Original Articles

This is how Sherry Rehman backstabs the Baloch cause

Pakistan’s urban elites (fake liberals) promote Sherry Rehman as a champion of human rights.

Editor’s note: In the past, LUBP has been castigated for having the nerve to critisize Sherry Rehman.  The latter represents everything that is held dearly by Pakistan’s educated pseudo-liberal chatteratti: glamourous, opportunistic and a disdain for the masses whilst mantaining a facade of pretending to care.  While Shaheed Mohtarma was alive, it was her who directed Sherry to use her communication skills towards the benefit of PPP and Pakistan. However, after her death, Sherry has repeatedly stabbed PPP in the back.  In 2009, she ditched PPP due to pressure from her media collegues.  They wanted her to support an anti-democratic, Islamofascist, Pro-Rape, Pro-Jihadi bureaucratic pressure group and she complied. In 2010, LUBP was abused and attacked for publishing a critique of a petition that supported Sherry when she once again went against PPP  in supporting a media conglomerate powerhouse.  In 2011, Sherry and pro-establishment journalist, Nasim Zehra used the Citizens for Democracy platform to bash PPP which was reeling from the murder of PPP Punjab Governor, Shaheed Salman Taseer.  Just months later, Sherry’s Jinnah Institute published a Pro-Taliban policy paper which makes a mockery of the claim that Sherry is the leading progressive amongst the PPP.  We wonder if she will be held to account by her media friends for her insensitive remarks for the Baloch.

Related posts: Some gems from Declan Walsh’s article promoting Sherry Rehman

Where Ansar Abbasi and Mosharraf Zaidi converge: “PPP killed Sherry Rehman’s bill”

Adil Najam and his pseudo-liberals’ outpouring of sympathy for Sherry Rehman – by Sarah Khan

 

In a previous post, we highlighted how elite media as well as elite human rights groups (e,g., HRW, HRCP) are unduly and dishonestly presenting and promoting Sherry Rehman as a champion of human rights.

The elite media is a term used to describe newspapers, TV channels and other media that influence the political agenda of a powerful elite. According to Noam Chomsky, “[t]he elite media set a framework within which others operate.” The term denotes a structural position within the mass media, however, it is equally applicable to NGOs (so called rights groups, civil society etc) which too act on specific economic or political agendas to promote perspectives and interests of the powerful elite.

Ambassador Sherry Rehman’s recent statement on the state of human rights in Balochistan and the US Congressional Hearing on this issue may serve as an eye opener to those who had some iota of trust in her human rights credentials. (For a balanced analysis of the Balochistan hearing, read Mureed Bizenjo’s post.) In view of her condemnation of Baloch nationalists and shameless defence of a brutal military establishment, Sherry Rehman can be safely placed in the league of Rehman Malik, Babar Awan, Sharmila Farooqi and other apologists of Pakistan army who are firmly rooted within the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Ambassador Rehman must note that Pakistan cannot continue to conduct a genocide in Balochistan in the name of integrity or sovereignty. She may wish to review the documentary that Al Jazeera has made about Balochistan.

According to Sherry Rehman: “The government is strongly committed to protecting the fundamental rights and freedom in all parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan, and has initiated an extensive programme of constitutional and other reforms to empower all citizens in the continuing consolidation of democracy”. For starters, what good is “democracy” for the Balochs when they are devoid of the right to free speech and even the most basic necessities of life, like food, water, shelter etc. This also includes the natural gas exploited from Balochistan which is abundantly delivered to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad but is not available to a large number of the Balochs. How can Ambassador Rehman claim that Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan when it is a known fact that Balochistan was illegally annexed by the Pakistani State post-Partition, and that the government blatantly refuses to provide the Balochs their basic human rights and due share of resources?

“Pakistan is a democracy conducting itself in accordance with the international law.” This is the joke of the year!

Why is Ambassador Rehman worried if issues related to human rights violations are being investigated during the congressional hearing? Is it not true that Balochistan has escaped international media and scrutiny while a most abject repression has been launched against the people there with the security agencies conducting a reign of murder with impunity.

Sherry Rehman’s proclamation “Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan” cannot hide the fact that Pakistan army is responsible for hundreds of extra-judicial murders of Baloch nationalists since 1947, particularly since 2006 when Nawab Akbar Bugti was target killed on direct orders of former army chief General Musharraf.

