have instead made them more strongly felt by the popular classes and the masses. You have added new dust to that already accumulated and you believe you have suppressed with a law the most lethal effects of your own activity." At one point Mussolini had interrupted the speech saying: "The readers of newspapers don't count. The readers of newspapers are regularly wrong. "Gramsci had gone on undeterred: "You can conquer the state, you can change the laws, you can seek to stop organizations existing in the form in which they have existed up to now; you cannot prevail against the Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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objective conditions under which you are constrained to move."

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This was Gramsci's last speech to the parliament. In accordance with emergency laws, Gramsci was arrested and put in solitary confinement. He was sentenced to more than 20 years of imprisonment through different trials. At one such trial, Gramsci's prosecutor had stated: "For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning." But to the immense benefit of humanity, it wasn't a fly that turned and turned in that cell, but a mighty brain that worked and worked under constant physical and psychic pain. By the time he died, at the age of 46 and having suffered ten long years in prison from Potts disease, arterio-sclerosis and several other ailments, he had written more than 30 notebooks and 3000 pages of history and analysis. In 1947, two years after Mussolini's body was buried in an unmarked grave, these writings known as the Prison Notebooks saw the light of day and became a fountain of critical thinking where many a mind has drunk insight and inspiration. No serious discourse on sociology, politics, state and civil society remains uninformed by Gramsci. Years before he was arrested and incarcerated, years before anyone else had seen the danger coming, Gramsci, then a 25-year-old radical journalist, had warned Italy in a newspaper editorial against the indifference of the many where a few sections of society are risking their life and limbs for an ideal. He had written: "Indifference is actually the mainspring of history. But in a negative sense. What comes to pass, either the evil that afflicts everyone, or the possible good brought about by an act of general valour, is due not so much to the initiative of the active few, as to the indifference, the absenteeism of the many. What comes to pass does so not so much because a few people want it to happen, as because the mass of citizens abdicate their responsibility and let things be. They allow the knots to form that in time only a sword will be able to cut through; they let men rise to power whom in time only a mutiny will overthrow. The fatality that seems to dominate history is precisely the illusory appearance of this indifference, of this absenteeism. Events are hatched off-stage in the shadows; unchecked hands weave the fabric of collective life -- and the masses know nothing. The destinies of an epoch are manipulated in the interests of narrow horizons, of the immediate ends of small groups of activists -- and the mass of citizens know nothing. But eventually the events that are hatched come out into the open; the fabric woven in the shadows is completed, and then it seems that fatality overwhelms everything and everybody. It seems that history is nothing but an immense natural phenomenon, an eruption, an earthquake, and that we are all its victims, both those who wanted it to happen as well as those who did not, those who knew it would happen and those who did not, those who were active and those who were indifferent. And then it is the indifferent ones who get angry, who wish to dissociate themselves from the consequences, who want it made known that they did not want it so and hence bear no responsibility. And while some whine piteously, and others howl obscenely, few people, if any, ask themselves this question: had I done my duty as a man, had I sought to make my voice heard, to impose my will, would what came to pass have ever happened? But few people, if any, see their indifference as a fault -- their scepticism, their failure to give moral and material support to those political and economic groups that were struggling either to avoid a particular evil or to promote a particular good. Instead such people prefer to speak of the failure of ideas, of the definitive collapse of programmes, and other like niceties. They continue in their indifference and their scepticism." Italy eventually saw and suffered one of the most brutal dictatorships known in history. Before his infamous speech proclaiming the end of the democratic illusion, Mussolini had ordered violence on the opposition and prevention of newspapers from publishing dissent, saying that as public opinion saw him firmly in control, "the fence-sitters, the silent majority, and the place-hunters" would all be brought round to him. The same fence-sitters and the same silent majority Gramsci had criticized in his editorial. Having trampled Italy's political conscience, Mussolini made his speech, openly accepting that he had violated all democratic norms and committed all that violence--for the greater good of Italy. George Orwell, writing at a different time and a different place, but tormented by the same demon of the 'greater good', uttered a piercing shriek: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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Dec 12th, 2007

