Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nose to Nose

03/27/2013 07:42 PM CDT                    Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 5:37 AM
Marine Corps Sgt. Chesty XIII, right, official mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps, stares down his successor, Recruit Chesty, during training on Marine Barracks Washington in Washington, D.C., March 20, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fourth Arvind Memorial Seminar started

Emancipation of Indian Society is impossible 
without finding a solution to the Caste question
Chandigarh, 12 March. The dicussion involving the various intellectuals and social activists arrived here from different corners of the country on the subject 'Caste question amd Marxism' has started in the Fourth Arvind Memorial Seminar that has commenced in Bhakna Bhavan today.
            At the very beginning of the seminar, it was clearly stated that no project of eliminating exploitation in Indian Society can be put forward without giving due consideration to the caste question. In this five-day seminar, various historians, social scientists, writers, social activities from states like Punjab, UP, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Bihar etc. are participating. In addition, senior leaders from both the main political parties of Nepal are also participating along with the intellectuals from the Britain and Germany.
            In the commencing session of the seminar, Satyam from Arvind Institute of Marxist Studies said that in the seminar, issues like relation between Marxism and Ambedkarism, political ideas of Dr. Ambedkar, Marxist Understanding of the caste qusetion, historiographic writing of the caste question, caste question and dalit literature & aesthetics etc. will be thoroughly debated so that the obtacles to the social change can be removed. He said that in last few years the mechanical thinking prevalent in Marxist circles has undergone a change and in Dalitists also, questions are being raised regarding the ideas of Dr. Ambedkar.
            Satyam also said that there has been a trend to bring a compromise between the Marxixm & Ambedkarism, and a trend of subaltern & identity politics. Analysis of these trends from Marxist perspective is also the need of the hour.
              Managing trustee of Arvind Memorial Trust, Meenakashi said that a national level seminar on the important issues concerning the communist movement of India is organized every year in the memory of Com. Arvind. Arvind Institute of Marxist Studies has been founded to carry out the research and study on the theoretical and practical issues faced by the communist movement of India.
            While welcoming the various guests reached for the seminar, Sukhwinder, editor of Punjabi magazine Pratibadh said that left movement in Punjab has a distinct history and the
 caste question has also always remained here in its peculiar form. It has been a big thing for us that such a seminar is being organized here in Chandigarh.
            The commencing session was presided over by the politbureau member of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and famous literary critic Ninu Chapagai, senior tradeunionist from Mumbai Deepati, Trustee of Arvind Memorial Trust Meenakshi, and editor of Magazine 'Ahwan' Abhinav. The stage was conducted by poetess Katyayani.
            The program started after paying homage to Comrade Arvind. Then the team from 'Vihaan' cultural group presented revolutionary songs.
            Overall, 14 papers and write-ups will be presented in the seminar on different aspects of the subject. The base paper of the seminar 'Caste Question and its solution: A Marxist Viewpoint' is prepared by the research team of Arvind Institute of Marxist Studies.   Other papers include 'Ambedkarism and Dalit Liberation' by Sukhwinder, editor of Punjabi journal Pratibaddh;  'Historiography of Caste' by Abhinav, editor, Aahvan; 'Class, Caste and Identity Politics' by Shivani, Delhi University; 'Caste and Politics in West Bengal' by Praskanva Sinharay, CSSS, Kolkata; 'Caste and Sex in Marxist Traditions' by Dr. Rajarshi Dasgupta, JNU; Marxism and the caste question' by Asit Das, Researcher and Activist, New Delhi;  'On Identity Politics' by Prashant Gupta, B.R. Ambedkar College, Delhi University; On Conjoint Relevance of Marxism and Ambedkarism by Sukhdev Singh Janagal, Punjab and on the limitations of caste and identity politics by Jai Prakash of the 'Jati Virodhi Andolan'.
Eminent historian Prof. Irfan Habib will send a background note on caste in India, Ninu Chapagain, Politburo Member and in charge of the Cultural Division of UCPN (M) will present a write-up on 'The Dalit Question and Aesthetics' and a paper 'Towards A Programme for Abolition of Material Basis of Casteist Hierarchy' by Dr. Anant Phadke, Shramik Mukti Dal (Democratic), Pune will be presented. Prof. William Paul Cockshott, University of Glasgow will make a presentation through internet linkup and his paper 'Dr. Ambedkar or Dr. Marx' will be circulated as a background note.
— Meenakshy (Managing Trustee), Anand Singh (Secretary)
Arvind Memorial Trust
For more information, please contact:
Katyayani – 09936650658, Satyam – 9910462009, Namita (Chandigarh) –  9780724125

