Statements from Citizens groupsPRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
Lift emergency, restore democracy, demands citizens' group
KARACHI, Nov 3, 2007: Participants at a meeting of concerned citizens held to discuss a citizens' charter for democracy expressed outrage at the imposition of emergency. They condemned it as an unjustified step and and demanded that it be lifted with immediate effect.
The group opposed the extreme measures being taken in the name of emergency, including the oath that judges have been asked to take, the Judges' Colony in Islamabad being sealed off and the television channels being taken off air. The meeting, attended by various concerned citizens from different sectors of society, termed the imposition of emergency as part of the intimidating tactics being used to pressurise the judiciary in light of the forthcoming judgement on the presidential elections.
The group has resolved to join the lawyers and other citizens demanding the lifting of emergency, and holding of free and fair elections under an interim government. The meeting included members of Pur Aman Karachi (Uzma Noorani of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Anis Haroon of Aurat Foundation, and artist & curator Niilofur Farrukh) besides several other citizens including businessman Nadeem Khalid, consultant Naeem Sadiq, Asad Umar from the corporate sector, political science professor Sahar Shafqat, human rights lawyer Abira Ashfaq, educationist Tahseen Hussain, student Haya Hussain, blogger Awab Alvi, and journalists, Shahid Husain and Beena Sarwar.
From Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists website (www.pfuj.info)
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[From: mazhar abbas <abbas.mazharATgmail.com>]
PFUJ Condemns Curbs, Raids on Media
ISLAMABAD, Nov 4 : Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), has rejected the promulgation of "mini-Martial Law," in the country in the cover of emergency, strongly condemned late night police raids on private tv news channels, two FM radios following the virtual ban on news channels for the last two days and decided to resist these action with the cooperation of other media organisations including International media watchdogs, it said in a Press Release.
In the last 24-hours all the private news channels were blocked, police raided the offices of FM-99, in Islamabad, FM-103, in Karachi and Aaj, tv in Islamabad and the senior police official present outside Aaj tv, said they have similar orders for other news channels as well. There are also unconfirmed reports about possible action against journalists, anchors, reports collected by PFUJ revealed.
On Sunday, morning a paramilitary officials stopped the ARY news teams in Quetta, when they were taking visuals, snatched the camera, removed film and after warning handed over the camera back. "I can even put you behind bar," an official present at Faizan chowk, told an ARY reporter.
" It is nothing but martial law, media came under worst kind of attack through black laws on print and electronic media and we will never accept it and will resist like we did in the past. We expressed complete solidarity with the channels and radios which came under direct attack and assured our complete cooperation," it said in a statement.
PFUJ has called an emergency meeting on Tuesday at 4 p.m. in which President and General Secretaries of the affiliated Unions will attend while the Ujs have already held their meetings in different parts of the country.
The meeting will consider joint action along with other media bodies and may also give call for "Global Action Day," during which media bodies around the world will protest against media curbs in Pakistan.
All the International media watchdogs including International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), have extended their support to PFUJ.
PFUJ said the ordinance-2007, to amend Press, Newspapers, News Agencies, and Books Registration Ordinance, 2002 and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, PEMRA, 2002 added to already existing "black laws," against media and its a direct attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the Press.
It rejected General Pervez Musharraf's remarks against the media during his address to the nation and said "negativism" was on the part of the government, which tried to corrupt the media and tried to misguide the people.
Government in the last five years have taken action against different tv channels and FM radio, issued show-cause notices, raided their offices, confiscated their equipments on number of occasions. Some 24 Journalists had been killed, ten were kidnapped by intelligence agencies, over 100 cases of attack on media were reported, their families were target ted. Journalists were booked in cases under Official Secret Act and treason, but even these cases were never tried. Even in the cases where government was not directly involved police never pursued their cases and as a result no culprits were arrested in any of these cases.
PFUJ has appealed to all the media organisations including Pakistan Broadcasters Association, PBA, Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors, CPNE and All Pakistan Newspapers Society, APNS to fight against attack on freedom of expressions with full force.