Here is how Ambassador Rehman’s statement on the Balochistan hearing was reported in Pakistani press:

US congressional hearing on Balochistan ‘ill-advised’ move: Sherry Rehman

WASHINGTON: Taking a strong exception to a United States Congressional hearing on Balochistan this week, Pakistan has termed it an “ill-advised” move that would be detrimental to the trust between Pakistan and the United States of America.

A Pakistan Embassy spokesman in Washington said that Pakistan’s Ambassador Sherry Rehman raised the issue of an exclusive hearing on Balochistan by US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in her meetings with the members of congress and senior officials of the US administration.

According to the spokesman, Rehman said that the government of Pakistan strongly rejects the purpose and findings of the hearing and considers it an “ill-advised and ill-considered” move that will have serious repercussions for Pakistan-US relations.

“Balochistan is an integral part of the Pakistan,” the ambassador said. “Pakistan is a democracy conducting itself in accordance with the international law.”

Sherry said that the elected parliament, the Balochistan assembly, the independent judiciary, a vigorous media and a thriving civil society are avenues for expression and seeking redress of political and economic grievances.

“The government is strongly committed to protecting the fundamental rights and freedom in all parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan, and has initiated an extensive programme of constitutional and other reforms to empower all citizens in the continuing consolidation of democracy,” she said.

She said that the hearing was marked by a “blatant disregard for the history of the issue and manipulated selective facts”.

“It is deeply regrettable that the legislature of a country that calls itself a friend of Pakistan allowed itself to be used as a platform for advocating the dismemberment of Pakistan and provided justification to terrorists attempting to hold Balochistan, and Pakistan, hostage,” the envoy said.

“Pakistan views this hearing with a serious concern and considers it unacceptable. “This kind of an exercise constitutes interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. The hearing will be detrimental to mutual trust and confidence,” the envoy said. (Express Tribune)

Sherry Rehman condemns US hearing on Balochistan

WASHINGTON: Taking strong exception to a controversial Congressional hearing on Balochistan this week, Pakistan has termed it an ill-advised move that would be detrimental to building trust between Pakistan and the United States.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman raised the issue of an exclusive hearing on Balochistan by a House Foreign Affairs sub-committee in her meetings with the members of the Congress and senior officials of the US administration, said a Pakistani official on Friday.

Ms Rehman said Islamabad strongly rejects the purpose and findings of the hearing and considers it an “ill-advised and ill-considered” move that will have serious repercussions for the bilateral relations.

The government has a strong commitment toward protecting fundamental rights and freedom in all parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan, she added.

“Pakistan views this hearing with serious concern and considers it unacceptable in no uncertain terms. This kind of an exercise constitutes interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. The hearing will be detrimental to building mutual trust and confidence and will add to suspicions in Pakistan about the US motives in the region and concerning Pakistan,” the envoy said. ( Dawn / AFP)

Specimen of promotion in media

Here are a few examples of how elite media within and outside Pakistan promotes Sherry Rehman as a champion of human rights.

Washington Post

Islamabad appoints rights activist as US ambassador after scandal claims predecessor

The government appointed a liberal lawmaker and rights activist as its U.S. ambassador Wednesday, swiftly replacing an envoy who was forced out amid allegations he sought Washington’s help in trying to rein in Pakistan’s powerful military. Sherry Rehman, who has faced militant death threats for speaking out against Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws often used to persecute Christians, appeared to be a candidate acceptable both to the army and the weak civilian government.

Ali Dayan Hassan, Pakistan director for Human Rights Watch, said the army would prefer a retired general “who would talk their talk in D.C.”