Fourth Arvind Memorial Seminar started

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Excessive use of force by Police

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights CommissionWed, Mar 6, 2013 at 10:22 AM
INDONESIA: Poso video calls for establishment of independent procedures for reviewing the use of force by police officers
video depicting ill-treatment and excessive use of force by police officers has recently been released to the public. In the video, several men who were suspected of being terrorists were lying down on the grass with their hands bound while the police officers asked them questions. One of the suspects was shot in his leg while one other identified as Wiwin Kalahe was shot in his back and the back of his head. The Indonesian National Police spokesman has confirmed that the video was taken in 2007 during a counter-terrorism operation in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

While condemning terrorism and any type of violence, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is saddened that the police officers made use of such excessive use of force in conducting the operation. The short conversation between Wiwin Kalahe and a police officer in the video, for instance, reveals that Wiwin was shot by the police after he surrendered.

The AHRC is aware that the Indonesian National Police has promised to bring the police officers involved in the excessive use of force to justice and that 26 police officers are currently under investigation. The Commissioner of the National Police Commission, M. Nasser, has also mentioned in the media that over half of those police officers will be criminally prosecuted. The AHRC welcomes and appreciates the positive response given by the National Police to the allegations of ill-treatment and excessive use of force. However, it wishes to emphasise that this case reflects the need for the National Police to carry out more research into the activities of its officers in order to curtail their arbitrary and excessive use of force rather than simply punishing the perpetrators. The institution should treat the case as a call to evaluate and amend its policy on the use of force, particularly those engaging lethal weapons, by its members.

The AHRC has received and published various reports in the past concerning the allegations on excessive use of force by the police from different units, including the anti-terrorist detachment, Densus 88, and the mobile brigadiers (Brimob). The excessive force had been performed by the police officers towards various groups, including peaceful protesters (see, for instance, Police use excessive force during a peaceful protest in South Sumatera), unarmed civilians posing no imminent threat (see Police shoot an unarmed and spread a false report), criminal suspects attempted to escape (see Police shot arrestee in the head while allegedly trying to escape), as well as individuals alleged to be members of terrorist groups (see Police act disproportionately in war on terror). One commonality in these cases is that there have been no measures taken by the police to investigate the disproportionate use of force. There is no way, as of today, in which the claim by the police that the measures they took were 'proportionate and necessary' can be effectively and impartially challenged. Most of the time, if not always, the allegations on excessive use of force by the police are thus forgotten and the perpetrators remain unpunished.

The AHRC is aware that there are circumstances where use of force and lethal weapons are inevitable and necessary. However, to avoid arbitrariness and minimise the negative impact of it, a reporting and review procedure should be established. As pointed out in the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, these procedures shall be effective and independent. Instead of being examined by the police themselves, cases of death, serious injury or other grave consequences caused by use of force and firearms should be available for competent authorities responsible for administrative review and judicial control.

Given this above, the AHRC is calling upon the Indonesian government to ensure that such independent procedure is available and accessible in the country. The AHRC is urging the National Police to be cooperative and open itself for reform. It is essential that the police also regularly review its internal regulations and procedures concerning use of force to ensure their compliance with human rights principles. In the mean time, in the absence of an independent mechanism to review their actions, the police have to impartially investigate any complaints and allegations concerning disproportionate use of force perpetrated by its members.
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

1.5 cms. thick stone removed at CMC

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 11:59 AM 
A 3 year old Girl Child was suffering from pain
Ludhiana, 6th March, 2013:(Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria):A 3 year old girl child, daughter of a labourer was suffering, with continuous pain in the lower abdomen and urinary infection for past threemonths. She was referred to the Department of Paediatric Surgery CMC and Hospital Ludhiana for further management. Investigations revealed that there was a 2.5 cms. long and 1.5 cms. thick,stone which was completely  obstructing the flow of urine from left kidney to urinary bladder and causing urinary infection and abdominal pain. Since there was no free flow of urine from kidney, there wasswelling and deterioration of kidney function with continuous abdominal pain.

Dr William Bhatti Professor &Head, Department of Paediatric Surgery and his teamdoctors, Dr N Bedi, Dr A Gupta and Dr S Dhuria, successfully performed laparoscopic removal of stone from the ureter. Theparents are happy as their daughter does not have a big operative scar on her abdomen and she ispain free because of the laparoscopic surgery. This type of operation, where the impacted stone at lower ureterovesical junction in a 3 year old child,was removed by laparoscopic operationis the first to be performed in India. So far this type of surgery has been done by open procedures which results in long scar marks and prolongedhospital stay. In laparoscopic surgery,the child will have 2-3 tiny scars of 5mm on their abdomen, with  less pain and shorter hospital stay as compared to open surgeries.

