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Deep State vs HRW – by Kamran Shafi


Most ugly shenanigans

“Four Israeli attacks on journalists and media facilities in Gaza during the November 2012 fighting violated the laws of war by targeting civilians and civilian objects that were making no apparent contribution to Palestinian military operations.

“The attacks killed two Palestinian cameramen, wounded at least 10 media workers, and badly damaged four media offices, as well as the offices of four private companies. One of the attacks killed a two-year-old boy who lived across the street from a targeted building.

“The Israeli government asserted that each of the four attacks was on a legitimate military target but provided no specific information to support its claims. After examining the attack sites and interviewing witnesses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) found no indications that these targets were valid military objectives.

“Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command centre does not make it so, said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. Journalists who praise Hamas and TV stations that applaud attacks on Israel may be propagandists, but that does not make them legitimate targets under the laws of war” — HRW Report on Palestine/Israel: December 2012.

Would that the ISPR and its many rabid supporters in our far-right print and electronic media had read the HRW’s website before using vile and threatening language against HRW and its Pakistan Director, Ali Dayan Hasan, for HRW’s latest report on Pakistan.

The ISPR has termed the report “a pack of lies, propaganda driven and totally biased” and an “attempt to malign Pakistan and its institutions through fabricated and unverified reports, completely favouring an anti Pakistan agenda”.

Now then, let’s see what enraged the Pakistan Army generals so much that the ISPR said what it did. The HRW Report of February 1, 2013 says, inter alia:  “Pakistan’s government has failed to act against abuses by the security and intelligence agencies, which continued to allow extremist groups to attack religious minorities, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2013. The authorities did little to address attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, and committed serious abuses in counter-terrorism operations.”

It would be immediately pertinent to also see what the Supreme Court of Pakistan said in remarks aimed at the ISI/MI combine as reported in this newspaper of record of March 1, 2012, a full eleven months before the HRW report that so incensed our Rommels and Guderians: “The displeased Supreme Court gave out a stern message to Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence … : ‘You need to take this out of your mind that you [ISI and MI] are superior and others [civilians] are inferior’.”

“Counsel of ISI and MI … was reprimanded as the apex court … remained unsatisfied with the replies submitted to the Court today by the agencies in the Adiala missing prisoners’ case.

“Headed by Chief Justice Chaudhry, the three-member bench said that the replies submitted to the court do not justify under which law the civilians were picked up by agencies and kept in detention for more than a year. “Who gave you the right to hound people?” questioned the chief justice.

“You are so insensitive to the human loss that the families of the missing persons have suffered lately because of you. This is a big allegation against you [ISI and MI] — there is a hue and cry throughout the country that you abduct people and after some days, their abandoned bodies surface, said Chief Justice Chaudhry.

“After reading your poorly-drafted reply, I thought whether we are thinking against the country here? As much as you consider yourself loyal to this country, perhaps we are more loyal than you,” the chief justice observed. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said that the 1965 war is evidence that the people of the country were on the forefront rather than the army to fight against the enemy.

“If a judge is bound not to break a traffic signal, then why will he allow you to subvert the Constitution of the country, Justice Khilji said.

‘“You’re an arsonist. You have set Balochistan on fire,” said Chaudhry while referring to the agencies and the situation in Balochistan. “We ask you time and again and you always tell us stories. Are we here to listen to your stories?

“If these people had attacked GHQ, even then it is necessary for you to produce evidence against them for fair trial. You must go by the book, Justice Chaudhry directed.

“The chief justice said that the agencies have become ‘insensitive’ to the issues and referred them as the ‘biggest violators’ of the country’s law and order.”

So (perish the thought) was the Supreme Court also indulging in ‘a pack of lies’; was it too ‘propaganda driven and totally biased’; and was what it said “yet another attempt to malign Pakistan and its institutions”? The ISPR should wake up and smell the coffee.

And it/ISI should rein in people like a retired brigadier who is considered close to the ISI, and who is on record having threatened Ali Dayan Hasan thus on Twitter: “Close your fake/sponsored/anti-Pakistan chapter of HRW’; and again: “Would love to see you some day in Pakistan.” These are naked threats and should be stopped NOW.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, columnist Haroon Rashid has alleged in an article in Dunyathat Imran Khan has in his possession a document belonging to a British judge which quotes Asma Jahangir as having said something inappropriate. Whilst they have not shown the document as proof, could they at the very least name the judge please? And also tell us how the document came into Khan’s possession?

Might I end by saying that all political forces in favour of timely elections must get together to fight back the nefarious plan hatched by Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan to bring the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) into question? From what I know the ECP has been constitutionally formed, is in good hands, and there the matter should end.

Incidentally, the PML-N’s dharna was a step in exactly the wrong direction. What memorandum did it want to give the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) for God’s sake? After all, the party had an input in the CEC’s appointment. There the matter should end.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2013.

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