“Sherry is highly unlikely to do any such thing,” Hassan said. “But she represents someone everyone can live with, including the military. The civilian leaders are happy to take ownership of her, and she has resonance in influential and urban sectors of Pakistan.” (Source)

Dawn

Former federal information minister and human rights campaigner Sherry Rehman has been appointed Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States within 12 hours of Husain Haqqani’s resignation. In your opinion, will Sherry Rehman’s political portfolio make her a credible Ambassador to the US? (Source)

Express Tribune

Indeed, in 2009, he (Zardari) had asked her to resign from the information ministry during the heat of tensions with a media group. She switched her imaginative talents and employed the hardworking tenacity to build up a think tank. The Jinnah Institute that she had established took no time to get registered by relevant quarters. As a lightening rod of the same think tank, she remained active on track II as well to find out ways of establishing peace with India and seek a doable strategy to deal with Afghanistan. Her vocal stance on women-related issues, diligent working for some women-empowering legislation and above all her efforts to inject sanity in blasphemy laws augmented her credentials. (Nusrat Javeed in Express Tribune)

Human Rights Watch

KenRoth Kenneth Roth
New #Pakistan ambassador to US @sherryrehman has strong rights background–probably not what ISI would have wanted. wapo.st/rQidUl

KamranShafi46 Kamran Shafi
@KenRoth Yes, but she will not speak on Balochistan

AliDayan Ali Dayan Hasan
Rights campaigner @SherryRehman’s appointment as #Pakistan’s ambassador to DC is a “welcome development” says @HRW ’ bit.ly/rHNzSK

AliDayan Ali Dayan Hasan
While the military will now seek greater influence over #Pakistan’s US policy, @sherryrehman- a progressive democrat will seek to temper it

AliDayan Ali Dayan Hasan
@SherryRehman as #Pakistan ambassador to the US suggests that the military has failed to assume complete control of Pak-US relations.

AliDayan Ali Dayan Hasan
All those who struggle for human rights and civilian supremacy in #Pakistan owe both @sherryrehman and @husainhaqqani a debt of gratitude

AliDayan Ali Dayan Hasan
#Pakistan needs rights-defenders such as @sherryrehman and @husainhaqqani in leadership positions. Congratulations Sherry.

ijazkhan Ijaz Khan
@AliDayan @SherryRehman @HRW Wow Really? We need to keep the difference between politician even if struggling for rights & a rights activist

Elitist Awards
As a logical outcome of her promotion by elitist media and NGOs, Sherry Rehman has received a number of awards.

  • In January 2009, she was hailed “Democracy’s Hero” in a report of the International Republican Institute as a result of her close association with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s campaign for democratic rule in Pakistan. However, the reference received mixed coverage in Pakistan.
  • In the same year, Rehman was also named among the “100 Most Influential Asians” by UAE magazine, Ahlan.
  • The March 2011 issue of Newsweek Pakistan ranked her on its cover as “Pakistan’s Most Important Woman”.
  • Foreign Policy magazine has identified Rehman as one of 2011’s Top Global Thinkers. (Source)

About the author

SK

14 Comments

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  • ansarim Muneeb Ansari
    Amb @sherryrehman, did you watch? You’re saying @CChristineFair, @AliDayan “provided justification to terrorists”. Rly? bit.ly/wT2a90

  • Stop dirty propaganda about the only sane voice left in the PPP.

    An open letter to President Zardari — I —Shahid Saeed

    You and your party isolated Salmaan Taseer and Sherry Rehman. Babar Awan, Khursheed Shah and all others who said that the just stance of Taseer and Rehman was not the party position, fed Taseer to the dogs

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201118\story_8-1-2011_pg3_6

    Select a few mild, calculated and efficient politicians, a Raza Rabbani and SherryRehman.

    http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/05/grab-the-reins-of-power.html

  • This man (Ibrahim) was seen a few days ago praising Husain Haqqani as the only hope for human rights and democracy in Pakistan.

    Now he is a bit disappointed:

    IbrahimMalick Ibrahim Sajid Malick
    Pl don’t disappoint us Sherry Rehman “@etribune US congressional hearing on Balochistan ‘ill-advised’ move tribune.com.pk/story/334449/u… #Pakistan”

  • Asif Faruqi @asiffaruqi
    @sherryrehman Please update us on the role now being played by the Pakistani Embassy in Dr.Afia’s case

    Nasim Zehra @NasimZehra
    @asiffaruqi @sherryrehman Watch Ambassador Sherry Rehman’s exclusive interview with Dunya News at 10pm tonite

