Friday, December 27, 2013
A Bahraini court has acquitted two police officers, including a Bahraini princess, who were on trial for torturing doctors while in detention during political turmoil in the Gulf Arab island kingdom in 2011, a lawyer and an activist said on Friday. Sheikha Noura bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa was one of the two police officers acquitted by the court of appeals on December 23, Hameed Mulla, a lawyer for the doctors told Reuters by telephone from Manama. He said he plans to submit a request to appeal against the verdict for a second time. The government's Information Affairs Authority (IAA)confirmed Sheikha Noura was acquitted on Monday by the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court but did not say what charges she had faced or provide other details. It said the court upheld a previous acquittal verdict on July 1. Bahrain's ruling al Khalifa family includes hundreds of princes and princesses, many of whom hold jobs in the public sector. According to media reports, Sheikha Noura is about 29 years old. The alleged torture took place in 2011 when the U.S.-allied kingdom was convulsed by unrest following the start in February that year of mass protests led by majority Shi'ites demanding democratic change in the Sunni-led monarchy. Local media said the appeals court upheld the verdict due to lack of evidence. In January, Nawaf Hamza, head of the Public Prosecution's Special Investigation Unit, told Reuters that Sheikha Noura was charged with using "torture, force and threats against the victims Zahra al-Sammak and Kholoud al-Durazi to make them confess to a crime." She denied all the charges. An international human rights commission has said 35 people died during the unrest and two months of martial law that followed. The opposition puts that number at more than 80. The commission headed by prominent Egyptian-American jurist Cherif Bassiouni to investigate the unrest and abuses during martial law said security forces used widespread and excessive force, including torture, to extract confessions. The government says it has taken steps to address the brutality of security forces by dismissing those responsible and introducing cameras at police stations to monitor abuses. But activists say abuses continue and several police officers were acquitted by the court despite torture claims. Bahrain drew criticism from abroad for arrests of doctors and nurses during and after the uprising. Since March 2011, at least 60 health professionals have been tried and sentenced to jail terms of up to 15 years on charges including attempting to bring down the government, according rights group Physicians for Human Rights. Most appealed and the majority had their sentences reduced or quashed. U.S.-based Human Rights First said Bahrain needs to hold those responsible for abuses accountable. "It's sort of surprising that the authorities haven't pressed harder to secure convictions for those who tortured the medics," said Brian Dooley, of Human Rights First. "Bahrain's international reputation is dominated by the image of it being a place which tortured its doctors after they treated injured protesters, and then failed to punish those who ordered and carried out the torture." Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bahrain-court-acquits-princess-on-trial-for-torturing-doctors-2013-12#ixzz2ojzG9AIC
The police have staged a crackdown on protesters who took to the streets in Istanbul Dec. 27 to denounce the corruption and bribery allegations against the government over a graft probe that has shaken the country since last week. In scenes that were reminiscent of the nationwide Gezi protests, riot police fired tear gas and water cannons against a group of protesters who were attempting to gather in Istanbul’s iconic İstiklal Avenue in the Taksim area. Police also fired rubber bullets against protesters. Many ambulances and fire trucks were seen entering the pedestrian road following the crackdown. Daily Radikal reporter covering the protest was among those shot by rubber bullets. She is said to be fine and could continue reporting from the scene. Some of the protesters hurled fireworks and stones to the riot police officers. At least 31 people were detained, including three lawyers, the Istanbul Bar Association said.Footages and photos showed municipality workers closing the street cameras in the surroundings of the Taksim area ahead of the demonsration. Protesters, who gathered upon a call that spread via social media, urged the government to resign over the accusations that led to the resignations of three ministers. Protesters chanted “Everywhere bribery, everywhere corruption,” reminiscent of the slogan “Everywhere Taksim, everywhere resistance” that became the motto of the Gezi protests. They also shouted slogans as "Catch the thief!" in reference to the corruption allegations. Police chased protesters as they tried to escape from the narrow streets leading to the Cihangir neighborhood. The streets surrounding the area were affected by intense tear gas, reports said. Similar protests were held in Ankara and İzmir where police also resorted to tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. The sons of former Interior Minister Muammer Güler and former Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, who handed over their portfolios Dec. 26 after resigning, were among the 24 people who have been formally arrested under the corruption investigation.
