Monday, January 21, 2019

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Young girl's tragic story makes her symbol of Yemen war

Buthaina Mansur al-Rimi's life has changed drastically since last year - orphaned in Sanaa, the little girl controversially ended up in Saudi Arabia for medical care and has just returned to Yemen's capital.

Her entire immediate family was wiped out in an air strike by a Saudi-led coalition that backs Yemen's government, using an explosive device Amnesty International says was made in the US. 

Images of Buthaina's rescue and a picture of her swollen and bruised at a hospital trying to force open one of her eyes with her fingers were beamed worldwide.
That international fame saw her become something of a propaganda pawn in the war between Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels and Saudi media.
In an interview with AFP, Buthaina and her uncle Ali - her legal guardian - recall the strike that killed her parents, four sisters, only brother and another uncle.


"I was in my mother's room with my father, sisters, brother and uncle," Buthaina tells AFP from rebel-held Sanaa, where she has returned from Saudi Arabia to live with Ali and her cousins.
"The first missile hit, and my father went to get us sugar to get over the shock, but then the second missile hit, and then the third," she says.
"And then the house fell," adds the little girl, who says she is eight.
It was the night of Aug 25, 2017.
The uncle who died was her "favourite", she says.
Along with her family, eight other civilians - including two children - were killed in a house nearby.

A few days later, the picture of Buthaina attempting to force open her right eye went viral.
The Saudi-led alliance admitted responsibility for the air strike describing it as a "technical mistake".
But it drew strong international condemnation.
In the week ahead of that strike, 42 people were killed in other air strikes, according to the United Nations (UN).
A month after her close family was wiped out, pictures of Buthaina appeared in Saudi media showing her being treated in Riyadh.
The circumstances surrounding her move from Sanaa to the Saudi capital remain unclear.
The Huthi rebels say Buthaina, her uncle Ali and his family were "kidnapped" by the coalition and taken to government-held Aden, before travelling onwards to Riyadh.
Saudi media said she was brought to the Saudi capital at the request of the internationally-recognised Yemeni government.
Although the Saudi government has never commented officially on Buthaina's case, pictures of her apparently boarding a private jet from Riyadh to Sanaa were published by the Al Riyadh newspaper on Dec 19.
The Huthis' Al-Masirah media outlet has published stories welcoming them back from the "grasps of Saudi Arabia".
"Eye of humanity exposes the enemy", ran one headline.
Mahdi Al-Mshat, head of the rebels' Higher Political Council, has ordered Buthaina and her remaining family be offered a home and salary, according to the rebels' Saba news agency.
Buthaina says she is looking forward to going to school for the first time.
Looking healthy, she sits on the floor of her uncle's home in Sanaa.
She plays alongside her cousins with a doll, braiding its hair.
"I want to go to school and become a doctor," she tells AFP, her own hair tied in a ponytail.
"I want the war to stop and for us to live in peace ... for the children of Yemen to live in peace," she says.

Her uncle, sitting behind her, nods.

Both the Huthis and the Saudi-led coalition stand accused by a UN panel of experts of acts that could amount to war crimes.
While the Huthis have been accused of widespread and indiscriminate use of landmines, the coalition has come under fire for air raids that have killed civilians, including children, in rebel-held areas.
Buthaina's return to her home city comes amid a ceasefire agreement in the lifeline port city of Hodeida - part of a peace push seen as the best chance yet of ending four years of devastating conflict.
It has been a long journey back home for the little girl, who became a symbol of Yemen's war.
Ali says that she still struggles with the loss of her family.
"She doesn't forget her mum and dad. She feels sad when she sees things that remind her of her parents or siblings ... or when she hears the songs her father used to listen to," he says.
"We tell her to hold on and that they are in heaven... and heaven is a beautiful place.
Ali says that Buthaina is his "flesh and blood" and considers her a daughter.
Holding back tears, he says: "When their house collapsed, I asked God not to deny me from seeing my brother again, but it's ok. Thanks to him, Buthaina stayed with us."
Yemen's war has killed nearly 10,000 people, including 2,200 children, according to the World Health Organisation, but other groups say the toll is far higher.


