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Shifting deadlines and cheerleaders of doom in Pakistani media – by Ayaz Amir

Star-gazing — for what it is worth
Islamabad diary

Ayaz Amir

As I have had occasion to mention before, Islamabad since its birth has been a city dedicated to nothing so much as intrigue and conspiracy. It has always been a dead city. But without the grist to its mills provided by conspiracy it would be deader still.

And March, no doubt because of the influence of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar — the one Shakespearean play most educated Pakistanis seem to have read — has a strange influence on the Pakistani mood. Ever since I entered the hallowed portals of journalism — and this was a good thirty years ago — I have seen March bringing forth its regular crop of stories about upheavals in the halls of government.

So it is this year, with any number of dedicated weathermen foretelling storm and thunder, and the twilight of this or that god, in the days that remain before ‘cruel’ April comes along — which in turn will give rise to more theories and the setting of more precious deadlines.

Eliot is another poet the educated Pakistani is familiar with, if only in brief and in passing. And it is his line — April is the cruellest month — which has a sharp impact on all veterans of the conspiracy trail. If March looks to be exciting, wait for the first week of April.

If conspiracy theories were our only headache it would be no great matter. Conspiracies are born and they die. But the lawyers’ movement and the subsequent rise of a judiciary assailed by intimations of greatness — I don’t know how else to put it — have given rise to the birth of a warrior class in the media whose swordsmen flatter themselves that it was they who got rid of Musharraf and they who, in tandem with the lawyers, installed and reinstalled their lordships on their exalted chairs of justice.

This is a narrative of self-assertion — history not so much written, much less revised, as history entirely self-invented. From this embellished account of the past, in which the fable-writers are the self-appointed heroes and the knights in shining armour, arises the conviction that those writing these tales are invested with the authority to lay down the parameters of the good and the bad. If there’s one thing we have been surplus in, it is self-righteousness. Now comes this added dimension. Not one amongst these knights would be elected a councillor in a local election. This does not stop them from thinking they must have the last word on how to run the Republic.

Adding to the pain-in-the-neck feeling is a total absence of a sense of humour. These reformers do not take themselves lightly. My sneaking suspicion is that if they had the power they would be little different from Muslim Khan of Swat or the other icons of the true path now scattered by the army’s advance.

Last September was set as the hour of the system’s demise by these cheerleaders of doom. After President Asif Ali Zardari sacrificed a few more black rams — I joke not — to ward off the evil eye, the deadline was pushed to October, then November. Winter was a winter of discontent for this crowd because the object of its affections, the President, just wouldn’t go away. Now the alarm clocks are set for March when much is expected to happen — bruising arguments over Swiss cases, a package of constitutional amendments, and, arising from these, fresh tensions between the executive and judiciary.

My take — and let there be egg on my face if I am out of sync with the prevailing winds– is more akin to what the great Faiz Ahmed Faiz once said about the state of the republic when asked as to what was likely to happen. Nothing much, he said. At least this line has the merit of mirroring the condition of the Pakistani soul. We yearn for things to be different. But we lack the capacity, or the will, to make this happen. Which makes us the children of the status quo, from whom it is foolish to expect any mad rush to the barricades.

In fact taking to the barricades is no longer an option in Pakistan. The working class is dead, all signs of life fled from its care-worn battalions. Pakistan’s students, the mass of them, are confused or they are under the sway of the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. Indeed, being confused and under the influence of the Jamiat amount to much the same thing. When the obituary of Pakistani education is written — and it shouldn’t be long before this task comes to the fore — the role of the Jamaat/Jamiat in bringing education to its knees should figure in a big way.

Those centres of education, like LUMS, which have some traces of idealism in them are too small to matter. What matters are the fortresses of reaction, such as the Punjab University and what was once such an open place, the Quaid-e-Azam University. And they, sadly, will not be taken out or reduced short of something like the army’s current manoeuvres in the tribal areas.