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human face -- forever". A week later after the publication of "1984", Orwell tempered his despair with hope: "Don't let this happen. It depends on you." It was as if the spirit of Gramsci had spoken through him. The writer is a staff member (of The News). Email: redzain@yahoo.com

Talk and Tea with US Senators
Omer G
This afternoon, quite unexpectedly, SAC representatives were invited to a meeting between civil society representatives and United States Senators visiting Pakistan. The invitation came to us the way most invitations travel in the political circles here: ‘someone knows someone who knows someone else who...’ all the way, between the sender and the recipient. In any case, at around two in the afternoon, as the air was abuzz with the blithe news of the imminent release of our fellow students from jail, we hitchhiked our way to a house somewhere close to Pace in Liberty Market. A beautiful young lady with lots of make-up, dressed in a black business suit ushered us inside the house. To our left, I saw one of the most beautiful private gardens I have ever seen and there flickered in my mind, a glimpse of that eternally-sought-after Eden. But the next moment, we were led into a grand house and then a grand drawing room beyond which a swimming pool could be seen. The room, however, was completely NGO-aunty-infested. At first, I felt trapped in yet another elite NGO-aunty tea party but further conversation marginally corroded my mental stereotype. After another hour or so, the senators arrived and the meeting formally began. The four senators (senators of their own states, not federal senators) were young men in their early thirties and had been selected from amongst a large number of candidates to spend a week or so in Pakistan trying to understand the country better. The moderator was the owner of the mansion, the young lady who had ushered us in. Besides three students, Anushay, Ammar and myself, there were lawyers, middle-tier representatives from the PPP and PML-N, journalists, representative of HRCP and Human Rights Watch and a couple of film-makers. It would be pointless to give you a minute-by-minute account of the meeting. Besides, I don’t remember all the stuff; I can only offer snippets. First the arguments, then the people. The civil society representatives offered the usual story; martial law is in place, the judiciary has been destroyed, rights and freedoms are minimal and Musharraf is banking on nothing less and nothing more than his American support base. The lawyers articulated their concerns fairly straightforwardly while the civil society representatives elaborated on how this was hypocritical, because the US professes to be the champion of democracy and liberal values, but its acts destroy the claim. It is against US interests because, with the current configuration of power, America’s War on Terror and support for Musharraf is alienating civil society; without their support, banking on the military alone, the US is highly unlikely to make much progress in fighting extremism. The students added the point that without a strong and independent judiciary all governments tend to turn authoritarian and arbitrary. Therefore, if freedom, responsibility and good governance are to take root and survive in Pakistan, the illegally dismissed judges must be restored. Elections are part of the solution but democracy is incomplete without getting the judges back. The Senators recognized the outrage against US polices amongst the civil society in Pakistan. However, they felt that, given its security concerns, the US had no choice but to back the military in Pakistan which is, among other things, crucial to the supply chain for waging war in Afghanistan. They expressed the fear that if the US withdraws its support for the Pakistan Army, the Saudis (whom they termed the biggest supporters of terrorism in the world and Islamic Fundamentalists) would fill in the vacuum. This, they believed, would put Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in even more dangerous hands. Again and again, the Senators kept insisting that instead of criticizing US policy, Pakistanis should provide alternative policies. To this, the representative of Human Rights Watch and a few journalists responded by saying that the American aid did not have to withdrawn immediately. It would be a gradual process whereby the US should negotiate with not just the military in Pakistan but with the society in order to come to any settlement. Also, right now, even moral support in terms of a statement of two in support of the judiciary followed by some action will boost the courage of relevant actors. At the very least, the US should stop making irresponsible claims like saying that the judges issue is a mere Supreme Court reshuffle and elections will be free and fair. In the longer run, US security will remain in danger as long as common people hate it and resent its policies. A lot of