US’ Bernie Sanders slams Saudi’s Bin Salman

Veteran US politician Bernie Sanders has severely criticised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) and called for the international community to hold him accountable for his crimes.

Sanders – a former nominee for the US presidential elections – also criticised US President Donald Trump for supporting Bin Salman and describing him as a “reformer”. He also called for the US and the international community to hold the “despotic” Saudi regime accountable for its crimes.
In a tweet, Sanders wrote: “Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been hailed as a progressive reformer. But his track record of imprisoning, torturing and murdering activists begs to differ. It’s time that the US and the international community hold this despotic regime accountable.”
Sanders also spoke about the Yemeni crisis resulting from attacks by the Saudi-led coalition, labelling it the “worst human crisis in the world”.
In a historic move in December, senators supported a motion tabled by Sanders which called for an end to US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war.
The motion pointed out that the UN described the conflict, during which tens of thousands of people have been killed, as a dire humanitarian crisis which has left the country on the brink of famine.

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Obama puts out call for service on MLK Day: ‘Make a positive impact on the world’


Former President Barack Obama on Monday urged Americans to “make a positive impact on the world” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“I’ve always drawn inspiration from what Dr. King called life’s most persistent and urgent question: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Obama tweeted. “Let’s honor his legacy by standing up for what is right in our communities and taking steps to make a positive impact on the world.”
I’ve always drawn inspiration from what Dr. King called life’s most persistent and urgent question: "What are you doing for others?" Let’s honor his legacy by standing up for what is right in our communities and taking steps to make a positive impact on the world.

The former president spent a number of his Martin Luther King Jr. Days in office volunteering at local organizations in Washington, D.C.

I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King .Jr - #MLKDay

Video - #MLKDay - Martin Luther King's Last Speech: "I've Been To The Mountaintop"

Pak-China CPEC Project: Gwadar master plan delay upsets Chinese

Chinese companies have expressed their displeasure over delays in the approval of the Gwadar master plan of Smart city by the federal government despite passage of time, and warned that any extra cost due to delays in implementation will be borne by the Pakistan government.
The ‘Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan’ was prepared by two Chinese companies, China Communication Construction Company Limited and Fourth Harbor Engineering Investigation, at a cost of Rs521 million.
The companies started work on the project in 2017. It was completed in December 2018 and sent to the federal government for approval.
However, according to sources, the government has not yet taken any step so far for the approval of the plan, which is pending with the steering committee of the Planning and Development department for further decision.
The governing body of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) had already given approval of the plan for implementation.
“Chinese companies have expressed their reservation and displeasure over the delay in approving the plan by steering committee of the planning and development department. They have warned that in case of increase in the cost of the plan, the government of Pakistan will be bound to pay the extra cost,” a senior official privy to the developments said on condition of anonymity.
According to the official, any further delay in approval of the plan implementation would also have an adverse impact on several development projects of GDA.

Pakistan’s new chief justice is showing signs of an old habit – siding with the military


Chief Justice Khosa’s allegiance to the Bajwa doctrine can spell fresh crisis for Pakistan.
Last week, Pakistan’s Supreme Court got a new chief justice, Asif Saeed Khosa, but soon after the top judge took oath, he showed signs that he won’t be any different from his predecessors when it comes to rooting for the military.
The 26th chief justice of Pakistan indicated, at the farewell ceremony of outgoing chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar, that he too would follow the ‘Bajwa Doctrine’, a proposed move to limit the financial autonomy of Pakistan’s provinces.
Chief Justice Khosa’s allegiance to the doctrine – in his short tenure, which will end 20 December 2019 – may spell fresh crisis for Pakistan.

Belling the Bajwa doctrine

In March 2018, a few select journalists were invited to speak to Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in an unconventional briefing.
It was reported that General Bajwa wanted to do away with the 18th Amendment, passed unanimously by Pakistan’s national assembly in 2010, and bring in a more centralised system of governance.
Striking down the devolution of powers for provinces, this move would make federal authorities the sole in-charge, especially when it comes to allocation of financial resources.
General Bajwa believes that Pakistan owes its current economic downturn to provinces that are drawing too much money, and therefore forcing curbs on military spending.
So, the reversal of this amendment would also mean that the military will get an even bigger share from the federal budget.

