Friday, March 29, 2019
The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ) condemned the campaign against its member and prominent Pakistani journalist Marvi Sirmed.
According to the statement issued by the Coalition, the online campaigns against women journalist in Pakistan “are reaching unprecedented capacity”.
It said the murder threats given to Sirmed fall “under incitement of serious crimes against humanity and the authorities must act … to ensure her safety and security.”
“On March 29, our member Marvi Sirmed became the target of a new online campaign that is spreading misinformation and inciting people to violence against her,” the statement said. “Sirmed was incorrectly linked to a news story about incest. The account that posted the campaign on Facebook goes by the name of Saqib Hussain, started off with installing a false claim that Sirmed brought 10 homeless people to Islamabad and encouraged them to participate in incestous acts. The account is followed by more than 225,000 people.”
Photos stolen from Sirmed’s Facebook account were made public, along with other personal details, including her home address, ID card number, and other contact details.
The post ends by calling on all muslims to murder Sirmed and her “mafia of godless liberals”.
Speaking about the growing abuse of women journalists in Pakistan, CFWIJ Founding Director Kiran Nazish said, “Every few days in a month I find myself grappling with a new set of cases of different forms of harassment against women journalists coming from Pakistan. This is unprecedented and we demand the Pakistani government to get involved immediately, to ensure the safety of women journalists in the country.” She also said, “Inciting violence and propaganda against women journalists in the country has become a norm and it is imperative that the government gets involved.”
“Social media is a tool that can be used for great good but is also, unfortunately, being used for negative purposes that violate fundamental rights and human dignity. Posts targeting women particularly create a negative environment that enables further abuse,” said senior journalist and member of CFWIJ Beena Sarwar. “When we report these posts, Facebook and Twitter often respond saying that the posts don’t violate their standards. I understand the need for the importance of freedom of expression and free speech but social media platforms also need to understand cultural context.”
Another Shia Muslim notable has been taken into illegal and undeclared custody in Karachi’s district central today. Syed Kazim Raza Rizvi who has been subjected to enforced disappearance is son of prominent Shia Muslim Syed Hussain Rizvi who founded Anjuman Mohammadi Qadeem in Gulbahar neighbourhood near Old Rizvia Society. Like other such undeclared illegal detention, his family too was not informed where he was being taken away and why. The disgruntled family demanded that Kazim Rizvi is a law abiding citizen of Pakistan hence either he be released forthwith or produced in the court of law if there is any charge against him. https://www.shiitenews.org/index.php/pakistan/item/37168-shia-notable-kazim-rizvi-subjected-to-enforced-disappearance
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that the party does not oppose accountability in principle if it is conducted in a transparent manner but they will certainly not tolerate political victimisation in the name of accountability.
Bilawal said in his address to party workers who had gathered at Larkana railway station to welcome their leader when he arrived at midnight on Thursday that he was being held accountable in a case that pertained to the time when he was barely one year old.
Take a look: I have had the same stance against proscribed outfits since I joined politics: Bilawal
He referred to the apex court’s comment that he (Bilawal) was innocent and said that later the comment was not made part of the original order. On whose behalf his name was implicated in the case, he asked.“They have now fixed their eyes on me, Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur but they cannot frighten us through National Accountability Bureau. We don’t have any objection to a transparent process of accountability but we will never accept political victimisation in the name of accountability,” he said.He was highly critical of the move to refer money-laundering cases to Rawalpindi and spoke about putting in place an effective system for accountability and fighting corruption instead of using NAB as a tool for political victimisation.He said that he had heard rulers’ cries when Bhuttos’ name echoed in parliament. After they failed to stop him through rigging in election they were now trying to sideline him through political victimisation.