Thus, the only change possible in Pakistan is through palace intrigue or army movement (the two of course closely connected). But even palace intrigue requires a measure of audacity and, I suspect, that despite the revival of army confidence because of the success of its arms in Swat and Waziristan, the army’s hands are so full, and therefore tied, because of its military commitments, that the space which has traditionally permitted it, in fact encouraged it, to dream dreams of ambition and political glory is very restricted.

The desire for adventurism may be there and today’s generals would scarcely be mortal if the thought did not flit through their minds occasionally — occasionally? — that the politicians were again making a mess of things and the country would be better served if the army were to step in. But the circumstances are not propitious for fleshing out such thoughts.

The times are hard for the country. They are also hard for the army. And as our relationship today with the United States is more physical than anything else — thanks to the Afghan conflict we are locked arm-in-arm as never before — external sensibilities become a factor in domestic calculations like never before. Given the record of military rule in Pakistan, the Americans would have to be out of their minds to encourage or even countenance any notions of Bonapartism.

This leaves, to use a shorthand phrase, judicial activism. Their lordships are expanding the sphere of their influence but whether this leads to the kind of structure-threatening clash some of the media are talking about, and indeed eagerly expecting, is a matter of speculation.

It doesn’t help matters of course that we have a President on whose flak jacket every barb sticks, such is the reputation he carries. Ronald Reagan was called the Teflon president because nothing would stick to him. Here we have the opposite phenomenon. And it’s not just a matter of sticking. The President carries heavy baggage. There’s nothing make-believe about that.

But March may just bring about the miracle which can stabilise things. If the 17th Amendment goes, and the President not only bids farewell to his extraordinary powers but has the good sense to willingly acquiesce in this diminution of authority, he becomes a Rafiq Tarar or Fazal Ellahi Ch. If this were to happen — meaning thereby, that if the government has the collective wisdom to bring this about — the storm clouds abate and the focus shifts from the Presidency to the government and Parliament, as it should. In other words, the nature of the debate at once changes.

This will be bad news for the media warriors who are virtually frothing at the mouth about corruption and national cleansing. But it will be good news for Parliament and democracy. The political class will still face the challenge of improving its performance and getting down to the brass tacks of addressing the economic crisis. But that’s another story.

Email: winlust@yahoo.com

Source: The News, March 05, 2010

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  • Pakistan’s students, the mass of them, are confused or they are under the sway of the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. Indeed, being confused and under the influence of the Jamiat amount to much the same thing. When the obituary of Pakistani education is written — and it shouldn’t be long before this task comes to the fore — the role of the Jamaat/Jamiat in bringing education to its knees should figure in a big way. [Ayaz Amir]
    =======================

    How true!!!

    Vandalism and Vandals of Jamat-e-Islami and IJT.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/05/vandalism-and-vandals-of-jamat-e-islami.html

    As per The News International Dated, Tuesday, May 05, 2009:

    The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) submitted a resolution on Monday in the Sindh Assembly secretariat against the manhandling of journalists at the Karachi airport few days ago, allegedly by activists of a mainstream religio-political party. The resolution submitted by Amir Moin Pirzada and other MQM legislators before the Sindh Assembly secretary reads: “The incident occurred on May 2 at the Jinnah Terminal, Karachi. A number of journalists and reporters were beaten up brutally by activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). This only reflects the intolerance and hatred against the freedom of press by the JI, especially when ‘Freedom of Expression Day’ was observed just a day earlier. [1]

    As per The News International’s another news Dated, Tuesday, May 05, 2009:

    Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Munawwar Hasan, reflecting the party’s policy, declined to address the “Meet-the-Press” programme of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Monday in the wake of an acrimonious incident which took place on his arrival on Saturday night at the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport.[2]

    Now read the news above and below while keeping in mind the Quranic Verses which were kept in mind by the Vandal in Chief Mawdudi and other Vandals who succeeded him who founded this mob on the lines of these:

    1- And there may spring from you a nation who invite to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful. [The Family of Imran – III (Soorah Aal-e-Imran) Verse 104]

    2- Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah. And if the People of Scripture had believed it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil livers {The Family of ‘Imran- III (Soora Al-Imran) Verse 110}.

