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Archive for February, 2010

Amir Sulaiman

 
Amazing skill. Amir Sulaiman, I am a fan.
 
I am not angry; I am anger.
I am not dangerous; I am danger.
I am abominable stress, eliotic, relentless.
I’m a breath of vengeance.
I’m a death sentence.
I’m forsaking repentance,
to the beast in his hench men.

Armed forces and policemen
that survived off of oils and prisons until there cup runneth over with lost souls.
That wear over-sized caps like blind-folds
Shiny necklaces like lassoes
Draggin’ them into black-holes
And I may have to holla out to Fidel Castro
To get my other brothers outta Guantanimo

And the innocence on death row?
It’s probably in the same proportion to criminals in black robes
That smack gavels
That crack domes
That smack gavels
That smash homes

Justice is somewhere between reading sad poems and 40 oz of gasoline crashing through windows
It is between plans and action
It is between writing letters to congressmen and clocking the captain
It is between raising legal defense funds and putting a gun to the bailiff and taking the judge captive
It is between prayer and fasting
Between burning and blasting
Freedom is between the mind and the soul
Between the lock and the load
Between the zeal of the young and the patience of the old
Freedom is between a finger and the trigger
It is between the page and the pen
It is between the grenade and the pin
Between righteous and keeping one in the chamber

So what can they do with a cat with a heart like Turner
A mind like Douglass
A mouth like Malcolm
And a voice like Chris?!

That is why I am not dangerous; I am danger
I am not angry, I am anger
I am abominable, stress, Eliotic relentless
I’m a death sentence
For the beast and his henchmen
Politicians and big businessmen
I’m a teenage Palestinian
Opening fire at an Israeli checkpoint, point blank, check-mate, now what?!
I’m a rape victim with a gun cocked to his cock, cock BANG! Bangkok! Now what?!
I am sitting Bull with Colonel Custard’s scalp in my hands
I am Sincay with a slave trader’s blood on my hands
I am Jonathan Jackson and a gun to my man
I am David with a slingshot and a rock
And if David lived today, he’d have a Molotov cocktail and a Glock
So down with Goliath, I say down with Goliath

But we must learn, know, write, read
We must kick, bite, yell, scream
We must pray, fast, live, dream, fight, kill and die free!

 

 

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The rape of Daewoo’s road hostess in Sialkot was a shocking incident. More shocking it became to me, when I got to know that the poor girl had two Daewoo staff members with her in the car from which she was abducted. An armed guard and a driver, both of the “cowards” did not bother raising a single voice for the girl who was taken away to be ruthlessly raped all night and thrown in a street of Sialkot.

I read this amazing letter to editor in the news today, it mentions three incidents which deserve our attention.

A few months ago, this unsung hero of Pakistan, Pervez Masih who worked as a janitor at International Islamic University saved the lives of hundreds of girl students in the cafeteria where a God-forsaken suicide bomber was trying to enter. I met his family, a friend of mine, Maham Ali with some “awaken” members of the civil society of Islamabad worked hard to raise funds for this unsung hero, whose bravery went un-noticed, maybe because he was not wearing a uniform and was a Christian “Safae karnay wala” ?

After interacting with his mother and his wife, I came to know Masih was a normal man. A normal “common-man” of Pakistan who had extra ordinary courage to stand up and give his life for his Pakistani sisters. I call him normal because this is what “normality” teaches us, abnormality was witnessed in Sialkot when Daewoo’s sissy staff did not do anything to avert a rape-attempt.

The writer of the above cited article also mentions a shameful incident in the history of Pakistan, when a blind girl was raped in Sahiwal. He writes:

Since Ziaul Haq’s Islamisation and its discriminatory laws against women, violence against women in all its forms has been on the increase. The absurdity of these laws can be gauged from the harrowing case of a blind girl from Sahiwal in the 1980s. She had been gang-raped. But as she could not produce four pious witnesses, nor identify the rapists, she was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.

It is not difficult to teach us Pakistanis “normality” – for we know what needs to be done and where are we going wrong. But our apathy, ignorance and lethargy has brought us here after 62 years.

Quaid would be turning in his grave if he got to know his “Pakistanis” were letting women schools burn, letting women treated inhumanely and killing innocents in the name of God, exactly what he warned us against in his address at Constituent Assembly “Pakistan is not to be a theocratic state, ruled by some priests to accomplish their divine mission” and some odd cases like the Hero of IIU blast, Pervez Masih, were going un-noticed.

family of Masih

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Dr Aafia Siddiqui

  

Dr Shazia

 

Every Pakistani feels the pain of Dr. Aafia, tortured brutally and subjected to most inhumane treatment since her disappearance in 2003. The “Satan” outside did not even leave her children untouched. All of Pakistan is angry and champions of justice and human rights rally to show solidarity with Dr. Aafia, understandably.  

