PTA blocks website : Make Pakistan Better

Posted by Ayesha 12 February, 2010 (13) Comment

In an email sent just now by the webmaster of Make Pakistan Better, I was shocked to read that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Director General (Enforcement) Yawer Yasin has instructed all its Zonal Directors on 18th January 2010 to block the websitehttp://makepakistanbetter.com on an IP level.

Since its blocked from Pakistan one can still view the website from Google cache and it shows some interesting anti-government articles which may have been the thorn that lead to the blockage. I believe this is a serious invasion of freedom of speech and sadly the PTA has not defined or responded to the reason why this website has been deemed objectionable for users in Pakistan

Upon contacting the website owner he explained

“This website’s main goal is to bring news to common public which our biased media has deliberately tried to blackout. We have many authors on our website who openly criticize the Pakistan Army, the PPP government & others individuals their write-ups, so I think our site is blocked because of these same hard hitting articles. You simply cannot block a website on the basis of having a strong and opposing opinion, because in a country where anti-Islamic or Anti-Pakistan site’s are not blocked and even in an Islamic state where practically millions of pornographic sites are wide open so the whim of blocking a particular site based upon strong criticism against a certain group of individuals in power should not justifiable or even accepted by society.

As a civil society activist for unrestricted free speech in Pakistan, I vehemently condemn this incident and immediately urge the government of Pakistan to remove this censorship with immediate effect.

Press Statment issued by Dont Block the Blog can be downloaded here

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Tight anti-terrorist measures in Pakistan

Posted by Ayesha 11 February, 2010 (2) Comment
After the recent spate of suicide bombings in Pakistan , the  Government of Pakistan has stepped up security !

Security in Pakistan

Security in Pakistan

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Pakistan’s Shame: Who Killed Shazia Masih–If Anyone?

Posted by Ayesha 8 February, 2010 (7) Comment

A funeral was held at Lahore’s Cathedral Church last Monday for Shazia Masih, a maid who’d been working for a lawyer and a former head of the Lahore Bar Association. She was 12 years old. She had been brutalized, according to an autopsy report, but whether she was murdered is still in question.

Shazia’s employer, Chaudhry Naeem, is claiming through an attorney that Shazia was suffering from a skin disease, and that he had taken her to the hospital for treatment. “Her death certificate,” according to The Times, “says she died of blood poisoning.” Shazia’s family claims she was tortured and killed. “an account that the medical examiner’s preliminary report seems to support. It lists 17 injuries, including bruised swellings on her forehead, cheek and scalp, ’caused by blunt means.’ A more thorough medical report is due out in the coming weeks.”

The Pakistani media quickly seized on the story after Shazia’s death in January and played up the angle of a helpless waif tortured by her rich employer. The story moved the Pakistani president enough that he granted Shazia’s family a large sum of money. Naeem’s lawyers claim the girl’s family is milking public opinion for sympathy and money.

Curiously, however, the Times story leaves silent two aspects of the story that are dominating the Pakistani press. First, that Shazia Masih was a Christian maid working for a Muslim lawyer. The story doesn’t mention Shazia’s religion, leaving it to the reader to deduce it from her last name: Masih is Arabic for Christ. The angle seems significant in light of the Pakistani Christian community is making of it: the Pakistani Christian press, through such organs as the Pakistan Christian Post and Pakistan Christian TV, has all but tried and convicted Shazia’s employers. The Post begins one story by referring to Naeem bluntly as “killer,” and that “killer Mohammad Naeem is enjoying VIP treatment in police station where he is giving instructions to lawyers, medical teams and his friends in government on his cell phone.” (another story in the same organ, however, also notes that “Sources close to the investigators revealed the victim family is blackmailing the accused to mint money after her mysterious killing appeared as breaking news on local TV channels.”)

The second presumably significant detail The Times story leaves silent is the Lahore legal community’s mob reaction against Shazia’s family: they have not been able to get a lawyer: “Because of the threats posed by the powerful Lahore Bar Association – an umbrella organization of city lawyers – no Christian or Muslim lawyer is ready to take on the defence in the murder of 12 year-old Shazia Bashir,” AsiaNews reported, citing the Pakistani Christian association that deals with legal assistance.

The only question arises: Who is the responsible?  Who Killed Shazia Masih?

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UK lawyers demand withdrawal of Aafia’s case

Posted by Ayesha 8 February, 2010 (2) Comment

The UK-based Association of Pakistan Lawyers (APL) has demanded withdrawal of case against Dr Aafia Siddiqui declaring the conviction unsafe and has called for a public enquiry regarding her treatment. The APL, according to its chair barrister Amjad Malik following its executive committee meeting, has despatched letters to the US leadership calling for Dr.Siddiqui’s immediate repatriation to Pakistan.
The meeting proposed withdrawing of case against the neuroscientist by the US Government, Presidential pardon considering the state of mind and allegations of her torture and maltreatment, conviction based on fear and not on fact, her unlawful presence at Bagram airbase, her missing two children, and lastly the US Government must consider setting up a commission to adjudicate the questions of true facts surrounding Dr. Siddiqui’s arrest, and her whereabouts between 2003 and 2008.

In response to this letter, the US Presidential correspondence team wrote:” On behalf of President Obama we appreciate hearing from you. The President has promised the most transparent administration in history and we are committed to listening to and responding to you.”

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Another Afia Siddiqui in Pakistan. We’re doing the same.

Posted by Ayesha 4 February, 2010 (1) Comment

Since last some weeks or months, everyone talks about Dr. Aafia. It is also a political point for some of our politicians.

There is another case similar to Aafia Siddiqi. I will say it is more shamefull than Dr. Aafia.

I headred this news long time ago, then this news came agian on tv when Polish Engineer was killed by taliban. Since then, I am unaware what happened to her.

She is a converted muslim and a canadian journalist kidnapped in FATA.

A video of a Canadian journalist held captive in Pakistan surfaced on the Internet yesterday, and she is seen saying her captors would “probably” kill her by the end of the month if their demands aren’t met.

“The time is now very short and my life is going to end,” a pale and tired Beverly Giesbrecht says on the video before it fades out.

The Vancouver journalist is shown sitting in a chair with a dagger mounted on the wall behind her, pointed at her head.

“We have a very short time now, I’m going to be killed, as you can see,” Giesbrecht says.

She alluded to Piotr Stanczak, a kidnapped Polish engineer who was executed by militants last month.

She said she was somewhere near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, but wasn’t sure in which country she was being held.

A spokesperson with the foreign affairs department in Ottawa said the Canadian government was aware of the video but had no further comment.

The group Canadian Journalists for Free Expression expressed concern yesterday about the lack of progress in getting Giesbrecht freed.

Giesbrecht, who adopted the name Khadija Abdul Qahaar when she converted to Islam in 2002, was on a freelance assignment for the Al Jazeera network when she disappeared Nov. 11, 2008 while travelling in Pakistan near the Afghan border.

At least two other videos of Giesbrecht have been publicized since her kidnapping.

The specific ransom demands have never been clearly made public. But a media report in January said the captors demanded the equivalent of about $150,000 and the release of some prisoners jailed in Afghanistan.

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