Judicial support for army

Previous chief justices of Pakistan have been unable to do much when it comes to keeping a check on military power. In a recent hearing before his retirement, Chief Justice Nisar asked why the 18th Amendment was passed without a parliamentary debate. His argument is fallacious because there were several rounds of deliberations before parliament approved the amendment.
And, last week, taking a leaf out of his predecessors’ book, Chief Justice Khosa said: “Let us also discuss, without mincing words or feeling shy, the role of the armed forces and the intelligence agencies in the governance paradigm.”
He proposed that he would hold an inter-institutional dialogue, but worryingly suggested that the President of Pakistan should convene and chair this meeting that should be attended by the top parliamentary leadership, the top judicial leadership and the top executive leadership, including the military and intelligence agencies.
This is quite alarming given that Pakistan is a parliamentary system where the power lies with the Prime Minister.
What is more, Chief Justice Khosa suggested the gathering come up with a Charter of Governance—even though as per the Constitution, the onus lies on the parliament and provincial governments.
But such centralisation of power is anti-democratic and must be discouraged.
However, there is little chance of that happening since the central government’s spokesperson has already welcomed this controversial proposal by the new chief justice.
This is perhaps because the new government enjoys a thin majority in parliament and cannot reverse the 18th Amendment on its own. It may need an alternative platform of governance to do so.
The chief justice calling for a parallel governance structure only furthers the popular belief in Pakistan’s power circles that most of the economic woes the country faces today are due to provincial autonomy.
Chief Justice Khosa is undoubtedly taking a cue from General Bajwa’s words.

Provincial autonomy is not the enemy

Pakistan’s financial troubles can’t be entirely attributed to provincial autonomy. In fact, it has brought more democratic sustainability in the country. But it appears that once again Pakistan’s institutions do not want to operate within the constitutional framework.
This has resulted in ordinary citizens being controlled by a handful of non-democratic forces. It is time the country’s judiciary stopped this practice and instead focused on what it is meant to do: dispense justice.
There is currently a backlog of more than 1.8 million cases in courts across the country.
Pakistani citizens can be served better if judges focused on clearing pending cases instead of introducing non-democratic structures to run the country – for which they have no mandate.

The silver lining

Chief Justice Khosa takes over from Mian Saqib Nisar, who was criticised by most of the legal fraternity for his celebrity ways as he encroached upon everything legislative and executive.
Chief Justice Nisar also opted to be a tool used by the Pakistan military to settle political scores as witnessed in the case of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was removed over trumped up charges and is currently in jail. It is widely believed that Sharif is being punished for challenging the military.
However, it was a relief to hear Justice Khosa’s speech at the full-court reference in honour of the outgoing chief justice. The new chief justice announced that judicial activism in the form of suo motu notices would be used ‘very sparingly’.
Nisar, his predecessor, was criticised for issuing too many suo motos – which allow the courts to intervene in public interest matters – on frivolous issues, for the sake of self-promotion.
It is welcome to see that the highest office-bearer in the judiciary is willing to reassess his role in trying to ‘save’ the country through ‘activism’ and by correcting the wrongs, real or perceived, committed by the executive.
Chief Justice Khosa also boldly spoke on the issue of missing persons. He said enforced disappearances – allegedly carried out by the Pakistan Army – must be addressed.
He denounced it as being ‘offensive to the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to life and liberty’.
And so the big question for Chief Justice Khosa is: will he or will he not let governance prevail over the army?

#Justice4SahiwalVictims - #Pakistan - #ANP demands exemplary punishment for culprits involved in Sahiwal incident

Secretary General Awami National Party
(ANP) Mian Iftikhar Hussain expressing deep regret and over the Sahiwal tragedy Monday demanded of the government to make the responsible elements an example for others so that no other could dare to resort to such inhuman act in future.
In a statement issued here, he said that the government should take urgent matters to stop happening of such barbaric incidents in the country.
He alleged that daily many people were killed in fake encounters and later they were declared terrorists.

#Justice4SahiwalVictims - #Pakistan - The prime minister should ask for forgiveness over the Sahiwal incident: Khursheed Shah

PPP leader Khursheed Shah has termed the Sahiwal incident an inhumane act. He has demanded an apology from the ministers who called ordinary citizens terrorists.