    3- They restrained not one another from the wickedness they did. Verily evil was that they used to do! {The Table Spread – V (Soora Al-Maida) Verse 79).

    A brief recent history of Jamat-e-Islami/IJT’s Vandalism:

    ‘IJT adventurism caused Rs1 million loss’ April 18, 2007 Wednesday Rabi-ul-Awwal 29, 1428 http://www.dawn.com/2007/04/18/nat37.htm

    LAHORE, April 17: Islami Jamiat Tulaba activists had not only disrupted the Pharmacy Festival 2007 at the Old Campus on Saturday last but also damaged valuables worth one million rupees, claim faculty and students of the Punjab University College of Pharmacy. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, college’s acting principal Prof Dr Bashir Ahmad, faculty members and students said the IJT activists had also used abusive language and thrashed faculty members, injured lecturer Zeeshan Danish and hurt a number of male and female students. The college students, wearing black dresses or black armbands as a mark of protest, said the college was celebrating the five-day festival from April 10. They said the festival involved many events like sport, exhibition of industrial units, pharmaceutical stalls, campaign against hepatitis, seminar on WTO as well as events marking the third anniversary of the college.

    They said the college had constituted different committees to organise all functions in a befitting manner. The students studying in different programmes were involved in various committees to assist the management. The IJT activists were also invited to assist the management for the smooth holding of the festival. The IJT, they said, had promised to extend full cooperation. Contrary to the understanding, they said, a mob of some 60 to 70 IJT activists entered the college forcefully at about 5.45pm on Saturday and used abusive language against the dean and principal, faculty members and college administration.

    The faculty and students alleged that the IJT activists immediately started smashing windowpanes of college offices, main hall and disrupted arrangements made by the contractor for the dinner, in which about 2,000 guests had been invited. They said the assailants damaged the entire crockery, candlelights and decoration pieces worth Rs350,000. Thereafter, the assailants entered the main hall decorated by the faculty and students. They alleged that the IJT activists also smashed a TV set, multimedia, computers, rostrum, a plasma screen, studio lights and sound system. The activists also unplugged by force high voltage electric wires that caused sort circuit. The university estate officer and security guards overcame the fire in half-an-hour.
    According to them, the worth of the damage was Rs1 million.

    Meanwhile, the activists pelted stones and bottles that caused injuries to some students, including girls. They also damaged the front screen of an air-chilling vehicle. The complainants said that they had brought the matter to the notice of the vice-chancellor and other varsity officials immediately. The police was called to control the situation. They said the IJT act had brought a bad name to the oldest seat of learning. Meanwhile, PU vice-chancellor Arshad Mahmood has condemned the IJT activists for their illegal activity and added that they were damaging the peaceful atmosphere of the university. He said that stern action would be taken against all those who had damaged the varsity property.

    PU registrar Prof Dr Naeem Khan said the varsity had identified some hooligans and would proceed against them under the law. He said an inquiry committee would be constituted in the light of initial fact-finding report. IJT: PU’s IJT Nazim Muhammad Ayub said that the Jamiat would never allow music and such functions on the campus. He said the pharmacy college faculty and students had invited singer Abrarul Haq and were going to hold a concert on Saturday evening. He denied that the IJT activists had thrashed any teacher or student and added that lecturer Zeeshan had faked the injuries. He said the activists had only torn down a banner besides smashing some windowpanes but denied having damaged varsity property.

