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The police car!
Sir: The other day a car with tinted winds and blaring music whisked past my car in Islamabad. It went on to break a traffic signal. What really shook me was the number-plate of the vehicle. It was a police car! If our law protectors are like this what can one expect from a common man? I also thought that having dark or tinted windows was not permissible, but having seen quite a few in Islamabad I guess I was wrong!
Sir: As an Indian, I am extremely perplexed over the hypocrisy of your press and people after reading “Lahore’s Hindu community: Putting on a brave face for bhagwan” (National News, Daily Times, May 23). Pakistanis continuously voice their outrage over the discrimination against Muslims in India, but how can they not speak up against the discrimination the minorities face in Pakistan? Is this because non-Muslims do not have any rights in Pakistan or because they are not considered to be as human as everyone else? Or is it your divine right to speak for Muslims in India, who are enjoying a pampered existence compared to the plight of Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in Pakistan? I’m also curious as to what happened to the Hindus of Pakistan. They were a significant part of the population, around 30 per cent in 1947. Have they just disappeared, converted or been killed?
Editor’s note: Mr Rao has come to know of these facts through a Pakistani newspaper so the charge of hypocrisy is not valid. We are also surprised that he should have chanced upon only one such story. The press in Pakistan has been highlighting these abuses for a long time.
Sir: This is with reference to the subject of public call offices (PCOs) and the vice chancellor of Punjab University. I have seen PU’s deterioration under this VC from close quarters and decided that people like me cannot play a useful role in rebuilding Pakistan if universities are run by non-academics who have contempt for professors and fear student groups.
On a recent visit to Pakistan I noticed with great sadness that while there were banners announcing fish and flowers on sale at PU, there weren’t any posters or notices about academic or research activities or conferences being held at PU. I also noticed the enormous strides IJT had made under the administration of the present VC. For the first time in the 40-year history of PU New Campus, the women’s canteen has been separated so that women cannot sit in the same cafeteria.
Why don’t the newspapers run stories on the 83 crore rupee reserve fund, which the VC has consumed but was left untouched by five of his predecessors? As for the VC’s love for projecting himself, there is an entire PR office dedicated to this very purpose. And I can assure you that soon there will be toilet seats with the inscription: “Courtesy VC”. So much for General Musharraf’s ‘enlightened moderation’. The president should remove this military VC immediately as he is betraying the very idea that General Musharraf is trying to promote.
Editor’s note: Our information says the male and female segregation is not new to PU and this goes for separate cafés.
Sir: Former senator Asif Ali Zardari, who was arrested when the PPP government was overthrown and remains in custody since, moved the Lahore High Court on May 24 against the transfer of Accountability Court No 2 Judge Ghulam Hussain Awan. The judge was directed by the military regime, under a notification of the Ministry of Law, to leave office by June 1, 2004, a few months after his posting to the present appointment. Mr Zardari said that the law is being violated by removing the judicial officer, meant to be posted for a three-year period, as he was deemed less pliable by the prosecution and NAB, the investigation agency.
Moreover, Mr Zardari has moved an application against former NAB Chairman and Inspector General Police for registering a false case of attempted suicide in 1999. Mr Zardari was tortured and nearly died during the tenure of former chief of Ehtesab Bureau, Saif-ur-Rehman. When he survived cardiac arrest from serious blood loss caused by injuries, the regime claimed he had tried to kill himself. Two cases of suicide were registered against him. A judge found in 2003 that the wounds were not self-inflicted.
Mr. Zardari, a brave man respected for his suffering and sacrifice, continues to fight for his right to freedom. The Human Rights Cell of the Pakistan Peoples Party requests that notice is taken of the attempt by the NAB authorities and the military regime to intervene with the course of justice. The pre-mature transfer of the judge indicates that NAB aims more at manipulating decisions than upholding the principle of justice and fair play.
PAKISTAN PEOPLES PARTY
HUMAN RIGHTS CELL
Sir: District Shikarpur has been plagued with many problems for a long time including tribal fighting, which has killed many people. How long will these massacres have to continue before someone does something about them? How long will it take for the people behind these crimes to kill each other off? Dacoits are looting people day and night in the open. No one is safe. A few days ago even a general’s house was looted. Mohammed Ali Jinnah gave everyone equal rights, but in this district places of worship for minorities are not safe.
Who is meant to maintain the law and order and why isn’t the state doing anything about the situation? Why are the police and local government so powerless over the waderas and sardars? Who is going to take responsibility for this hapless district?
We need proof
Sir: President Musharraf’s rhetoric about ‘enlightened moderation’ and ‘Pakistan as a progressive Islamic State’ is getting old. While he says this, the leader of a largely bigoted and intolerant political party has been foisted on the parliament as leader of the opposition. This group openly espouses an Islamic revolution in Pakistan. They openly oppose repealing the retrogressive Hudood Ordinance and blasphemy laws. Their agenda should send shivers down the spine of any self-respecting Pakistani. Is our entire country going to be held hostage by them? President Musharraf needs to take some bold steps and he needs to take them now. Repealing these discriminatory laws would tell Pakistanis and the world that he is willing to back up his claims of being a harbinger of ‘enlightened moderation’.
The chastising maulana
Sir: I think it is time the maulanas in this country realise that our religion asks women to cover themselves not because of any fault of their own, but because it recognises the serious shortcomings in the characters of Muslim men!
MAULANA A KHAN