Bilawal said that rulers wanted to roll back the 18th Amendment and impose One Unit but PPP would oppose the move tooth and nail. The prime minister had announced that NRO would not be given to anybody but then the same was granted to banned outfits and retired Gen Musharraf etc, he said. He said that ‘selected’ prime minister’s politics began and ended with NAB. Accountability should not be done on the basis of one’s association with Larkana or Lahore, he said before leaving for Naudero House where he was scheduled to stay till April 4.Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, president of PPP Sindh chapter, said in a statement that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had been taken aback by the rousing welcome accorded to Bilawal at all railway stations from Karachi to Larkana.He said that Bilawal had chosen to travel by train only to participate in Z.A. Bhutto’s death anniversary in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto. It was just an exercise to keep workers ready for ‘train march’ to Rawalpindi later, he said.SUKKUR: Earlier, speaking to workers at Rohri, Sukkur and Gosar-Ji railway stations, Bilawal said that they were not afraid of NAB nor would they run away from inquiries. “PPP is not fleeing from accountability, we have no objection to accountability but revenge in the name of accountability is not acceptable,” he said.He accused the federal government of instituting fake cases against opposition and blamed the Centre for “robbing” Sindh of Rs120 billion of its share. People had been drowned in a tsunami of inflation since the day the “puppet government” came to power. “Khan Sahib, you had promised constructing houses but instead you demolished peoples’ homes in the name of encroachments and made them homeless,” he said.
Bilawal’s caravan departed for Shikarpur and Larkana after the brief stopover. Strict security arrangements were made at all railway stations where people were allowed to enter after complete body search.
PPP senior leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah told media persons at Jinnah Municipal Stadium on Thursday that Imran Khan had failed to fulfil his promises. Nothing had happened so far with regard to his slogan of provision of jobs and construction of houses, he said.
He said the government would carry out development works in Sindh if the province received Rs120bn from the Centre.
Not only Sindh but Punjab and other areas of the country were also complaining against Islamabad, he said.
He said that since the apex court had endorsed NAB’s modus operandi they respected its decision.
“We say that if there is any lacuna or weakness in a law it should be brought into parliament and debated.”
He was simply a landlord. The annual income of entire family was around Rs60 million. His one brother was employee of a business tycoon. But this was the financial profile before he ventured into national politics. Then he won elections in early 2000, joined the federal cabinet and the family’s assets “ballooned to billions of rupees”. The present worth of the family assets is now over Rs100 billion.The person under question is also part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet, holding a prized lucrative portfolio. His younger brother is an important minister in the provincial cabinet. Yet anotherbrother who isn’t part of the minister’s family in Nadra data (but in the land revenue record) is major shareholders of all the newly set up businesses along with mother. He was an employee of a tycoon earlier.
In September last year, NAB headquarters assigned an investigation against the minister on the basis of a complaint laden with allegations. The complaint verification was authorised to the regional NAB office. It took three months to complete the process and report back.
Not only the assets beyond known means were found, the regional office recommended full-fledged inquiry against the minister. NAB headquarters has since been sitting on this report. No inquiry has been ordered, The News has duly confirmed.
In six years of the last decade, the minister’s family did a roaring investment. It set up four sugar mills, five power generation companies, four trading companies including one in London, one ethanol manufacturing company and two others. “Their agricultural property increased from 5,702 kanals (712 acres) to 7,780 kanals (972 acres) meaning thereby an increase of 2,078 kanals (260 acres) in short span, along with 6-7 residential houses and plots in different cities,” according to complaint verification report sent by the regional office to the NAB headquarters.A couple of properties the minister purchased in his name in Lahore DHA has not been declared in the nomination papers, according to this report which further reveals that the “family received a foreign remittance of approx Rs979 million during 2011-2018.” Current market value of the assets of the minister’s family (who live in a joint family setting) is more than Rs100 billion, the report has revealed.How did this land-owning family jump into the club of top industrialists remains a mystery that NAB Headquarters is reluctant to resolve at the moment. No bank loan was taken for building this empire, the investigators concluded who say that further assets can be traced if an inquiry is ordered and the accused are investigated. This is what has been found so far is on the basis of corporate record, tax declarations, revenue documents, banking information and travel history.