Dr William Bhatti further mentioned that presence of stones in urinary system is a common problem in children and it can be managed safely with laparoscopic operations. Parents should not ignore if their child complains of continuous abdominal pain and paediatric surgeons should be consulted immediately to prevent further complications.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

CPM's Bigul for Peoples Mahanbharat

Northern Jatha Flagged Off from Jallianwala Bagh
The third of the CPI(M)'s Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha – the Northern Jatha – began its journey from historic city Amritsar today. Earlier, Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M) paid tributes to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh before embarking on the Jatha.
The Jatha team was received at Jallianwala Bagh with warmth from hundreds of people assembled there from across the state. Led by Vijay Mishra, the coordinator for the Jatha in Punjab and member of the State secretariat of the CPI (M) Punjab, Brinda Karat laid a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial.
Davinder Singh Josh, son of Sohan Singh Josh, one of the founders of communist movement in Punjab, handed over the Jatha flag to Brinda Karat.
Addressing the media afterwards, Ms Karat said that the people of India are in search of a better alternative, which is completely different from the Congress and BJP who are representing corporate interests rather those of people. She said that the message of these Jathas is to invite the public to consider the alternatives that are being presented by CPI(M).
Replying to a question on “with whom the CPI(M) will fight the next elections”, she said that the party will be representing the people’s interests and will fight the elections for safeguarding their interests. She dismissed Modi’s claim that BJP is the only alternative to Congress. She termed both the Congress and BJP as two different sides of the same coin and when they are power in Delhi, they will toe the neo-liberal policies in the interest of foreign and national monopoly capitalist.
She expressed anguish about the condition of people living in border districts. She said that their sources of livelihood and opportunities are continuously under threat from the border disputes. She reminded the gathering about the history of Amritsar which was a centre for cross border trade till the border disputes set in and ousted lakhs of people.
Brinda Karat called up on the public to participate in the party’s Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha in big numbers and make success the March 19th public meeting that is going to be held in Delhi marking the culmination of the four nationwide Jathas.
Members of the Central Committee of the party, Hannan Mollah, Inderjeet Singh, Charan Singh Vridhi and Rajender Sharma, participated in this flag handing over ceremony. Memoona Mollah, Vijay Mishra and other leaders too were present.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Joint river operations

With Belizean service members
U.S. Sailors transit to a rendezvous point with Belizean service members to continue joint river operations as part of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2013 in Corozal, Belize, Feb. 25, 2013. SPS is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command's area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America. The exercise involves information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region. (DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Hyatt, U.S. Air Force/Released)02/25/2013 -             VIRIN: 130225-F-WH920-355

An ‘Abhinandan Granth’ on Jagjit Singh Anand

Released by the Punjabi Sahit Akademi

Mayor H.S.Gohlwarhia
Dr Rajnish Bahadur 
LUDHIANA,March 4,2013: (The Eagle Eye News Service): An ‘Abhinandan Granth’ on renowned literateur, journalist, public figure and a thinker, S. Jagjit Singh Anand was released by the Punjabi Sahit Akademi(PSA), Ludhiana today. The first copy of the treatise was presented by the PSA President Gurbhajan Singh Gill and others including the NRI from America S. Roop Singh Roopa, PSA Senior Vice President, Dr Anup Singh Batala, Secretary Dr Gulzar Singh Pandher, Surinder Kailley, Members Er Janmeja Johl, Sukhdev Singh Premi and Manjinder Singh Dhanoa. S. Anand could not reach the PSA function to receive the publication, due to his indisposition. 
Dr Rajnish Bahadur Singh, the editor of the treatise, Mrs Urmila Anand wife of S. Anand, The Trustee of Nawan Zamana paper Jass Mand and S. Sukeerat Anand, son of S. Anand were also present. 
Roop Singh Roopa
Sukeerat Anand
The function was presided over by Dr S.S.Johl, Chancellor of the Central University of Punjab, while the Mayor of City of Ludhiana, S. H.S. Gohlwarhia, was the Guest of Honour. S. Roop Singh Roopa, Gurbhajan Gill and Gulzar Pandher were prominent among others who were present on the occasion. 
‘The factual information comprised in the treatise throws light on the multifarious aspects of the personality of S. Anand’, said Gurbhajan Gill, adding that the future generations would derive inspiration from the life and works of S. Anand. He declared that an Award in the name of S. Jagjit Singh Anand will be given every year by the PSA for which S. Roop Singh Roopa has provided sponsorship. 