    Mr Ayub said that the university administration should follow the PU calendar while organising functions on the campus. Lecturer Mr Danish said the IJT activists were making threatening calls to him. College student Ms Usama said the assailants had come to the college on three university buses. She said the girls had saved their lives by taking shelter in the common room. She said the IJT’s female activists had also created a conservative environment in girls hostels. “We are not allowed to enjoy music or hold birthday parties,” she claimed. —Staff Reporter

    Read as to how Jamat-e-Islami deal with their own supporters [e.g. Imran Khan i.e. with Iron Fist:

    Students rise for Imran, against IJT Unprecedented campus march By Mansoor Malik November 16, 2007 Friday Ziqa’ad 05, 1428 http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/16/nat6.htm

    LAHORE, Nov 15: A large number of Punjab University students on Thursday held a protest demonstration against Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) for its manhandling of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Chief Imran Khan. The event was unprecedented in the history of campuses in Punjab, which have been under the Jamiat’s rule for decades.

    Some 3,000 students, including girls, chanted slogans against IJT for over two-and-a-half hours. They started off from the University Law College and marched to all academic departments on the New Campus of the Punjab University as well as through hostel areas. They also held a massive demonstration in front of the vice-chancellor’s office. The protesters included a number of students who resigned from the IJT following its action against Imran Khan on Wednesday on the university campus. The students were carrying placards bearing slogans: “We, PU Law College students, resign en mass from IJT membership” and “Go Jamiat Go”. They also tore down Jamiat’s posters pasted on walls in the university. The students chanted “Imran terey jaanisar – Beshumaar beshumaar”, “Prime Minister of Pakistan – Imran Khan, Imran Khan”.

    Some students told Dawn that IJT leaders had threatened them with dire consequences for taking part in the anti-Jamiat demonstration. The protest march began at 11:30am, and on the way, groups of students belonging to various departments joined in. University teachers were also heard condemning Wednesday’s incident and supported the protesters on the campus.

    “This is unprecedented. Thousands of students have united against IJT and compelled them (the IJT activists) to run away from the university,” a teacher said. Some of the marchers tried to damage Jamiat’s office at the Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (ICET), an IJT stronghold. They were, however, prevented from doing so by their fellow protesters who pleaded for a peaceful demonstration.

    In fiery speeches made during the protest, the students lambasted those involved in Imran Khan’s manhandling. Law College’s Rai Kashif said he had resigned from IJT membership along with many other law college students and all of them were now protesting as Imran Khan’s jiyalas. He said on Wednesday a large number of students had turned up to join Imran Khan in his protest, but the Jamiat activists disrupted the meeting and facilitated Imran’s arrest after a clash with his supporters. He said the Jamiat had thus cheated and degraded the students. Speaking to the protesters in front of the VC’s office, Rao Samiullah said the students had stood up and would not allow the Jamiat activists to continue their ‘gundaism’ on the campus.

    Talking to Dawn, two girl students said they had become sick of IJT activists, “who were harassing students on the campus”. Rizwan, another student, said whosoever was working for the restoration of constitution would be welcomed in the university. “We support lifting of emergency and Imran Khan is a leader of progressive and modern Pakistan,” he said.

    The protesting leaders announced another demonstration on the law college ground at 9am on Friday (today). Meanwhile, PTI’s Lahore President Ahsan Shabbir visited the university and told students that Imran Khan was alright and he was thankful to the students, who were protesting in his favour on the university campus. He also invited the students to join the PTI protest in Barkat Market later in the afternoon. Talking to Dawn, PU Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan said Thursday’s protest was a proof that the university was alive and that all shades of opinion were represented here. He said the university administration understood the students’ anger, calling the protest civil society’s response to Imran Khan’s manhandling.

    APDM asks JI to stay away from protest By Our Correspondent November 16, 2007 Friday Ziqa’ad 05, 1428 http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/16/top7.htm

    SWABI, Nov 15: The Awami National Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf which are in the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) on Thursday asked Jamaat-i-Islami to stay away from their protest to be held here on Friday.