Speaking to the media in Sukkur, he also said Prime Minister Imran Khan should ask the nation for forgiveness.

He lamented that provincial and federal ministers were making unfortunate statements on the incident in which four people were killed by the CTD. The CTD initially claimed they were kidnappers, later changing its statement to say they were terrorists.

In its latest statement, the department has said one of the two men killed was a terrorist, while the other three were used to cover his terrorist activities.

Shah said all the ministers who called the deceased terrorists should submit their resignations to the prime minister.

#Pakistan #Justice4SahiwalVictims - Who’s responsible for the CTD killings? - Moment of shame!

The Counter Terrorism Department’s (CTD) supposed intelligence-based operation in Sahiwal has proved, once again, that no matter how much money and training you can throw at the police department, it will stay one of the most incompetent, corrupt and abusive of power in the country. The exercise, right from the brutal killings to efforts at cover up – there have been at least four different versions of events from the CTD so far – to false accusations of links to terrorism and registration of a fake FIR, bears text book marks of a crime that everybody has seen the police commit time and time again.
And since the new video of the incident that came online Sunday evening clearly showed police officers moving three children out of the car before killing the rest of its occupants, in cold blood, one wonders what purpose the prime minister’s high-profile JIT will now serve. Also, do such investigations really need a JIT and ‘a report to be presented to the PM in three days’? How hard can it be to produce transcripts of official communication backing the department’s claims? And who ordered the killing, especially in such a brutal way?
This is not, of course, the first such incident. Yet there haven’t yet been any examples where culprits in the police department have been duly punished. How can it be that despite all the training CTD officials still do not understand that, even when apprehending real terrorists, it’s just not for them to pronounce who is or is not guilty, and then take people’s lives in targetted killings? Neither the PM’s tweet nor the CM’s Rs20 million will mean anything to anybody, especially the poor innocent children who just saw their parents and sister get cut down on a main road, unless they can deliver swift and severe justice. And while they’re at it, they must also throw out senior CTD officials who clearly tried to help with the immediate cover up. Once that is done, they must finally begin the long process of reforming this anti-terror force that so often kills the innocent and unarmed and spreads terror among its own people.

#Pakistan - #Justice4SahiwalVictims - #Sahiwal massacre

The euphemism ‘encounter’ has become an unfortunate part of our vocabulary to describe extrajudicial and usually premeditated killings by the police. In a country where the justice system is weak and unreliable and law-enforcement has not proven up to the task of properly investigating criminal cases, the police have taken the law into their own hands on far too many occasions. ‘Encounters’ became a common method of dealing with political violence in Lahore and Karachi in the 1990s and – with the ‘war on terror’ – are now justified by describing the victims as terrorists. In a better world, and a lawful state, the massacre in Sahiwal on Saturday should never have happened – and it should definitely not be something anyone should be able to get away with. As per most reports, officers of the Counter-Terrorism Department shot dead four people, including a father, mother and their teenaged daughter – while their three other small children were present there and have survived – in what the authorities have described as an intelligence-based operation and a shootout with terrorists. However, it didn’t take long for this official version to be disputed. Eyewitnesses have claimed that the CTD officials killed the family in cold blood and that no weapons were recovered from the vehicle of the victims, suggesting that rather than being a shootout all the fire was directed only in one direction.
The CTD has released an official statement, claiming once again that they had legitimate intelligence that the man driving the car was a Daesh-affiliated terrorist and that he fired the first shot. In the meanwhile, the officers who took part in the ‘encounter’ have been arrested and an FIR has been filed. While Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised swift action, let us also urge that, if any confidence is to be left in law-enforcement, the investigation needs to be transparent and justice must be done. The JIT set up by the IGP Punjab will hopefully uncover the facts. We need to know them all, but while this process continues, we must remember that the first duty of police is to protect life. If there was any terrorist involvement in all that happened, it is the tires of the car that should have been shot out. Surely the CTD has training in this?
In this particular case, the fact that children were involved has helped bring the conduct of law enforcement under scrutiny as well as given it media attention. That clips of the ‘encounter’ went viral also helped galvanise public opinion. But this horrific incident is likely not the only one of its kind. The fact is that our law-enforcement has managed to get away with little regard for the human life and has not been investigated for that because the victims are less likely to get much sympathy. Even when there is no proof that those killed were guilty of a crime, simply invoking the word ‘terrorist’ is usually enough to forestall any criticism.
We need to keep in mind that the only time it is appropriate for law enforcement to use lethal force is when suspects prove an imminent danger. Extrajudicial killings cannot become just another tool in our counterterrorism arsenal because this erodes trust in rule of law and gives the state an unlimited licence to kill. The state also needs to ensure that justice is done – no matter what. As we have seen in the protracted saga of Rao Anwar, even when multiple investigations have shown that a person was killed without any justification, justice can be hard to come by. In the case of the Sahiwal killings, it is important – after an impartial investigation and if wrongdoing is established – to punish not only those officers present at the scene but for those higher up the chain of command to be held accountable as well. Extrajudicial killings have become unwritten official policy and the only way to eliminate them is by showing that any disregard for due diligence and due process comes with real consequences. The tragedy which killed one child and wounded her three siblings will not be forgotten easily by the people, including relatives of the family who have staged angry protests. We should not forget it either.