usual questions were asked and answered. The Senators did, however, raise two points which I considered to be quite enlightening. I felt that these questions caught some of us off guard and we need to think deeply about them. Why did the civil society not rise against the martial law in 1999, but rose up now? How are judges selected in Pakistan? If the government handpicks the judges, why is it still so outrageous when it makes them take a new oath or fires them? I do not mean to suggest that we have no answers to these questions, but I do feel that we need to reflect more deeply upon these key points. As to the people, two of the senators stood out: Senator Pippy, ex-armyman, more than six-feet talk and very strongly built, he was a very sharp Republican. His questions were ruthless but relevant. The leader of the group, however, was a very sweet, good-looking and suave Democrat, whose quiet but perceptive demeanor and deep outlook inspired a lot of respect. He was quite understanding, and at the end of the meeting, profusely thanked us, terming this their ‘most lively’ meeting in Pakistan yet. Ali Dayan, from Human Rights Watch was very articulate and appeared fairly seasoned in tackling US politicians, appealing to just the right things; namely, their strategic interests. Later, over a cup of tea, he told me that he felt that the senators were ‘gaon kay loag’ (villagers) from small states, and hardly big fish in the American political arena. Aitzaz Ahsan’s son, a lawyer working with the UN was also there and he grilled the American just as his father used to grill the Attorney-General in the Supreme Court, before Nov 3. Then, of course, there was our unforgettable hostess but I have mentioned her elsewhere… Throughout the meeting, waiters - some dressed up in fancy sherwanis and turbans, others in ragged clothes - kept roaming miserably from one person to another, distributing tea, sandwiches, patties, pastries and delicacies of all sort and the senators kept refusing to accept their generosity. In my heart, I could feel the contempt that this must have inspired in the Senators. Maybe they share my contempt for the rich in Pakistan who have the intestinal fortitude to blame America for hypocrisy while, in their own houses, they do the same – talk of justice and rights, but engage in ruthless exploitation of the laboring class; tell the Americans to respect other humans, but force their own servants to work in harsh and humiliating conditions. Are we any better than the military? Why should the Americans leave the reins of power in our hands? Is it the perpetuation of our power and privilege that we are fighting for? I don’t have any quick answers. But as my eyes wandered from our beautiful and eloquent young hostess to the senators and back, I felt these questions plague my mind. At the end of the meeting, business cards were exchanged. Asma Jehangir had come by then. As we stood outside the house, waiting for a rickshaw, all the aunties had left in their big cars. A rickshaw was hard to find. The weather was lovely, windy and Islamabad-cold and we were anxious to join our recently released friends at the Hunger Strike Camp outside the Press Club. We had with us a chatty, young, Lahori lawyer, who had spent a week or so in jail. Like most Lahoris, he had quite a few stories to share…

Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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Popularity Report forged by government
Recently a news report was carried in many news papers which claimed "President Musharraf ideal choice of leadership of Pakistan: says US survey report" (http://www.app.com.pk/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18232&Itemid=2) A website claiming that 74% of Pakistanis supported Musharraf represents an organization that is not even registered. There is no such organization as "International Public Opinion Polls (IPOP)" (http://www.ipublicpolls.com/) and it does not even have a valid postal address. Incidentally this "international organization" has only ONE poll on Musharraf's popularity. Neither do they have their survey results available nor detailed description of their methodology or any technical detail that would add legitimacy to their survey. A simple Whois query on the internet revealed the details of the traitor of Pakistan who has been paid by the government to improve its image before the rest of the world. Please make sure you get your message across that such blatantly misleading acts should not be tolerated. For all we know, Amir Khan may not exist in real life. Name: M. Amir Khan Company iPhlux Technologies (Pvt.) Ltd. Email Address amir.khan@iphlux.com Address 4th Floor, Mateen Gallery, 172-J, City Karachi State/Region/Province Sindh Zip 75400 Country PK Tel No. +92.0214322657 Fax No.+92.0214553389 Daily Times has more on: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C12%5C10%5Cstory_10-12-2007_pg1_5

Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com