    Condemning the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba, the student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami, for helping police arrest Imran Khan, PTI provincial vice-president Asad Qaisar told Dawn that opposition parties would not hold a protest demonstration with the Jamaat-i-Islami whose student wing had tried to sabotage the anti-government movement. He said the PTI leader’s arrest was a conspiracy which had harmed the APDM.

    He said that all APDM parties, minus Jamaat-i-Islami, would continue their struggle for the restoration of the Constitution, lifting of emergency, independence of judiciary and unity of opposition against the government. He said the ANP and PML-N were aware of the fact that a conspiracy had been hatched to create differences among APDM parties.

    He said the leaders of the two parties had been informed about demonstration and the PTI’s decision. “They supported our point of view and agreed to keep Jamaat-i-Islami out of the protest.” Meanwhile, The Swabi Union of Journalist and Abaseen Union of Journalists held a protest camp here against curbs on the media. The protesters condemned the arrest of journalists. Leaders of various political parties visited the camp and expressed solidarity with journalists.

    Imran Khan’s arrest November 16, 2007 Friday Ziqa’ad 05, 1428 http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/16/ed.htm#3

    THE manner in which one of General Musharraf’s most vocal critics, Imran Khan, was arrested on Wednesday is highly questionable. Mr Khan, who escaped his home after being detained right after the emergency was imposed, came to Punjab University on Wednesday to mobilise students against the emergency. However, students of the Islami Jamiat-i-Tulaba, the student wing of the Jamaat-i-Islami, are said to have roughed up Mr Khan on his arrival, detained him in a classroom for 45 minutes before bundling him in a van which was handed over to the police. Mr Khan has been charged with several counts of disrupting public order, but more worryingly, he has also been booked under the anti-terrorism act. As head of his own political party, Mr Khan has the right to protest as well as mobilise people. He did not call for people to take the law into their own hands nor did he incite them to adopt violent means. Mr Khan joins a reported list of 5,000 people who have been detained since the emergency was imposed, of which very few can be described as terrorists. This double standard is not winning the government any votes. The government must pay heed to the growing resentment within the country, as well as international calls, to rescind the emergency and restore all fundamental rights.

    It is also important to take note of the IJT’s behaviour. The group has more or less terrorised the Punjab University for the last year or so, bullying the administration into taking certain decisions like shutting down the musicology department or disrupting cultural functions. The self-professed morality police seem to be upset that Mr Khan was invited to the PU campus without their knowledge, as if the university is their sole turf. This self-righteous attitude coupled with coercive force — similar to another fiery ethnic student group’s in Karachi — has never been taken to task by university administrations or the political leadership of the parties the student groups belong to. This time a JI leader has condemned the behaviour of IJT but it must be followed through by stern action against them. No student group should have a monopoly on campuses.

    Imran caught on the wrong foot By Asha’ar Rehman November 16, 2007 Friday Ziqa’ad 05, 1428 http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/16/op.htm#2

    BORN-again Muslims are not good enough for Islamists. The sorry drama enacted on the Punjab University campus in Lahore on Nov 14 should solve the mystery for those emerging from the sidelines to claim the command of a team of motivated students in whose selection and training they have played no part. Imran Khan came to the campus in the face of ‘stay-away’ warnings from Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba. He was pushed and shoved and insulted and thrown to the keepers not long after. Did the Jamaat-i-Islami leadership know what was about to happen or was it a personal initiative of their student wing to assail the idol? While the first possibility is highly unlikely in the case of ‘the most organised political force in the country’, in either case it is as dangerous an occurrence for the Jamaat as it is for Imran Khan and his Justice Party. For the Jamaat is nothing without its ‘likeminded’ allies.

    Before the brutal toss on the campus that landed Imran Khan in jail on Nov 14, he had done plenty in the last 15 years to be labelled as an enigma. For the pro-democracy purists, his biggest folly was his decision to join General Pervez Musharraf. Those, who boast of knowing the only way to the seat of power in Islamabad, say his real mistake was that he left the general too soon. For the apolitical the mere fact that he acted against their counsel to form a political party some ten years ago was an unpardonable act. Those who believed that the honest and the straight-talking should come forward to rescue Pakistan from the clutches of the corrupt, the incompetent and the insincere were happy to see him take the political plunge. Many among them were soon disillusioned by Imran’s sheer ability to lose those who gave his party a progressive look and indeed the appearance of a party rather than a one-man reform squad.