#Pakistan - #Justice4SahiwalVictims - What the #Sahiwal shooting tells us about police culture

Zoha Waseem

Police culture is as much a product of state policies as it is of social and cultural conditioning of police officials.

On Saturday, January 19, 2019, officials of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab Police shot and killed a couple and their teenage daughter in Sahiwal, reportedly acting upon intelligence that claimed the family was accompanied by a 'terrorist' — the family’s neighbour, Zeeshan.
Eye-witnesses of this incident include the three surviving children of Khalil and Nabeela. All victims were unarmed.
The video footage from this incident was widely circulated, resulting in extensive outcry on social media, as well as a lynching attempt on police officials by an angry mob in Lahore.A joint investigation team (JIT) has been formed to probe into the incident and the prime minister, while praising the CTD generally, has assured that ‘swift action will be taken’.The Punjab governor has claimed the victims were ‘at the wrong place, at the wrong time’; the Punjab law minister, meanwhile, has called them ‘collateral damage’.Social media users, including journalists, have demanded the perpetrators ‘be hanged’. Others have faulted the weaknesses in our criminal justice system — an area of particular interest to our new chief justice.
Talk-show analysts have blamed ‘bad intelligence’, a connection that will be difficult to establish and unlikely to result in proceedings against those responsible for its collection and dissemination.Most observers have lashed out at the malpractices of, and abuse by, police officials at large. This sentiment is likely to stick, no matter the outcome of the JIT report.The shooting in Sahiwal comes on the heels of a much-publicised police reforms event in the capital and, more importantly, barely a year after the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud and months after the killings of Intizar Ahmed and Amal Umer in police encounters in Karachi — albeit under very different circumstances.
Additionally, recent estimates by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan suggest that approximately 3,345 people have been killed in police encounters in the country between 2014 and 2018, including 12 minors.
The Sahiwal shooting is disturbing on multiple levels and, indeed, speaks volumes about police practices and culture in Pakistan and beyond.
Such incidents cannot be justified or rationalised or explained away in any straightforward manner. They are tragic outcomes of processes and institutional cultures that, similarly, cannot be simplified nor understood in isolation of the socio-political contexts in which they evolve and develop.
In this regard, it is important to have a discussion on police culture, of which one aspect is police use of force. It is pertinent to remind the reader that the police, in fact, do much more than use force. Nevertheless, given the incident in question, it is central to this discussion.
A trigger-happy police force is a symptom of militarism institutionalised within state mechanisms and apparatus.
This symptom has been visible not just in Pakistan, but also in the United States where debates surrounding the militarisation of policing (a characteristic of which is trigger-happy police behaviour) have been most prominent and their manifestations often violent, resulting in direct confrontations between police and civilians.In Pakistan, such militarisation has been exacerbated by the construction of 'terrorism' and 'terrorists' both pre- and post-9/11 that has implications for how the state directs and controls the policing of its citizens.In other words, a state’s threat perception — particularly one constructed based on domestic security threats — has a direct correlation with how civilian police officials will interact with and view civilians.
This is, quite briefly, the political context within which policing in Pakistan may be understood.
That said, let us not forget that police culture is also as much a product of state policies as it is of the social and cultural conditioning of police officials and the society in which these officials find themselves. It is, after all, our own society that chooses to accept certain police killings as ‘good riddance’ — like Malik Ishaq’s.
In other words, police culture is also a product of our society's depreciating levels of tolerance and our own fascination with and glorification of vigilante justice, ‘encounter cops’, capital punishment (‘hang them all’), capture and kill (‘pakro aur maaro’), all generations of warfare, boots and bombs, even hypermasculinity.It is no surprise that, through socialisation and professional grooming, such a prevailing ethos is then imbibed by certain police officials and, by extension, absorbed into the institutional culture of our police departments.
Furthermore, from a historical perspective, police culture is also a product of several decades (if not more) of poorly designed policies that have favoured zero-tolerance policing, and that have gradually eroded public trust in civilian officials and compromised the legitimacy of our police departments. This has steadily furthered the gap between the police and the policed in Pakistan.
It hasn’t helped that, over the last 70 years, police departments have remained poorly equipped, their officials too poorly paid and surviving in miserable conditions, to deal with the magnitude and multiplicity of violent conflicts that they have found themselves in, only to be raised repeatedly up to the task of ‘fighting on the front lines’.
What such political, social and historical processes have constructed, then, is a complicated relationship in which the institutions tasked with protecting civilians are as insecure of civilians as the civilians are of the police.
The Sahiwal shooting was perhaps partially a product of this relationship.
Unfortunately, given how violence is embedded not just within policing but also our aggressive reactions and calls for ‘hanging them all’, it is unreasonable to expect that a different sort of police culture can emerge without, at the very least, generational struggles.