http://dunya.com.pk/سابق صدر آصف علی زرداری نے پرویز مشرف کو بِلا قرار دے دیا۔ کہتے ہیں جب سے پاکستان بنا سیاسی قوتوں کو لڑایا جا رہا ہے۔ بِلا بھی آ کر دودھ پی جاتا ہے جب مرضی وزیراعظم کو گھسیٹ کر ہتھکڑیاں لگانا مذاق نہیں۔ نواز شریف کا ساتھ دیں گے، کمزوریاں بھی یاد دلاتے رہیں گے۔ گڑھی خدا بخش: (دنیا نیوز) بینظیر بھٹو شہید کی برسی کی تقریب سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے آصف علی زرداری کا کہنا تھا کہ بِلے نے جہاز کے اغوا کا ڈرامہ رچایا جیلوں میں ہی پتہ چل گیا تھا کہ فوج نے سب کچھ سنبھال لیا ہے۔ انہوں نے بِلے سے واپس آنے کا نہیں کہا تھا اب قانون دودھ پینے والوں سے پوچھے تاکہ آئندہ کسی کو ایسا کرنے کی ہمت نہ ہو۔ حکومت کی کامیابی کی خواہش کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے سابق صدر کا کہنا تھا کہ وزیراعظم نواز شریف کا ساتھ دیں گے، حکومت کو کمزوریاں بھی یاد دلاتے رہیں گے۔ سابق صدر کا کہنا تھا کہ غربت بھی طالبانائزیشن کی بڑی وجہ ہے ہمیں اس مائنڈ سیٹ کے خلاف بھی لڑنا ہو گا۔
In a fiery speech at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh to mark sixth death anniversary of his mother Benzair Bhutto on Friday, patron-in-chief of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari declared war against Taliban militants while announcing the start of his political career. He also indicated that his two sisters, Asifa and Bakhtawar will also participate in practical politics before next elections, scheduled to be held in 2018. Accepting that the path he has chosen was full of dangers, Bilawal, in an obvious reference to the tombs of his mother and grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, said his destiny was “martyrdom and Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.” Besides criticizing his political rivals specially the government’s policy of negotiating with the TTP militants, he tried to reduce prevailing despair in traditional workers and jiyalas of the PPP. On behalf of his party, he suggested very strict conditions for dialogue, if any, with proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). They include surrendering arms, blood money for victims of terrorist attacks and respect for minorities among others. With a touch of ZAB’s style and enunciation of Benazir, the PPP patron-in-chief eloquently used Urdu in his speech to the surprise of many. He used political chants and slogans along with poetry throughout the speech. “PPP is not a party of any landlord, industrialist, player or a mullah but it’s People’s Party.” Ruling out the notion that the PPP has changed, he said traditions do not change. “People’s Party is passion….its zeal and a tradition,” he added. Assailing ideology of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), Bilawal said the complicated issue of terrorism and extremism was not going to get resolved through sit-ins and long marches. “It’s not kids’ game of cricket which can be resolved through a magic bat,” he said in an obvious reference to Imran Khan. “Tsunami cannot be brought by pouring water in four lotas.” He said it will take several generations to resolve the issue of terrorism from the country. “Friends of terrorists are traitors,” he chanted. “Only by eradicating terrorism from society, Pakistan can become prosperous and peaceful,” he said, adding that People’s Party was standing in front of terrorists and blocking their way.
The Express TribuneFormer president Asif Ali Zardari did what everyone thought was impossible; he ensured the smooth transition of power from one democratic government to another, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Friday. He was addressing a mammoth rally in Garhi Khuda Bux that had gathered to commemorate his mother, Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary. Applauding the public for strengthening democracy in the May 11 elections, Bilawal said people took revenge of his mother’s assassination by siding with democratic forces. “We all should congratulate former president Zardari, who had spent 11 years in jail in support of democracy,” he stressed. Commenting on PPP’s performance in the general elections, Bilawal said certain elements in establishment and judiciary didn’t want PPP to come to power. He went on to assure Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that PPP will stand by him if anyone tries to derail the democratic process. An almost frenetic Bilawal said “all of Benazir’s children will come into politics by the next elections.” Terrorism Bilawal said if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fights terrorists, PPP will be the first party to support him. Lashing out at Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Bilawal said the terrorist outfit killed Benazir and many other innocent people. He criticised TTP’s war against non-Muslims and said Islam teaches respect for all religions. Rejecting the link between growing extremism and drone strikes, Bilawal said Pakistan was a victim of terrorism before drone campaign started and that terrorist attacks will continue even if the campaign ends. He did however express confidence in the Pakistan Army’s eventual victory over the terrorists. With a few “mein bhaagi hun” chants and slogans chock-full of bravado, Bilawal wrapped up his speech, telling his jiyalas he was not afraid of death.