  • i think we should question why prime minister and the president appointed such a person to office?
    Criticizing Ms Rehman is not enough. Sayin that she doesnt support Baloch rights is also not the full truth. By adopting this narrative we actually support the state narritive on Balochistan. Because its not Ms Rehman who decides the policy of Balochistan in Islamic Republic. The failure is not at her part as such, ill beg to say. The failure is at the level of president and primeminister who fail to bring a peoples perspective on Balochistan at state level. Instead they adopted the state narrative, which is being followed by the government officials.
    I dont think Ms Rehman has said anything comparable to what interior minister Mr Rehman Malik keeps on saying.
    we cannot single out people because when we do so we give state the free hand. It was the job of PPP government to weaken state control on Balochistan. Instead they became collaborators by act of omission.
    This failure cannot be put on a single person because than its scapegoating

  • Apparently LUBP has published a number of critical articles on Zardari, Gilani, Rehman Malik, Babar Awan etc.

    Why should be Sherry Rehman spared from criticism is beyond my understanding.

    And of course, there are more anti-security establishment posts on LUBP (on Balochistan and other issues) than any other Pakistani blog or mainstream media.

    ———-

    @iamthedrifter Ayesha Siddiqa
    why don’t sherry rehman resign 4 the Baluch as she did for GEO? http://tribune.com.pk/story/334449/u/ via @etribune

  • the president, pm appointed Hussain Haqqani. If you think Sherry is their first choice, you are living in la-la land. I suppose if the President, PM were also English medium types who never suffered for their association with PPP, it would be wrong to critisize them. What proof that sherry supports the Baloch cause? has she protested against Shia killings? or the murder of Pashtuns by Taliban.

  • I haven’t seen LUBP posting articles against Zardari, Gilani or Malik in the way they post against Sherry. Though I always supported their articles against terrorism and persecution of religious minorities but in this case, I just don’t agree with them.
    Ambassador is government’s representative. Ambassador’s statement is government’s statement. If you are against a statement of an ambassador, go criticize the government directly. You target a single personality all the time which is pathetic. This is not acceptble at all! Please stop this now!!

  • The question is is our problem Sherry Rehman or the Baloch oppression. If Sherry Rehman starts supporting Baloch as we want her to, will it end atrocities in Balochistan?
    No it will not. It means that we just want to criticize certain individuals for their ideology. It seems that we want them to behave in a certain way.
    This is not a very mature practice.
    As far as Mr Haqqani is concerned. Let us not forget he was also criticized on these pages for charges of being popular in fake liberals?
    this just isnt a valid cause for criticism. first choice , second choice or 100th choice , nevertheles our party appointed her and captain of the ship cannot escape responsibility.
    Sherry Rehan, Hussain Haqqnai are not revolutionary, they are elitist, liberal to varying degrees. weather Haqqani has a questionable past. Ms Rehan has a different back ground. But she is certainly not our type. But this shouldnt mean that we loose proportion. He stand on many issues was admireable, she criticized judiciary on Mukhtar Mai case and didnt minced her words. She said judges blackened their faces. She said that on floor of the house. She took a bold stand on blasphemy laws. Thats not easy thing to do. She didnt leave the party like Qureshi. Now we cant put a list of demands that she do A B and C.
    we shouls see what she has done. She is a fellow traveler, on certain things we agree with her or certain perspectives we disagree with her. Analysis should be proportionate. It should not paint people as absolute good or absolute bad

    Regarding Baloch and Shia , the behavior is not peculier to Ms Rehan. Its a generalized disease, people in our party are suffering from it, the so called civil society has this disease, our middle class in general has this disease.
    Lets not de-contextulize this very imp issue. because than we will be adding up to this problem.
    Pakistani state and large section of population is responsible for these attrocities.Lets take it that way, strategy should b made on this.

  • Miss Zahra
    though i can understand the frustration. idont think ur comment about LUBP is not fair.
    Because articles have been published criticizing Rehman Malik. Critical view on PM and President is also there , though i wish a more constructive and rigorous criticism is done. But nevertheless critical opinion is expressed.