    Hamid Khan, who is in the vanguard of the fight for an independent judiciary today, was not so long ago an active member of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf as was Dr Pervez Hasan, an internationally known lawyer of standing. There were many other ‘new faces’ by his side, such as journalist and analyst Nasim Zahra for a brief period making rounds of newspaper offices in Lahore as an Imran lieutenant before, like Hamid Khan and Dr Pervez Hasan, she also turned away from a struggle from the Tehreek’s platform. The progressive dialogue Imran Khan had engaged himself in came to a halt as he made post haste to the Right. To the surprise of his early supporters who strained to see in him an alternative to the tried and sullied political leadership of the country, even as he sported this new image of his, the cricketing icon would still be known as a liberal face in Pakistani politics, not only anti-America, but liberal, with a special attraction for youth and the domestic and international media. That was an anomaly as big as an ‘alien who neither studied at the Punjab University nor taught there’ leading the student activists who owe their allegiance to the Jamaat-i-Islami.

    Sadly, it was written in Imran’s fate. A couple of days before he was scheduled to make his appearance at the Punjab University, hoping to court arrest amidst thousands of cheering students, the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba had warned him against the adventure. They had actually done the cricketing hero a great a favour by allowing him the benefit of a forewarning. Only three months ago the organised Islamists cadres had watched in silence as their ally and benefactor, Nawaz Sharif, suffered the ultimate ignominy a politician could ever face: returning home to a cold reception. Now it was the turn of another natural ally to experience the exemplary Jamaat discipline. Even after all the reverses that the all-rounder has undergone in the last decade and a half it hurts to see a rare hero being humiliated like Imran was on the Punjab University campus on Wednesday.

    Despite his political leanings, Imran of late was on course to restoring to himself the old aura, that of a guerrilla commander who relied heavily on springing surprises to make an impact. His ambushes during his playing days are part of Pakistani folklore. He excelled in catching his opponents napping by sending out a soldier – the Abdul Qadirs and the Salim Yousufs — up the order for rapid-fire action, saving his key men – the Miandads et al — for a later onslaught. He would opt to bowl when every expert in the game would be advising him to bat. The gamble often paid and it was a crucial element of his captaincy. He does not have the same kind of men at his command now and maybe not the same luck with the coin but he did show the spark of the past in managing to keep the policemen at bay for almost two weeks. The way he was trapped in the end is perhaps a sign for him that he is far better off returning to his old uncompromising ways. Who knows he might end up rallying groups of students to his cause. The secret, as always, lies in selecting and nurturing them on their own.

    Freedom doesn’t come easy By Ayaz Amir November 16, 2007 Friday Ziqa’ad 05, 1428

    This brings me to Imran Khan’s manhandling at the Punjab University, Lahore, by activists of the Islami Jamiat-i-Tulaba, the student wing of the Jamaat-i-Islami. Not only was he prevented from holding a demonstration and courting arrest, as he had intended, but he was seized and confined in one of the departments before being handed over to the police. Words fail me to describe this shameful incident. But Imran has not been diminished by it. He continues to stand tall. He is a brave man who has showed great courage during the post-martial law period. It is the Jamiat and its parent body, the Jamaat, which look small. Manhandling one of the few national heroes we have and then handing him over to the police: can anything be more despicable? But even in evil there can be some good. If May 12 exposed the true face of the MQM, Nov 14 has revealed the ugly face of the Jamiat and the Jamaat. Qazi Hussein Ahmed’s populist posturing had led many simpleminded souls to believe that the Jamaat had changed its spots. The incident with Imran dispels such illusions. The Jamaat remains wedded to an ideology suspiciously close to fascism, (which makes one wonder about the uses to which Islam has been put in this country). From Gen Yahya onwards it has worked as a handmaiden of our spook agencies, the dark forces who have always undermined democracy. As a matter of policy its student wing has practiced unabashed violence to promote its political ends. Indeed, when the definitive history of the collapse of Pakistani education is written, the Jamiat’s ‘danda-bardar’ (baton-wielding) tactics will figure prominently in it.

