All posts by americansforpakistan

New Film Documents a Decade of Women’s Empowerment in a Punjabi Village

In 1999, no girl was permitted to receive an education in Thathi Bhanguan, a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Today, that has changed.

Decade, a new film by Atif Ahmad Qureshi and Muhammad Iqbal Akram, chronicles ten years of cultural and political development in Thathi Bhanguan, as attitudes and perceptions towards women evolved through the persuasive efforts of the village women themselves.

Text of the ‘Islamabad Long March Declaration’

Following decisions were unanimously arrived at; having been taken today, 17 January 2013, in the meeting which was participated by coalition parties delegation led by Chaudry Shujaat Hussain including:

1) Makdoom Amin Fahim, PPP

2) Syed Khursheed Shah, PPPP

3) Qamar ur Zama Qaira, PPPP

4) Farooq H Naik, PPPP

5) Mushahid Hussain, PML-Q

6) Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM

7) Babar Ghauri, MQM

8) Afrasiab Khattak, ANP

9) Senator Abbas Afridi, FATA

With the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) and chairman Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.

The Decisions

1) The National Assembly shall be dissolved at any time before March 16, 2013, (due date), so that the elections may take place within the 90 days. One month will be given for scrutiny of nomination paper for the purpose of pre-clearance of the candidates under article 62 and 63 of the constitution so that the eligibility of the candidates is determined by the Elections Commission of Pakistan. No candidate would be allowed to start the election campaign until pre-clearance on his/her eligibility is given by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

2) The treasury benches in complete consensus with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) will propose names of two honest and impartial persons for appointment as Caretaker Prime Minister.

3) Issue of composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan will be discussed at the next meeting on Sunday, January 27, 2013, 12 noon at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Secretariat. Subsequent meetings if any in this regard will also be held at the central secretariat of Minhaj-ul-Quran in Lahore. In pursuance to todays’ decision, the Law Minister will convene a meeting of the following lawyers: S. M. Zafar, Waseem Sajjad, Aitizaz Ahsan, Farough Naseem, Latif Afridi, Dr Khalid Ranja and Hamayoun Ahsan, to discuss these issues. Prior to the meeting of January 27, the Law Minister, Mr Farooq H Naek, will report the results of this legal consultation to the January 27 meeting.

4) Electoral Reforms: It was agreed upon that the focus will be on the enforcement of electoral reforms prior to the polls on:

A. Article 62, 63 and 218 (3) of the constitution

B. Section 77 to 82 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act 1976 and other relevant provisions relating to conducting free, fair, just and honest elections guarded against all corrupt practices.

C. The Supreme Court Judgement of June 8, 2012 on constitutional petition of 2011 must be implemented in Toto and in true letter and spirit.

5) With the end of the long march and sit-in, all cases registered against each other shall be withdrawn immediately and there will be no acts of victimisation and vendetta against either party or the participants of the march.

This declaration has been entered into in a cordial atmosphere and reconciliatory spirit.

Signatories of the declaration

Prime Minister of Pakistan Chairman Pakistan Awami Tehreek

Raja Pervez Ashraf Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

Leader of the delegation and former Prime Minister Law Minister
Chaudry Shujaat Hussain Farooq H Naek

Makdoom Amin Fahim, PPP

Syed Khursheed Shah, PPPP

Qamar ur Zama Qaira, PPPP

Farooq H Naik, PPPP

Mushahid Hussain, PML-Q

Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM

Babar Ghauri, MQM

Afrasiab Khattak, ANP

Senator Abbas Afridi, FATA

 

Open Letter From Concerned Pakistani-Americans On Anti-Shia Violence

The following is an open letter received from Pakistani-Americans expressing condemnation of the ongoing threat to Pakistan’s Shia community from militant groups including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and calling for “a concerted, nationwide campaign to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those responsible for anti-Shia violence.” While Americans for Democracy & Justice in Pakistan supports the rights of all religious communities to live in peace and security, the letter reflects a personal statement by the signatories and is made available here for informational purposes only.  For more information or to be added as a signatory, please email warishusaindawn@gmail.com.

To Whom It May Concern:

We would like to express our strong condemnation of the brutal killing of over eighty innocent civilians in the January 10, 2013 terrorist attacks in Quetta, Pakistan, conducted by the Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) organization. We call on the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of these and other terrorist attacks against Pakistan’s Shia Muslims.