Secretary General, PFUJ
[Text of Message from Asma Jahangir - 4 November 2007]
Subject: FROM ASMA JAHANGIR
The situation in the country is uncertain. There is a strong crackdown on the press and lawyers. Majority of the judges of the Supreme Court and four High Courts have not taken oath. The Chief Justice is under house arrest (unofficially). The President of the Supreme Court Bar (Aitzaz Ahsan) and 2 former presidents, Mr. Muneer Malik and Tariq Mahmood have been imprisoned for one month under the Preventive Detention laws. The President of the Lahore High Court Mr. Ahsan Bhoon and former bar leader Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd have also been arrested. The police is looking or 6 other lawyers, including President of Peshawar and Karachi bar. The President of Lahore bar is also in hiding.
There are other scores political leaders who have also been arrested.
Yesterday I was house arrested for 90 days. I am sending my detention order.
Ironically the President (who has lost his marbles) said that he had to clamp down on the press and the judiciary to curb terrorism. Those he has arrested are progressive, secular minded people while the terrorists are offered negotiations and ceasefires.
Lawyers and civil society will challenge the government and the scene is likely to get uglier. We want friends of Pakistan to urge the US administration to stop all support of the instable dictator, as his lust for power is bringing the country close to a worse form of civil strife. It is not time for the international community to insist on preventive measures, otherwise cleaning up the mess may take decades. There are already several hundred IDPs and the space for civil society has hopelessly shrunk.
We believe that Musharaf has to be taken out of the equation and a government of national reconciliation put in place. It must be backed by the military. Short of this there are no realistic solutions, although there are no guarantees that this may work.
PAKISTAN- INDIA PEOPLES' FORUM FOR PEACE & DEMOCRACY (Maharashtra)
November 4, 2007
Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) strongly condemns the imposition of Emergency in Pakistan. This Emergency is illegal and unconstitutional. The Emergency means suspension of all fundamental rights. The regime of Pervez Musharraf today arrested Dr. Mubashir Hasan and I A Rehman, both founding members of PIPFPD, amongst others. The regime has also arrested Asma Jahangir, internationally acclaimed human rights activist, in and sealed office of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Lahore.
Musharraf has usurped the independence of judiciary by sending troops in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and detaining Iftikhar Chooudhary, Chief Justice of Pakistan and removing other judges who refused to take oath under Provincial Constitutional Order (PCO). Emergency is imposed as judiciary, of late, became pro-people and embarrased Musharraf many times. The Supreme Court was to deliver a judgement on petitions challenging the election of Musharraf as President of Pakistan.
Emergency also means encroachment on freedom of expression and speech. It is no surprising that few vocal journalists, too, are arrested.
We express our solidarity with the struggling, pro-democracy people of Pakistan and express confidence that sooner than later the citizens of Pakistan will achieve true democracy.
(Source: Daily Times, November 05, 2007 )
SAFMA, SAMC condemn clampdown on press
* Say media unable to function due to amendments to ordinances
LAHORE: The South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) and the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) have condemned the massive crackdown on media and rejected the two ‘draconian’ ordinances to ‘muzzle’ both print and electronic media in Pakistan.
In a joint statement, SAMC Secretary General Najam Sethi, SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam, and SAMC Regional Coordinator Hussain Naqi have expressed grave concern over recent developments that have alienated the institution of judiciary and targeted media freedom while closing down all private television news networks.
The Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) and proclamation of a state of emergency have eroded the legitimacy of authority, system of justice, rule of law, supremacy of the constitution and fundamental rights, said the SAMC office holders. They said both the print and electronic media cannot function because of the amendments brought into the PEMRA and PNNABRO ordinances, which lay down three years imprisonment and Rs 10 million fines for alleged violations. They said this is a terrible moment for the media and called upon all media bodies not to succumb to the pressures of an ‘increasingly repressive regime’.
