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Nov 27th, 2007


The Emergency Times Quote of the Day
“The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance” -Thomas Paine

Munir A. Malik’s condition continues to deteriorate
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that the physical condition and health of a prominent lawyer, Mr. Munir A. Malik, former president of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Bar Association, whom we reported to have traces o blood in his urine due to severe torture while in custody, continues to deteriorate. Mr. Malik told his physicians after regaining consciousness that his health worsened after he was forced to drink the juices and food rations given to him whom he believed could have contained poison. No action has been taken against those involved in arresting, detaining and torturing him. Though the government claimed they had already released him, the security forces deployed at the hospital admitted that this is not the case.

Justice Tariq Mahmood in critical condition
It has just been reported on a mailing list that another political prisoner Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood is also in critical condition and has been shifted from the Kot Lakhpat prison to Service Hospital, more updates to follow. Muneer A Malik's condition is still deemed to be serious. There has been no word on Ali Ahmed Kurd as of yet.

Students of Lahore Universities and Institutes form Student Action Committee
After intensive negotiations, the students of 15 universities and institutes of Lahore have come together to establish a unified stance with regard to the recent political upheavals in Pakistan. The statement issued by the students is as follows: Press Release: The students of over 15 universities of Lahore came together to unite on a common stance on the current political atrocities. The statement issued by the students is as follows: We - the students of Universities and Institutes of Lahore – unite in our opposition to the current emergency rule and unite on a common agenda to raise our collective voices against it. Our demands in sum are that the people need to be empowered to enable Pakistan to move forward - through a free and fair election process. We unite to condemn the coercive actions of the government that have moved Pakistan away from peoples’ rule towards internal chaos. We call upon the youth of Pakistan to unite in order to denounce the state of emergency cum martial law imposed against the judicial organ and the people of Pakistan. We hold steadfast that we shall unite in opposition and boycott if the government does not accept the following demands: 1. Lifting of Martial Law 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 Our online version is on

The Emergency Times Please Photocopy and Distribute
2. 3. 4. 5. Restoration of Judges as on 2nd Nov Restoration of pre-emergency constitution Freeing the Media Release of Protest Prisoners

Nov 27th, 2007


We agree to disavow any legitimacy to any government formed without an election process that precludes the acceptance of our demands. We call upon the political parties of Pakistan – that have repeatedly stated that they stand for democracy – to boycott any election that is held in abeyance of the preceding demands. We, the students, consider any such election to be both unconstitutional and an affront to democratic rule in this country.

Student Action Committee Lahore issues Protest Call
· Under the guise of emergency, on the 3rd of November a brutal attack was launched against the civil society of Pakistan which recently mobilized in unison with the judiciary and the lawyers. · All the judges who stood by their oath to protect the constitution were removed and placed under house arrest. Moreover, the two judges blamed for releasing terrorists have taken oath under the PCO. There is no excuse for the treatment meted out to the judiciary. · The media has effectively been silenced as have all opposing voices to the totalitarian regime. · Fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, right to association and right to life, liberty and property, have been taken away. · A direct assault on the students has been made: talks and debates on academic campuses have been banned. Students are being threatened with expulsions and are being pressurized by a pseudo-student’s (non-democratic) organization. Threats have been made against the students’ future careers and job acquisitions. · Thousands of people are in jail to date without any legal basis. · Our industries and businesses have suffered immense losses in millions of rupees due to the aforementioned governmental policies. If not Now, WHEN? If not Us, Who? There is no neutrality anymore; SILENCE IS CONSENT. SPEAK! Do not strengthen the forces of repression which plunder the life and liberties of innocent citizens. SPEAK! “I will not remember the words of my enemies but the silence of my friends.” Martin Luther King Jr. Raise your voice with ours for the restoration of the constitution and the judiciary; freedom of the media and release of protest prisoners to enable a democratic process to take root through free and fair election. Join us to peacefully PROTEST on 30th of November near Salt & Pepper (Liberty) at 2:30 (after the Jumma prayers) Student Action Committee

Get Real and Engage
Cynicism is the opium of the elite. This is the main thing that I would like to say to Mr. Nadeem Farooq Paracha, in response to his article called "Air Bag" that was published in DAWN magazine on November 18th. NFP argues that the ongoing civil society protests against the emergency reek of "hypocrisy" and "pretension", and that he does not want to be part of a "crusade" in which the lawyers, democrats, extremists, and liberals are hurled together in the same boat. If aunties protest, they are too elitist and it is convenient for them to 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 Our online version is on