I being an activist, realize how important it is to voice out our concern regarding any issue we feel was dealt with a biased attitude. Pakistan came into being through street activism, not sit-at-home concern.  

The story of Dr. Aafia melts the heart of any passionate and patriotic Pakistani, for even if proved guilty by a US court, she is a Pakistani and we should have held the trial of allegations labeled against her for a crime committed in neutral soil (Afghanistan). Even if she is guilty of the charges proven against her, the violent torture and her disappearance from 2003 onwards, till a foreign journalist reported her needs to be condemned by all and sundry  

The activism for Dr. Aafia needs to be carried on with greater energy, BUT there lies an important issue that is left unaddressed.  

Dr Aafia was handed over to USA by Pakistani forces, the same Pakistani forces who are single handedly responsible for 2000 + missing persons. The same Pakistani state agencies that are single handedly responsible for selling their brothers and sisters to foreign agencies. Not only that, our own State agencies are responsible for despicable crimes like sex slavery, torture, rape, murder and mysterious disappearance of people from selected ethnic backgrounds. Dr Shazia, Zareena Marri and others are just the tip of the ice-berg. No real investigation was ever carried out to address the plight of families of missing persons (women included). None of the protests for Aafia voice out to identify the people within us, responsible for handing over Aafia to USA, or people responsible for injustice with other Aafias.  

Having took part in the struggle for missing persons and subsequent discussions with Amina Masud Janjua I came to realise the picture is broader then any one individual or human being. After meeting many Baluch students, who carry pictures of their cousins (male and females) and are not heard by media, government and other human rights activists, I realised the bias will not do any good to the cause unless the broader picture and the satan within is addressed with the same zeal and fervour. State agencies and its machinery prevents the word from spreading in media (it still does, but not with the same masala) for crimes they commit/ted.  

Who is to blame? The “Satan” outside or the “Satan” within? We must realize that more Aafia’s will go missing and subjected to inhumane torture if we don’t address the real cause of this issue. Any protest against the “Satan” outside will not suffice the cause, in broader perspective, as the Satan within will keep on doing the same. Most of the protests that are held for Dr. Aafia slander the Satan outside without addressing the core of problem, the traitors within us responsible for hundreds of Dr. Aafia’s who are still missing and who sell our citizens to satan outside, for God-knows-what price!  

It is easy to blame the Satan outside, and get so blinded by the hate that we become biased in our human right’s activism. Cleansing within can only make us so strong that no one from outside casts an evil eye on our people. We cannot blame a miscreant somewhere else, if we tolerate miscreants within our homes. The blaming-foreign-elements for every disaster in Pakistan has gone too far. Are we learning from our mistakes or still going round in circles without addressing the real issue? Are we still using the Islam/Jew/America/Hindu/RAW/Mossad/CIA/Democracy/Bhutto card to find solutions to our problems? Are we tolerating the Satan within and misdirecting our anger to Satan outside? Have we located the menace within before sloganeering against the menace outside? Is there bias in our ranks? Why are we quiet for Dr Shazia, Shazia Masih, Zareena Marri and others and only protest violently when Satan outside is to blame?  

Khuda nay aj tak uss qoum ki haalat nahi badli
Na ho jisku khayal, ap apni halat key badalnay ka!
 

- Iqbal 

Susan Marie’s Two Part Interview with Amina Masood Janjua, Voice of Missing Persons: Chairperson, Defence For Human Rights. Part
I:
Part I: http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/sue-marie/audio/100205/1.mp3 

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Aaj Aakhan Waris Shah Nu – Amrita Preetam

Ajj Aakhan Waris Shah Nuu,
Kiton Qabraan Wichon Bol,
Tey Ajj Kitaab-e-Ishq Daa,
Koi Agla Warka Phol
Dharat Nuu Dita Paani Laa

Today, I call Waris Shah,
“Speak from inside your grave”
And turn, today;
The book of love’s next affectionate page

Ikk Royi Sii Dhi Punjab Di,
Tu Likh Likh Maarey Wain,
Ajj Lakhaan Dhiyan Rondiyan,
Tenu Waris Shah Nuu Kain

Once, one daughter of Punjab cried;
You wrote a wailing saga
Today, a million daughters,
Cry to you, Waris Shah!