S. Gohlwarhia and Dr Johl described S. Anand as a Yugpursh who always stood boldly for the righteous cause. Dr Sukhdev Singh Sirsa highlighted the nation-wide stature of S. Anand saying that he impressed people with his straightforwardness and bold voice even in the difficult times. 
S. Rajneesh Bahadur Singh said that he felt honoured in writing the Treatise that he said provided him opportunity to know the great personality, S. Jagjit Singh Anand. (photos by Rector Kathuria)

A report by the Bar Human Rights Committee

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 9:45 AM
A Press Release from the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) 

Forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
SRI LANKA: The report recommends seven PSC members and 117 signatories to the impeachment motion to be refused entry visas to Britain and the Queen and her government to boycott the Commonwealth Summit to be held in Colombo
We reproduce below the press release issued by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) on a report by Geoffrey Robertson QC on the impeachment of the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke.
Press Release by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC)
A report by Geoffrey Robertson QC published this week by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) concludes that the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka was innocent of the misconduct charges which brought about her removal from office last month, which was in reality a reprisal for her "careful and correct" decision in a case where she had ruled against the government. The report calls for the UK to subject the seven Sri Lankan cabinet ministers who convicted her, and 117 government MPs who signed a "false and fabricated" impeachment motion, to be refused entry visas and to have their bank accounts in Britain frozen. It wants Sri Lanka suspended from the Commonwealth, and urges the Queen not to attend the November Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), scheduled for Colombo. 

The Report, by eminent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, who was the First President of the UN Court in Sierra Leone and a 'distinguished jurist' member of the UN Internal Justice Council which disciplines UN judges, concludes that Mrs Bandaranayke, Sri Lanka's first woman judge, was forced out because her "careful and conscientious" rulings had displeased the government and the family of President Rajapakse. Mr Robertson's report analyses the charges against her and says that they are not based on evidence and that some of the allegations  – such as the use of her title in bank statements – could not conceivably amount to 'misconduct'. He accuses the government of further subverting the independence of judges by organising its supporters to demonstrate against her with abusive slogans and by paying for firework displays and other celebrations of her dismissal. 

Mr Robertson says that the most basic rights of a defendant were denied by a "Star Chamber" of seven government ministers who put her on a secret trial. They were all biased against her because of a judgement she had given against the government, and they refused to allow entry not only to the public but to distinguished international observers. They gave her no time to prepare a defence and told her there were no witnesses to be called when this was not the position. As soon as she withdrew they called sixteen, whom she was thus prevented from cross-examining. 

Mr Robertson concludes that: 
"Sri Lankan political leaders treated the head of their judiciary as if she were public enemy number one, abusing the democratic process to put her through an unfair trial as punishment for doing her constitutional duty and then celebrating her unjust removal with feasting and fireworks."

He recommended that the 117 MPs who signed the impeachment motion, and the 7 government ministers who convicted her, should all be subject to international measures now available for use against human rights violators, called the "Magnitsky Act". This is the law that President Obama drafted last December (and which caused President Putin in reprisal to ban US adoption of Russian babies!). Mr Robertson says: 

"the Magnitsky Act is a new tool to name, shame and actually punish those human rights violators who fall within the class of "train drivers to Auschwitz" – they do not order an atrocity, but it would not have happened without their help. These 117 tame MPs started the impeachment process by making false accusations against the Chief Justice. Some are likely to want to visit the UK, other have funds in UK banks. All democracies should act to protect judicial independence as a core value, and there should be a stigma attached to those that have destroyed it in Sri Lanka." 

Mr Robertson also said 
"Given the blatant breach of the rule of law, for which the government purports to stand it would make a mockery of the Commonwealth as an organisation if it permits the Rajapaske government to showcase its destruction of judicial independence by presiding over CHOGM."

He said the UK should ensure that the Queen did not attend, her presence in Colombo "would provide a royal seal of approval for the propaganda interests of President Rajapaske".