#Pakistan - #Justice4SahiwalVictims - Sahiwal killings have highlighted a deeper malaise

The gruesome killings in Sahiwal have once again brought into the public domain the deep-rooted practice of extrajudicial and staged encounters.
Let’s call a spade a spade, and recognise that it has been a widely accepted practice. The country’s leadership as well as the classes with a public voice have been well aware of state agencies resorting to such encounters to deal with criminal and terrorism suspects. A certain cop of Karachi, now deceased, is still celebrated for his mastery in such encounters. Another cop still remains out of reach of the law, a year after his involvement in the extrajudicial killing of four youngsters in Karachi’s Malir area came to surface.
In off the record conversations, the excuse presented by personnel of law enforcement agencies has been that in the presence of a criminal justice system that does not ensure prosecutions leading to convictions, staged encounters have been an effective tool for ‘elimination of criminal and anti-state elements’. That innocent citizens may also get hurt in the process simply doesn’t register with them. They somehow manage to write off the lives of these citizens as collateral damage without batting an eyelid. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat did that while addressing the press on Sunday.
The Punjab government has formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe Sahiwal killings. How can the leadership, which claims to be working towards a Naya Pakistan, expects the public to trust the proceedings of a JIT manned by personnel of state agencies that have for long been privy to the prevalence of such practices?
At the moment, the least that should be done to ensure impartiality in investigation is to make the JIT report its proceedings to a parliamentary committee comprising lawmakers from both sides of the aisle with a history of speaking up for protection of rights and constitutional supremacy. Thankfully, we have several lawmakers on both sides with such a reputation. Their presence to oversee the JIT is a must to ensure fairness.
The public outcry over the Sahiwal killings has led to the initial attention paid to the matter. It is of crucial importance that the incident not be seen in isolation. It is a continuation of a well-established pattern of policing across the country where our law enforcement institutions lack mechanisms to instil in their personnel respect for citizens’ fundamental rights and legal procedures that ought to be followed in dealing with crime suspects. This is an alarming situation since it implies that the workings of our law enforcers is hardly any different from that of criminal gangs and thugs from whom they are meant to protect us.
We have countless examples from the recent past to corroborate such claims. Thus, action must now be initiated against the practice of extrajudicial and staged killings at a structural level. It is the responsibility of our political leadership to take up this matter. Their lack of will at this juncture where formal requirements of democratic governance have taken root in the country will further delay progress towards a substantial democracy. The risks of such a delay cannot be stressed enough. For many citizens who live on the social and economic margins of Pakistani polity, the state and its laws will further lose their credibility.
Therefore, if an emergency has ever been required in this country, now is the time. But it must be an emergency to end the state of exceptionalism that exists in our law enforcement and criminal justice systems. This emergency must be overseen by elected representatives of the Pakistani people, and the institution of the Parliament. They must work with the judiciary and the executive to fix the rot.