Uthh Dard-Mandaan Diya Dardiya,
Utth Tak Apna Punjab
Ajj Bailey Lashaan Bichiyaan
Tey Lahoo Di Bhari Chenab

Rise! O’ narrator of the grieving; Rise!
Look at your Punjab
Today, fields are lined with corpses,
and blood fills the Chenab

Kisey Ne Panjaan Paaniyan Wich
Diti Zahar Rala,
Tey Unhan Paniyaan ;

Someone has mixed poisonin the five rivers’ flow
Their deadly water is,now,irrigating our lands galore

Iss Zarkhaiz Zameen Dey
Loon Loon Phuttiya Zahar
Gitth GitthC harhiyaan
Laaliyan
Fuut Fuut Charrhiya Kaher

This fertile land is sprouting,
venom from every pore
The sky is turning red
From endless cries of gore

Wey Waleesi Wha Phair,
Wan Wan Wagi Jaa,
Ohney Har Ikk Waans Di
Wanjli Diti Naag Bana

The toxic forest wind,screams from inside its wake
Turning each flute’s bamboo-shoot,
into a deadly snake

Pehla Dang Madaariyan,Mantar Gaye Guwaach,
Doojey Dang Di Lag Gayi,Janey Khaney Nuu Lag

With the first snake-bite;
charmers lost their spell
The second bite turned all and sundry,into snakes, as well

Laagaan Keeley Lok Moonh,Bas Phir Dang Hi Dang,
Palo Palee Punjab Dey,Neeley Pay Gaye Ang

Drinking from this deadly stream,filling the land with bane
Slowly, Punjab’s limbs have turned blackand blue, with pain

Galeyon Tutey Geet Phir,Takaleyon Tuti Tand,
Trinjanon Tutiyaan Saheliyan,Charakhrrey Ghuukar Band

The street-songs have been silenced;
cotton threads are snapped
Girls have left their playgroups;
the spinning wheels are cracked

Saney Saij Dey Beriyan,Luddan Ditiyaan Rohrr,
Saney Daliyan Peengh Ajj,Piplaan Diti Torr

Our wedding beds are boats,
their logs have cast away
Our hanging swing,the Pipal tree has broken in disarray

Jithey Wajdi Si Phook Pyar Di,Wey Oh Wanjhli Gayi Guwaach
Raanjhey Dey Sab Weer Ajj,Bhul Gaye Ohdi Jaach

Lost is the flute, which once,blew sounds of the heart
Ranjha’s brothers, today,
no longer know this art

Dharti Tey Lahoo Warsiya,Qabraan Paiyan Chon,
Preet Diyan Shahzadiyan, Ajj Wich Mazaaraan Ron

Blood rained on our shrines;
drenching them to the core
Damsels of amour, today,
sit crying at their door

Ajj Sabhey ‘Qaido’ Ban Gaye,Husn Ishq Dey Chor
Ajj Kithon Liyaiye Labh Ke , Waris Shah Ikk Hor

Today everyone is, ‘Qaido’ thieves of beauty and ardor
Where can we find, today,another Waris Shah, once more

Ajj Aakhan Waris Shah Nuu,
Kiton Qabraan WichoN Bol,
Tey Ajj Kitaab-e-Ishq Da,
Koi Agla Warka Phol

Today, I call Waris Shah,
“Speak from inside your grave”
And turn, today,the book of love’s next affectionate

Here, renditon by Mekaal Hassan Band:

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NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has conducted its own analysis of the consequences of nuclear war in South Asia. Prior to this most recent crisis we calculated two nuclear scenarios. The first assumes 10 Hiroshima-sized explosions with no fallout; the second assumes 24 nuclear explosions with significant radioactive fallout. Below is a discussion of the two scenarios in detail and an exploration of several additional issues regarding nuclear war in South Asia.

Indian and Pakistani Nuclear Forces

It is difficult to determine the actual size and composition of India’s and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals, but NRDC estimates that both countries have a total of 50 to 75 weapons. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we believe India has about 30 to 35 nuclear warheads, slightly fewer than Pakistan, which may have as many as 48.

Both countries have fission weapons, similar to the early designs developed by the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s. NRDC estimates their explosive yields are 5 to 25 kilotons (1 kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT). By comparison, the yield of the weapon the United States exploded over Hiroshima was 15 kilotons, while the bomb exploded over Nagasaki was 21 kilotons. According to a recent NRDC discussion with a senior Pakistani military official, Pakistan’s main nuclear weapons are mounted on missiles. India’s nuclear weapons are reportedly gravity bombs deployed on fighter aircraft.