The complete report by Mr. Robertson may be seen here.
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Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 7:56 AM
About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

300 delegates attended the stroke conference

18 International faculty members also participated
Dr. Monika Singla explaining secrets to prevent stroke at Ludhiana (Photo by Rector  Kathuria)
Ludhiana, 3rd March, 2013: (Shalu Arora and Rector KathuriaThe 8th National Conference of Indian Stroke Association organised by the department of Neurology, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana concluded today. There were 300 delegates who attended the conference from all over India including 18 International faculty members. Delegates also attended from the SAARC countries like Bangladesh. Yesterday there was a banquet for the delegates at the The Grand Pearl Resort. Mr RandhirKanwal the famous Ghazal singer entertained the guests. The medical students also displayed their artistic talent with a Bhangra dance.
Dr Jeyaraj D Pandian, Professor and Head of Neurology at CMC Ludhiana, the organising Secretary mentioned that all the major advances in stroke diagnosis and treatments were discussed in the conference. On the last day a special session on research in stroke was held and delegates from across the world discussed about the on-going important stroke trials and projects. A Skills workshop on the use of Botulinum toxin injection in treating stiffness of arms and legs following stroke was also held on the last day.
Dr Pandian said that for the first time a separate stroke rehabilitation skills workshop was held as a parallel meeting in CMC auditorium as part of the National stroke conference. More than 150 delegates attended this workshop which was organised by Dr Santosh Mathangi. One of the main highlights of the conference was the Teaching course on stroke which was held on Day 1 for MBBS students as a separate event at CMC. Medical students from three colleges in Punjab participated in this course.Dr Pandian stated that overall the conference had a major impact on the local doctors, neurologists, neurosurgeons, undergraduate medical students, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and allied health trainees from across the country. This would improve the care and treatment of stroke patients.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Fourth leading cause of disability worldwide

The 8th National Stroke Conference statrted at Ldh
Inaugurated by Health and Family Welfare Minister of Pb Madan Mohan Mittal
                                                                                  Photo by Rector Kathuria
Ludhiana, 1st March, 2013(Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria):The department of Neurology at Christian Medical College, Ludhiana is organising the 8th National Stroke Conference of Indian Stroke Association from March 1st to 3rd in Hotel Park Plaza. The honourable Health and Family Welfare Minister of Government of Punjab Shri.Madan Mohan Mittal was the Chief Guest for the Inauguration of the conference. In his inaugural address the Health Minister stated that stroke is the second commonest cause of death and fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.In India 1.44 to 1.64 million cases of new acute strokes occur every year and 12% of strokes occur in the population aged below 40 years.  In India 40-50% of stroke patients are left with permanent disability.
Dr Jeyaraj D Pandian 
From the on-going Indian Council of Medical Research funded stroke survey conducted by CMC, in Ludhiana city the incidence rate i.e. number of new cases every year is 162 per 1,00,000 population. There is an enormous need to improve the stroke care in our country and in Punjab. ShriMadan Mohan Mittal also released the Stroke Solidarity String which is an Indigo colored string as a symbol of stroke support and awareness across the world.
Dr Abraham G Thomas, Director of CMC Ludhiana appreciated the efforts of the department of Neurology in bringing the conference to the city of Ludhiana. He also mentioned that Ludhiana city and Punjab has a very high number of stroke patients. CMC has a comprehensive stroke program to cater to the needs of the patients.
Dr Jeyaraj D Pandian the Organizing Secretary mentioned that today experts from India and overseas talked about how to diagnose and treat stroke patients as quick as possible in the ABC of stroke session. In the noon stroke experts discussed about acute stroke treatment with emphasis on thrombolysis.
Dr MR Sivakumar, President of Indian Stroke Association (ISA) mentioned about the various activities of ISA in improving the stroke care and awareness in the country. Dr Natan Bornstein (Vice-President, World Stroke Organisation), Dr Richard Lindley (President, Stroke Society of Australasia) and Dr Craig Anderson (President Elect, Asia Pacific Stroke Organisation) stated the importance of improving care of stroke patients in low and middle income countries like India. 
Dr Manoj K Sobti, member Punjab Medical Council and President, Indian Medical Association, Punjab explained the role of Punjab Medical Council in improving continuing medical education the State. Dr Yashpal Singh gave the vote of thanks. 
The conference will continue till Sunday March 3rd. 