http://www.achievement.org/Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi, Pakistan to a prominent political family. At age 16 she left her homeland to study at Harvard's Radcliffe College. After completing her undergraduate degree at Radcliffe she studied at England's Oxford University, where she was awarded a second degree in 1977. Later that year she returned to Pakistan where her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,
The Express Tribune
A whole volley of distress and difficulties was hurled on the Bhutto family, valiantly borne by Benazir. She loved her workers and, in return, was dearly loved by them. No one can claim in the world the devotion she earned from the lower strata of societyWe will never forget December 27th’s gloomy, bloodstained sunset. On this day, in 2007, Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was ruthlessly attacked and eternally silenced by the horribly regressive mindset of this ill-fated society. Today we are remembering Benazir Bhutto — a Pakistani woman who was a lot more courageous than many men, brighter than many scholars and more visionary than all the politicians put together. She was a lady who put her life in danger and left behind her footprints, dyed in her own blood, for the guidance of Pakistani democrats. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had all along known of the threats to her life as well as the willingness of her spineless enemy yet we found her leaving a comfortable life abroad and standing among her own people in Pakistan, oblivious to the danger lurking around her, danger that eventually led to her unfortunate demise. In a heroic manner, she defied the idiosyncrasies of military dictators, coming out onto the roads not just once but twice in her life, to lead the public towards democracy, law and justice. She strengthened democracy with her continuous struggle, speeches, motivating international movements that culminated in her self-sacrifice. Just like her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir gave democracy a new lease of life with her blood. Six years have passed but the wounds this nation received on December 27, 2007 are still bleeding and the day is more distressing than before. The mindset that killed Benazir Bhutto still exists and continues to sow the seeds of hate and sectarianism in our soil. Her last words, in Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi, addressed to thousands of her followers, still echo in our ears. She said: “I put my life in danger and came here because I feel this country (Pakistan) is in danger. I want to see a prosperous, progressive and developed Pakistan.” On December 27, 2007, the people of Pakistan had found their acclaimed favourite leader among themselves and they were dreaming of an optimistic dawn in their country. They all wanted democracy because they knew that the true spirit of democracy guarantees all basic human rights. For the first time when Benazir Bhutto emerged in the sphere of Pakistani politics, she snatched the people’s rights from General Ziaul Haq, who had ensnared the whole nation with his lawlessness. He was an obnoxious dictator who had sown the roots of terrorism and extremism, dividing this nation into sects by making terrorist organisations. Zia is the benefactor of today’s militant outfits, which are slaughtering our troops and civilians in the name of religious sectarianism and ideological beliefs. The Woodrow Wilson Centre scholar and former parliamentarian of the PPP, Ms Farahnaz Ispahani, paying her tribute to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto said, “Bibi was loved by people of every creed, race, language and colour. From Parachinar to Karachi, she was the only voice of the oppressed people of Pakistan. She was, and is still, the symbol of the federation of Pakistan. Her demise has rendered the liberal forces of the country orphaned. She shall be remembered forever both for her painful suffering and stoic forbearance, bravery and struggle.” Shaheed Benazir Bhutto dedicated her life to Pakistan and its browbeaten people. Never did she compromise with the anti-democratic and fanatic mindset, which wanted Pakistan to be a core of radicalism and violence, in a state of rigidity. She continued her fight to prevent Pakistan from falling into the ruthless hands of militant terrorists. Throughout her life, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto faced all kinds of anguish with immense fortitude but nothing could keep her away from her great cause. From the narrow, dark torture cells of prison to Liaqat Bagh, each phase of life was evocative for the audacious Benazir. When hardships mounted, she morphed them into a book: “The summer heat turned my cell into an oven. My skin split and peeled, coming off my hands in sheets. Boils erupted on my face. My hair, which had always been thick, began to come out by the handful. Insects crept into the cell like invading armies. I tried pulling the sheet over my head at night to hide from their bites, pushing it back when it got too hot to breathe.” Despite these inhuman circumstances, we find this brave lady to be farsighted, bearing every pain — from the martyrdom of her father to the slaying of her two brothers. A whole volley of distress and difficulties was hurled on the Bhutto family, valiantly borne by Benazir. She loved her workers and, in return, was dearly loved by them. No one can claim in the world the devotion she earned from the lower strata of society. There was no iron curtain between her and her workers. The worker-leader relationship was ideal, based on love, care and respect. Hundreds of her followers manifested this by sacrificing their lives in Karsaz, Karachi on October 18, 2007, on her return to Pakistan after a prolonged departure. Even the gloomy tragedy of Karsaz could not discourage workers into leaving her alone as a result of which dozens were killed along with her on December 27, 2007. Neither the leader nor her workers were afraid of death. This mutual love between the leader and workers dominated any fear of death. On her coldblooded martyrdom, every eye wept and workers from all over the country beat their chests in agony. The grief and heartache witnessed was not only out of the ordinary but was on a national basis, from small villages and goths to all the large cities; from Chitral, Gilgit-Baltistan, Quetta and Parachinar to Karachi. Today is a dismal day in the history of Pakistan — all our hopes were ripped apart and our expectations were cruelly shattered but we can never forget Benazir because Benazir was indeed Benazir in name, in life and in her death. You think that you killed a legend, It is your dream, A dream of a fool, Martyrs never die, They live to doomsday.