The Emergency Times Please Photocopy and Distribute

Nov 27th, 2007


rally "on a full stomach." If students protest, they are misguided. I want to ask NFP: who would you rather have, your highness? Perfect socialists who grow their own food? Or laborers on an empty stomach? A while back, mullahs all over the country were protesting against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Does that mean that I should not have protested against the war? NFP apparently wants a perfect civil society, but does not want to do anything constructive towards its creation. He seems to think that his resistance to Zia's regime was the only valid cause to uphold, because he was involved in it. Wake up, Mr. NFP, please shake yourself out of your bubble. We are living through a more insidious Zia these days, which makes the challenge much more critical and daunting. Politics – like life – is messy, confusing, and full of contradictions. "Civil society" anywhere is ridden with ironies, exclusions, and axes of difference such as class and ethnicity, and these need to be negotiated for bringing about progressive change, not escaped through use of self-aggrandizing wit and cynicism. It is too easy to believe in economic and social justice, and then sit back and comment on how no one is getting it right. And when in times of brutal repression, people finally find the need and courage to stand up, the threatened arm-chair cynics like NFP love to run them down even more: why did they not stand up for a,b,c cause before? Only if they stand up against x,y,z now, will I – the self-proclaimed sage of the age – deem their cause worthy enough. One can criticize any stance – which, by the way, is only a convenient way for not taking any stance at all. It is always convenient to be cynical and contradictory, as if that makes us all intellectual. This is the surest way to escape ever standing up for anything, and for masking one's own ignorance, and unwillingness to engage. It is simply an excuse to stay in our elite comfort zones. But silence is a form of political action, and it has strong consequences especially in these severe times. By not standing up and vocalizing our discontent with this kind of exceptional repression, we are implicitly telling the regime – and all subsequent regimes – that it is ok for them to do whatever they please, and we will sit idle like innocent bystanders. Our fatalistic ("whatever will be will be"), over-critical ("I don't agree with anything"), and cynical ("this is such a crazy farce") postures are not only unfair to those who are willing to struggle and sacrifice, but they in effect help to sustain the status quo. I am obviously not against humor, wit, or critique. We would not get anywhere without these. Indeed, there are many shortcomings of the current resistance that I have experienced myself. Amongst other things, it is not broad-based enough and will perhaps flounder in the absence of a viable leadership. The situation, though, demands more minds and more engagement, not an offensive use of witty cynicism. The "decked up supermarket aunty" who NFP so condescendingly rebukes might be shopping at Agha's, but at least she has the decency to stand up for the cause of democracy and justice. With the kind of elite apathy, non-seriousness, and fear that I see around me, even one elite woman taking part in a flash protest is refreshing, and makes a difference. The daughter of Murtaza Bhutto – who to NFP's displeasure is also part of the anti-emergency struggle – published a moving and timely article on the tremendous suffering of missing peoples' families in Baluchistan, on the same day as NFP was putting down the protestors who are trying to protect the rights of these families to due process of law. NFP loves to mock Imran Khan as well -- will he recognize that the latter accomplished almost revolutionary change in the culture of Punjab University by enabling students to challenge IJT oppression? Salman Ahmad is NFP's favorite target, yet the rock singer wrote a more real and insightful article for the Washington Post in which he took a clear stance against martial law. It's all too easy to disparage protesting students as well by saying that they are immature, trying to act cool and pseudo-revolutionary, or just joining the bandwagon. Why are we so bent on dismissing them instead of giving them credit? They are not impulsive fools who love Benazir or Nawaz Sharif – they are as disillusioned with "democratic" regimes as anyone else. Does this mean that they should now give up all hope and respect for political process? Do we simply accept the kingdom of a military dictator? The students are genuinely frustrated, and refuse to watch tyranny take root. They are a heterogeneous bunch, do not have all the answers, and are also uncertain about what the future will bring – as in any struggle. Yet, not standing up to 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 Our online version is on

The Emergency Times Please Photocopy and Distribute

Nov 27th, 2007


current atrocities is a graver concern for them. Despite enormous fears in these times of repression, they have the integrity and courage to take a stance. This is the time to make distinctions. We need to recognize that the current struggle is about resisting the wholesale annihilation of the rule of law, and the freedom of expression. I, too, cannot stand talk shows on certain channels, and in fact, loved NFP's spoof on them that was published recently. Does that mean that a high-handed closure of channels and silencing of critique under PEMRA is acceptable? The Supreme Court might be corrupt, brash, and naïve, but it showed an unprecedented sense of social and political responsibility by taking up cases against forced disappearances, shady privatizations, and illegal building practices. Unlike the shameless legislature, executive, and most of the citizenry, the lawyers and judges who have been hounded for months are still bravely refusing to accept an elitist and military-dominated status quo. What power are they getting by risking their lives and the security of their families? Why, for once, can we not think about their struggle with the seriousness that it demands? What amount of violence and human rights abuse will it take to move us into action? Is the decimation of the highest judicial institution not enough? Are over 5,000 indiscriminate and unlawful arrests not enough? What about the anti-terrorism and sedition cases against innocent people? Are the laws for court-marshalling citizens also acceptable, so that the military-intelligence establishment can simply press "delete" on citizens like it did on the Supreme Court? Democracy is something you achieve through citizens' engagement, not through self-serving apathy and through blaming the judiciary, politicians, and just about every one else. Indeed, as a friend recently said to me, "those who have spent their lives struggling for freedom and democracy and have seen their efforts go to waste time and time again are actually the least likely to develop this perverse form of cynicism." If we do not have the courage to protest the ever-increasing despotism that is shredding our country, at least we should not trivialize and ridicule the efforts of those who do. Better still, we should express our solidarity, lend support, and actively shape this defining historic moment. I request NFP to shed his holier-than-thou, "I'm too well-informed to take a stance" posture because that is what really reeks of elitism, hypocrisy, and pretension

Pictures from HRCP Demo, Karachi

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 Our online version is on