  • Is the PPP a friend or a foe of the Baloch?
    February 11, 2012

    Posted by Malik Siraj Akbar

    Forget about Interior Minister Rehman Malik. The madness shown by Senator Raza Rabbani and Pakistan’s new ambassador to Washington DC, Sherry Rehman, over last week’s highly successful Congressional hearing on Balochistan reflects a very interesting fact: No matter how liberal some Pakistanis claim to be, their liberalism immediately transforms into hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of Balochistan. It is ironic that the same senator, Raza Rabbani, who was entrusted the Pakistan People’s Party the responsibility to address the Balochistan conflict by encouraging a peace process, has acted shamelessly on the floor of the Senate against some friends of democracy who have raised voice against the Baloch genocide. Both Mr. Rabbani and Ms. Rehman have done themselves a disfavor by showing us all what it actually means to be a liberal and democrat in Pakistan.

    Ambassador Sherry Rehman has truly disappointed all those people, particularly in America’s democratic institutions, by strongly condemning a proceeding in the US Congress which has called for the people’s right to self-determination. Does Ms. Rehman not believe in human rights? Does she have a problem with those who stand by the Baloch people and condemn those who exercise extra constitutional measures to weed out political process and curb fundamental freedoms?

    Why didn’t the PPP or liberals like Sherry Rehaman and Raza Rabbani have a problem when sixteen American scholars signed a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton seeking a fair trail for Husain Haqqani? A that point, we were told, Americans were the true friends and defenders of democracy because they were not raising voice for a Baloch activist but for a member of Pakistan’s liberal elite club. Nobody complained that Pakistan’s sovereignty was violated when Ambassador Haqqani was released on American pressure. Why should the Islamic Republic’s sovereignty be threatened now when pressure is being exerted in the right direction to stop human rights violations in Balochistan?

    What else should we conclude from the double standard of PPP’s phony liberals? Perhaps, Colonel (R) Ralpha Peters provided the right answer to the US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs: “In Pakistan… it is a democracy only as long as its military rulers allow it to be a democracy.” Thus, Mr. Rabbani and Ms. Rehman represent the same version of democracy. They have fooled the entire country of Pakistan by posing as champions of democracy when deep down in their minds resides a military mindset. They are as selectively democratic in their approach and the orders of their democracy are stretched as far as the red lines defined by the military. Otherwise, in Pakistan democracy is not more important than (what is always and exclusively defined by the military) the so-called national interest.

    The PPP still owes a logical justification to the Baloch people for the brutalities its founding father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, committed in 1970s. The Balochs have neither forgotten nor forgiven the PPP for removing the popular provincial government of National Awami Party (NAP) and then sanctioning a deadly operation against the Baloch. Today, the bulk of PPP leadership has voluntarily become a tool in the hands of the Pakistani army. Ambassador Rehman has overdone herself in terms of pleasing the army considering the tragic exit of her predecessor Mr. Hussain Haqqani.

    One thing is clear: Sherry Rehman is not Hussain Haqqani nor does she have his charisma and extensive network of friends and contacts in Washington DC. While siding with the camp of a military which carries out atrocities against unarmed civilians in Balochistan, she is inviting trouble and tough questions for herself in America’s think-tanks, media and all platforms where she will be invited to speak in the future. With limited experience of diplomacy, Ms. Rehman is almost committing diplomatic suicide in the West where no compromise is made on the issue of human rights. Rhetorical terms like ‘national honor’, ‘sovereignty’ or ‘internal matter’ only sound good as long as one is interacting with a Pakistani general or speaking on a private news channel of the country. In the west, the civilized world does not, as it must not, surrender before oppressors by just calling it as an internal issue of one country.

    With their immature reaction, the leaders of the PPP have further lost whatever trust and respect they had before the Balochs. Now, it is clear that the PPP does not even have an independent thought over Balochistan. The ruling party has just become a pawn in the hands of the army. The dominance of the army into the country’s polity was the root cause of the failure of the Mushahid Hussain Syed Parliamentary Committee and the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package. Hence, the PPP leaders have undermined their own credibility, leaving the Balochs more skeptical about the former’s mandate to talk to the Baloch leadership.

    Until the PPP liberates itself from urban elitism and anti-Baloch mode, will not have moral justification asking the Balochs to negotiate. People’s future lies with progressive and liberal people like the Balochs not the so-called champions of the national sovereignty. A country may survive while partly losing its sovereignty but it cannot survive when it loses its motherly status and respect in front of its citizens due to its repressive policies.

    http://gmcmissing.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/is-the-ppp-a-friend-or-a-foe-of-the-baloch/