    References:

    MQM submits resolution against manhandling of journalists Tuesday, May 05, 2009 By our correspondent Karachi [1] http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=175887

    The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) submitted a resolution on Monday in the Sindh Assembly secretariat against the manhandling of journalists at the Karachi airport few days ago, allegedly by activists of a mainstream religio-political party.

    The resolution submitted by Amir Moin Pirzada and other MQM legislators before the Sindh Assembly secretary reads: “The incident occurred on May 2 at the Jinnah Terminal, Karachi. A number of journalists and reporters were beaten up brutally by activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). This only reflects the intolerance and hatred against the freedom of press by the JI, especially when ‘Freedom of Expression Day’ was observed just a day earlier. This House condemns the ‘atrocities’ of the said Party, and proposes stern action against the culprits.”

    Speaking to journalists at his chamber in the Sindh Assembly building, the MQM’s parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said he visited the hospital and inquired about the health of two journalists who sustained fractures. He said they were performing their professional duty when the activists allegedly attacked them by labelling them “agent of America, MQM, Awami National Party (ANP) and Jews.”

    He demanded that the provincial government, and especially the Sindh home department, take action against those involved in this “regrettable incident.” There is no need for an inquiry into the issue since CCTV footage of the incident is available, he said.

    JI chief abruptly declines to address KPC programme Tuesday, May 05, 2009 By Shamim Bano Karachi [2] http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=175893

    Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Munawwar Hasan, reflecting the party’s policy, declined to address the “Meet-the-Press” programme of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Monday in the wake of an acrimonious incident which took place on his arrival on Saturday night at the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport.

    This was Hasan’s first visit to Karachi after taking oath as JI Ameer. A large contingent of media personnel was present at the airport on Saturday night for the coverage of his arrival. Supporters of the JI, Pasban, and Shabab-e-Milli were also there to receive him when some journalists were reportedly manhandled by JI activists.

    JI spokesman Sarfaraz Ahmed told The News that “some misunderstanding” took place between journalists and JI activists. “We apologised to the media people,” he said.

    The “Meet-the-Press” programme on Monday, however, was turned into a protest rally of the media outside the KPC, as media personnel reacted strongly to “the attitude of the JI.” Meanwhile, the KPC notice board stated that Hasan’s ‘Meet-the-Press’ programme was postponed “due to some unavoidable circumstances.”

    The JI spokesman, on the other hand, contended that the JI Chief had to pull out of the programme due to the “disrespectful attitude of the media.” It may be mentioned here that this was for the first time that a guest refused to participate in the press club programme.

    Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was also to address the ‘Meet-the-Press’ programme on Monday. His talk could not materialise either, because he was not allowed to board the Karachi-bound flight from Lahore after the Sindh government had banned his entry into the province. The ban was later lifted after the intervention of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

    For Further Reading on Vandalism of Jamat-e-Islami:

    Mawdoodi and Jamat-e-Islami Part – 1

    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2008/10/mawdoodi-and-jamat-e-islami-part-1.html

    Mawdoodi and Jamat-e-Islami Part – 2

    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2008/10/mawdoodi-and-jamat-e-islami-part-2.html

    Mawdoodi and Jamat-e-Islami Part – 3

    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2008/10/mawdoodi-and-jamat-e-islami-part-3.html

    Mawdoodi and Jamat-e-Islami Part – 4

    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2008/10/mawdoodi-and-jamat-e-islami-part-4.html