The minister himself is a frequent foreign traveler. In the last five years alone, he went abroad for as many as 189 times which means more than thrice a month. What he does there will remain unknown until he is taken into custody for investigation. His number of brothers varies in different record. Nadra data shows the minister has only one brother (who is now a provincial minister) whereas the land record suggests he has two brothers.
The rise of this family has been explained in the following lines in the NAB’s complaint verification report: “From 2006, the family’s assets suddenly showed unnatural increase. An agricultural family from ‘no-where’ became industrialist and started investing amount beyond there known sources of income in corporate sector.” In the business details, sugar mills merited top mention. They are four. In each case, the minister’s mother and brother are shareholders.
One of them set up in 2006 has authorised capital of Rs1 billion. The minister’s mother and brother are its shareholders. Another set up in 2007 has an authorised capital of Rs2 billion; again the minister’s mother and brother (and his wife) are shareholders. Third one was started in 2016; the last one’s founding date is not mentioned. This brother running the sugar mills didn’t figure in Nadra record when investigators checked.
The minister has declared investment of Rs130 million in one sugar mill. He “seems to have a benami share” in other mills run by the family. “The whole family lives in a joint family system which is evident from their single residential addresses,” reads the NAB report, which has also given addresses.The four trading companies are in the name of the minister’s brother; one of them was set up in London. Five power generation companies are also in the name of the minister’s brother who appears in Nadra record as his brother. The provincial minister-brother owns an ethanol manufacturing company.As far as the land purchase is concerned, the investigation reveals that a total of 260 acres increase in agriculture land since 2004 in addition to 126 acres purchased for one sugar mill. Out of it, the minister himself got 216 acres “through a mutation of tamleek from his mother and she got that land by way of tamleek from her mother (the minister’s grandmother) and she got it by way of tamleek from her two daughters” who inherited impugned land after death of their father (the minister’s grandfather).
“Most of these alienation of tamleek took place on the same day and as I see an increase in the assets of subject’s (minister) maternal aunt in proceeding years as one of them purchased vehicles worth Rs16 million,” wrote the investigator in the report sent to NAB headquarters. He further notes, “The whole transaction seems dubious and needs a thorough probe as apparently it seems that a process of ‘layering’ has been adopted to hide the original beneficiary.” Regarding the undeclared plots of the minister, the investigation report reads, “It is also pertinent to mention here that 269 kanal agricultural land purchased at……..in 1991, 36 kanals in…….2015 and 2 plots measuring 5 marla each purchased at Lahore DHA in November 2017 was not declared by subject person (the minister) in nomination papers submitted for contesting election 2018.” As many as 12 urban properties of the family purchased after 2004 are situated in DHAs of Lahore, Rawalpindi and Karachi in addition to Gulberg and Lahore Cantt.
Regarding the foreign remittances, the “FBR statements of the family including subject person show inflow of foreign remittances after 2011 which shows that this family has invested and can have properties abroad,” reads the report. The total amounts received through remittances is Rs797 millions of which Rs9 million landed into the minister’s account. The foreign company owned by the minister’s brother has declared assets of Rs1.06 billion in 2018 FBR statement in addition to bank accounts in City Bank, New York and Emirates NBA, Dubai.
In its concluding page, the report says that prior to his joining of national politics, the whole family including the minister’s brothers only owned lands “which was the only source of bread & butter” and after induction into the cabinet in 2004, “assets in the name of non-public office holder members of the subject’s family i.e. mother (house wife), brother having agriculture as the only one source of income ballooned to billions of rupees, despite their expenditure on more than 100 foreign trips, contesting elections.”
MEA spokesperson says Pakistan continues to be in denial, and has not shared details of credible action against terrorists or terror organisations.