NRDC’s Nuclear Program initially developed the software used to calculate the consequences of a South Asian nuclear war to examine and analyze the U.S. nuclear war planning process. We combined Department of Energy and Department of Defense computer codes with meteorological and demographic data to model what would happen in various kinds of attacks using different types of weapons. Our June 2001 report, “The U.S. Nuclear War Plan: A Time for Change,” is available at http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/warplan/index.asp.

Scenario: 10 Bombs on 10 South Asian Cities

For our first scenario we used casualty data from the Hiroshima bomb to estimate what would happen if bombs exploded over 10 large South Asian cities: five in India and five in Pakistan. (The results were published in “The Risks and Consequences of Nuclear War in South Asia,” by NRDC physicist Matthew McKinzie and Princeton scientists Zia Mian, A. H. Nayyar and M. V. Ramana, a chapter in Smitu Kothari and Zia Mian (editors), “Out of the Nuclear Shadow” (Dehli: Lokayan and Rainbow Publishers, 2001).)

The 15-kiloton yield of the Hiroshima weapon is approximately the size of the weapons now in the Indian and Pakistani nuclear arsenals. The deaths and severe injuries experienced at Hiroshima were mainly a function of how far people were from ground zero. Other factors included whether people were in buildings or outdoors, the structural characteristics of the buildings themselves, and the age and health of the victims at the time of the attack. The closer to ground zero, the higher fatality rate. Further away there were fewer fatalities and larger numbers of injuries. The table below summarizes the first nuclear war scenario by superimposing the Hiroshima data onto five Indian and five Pakistan cities with densely concentrated populations.

 

Estimated nuclear casualties for attacks on 10 large Indian and Pakistani cities
City Name Total Population Within 5 Kilometers of Ground Zero Number of Persons Killed Number of Persons Severely Injured Number of Persons Slightly Injured
India
Bangalore 3,077,937 314,978 175,136 411,336
Bombay 3,143,284 477,713 228,648 476,633
Calcutta 3,520,344 357,202 198,218 466,336
Madras 3,252,628 364,291 196,226 448,948
New Delhi 1,638,744 176,518 94,231 217,853
Total India 14,632,937 1,690,702 892,459 2,021,106
Pakistan
Faisalabad 2,376,478 336,239 174,351 373,967
Islamabad 798,583 154,067 66,744 129,935
Karachi 1,962,458 239,643 126,810 283,290
Lahore 2,682,092 258,139 149,649 354,095
Rawalpindi 1,589,828 183,791 96,846 220,585
Total Pakistan 9,409,439 1,171,879 614,400 1,361,872
India and Pakistan
Total 24,042,376 2,862,581 1,506,859 3,382,978

 

As in the case of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in this scenario the 10 bombs over Indian and Pakistani cities would be exploded in the air, which maximized blast damage and fire but creates no fallout. On August 6, 1945, the United States exploded an untested uranium-235 gun-assembly bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy,” 1,900 feet above Hiroshima. The city was home to an estimated 350,000 people; about 140,000 died by the end of the year. Three days later, at 11:02 am, the United States exploded a plutonium implosion bomb nicknamed “Fat Man” 1,650 feet above Nagasaki. About 70,000 of the estimated 270,000 residents died by the end of the year.

Ten Hiroshima-size explosions over 10 major cities in India and Pakistan would kill as many as three to four times more people per bomb than in Japan because of the higher urban densities in Indian and Pakistani cities.

Scenario: 24 Ground Bursts

In January, NRDC calculated the consequences of a much more severe nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. It first appeared as a sidebar in the January 14, 2002, issue of Newsweek (“A Face-Off with Nuclear Stakes”). This scenario calculated the consequences of 24 nuclear explosions detonated on the ground — unlike the Hiroshima airburst — resulting in significant amounts of lethal radioactive fallout.

Exploding a nuclear bomb above the ground does not produce fallout. For example, the United States detonated “Little Boy” weapon above Hiroshima at an altitude of 1,900 feet. At this height, the radioactive particles produced in the explosion were small and light enough to rise into the upper atmosphere, where they were carried by the prevailing winds. Days to weeks later, after the radioactive bomb debris became less “hot,” these tiny particles descended to earth as a measurable radioactive residue, but not at levels of contamination that would cause immediate radiation sickness or death.