#Justice4SahiwalVictims اریبہ کو 6 گولیاں مارنے والے قاتل

پنجاب کی انسدادِ دہشت گردی فورس (سی ٹی ڈی)نے گزشتہ روز ساہیوال میں 
ایک نام نہاد آپریشن کیا، جس میں تیرہ سالہ بچی اریبہ کو چھ گولیاں ماریں، اُس کی والدہ نبیلہ بی بی کو چار، والد خلیل کو تیرہ گولیاں اور ڈرائیور ذیشان کو دس گولیاں ماریں۔ انسدادِ دہشت گردی فورس کے اس نام نہاد آپریشن کے فوری بعد جو کہانی میڈیا کے ذریعے پھیلائی گئی اُس کے مطابق سی ٹی ڈی نے ایک ’’کامیاب آپریشن‘‘ کے بعد داعش سے تعلق رکھنے والے چار ’’انتہائی خطرناک ‘‘’’دہشت گردوں‘‘ کو’ ’ہلاک‘‘ کر دیا اور اُن کے قبضے سے تین اغوا شدہ بچوں کو بازیاب کروا لیا گیا۔ بعد میں جب میڈیا نے یہ انکشاف کیا کہ ’’بازیاب‘‘ کروائے گئے بچے تو مرنے والوں کو اپنے والدین کہہ رہے ہیں اور یہ کہ ان بچوں کی بڑی بہن تیرہ سالہ اریبہ بھی مرنے والوں میں شامل ہے تو اس پر سی ٹی ڈی کا نیا موقف سامنے آ گیا کہ ایجنسی کے اطلاع پر گاڑی کا پیچھا کیا گیا اور یہ کہ گاڑی میں موجود ’’دہشت گردوں‘‘ کی سی ٹی ڈی پر فائرنگ کے نتیجے میں جوابی فائر کیے گئے اور ’’دہشت گردوں‘‘ کو مار دیا گیا۔ بعد میں جب میڈیا نے یہ تفصیلات دینا شروع کر دیں کہ خلیل اور اُس کے بیوی بچے تو اپنے قریبی رشتہ دار کی شادی میں شرکت کے لیے جا رہے تھے کہ سی ٹی ڈی نے اُن کو بہیمانہ طریقے سے ماوارئے عدالت قتل کر دیا تو اس پر سی ٹی ڈی نے کہنا شروع کر دیا کہ گاڑی کا ڈرائیور ذیشان ’’دہشت گرد‘‘ تھا اور یہ گاڑی بھی دہشت گردی میں استعمال ہو چکی تھی۔ یہ بھی کہا گیا کہ ذیشان اور گاڑی کے ساتھ چلنے والی ایک موٹر سائیکل‘ جس پر دو یا تین دہشت گرد سوار تھے، نے سی ٹی ڈی فورس پر فائرنگ کی اور جوابی کارروائی میں گاڑی میں موجود چار افراد مارے گئے جبکہ موٹر سائیکل سوار ’’دہشت گرد‘‘ وہاں سے فرار ہو گئے، جن کا پیچھا کیا جا رہا ہے۔ لیکن سی ٹی ڈی کی یہ کہانی بھی جھوٹی نکلی کیونکہ میڈیا نے اس واقعہ کی ایک وڈیو چلانا شروع کر دی، جس میں دیکھا گیا کہ تین بچوں کو گاڑی سے نکالنے کے بعد سی ٹی ڈی فورس کے اہلکاروں نے گاڑی کے اندر موجود چاروں افراد پر اندھا دھند فائرنگ کی اور بعدازاں وہاں سے روانہ ہو گئے۔ موقع پر موجود کسی ایک شخص نے بھی سی ٹی ڈی کی کہانی کے حق میں گواہی نہیں دی۔ ابھی تک کوئی ثبوت سامنے نہیں آیا کہ گاڑی میں موجود ذیشان یا کسی موٹر سائیکل سوار شخص کی طرف سے سی ٹی ڈی پر ایک بھی فائر کیا گیا ہو۔ سی ٹی ڈی نے تو یہ بھی دعویٰ کیا کہ گاڑی میں سے خودکش جیکٹ اور اسلحہ وغیرہ بھی برآمد ہوا لیکن اس کی بھی کوئی گواہی نہیں ملی، نہ ہی وہاں موجود کسی فرد نے اس بات کی تصدیق کی۔ وڈیو دیکھ کر صاف ظاہر ہوتا ہے کہ یہ ایک ماورائے قانون قتل کی کارروائی تھی۔
اگر یہ مان بھی لیا جائے کہ گاڑی کا ڈرائیور ذیشان کا مبینہ طور پر کسی دہشت گرد تنظیم سے تعلق تھا، تو کوئی پوچھے کہ یہ کیسی کارروائی تھی کہ چھوٹے بچوں کو گاڑی سے نکال پر باقی سب کو گولیوں سے بھون دیا گیا؟ وردی پہنے ان قاتلوں کو تیرہ سالہ اریبہ اور اُس کی ماں بھی نظر نہ آئی؟ اگر اطلاع تھی کہ گاڑی میں دہشت گرد موجود ہیں تو پھر اُنہیں زندہ کیوں نہ پکڑا گیا۔ گزشتہ سال نقیب اللہ محسود اور اس کے دو ساتھیوں کو ’’دہشت گرد‘‘ قرار دے کر کراچی پولیس کے رائو انوار نے بے دردی سے قتل کر دیا تھا۔ اُس وقت بھی کہانی یہی بُنی گئی کہ خطرناک دہشت گردوں کو پولیس مقابلے میں مار دیا گیا لیکن وہ سب بھی مکمل جھوٹ تھا۔ افسوس کہ ساہیوال سانحہ پر حکومت کے وزراء دوغلی باتیں کر رہے ہیں۔ ایک طرف مارے جانے والے معصوم افراد کے ساتھ ہمدردی کا اظہار کر رہے ہیں تو دوسری طرف سی ٹی ڈی کی کئی بار تبدیل ہونے والی کہانی کو بھی اگر مگر کے ساتھ دہرا رہے ہیں۔ جس بربریت اور ظلم کے ساتھ گاڑی میںموجودچاروںافرادکو سی ٹی ڈی فورس کو مارتے وڈیو میں دکھایا گیا اُس کوبیان کرنے کے لیے میرے پاس الفاظ موجود نہیں۔ وردی پہنے ان قاتلوں کو ایک لمحہ کے لیے بھی یہ احساس نہ ہوا کہ تین کم سن بچوں کے سامنے اُن کے ماں، باپ اور بڑی بہن کو کس درندگی کے ساتھ مارا جا رہا ہے؟ کس نے فیصلہ کیا کہ گاڑی میں موجود چاروں افراد کو اب جینے کا کوئی حق نہیں، اس لیے انہیں بغیر کسی تحقیق اور عدالتی فیصلہ کے مار دیا جائے؟ مرنے والوں کو تو دفاع کا موقع بھی نہ ملا۔ بچ جانے والے بچے کے مطابق اُس کے والد خلیل سی ٹی ڈی کے اہلکاروں کو دہائیاں دیتا رہا کہ ہم سے پیسے لے لو مگر ہمیں نہ مارو لیکن نہ خلیل کو بخشا گیا، نہ ہی اس کی بیوی اور تیرہ سالہ بیٹی کو۔ نجانے کتنے لوگوں کو اس بربریت اور ظالمانہ انداز میں مارا گیا اور ’’دہشت گرد‘‘ قرار دے کر میڈیا کو جھوٹی کہانیاں بیچی جاتی رہیں۔ دیکھتے ہیں کہ نئے پاکستان اور ریاستِ مدینہ کی بات کرنے والے کیا کرتے ہیں۔