The attacks this Friday are the latest in what is a persistent and murderous campaign against Shia Muslims across Pakistan waged by the LeJ and its partners. Approximately 400 Shia Muslims were killed by the LeJ and its allies in 2012, according to Human Rights Watch. The anti-Shia violence in Pakistan has not been restricted to a single ethnic group or region. In recent years, it has included:

  • the siege and killings of Shia Muslims in the Kurram Agency;

  • the targeted killings of Shia Muslim professionals in Karachi as well as Hazara and non-Hazara Shia Muslims in Quetta;

  • the mass murder of Shia Muslim pilgrims in Balochistan and Gilgit; and

  • large terrorist attacks against Shia Muslim processions in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Rawalpindi.

According to international conventions and customary international law, these constitute genocidal acts perpetrated by terrorist groups like the LeJ.

With Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s visit to Quetta and the imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan, there are indications that the Government of Pakistan (GoP) is attempting to take action to protect the area’s Shia Muslim community. But an all-of-government and all-of-Pakistan approach is necessary to stem the tide of anti-Shia violence, which has hit every corner of the country.

A concerted, nationwide campaign to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those responsible for anti-Shia violence is necessary. Such a campaign must be conducted under civilian command by the GoP, provincial governments in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh, and authorities in Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, with the full support of the army, intelligence agencies, judiciary, and police. It must coincide with a broader effort to improve the prosecution of alleged terrorists, including the institution of witness protection programs.

Inaction by the federal and provincial governments and other arms of the state has enabled the LeJ threat to metastasize. The GoP must reverse course and fulfill its responsibility to protect its citizenry. Similarly, Pakistani journalists, military officials, politicians, religious leaders who have either supported anti-Shia organizations or have shied away from explicitly condemning them, must recognize the collective costs of complicity or silence and reverse course.

We are encouraged by the peaceful sit-ins that have taken place in cities such as Quetta, Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore, where thousands of Pakistanis have braved the cold to protest against the murderous campaign against Shia Muslims. We are heartened to see support from a broad segment of Pakistanis, transcending ethnic, regional, and religious boundaries. And we hope that the civic unity displayed by Pakistan’s Shia and Sunni Muslims, Christians, and others serves as permanent bridges that lead to a more peaceful and progressive Pakistan.

But a strong civil society cannot make up for weak government resolve in combating the rising tide of terror. The GoP must take decisive action to stop the genocidal campaign against Pakistan’s Shia Muslims. The LeJ, which has allied with al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan, is not only an existential threat to the country’s Shia Muslims, but to all Pakistanis.

 We close with the words of German pastor Martin Niemöller, who warned of his countrymen’s indifference to the Nazi threat:

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

 

Sincerely,

 

Concerned Pakistani Americans

 

Waris Husain, Writer/ Attorney

Manzur Ejaz, Writer/Economist

Mohammad Taqi, Writer/Academic Physician

Arif Rafiq, Adjunct Scholar, Middle East Institute

Omar Ali, MD, Writer/Academic Physician

Beena Sawar, Journalist/Documentary Filmmaker

Ayaz Muhammad Khan, Virginia

Zaid Jlani, Journalist/Activist

Raakin Iqbal, Architect/Producer

Four Pakistanis Make Top 100 Global Thinkers List

Pakistan's Top Global Thinkers of 2012

Foreign Policy published its list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers this week, reflecting on people whose ideas had global ramifications during the past year. Four Pakistanis made the list this year – Malala Yousafzai, Husain Haqqani, Farahnaz Ispahani, and Sana Saleem. Each was selected for their efforts in promoting and defending freedom and justice in a nation struggling to reconcile conservative religious values with an increasingly interconnected modern world.

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s message supporting Malala Yousafzai

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon adds his voice to the messages from over 1 million people across the globe.

Text of the Secretary-General video message in support of Malala Yousafzai and Girls’ education:

Malala Yousafzai is a global symbol of every girl’s right to an education.
On November 10th, citizens from across the globe are speaking out for Malala and on behalf of the 61 million children still not in school.
My Special Envoy for Global Education, Mr. Gordon Brown, will deliver a petition in support of Malala and the universal right to education. I am adding my voice to the messages from over 1 million people across the globe.
Education is a fundamental human right. It is a pathway to development, tolerance and global citizenship.
Join us in our campaign to put education first — for Malala and girls and boys throughout the world.