Unfortunately, it is easier to fuse a nuclear weapon to detonate on impact than it is to detonate it in the air — and that means fallout. If the nuclear explosion takes place at or near the surface of the earth, the nuclear fireball would gouge out material and mix it with the radioactive bomb debris, producing heavier radioactive particles. These heavier particles would begin to drift back to earth within minutes or hours after the explosion, producing potentially lethal levels of nuclear fallout out to tens or hundreds of kilometers from the ground zero. The precise levels depend on the explosive yield of the weapon and the prevailing winds.

For the second scenario, we calculated the fallout patterns and casualties for a hypothetical nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan in which each country targeted major cities. We chose target cities throughout Pakistan and in northwestern India to take into account the limited range of Pakistani missiles or aircraft. The target cities, listed in the table below, include the capitals of Islamabad and New Dehli, and large cities, such as Karachi and Bombay. In this scenario, we assumed that a dozen, 25-kiloton warheads would be detonated as ground bursts in Pakistan and another dozen in India, producing substantial fallout.

The devastation that would result from fallout would exceed that of blast and fire. NRDC’s second scenario would produce far more horrific results than the first scenario because there would be more weapons, higher yields, and extensive fallout. In some large cities, we assumed more than one bomb would be used.

 

15 Indian and Pakistani cities attacked with 24 nuclear warheads
Country City City Population Number of
Attacking Bombs
Pakistan Islamabad (national capital) 100-250 thousand 1
Pakistan Karachi (provincial capital) > 5 million 3
Pakistan Lahore (provincial capital) 1-5 million 2
Pakistan Peshawar (provincial capital) 0.5-1 million 1
Pakistan Quetta (provincial capital) 250-500 thousand 1
Pakistan Faisalabad 1-5 million 2
Pakistan Hyderabad 0.5-1 million 1
Pakistan Rawalpindi 0.5-1 million 1
India New Dehli (national capital) 250-500 thousand 1
India Bombay (provincial capital) > 5 million 3
India Delhi (provincial capital) > 5 million 3
India Jaipur (provincial capital) 1-5 million 2
India Bhopal (provincial capital) 1-5 million 1
India Ahmadabad 1-5 million 1
India Pune 1-5 million 1

 

NRDC calculated that 22.1 million people in India and Pakistan would be exposed to lethal radiation doses of 600 rem or more in the first two days after the attack. Another 8 million people would receive a radiation dose of 100 to 600 rem, causing severe radiation sickness and potentially death, especially for the very young, old or infirm. NRDC calculates that as many as 30 million people would be threatened by the fallout from the attack, roughly divided between the two countries.

Besides fallout, blast and fire would cause substantial destruction within roughly a mile-and-a-half of the bomb craters. NRDC estimates that 8.1 million people live within this radius of destruction.

Most Indians (99 percent of the population) and Pakistanis (93 percent of the population) would survive the second scenario. Their respective military forces would be still be intact to continue and even escalate the conflict.

Thinking the Unthinkable

After India and Pakistan held nuclear tests in 1998, experts have debated whether their nuclear weapons contribute to stability in South Asia. Experts who argue that the nuclear standoff promotes stability have pointed to the U.S.-Soviet Union Cold War as an example of how deterrence ensures military restraint.

NRDC disagrees. There are major differences between the Cold War and the current South Asian crisis. Unlike the U.S.-Soviet experience, these two countries have a deep-seated hatred of one another and have fought three wars since both countries became independent. At least part of the current crisis may be seen as Hindu nationalism versus Muslim fundamentalism.

A second difference is India and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals are much smaller than those of the United States and Russia. The U.S. and Russian arsenals truly represent the capability to destroy each other’s society beyond recovery. While the two South Asia scenarios we have described produce unimaginable loss of life and destruction, they do not reach the level of “mutual assured destruction” that stood as the ultimate deterrent during the Cold War.

The two South Asian scenarios assume nuclear attacks against cities. During the early Cold War period this was the deterrent strategy of the United States and the Soviet Union. But as both countries introduced technological improvements into their arsenals, they pursued other strategies, targeting each other’s nuclear forces, conventional military forces, industry and leadership. India and Pakistan may include these types of targets in their current military planning. For example, attacking large dams with nuclear weapons could result in massive disruption, economic consequences and casualties. Concentrations of military forces and facilities may provide tempting targets as well.

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Hence comes to an end, the National Wheelchair Cricket Tournament ’10. It was one of the most amazing events we have done from the platform of Pakistan Youth Alliance. Though rain tried its best to deter us and the 70 odd disabled participants from holding the event successfully, but in the end, passion had the last laugh.