The statement further said that by demolishing the moral authority of the state and its justice system, the powers that be have compromised the capacity of the state to fight terrorism and extremism. They condemned the police attack on the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and arrest of the representatives of civil society in Lahore. The SAMC and SAFMA leaders called upon the international and regional media community to express solidarity with the struggling media in Pakistan and demanded the revival of all private television networks and withdrawal of the two ‘black laws’. Imtiaz Alam said he would soon convene a media conference and an all parties conference to evolve a joint platform to fight for the restoration of press freedom and fundamental rights. staff report
Friends of South Asia
P.O. Box 64389
Sunnyvale, CA 94088-4389
CONTACT: Ijaz Syed (408) 838-0952
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2007
FOSA Demands the Restoration of Democracy in Pakistan
The military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, has imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan, aborting the long-awaited return to democracy. With the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), Mr. Musharraf has authorized himself to rule by decree, suspended fundamental rights in Pakistan, and granted himself unlimited powers. The PCO also prohibits the Supreme Court of Pakistan from passing a judgment against Mr. Musharraf. When the Supreme Courtrefused to ratify Mr. Musharraf's declaration of the state of emergency, eight SC judges, including Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhary, the Chief Justice, were taken into custody and Mr. Musharraf appointed a new Chief Justice. Other judges from lower courts and many lawyers, including Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, have been detained. Regular news broadcasts have been suspended, independent TV news channels forced off the air and curbs imposed on the media.
Friends of South Asia (www.friendsofsouthasia.org), a San Francisco bay area based organization, strongly condemns the declaration of emergency rule in Pakistan. It is an illegal and unconstitutional decision and an attempt by a military dictator to continue his illegal and unconstitutional rule. This declaration of a state of emergency must be universally condemned and the generals in Pakistan must end their stranglehold on the country.
FOSA expresses its solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their demand for an end to dictatorship and for free fair and elections. We are heartened by the courage shown by the Justices of the Supreme Court who have declared the PCO and the imposition of the state of emergency illegal and unconstitutional. The Court has declared that no judge of the Supreme Court or any of the high courts including the chief justices would take oath under new PCO. We also commend civil society organizations such as various human rights groups, lawyers groups, independent news and blogger sites in Pakistan who continue to organize and inform the public in defiance of the government orders.
FOSA rejects President Musharraf's defence of emergency rule as a necessary step to combat extremism and terrorism. We disagree that suspending the rights and liberties of its own citizens would in any way help Pakistan fight extremists and terrorists. This is a transparent ploy by Mr. Musharraf and his military junta to crush the nascent movement towards democracy.
FOSA joins with all citizens of Pakistan in demanding an immediate end to the emergency rule and a speedy restoration of the constitution and the rule of law. To ensure working of an independent judiciary, all Supreme Court judges deposed on November 3 by Mr. Musharraf should be restored to their positions. FOSA demands that all political workers and members of the legal fraternity arrested in the wake of declaration of emergency rule be immediately released.
[Click here for a PDF version of the above FOSA advisory]
Protest Actions & Resources
Karachi Protest at the Press Club - 5 November 2007
Monday the 5th November will be observed as a Black day and a massive protest will be organised infront of the Press Club at 4PM. So please spread the word so that a large number of citizens could turn up.
It was also announced that every one shoul wear a black arm band (till the martial law / emergency is lifted and the judges restored)
Look forward to see you at 4pm on monday.(with a black arm band)
You could download the attached one pager and make as many copies as possible for distribution. Also pl. bring extra black ribbons with you.
London Protest on 5 November
Protest the imposition of emergency on Monday [5 November] 2 pm
Pakistan High Commission London.
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The Pakistan Lawyers Movement (UK) and National Union
of Pakistan Students and Alumni (UK) will be holding a
protest in front of the Pakistani High Commission in
The imposition of this emergency is aimed against
democratic rights, the rule of law, and civil
liberties in Pakistan. Since the last year it is clear
that the lawyers movement, together with the media, is
the main force that is playing the role of a
democratic opposition to military rule.
The arrest of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and
Supreme Court Bar Council President Aitizaz Ahsen, the
black out of media coverage inside Pakistan, the
storming of the Supreme Court, the abrogation of the
1973 constitution and all related measures demonstrate
without a shadow of a doubt that this state of
emergency is aimed against this democratic opposition.
We hail the Supreme Court for denouncing the
imposition of this state of emergency as legally null
as a great act in defense of the civil liberties of
all Pakistani citizens. We call on all democratic
forces to organize boldly against this state of
We hope that you will come and join us.
Date: Monday 5th November
Time: 2 pm sharp
Venue: Pakistan High Commission 35-36 Lowndes Sq,
London, SW1X 9JN
Long Live the Lawyers Movement !
Long Live Democracy!
For further information contact Taimur Rahman