Not surprised at response
What Pakistan had said earlier
Describing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government as “too insecure”, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has ruled out staging a long march in the coming days.
“No, this is not the case at all, they [the government] think that every move by the opposition is a threat,” the scion of the Bhutto dynasty responded to a query in an exclusive interview on the Express News show ‘Centre Stage with Rehman Azhar’.
Bilawal was referring to his recent train march from Karachi to Larkana.
“If we do go ahead with it [a long march], then the government will realise our party’s true strength and support,” he said.
With an edge of just six votes, he added, the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government is walking on thin ice.Bilawal also took a broadside at those who criticised him for calling for a clampdown on proscribed outfits.“Anyone who calls for action against banned groups is conveniently deemed to be a threat to the state,” he remarked.He added that comparing his statement on the issue to New Delhi’s narrative was “childish”.“My mother [Benazir Bhutto] and my grandfather [Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto] were also deemed to be anti-state, but looking back it is clear as to see who the real patriots were,” he maintained.When asked if this was the right time to bring up the matter of proscribed groups, Bilawal said: “If not now, then when? It’s not just today, I have always had the same stance on this issue.”
The PPP chairman said the ongoing cases against his party’s leadership were nothing more than politics of vendetta with the National Accountability Bureau being used as an instrument by the government.
He also questioned the slow pace of investigation, adding that “it is unlawful for cases to be shifted from Karachi to Rawalpindi”.
“I respect the judiciary but these proceedings have become controversial. The highest office-bearer of this judiciary said that Bilawal is innocent, but his words were not taken into consideration,” he said, referring to the former chief justice of Pakistan’s remarks in the Supreme Court.
Bilawal said that a conspiracy was being hatched against the 18th Amendment, which was passed by the National Assembly in 2010, removing the power of the president to dissolve the parliament unilaterally.Government spokespersons, he added, had openly talked about changing the amendment. “It is this mindset that is bent on creating a one unit system in this country,” he maintained.However, the PPP chairman vowed that his party would defend the 18th amendment at any cost.He also criticised the federal government for not releasing Rs120 billion to the Sindh government. “Three of Sindh’s hospitals have been snatched [by the federal government]. The rights of the province are being trampled upon by the centre and under these circumstances any changes to the 18th Amendment will be detrimental to the country’s unity,” he said.
Bilawal also expressed his displeasure over the government’s handling of foreign policy.
“Whenever a ‘selected government’ is placed in power, the foreign policy of the country suffers and becomes ineffective,” he claimed.
“Unfortunately, the situation was no better when the previous government was in power as it had not appointed a foreign minister. It has always been during the PPP’s tenures that our foreign policy has achieved its biggest milestones,” he added.
The PPP chairman clarified that his party did not want a confrontation with state institutions.
He added that it was only democracy that would prevail in the end. “We have to work together. But we should know that in the end it is only democracy that works and institutions will have to work within their limits,” he remarked.
PPP’s train march reached Larkana early Thursday morning.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari led the march, titled ‘Karwan-e-Bhutto, which started Tuesday morning and reached Larkana after 42 hours.
“We don’t want to topple the government,” said Bilawal upon completion of the train march. “The next call we give will be for a long march.”
The train stopped at different stations such as Hyderabad, Tando Adam, Nawabshah, Padidan, Khairpur Mirs, Rohri among others. The PPP chairperson addressed workers at more than 25 different locations.
The PPP scion even criticised Imran Khan-led government. “The government has destroyed the houses of the poor people in the name of encroachment.” Even their shops have been demolished. “What sort of a government is this?” This government is the enemy of the people, he added.
He said that opposition parties are being targeted for political revenge. “We will not accept political engineering in the name of accountability.”
Aleema Khan, Imran Khan’s sister, should give her sewing machine to us. This way the women in Sindh will be able to buy properties in the US too, he added.
Bilawal said that PPP will hold a rally in Larkana on April 4.