The way they gave us motivation to keep on going, the way they played in the rain and shocked the audience, as mostly, people thought they weren’t good players was just heart melting. I personally thank Saaya Association, STEP, Milestone, CDA and all the sponsors for without their support, the event wouldn’t have been possible.

Some pictures and news clippings are attached here; some would be updated as we receive them.

The Nation about the final match:

Mehran Dolphins Lahore (MDL) defeated Chanar Heroes Peshawar (CHP) by 73 runs in the final of the National Wheelchair Users Cricket Tournament here at Pakistan Sports Complex on Sunday.
The winners set a mammoth target of 166 runs for their challengers by managing 165 for two runs on the board in eight overs per innings fixture.
An excellent innings by Agha Raza Hasnain (99 not out) helped Mehran Dolphins lift the trophy. He hit 15 boundaries and five massive sixes during his remarkable innings.
Rizwan Ijaz contributed 45 runs for Dolphins. He smashed five sixes and three fours during his unbeaten innings. Tariq Afridi took only wicket for Chanar Heroes.
Chanar Heroes could score 92 runs in their eight overs. Tariq Afridi (35) and Ayaz Khan (22) were the main contributors for the losers. Agha Raza Husnain chipped in three scalps for Mehran Dolphin Lahore.
He was declared man of the match and also the best player of the tournament.
Raza Husnain said after the match that he enjoyed the game. “Although it was rainy day but I played well and our team won the trophy and we enjoyed the cricket. The tournaments should be organised regularly because such types of events encourage us,” captain of the winning team said.
As many as six teams including Ravi Challengers Karachi, Khyber Kings Multan, Mehran Dolphin Lahore, Gilgit Topper Muradkay, Chanar Heroes Pesahwar and Bolan Tigers Mardan competed in the two-day event held under the aegis of the Pakistan Youth Alliance (PYA).
Each participating team awarded cash prize of Rs 10,000.
At the end, Inspector General Police Islamabad Syed Kaleem Amam, chief guest, distributed the certificates, shields, cash awards and cricket kits among the players. The winning team captain Agha Raza Husnain received the winning trophy while the captain of Chanar Heroes Ayaz Khan collected the runners-up trophy.
Fayez Al Shehri, Cultural Officer in Saudi embassy in Islamabad also attended the ceremony as special guest and distributed some prizes among the players. “We will support such events and it is my pleasure to join you in this cricket match and I, in fact, enjoyed the cricket and spirit of participants,” he said while speaking to players and officials.
Kaleem Aman, while speaking, congratulated the winners and said that it was honour for him to grace the occasion as a chief guest. He assured the organisers to support them in future for holding such types of events.
He also congratulated the organising team.
The two-day event was staged by the Pakistan Youth Alliance (PYA) in collaboration with Sayya, Step and Milestone, renowned NGOs for the disabled persons. At the end, chairman PYA Ali Abbas Zaidi and Asim Zafar thanked the chief guest and all participating teams. Moenjedaro musical group displayed excellent music show at the end.

Waqt News:

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Written by Huma Yusuf.

Public face of ‘missing persons’

But there is also a local dimension to the widespread protests. In recent years, human rights groups have accused Pakistani intelligence agencies of illegally detaining terror suspects. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 242 people remained missing in 2009. Siddiqui had become the public face of Pakistan’s “missing persons” after she vanished from Karachi with her three children.

“We are protesting the verdict, and we are protesting against our government,” says Ali Abbas Zaidi, the chair of the Pakistan Youth Alliance, an activist group that participated in a civil society protest against the verdict in Islamabad’s Blue Area. He argues that Siddiqui’s case must be seen in a “broader perspective.”

“How can we criticize the US when our own government has been complicit in illegally detaining innocents?” asks Zaidi. According to Defence of Human Rights, an independent organization advocating for the release of all missing persons, more than 100 Pakistani women remain in illegal detention.

Siddiqui’s conviction is expected to put pressure on President Asif Ali Zardari’s government, which is already perceived locally as an American proxy. “The government needs to handle this issue with circumspection,” says Dr. Hussain, who suggested that Pakistan appeal the verdict. The Pakistani embassy in Washington has already expressed “dismay” at Siddiqui’s conviction.

“It’ll be a balancing act for the government,” says blogger Saleem. “We have to respect judicial systems no matter what, even if they go against our expectations.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

First published (and complete articles ) on Christian Science Monitor

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