World Stroke Campaign International Committee

AHRC report on killing of journalists

PAKISTAN:The killings of journalists continue unabated
 February 28, 2013

Two senior journalists were killed during the short span of 48 hours. As is usual, enquiry committees have been formed by the authorities to investigate the killings and the motives behind the incidents. However, as committees have been formed in the past for the same reason which have not shown any results there is not much hope that the latest committees will show any progress.
On February 27, Mr. Malak Mumtaz Khan, a renowned journalist of the tribal areas and president of the Miranshah Press Club, was shot dead in North Waziristan. The area of Miranshah is known as a war zone which is under the control of the Taliban and from time to time the military conduct operations against the terrorists. Malak was going home from Miranshah bazaar in his car when men in another vehicle opened fire at him near his Miranshah Kalley village at about 4pm. He suffered bullet wounds to his head and chest and died on the spot. Malak was associated with several print and electronic media organisations, including The News, Jang, Geo TV and AVT Khyber.
The senior journalist, Mr. Khushnood Ali Shaikh, the chief reporter of the state-controlled Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) wire agency was killed in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. He was killed in a hit-and-run accident by a car near his house on February 25. It is said that he was asked to pay an amount of Rs. 50,000 in extortion, ostensibly from a political group, for purchasing a new house. He was receiving threatening calls of the abduction and killing of his child if he did not pay the money demanded. He informed his journalist organization, his news agency, the APP, and the police of the threats. But after not getting any relief he shifted to Islamabad, the capital. When he thought the situation had been settled he returned to Karachi but again received threatening calls and it is believed that this resulted in his killing. The Police has appointed a highly designated officer to conduct the enquiry.

During the first two months of this year five journalists have been killed including three journalists in two bomb blasts in Quetta city, the capital of Balochistan province, when the Hazara Shia community was targeted by a sectarian organization.  

Pakistan is among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists with a total of 87 deaths since the year 2000.  During the year 2011 16 journalists were killed and in 2012 nine journalists died while performing their official duty which ranked Pakistan as the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists. The tribal areas, Khaber Pakhton and Baluchistan provinces are the most dangerous areas for journalists.

Besides the number of journalists killed more than 100 journalists were injured while performing their duties. The government at all tiers claim that they are providing treatment to the injured journalists and taking care of the welfare of their family members. However the government and the media houses have failed to provide protection to the working journalists, particularly in the war zone areas.  The media houses are equally responsible for not taking steps to provide protection to the journalists rather than taking them for granted. At times it looks as if media houses are happy when a journalist is killed as the names of the media houses are quoted at every level.

No one has ever been arrested or even named in these killings with the exception of the case of one US based journalist, Daniel Pearl whose murder was investigated with the assistance of the American authorities. As already stated there have been many judicial commissions on the subject of the killings but they have all failed to identify the killers. In the very famous inquiry by a judge from the Supreme Court into the mysterious killing of Saleem Shahzad of Asia News after one year of deliberations could not identify the killers. This is despite the fact that Saleem himself had complained that he was facing death threats from the intelligence agencies of armed forces.

The reason for the failure of the judiciary must be the insecurity of the judges which do not wish to associate themselves with any investigation into matters involving the military authorities or the terrorists. As a result they have failed to develop a system of protection under the law. The judiciary is well aware that there is no proper witness protection and terrorists enjoy this lacuna and the incapacity of the judiciary which gives them a good opportunity to pressure the legal proceedings. The case of murder of a journalist, Wali Khan Baber of Geo TV channel, is the best example to be quoted here as all the witnesses were killed. Despite this the judiciary remained silent on the matter.

Many journalists leave the country when they find no protection from their own organizations and the government. In 2011 four journalists left the country and in 2012 a further eight journalists left. These journalists, when they received shelter abroad have been hired by international media houses because of their investigative journalism.

The absence of any government policy to protect media workers continues to hamper the ability of journalists to work freely in Pakistan. After every incident of killing the government comes out with tall assurances to the journalist community. The same may be said about the media houses who always try to shift the responsibility onto the authorities but have never made any effort to develop a mechanism through their powerful organizations which always works for their benefit but not of the welfare or protection of journalists supposedly under their care. 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges the government of Pakistan to ensure protection for the journalist's community. This must necessarily include their families and loved ones. It is the responsibility of the government to rein in the military and the intelligence agencies to ensure that they do not carry out extrajudicial killings of journalists who expose their failings. Their time would be better spent controlling the terrorists that are a threat to the entire country. 

Freedom of expression is now so limited in Pakistan due to the various laws, including the blasphemy laws and the Official Secret Act of 1923 which generated intolerance in the society at every level. The only group that benefits from this Act is the terrorists and the state intelligence agencies. Therefore the government must follow Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has already been ratified by Pakistan. This Article provides space for the freedom of expression and a society based on tolerance.The Eagle Eye News

AHRC report on killing of journalists