Ahead of 5 Million People

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pains of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people around the world.


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Death in German custody

There are sensible and learned people in Pakistan and in Islamabad too but unfortunately not in the government. Here is a letter written to Editor Dawn by AMIR MOHAMMAD KHAN of Islamabad (published on May 19, 2006) which describes the action which should have taken by the government of
Pakistan and can be taken even now.

THE death of Amir Cheema in the German police custody has generated serious legal and moral questions. It is extremely important for Germany to initiate discussion with family members of the deceased through the government of Pakistan and try to allay their misperceptions and misgivings.

It is equally important for Pakistan to come clean on the issue and clarify whether consular access to Mr Cheema was denied. Pakistan must raise this issue with the German government in the light of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which both Pakistan and Germany are parties.

The Convention rests on centuries of accumulated experience. Pakistan in this case must seek redress in two categories of rights: for violations of rights owed to it, and also in the exercise of diplomatic protection in the light of the breach of duties owed to its national. Pakistan can ask courts to adjudge and declare that:

1. Germany, in arresting and interrogating Amir Cheema, violated its international legal obligations to Pakistan, in its own right and in the exercise of its right of diplomatic protection of its national, as provided by Articles 5 and 36 of the Vienna Convention; Article 5 (e) of the Vienna Convention includes protecting the interests of a sending state?s nationals and providing consular assistance to nationals of the state as among the consular functions protected by the Convention. Article 36 implements certain provisions of Article 5 (e) in the case of detained nationals.

2. Germany has acted in violation of obligations owed to Pakistan under Article 36, sub-paragraph 1 (b), of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The authorities in Germany detained a Pakistani citizen without advising him of his right to consular assistance or notifying Pakistan consular officers of his detention.

3. Germany is under an international legal obligation not to apply the doctrine of ?procedural default?, or any other doctrine of its internal law, so as to preclude the exercise of the rights accorded under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.

4. Germany is under an international legal obligation to carry out in conformity with the foregoing international legal obligations any future detention of or criminal proceedings against any other Pakistani national in its territory, and that, pursuant to the foregoing international legal obligations, the German government must accept that:

(a) Any criminal liability imposed on Amir Cheema and the treatment meted to him was in violation of international legal obligations and is void, and should be recognized as void by the legal authorities of Germany;

(b) Germany must accept full responsibility and compensate the deceased family.?

(c) The German government should provide Pakistan a guarantee of the non-repetition of such illegal acts.

Why is the world silent?

Israel is 58 years old today. Israelis have already celebrated with barbecues and parties. And so they should, for they’ve pulled off an amazing stunt: the creation of a state for one people on the land of another — and at their massive expense — without incurring effective sanction. Some of those not celebrating, the Arab citizens of Israel, were also there, demonstrating to remind the world that Israel displaced 250,000 to take their land without compensation. Millions more Palestinians will demonstrate in the refugee camps of Gaza, the West Bank and neighbouring Arab states against their expulsion by Israel.

The world, however, is not listening, any more than it did in 1948, when most of Palestine’s inhabitants were expelled to make way for Jewish immigrants. My family was among those displaced and, though a child, I vividly remember the panic and misery of that flight from our home in Jerusalem on an April morning in 1948, with the scent of spring in the air. Palestine by then had become a raging battleground as Jews fought to seize our land in the wake of the 1947 UN partition resolution.

My parents decided to evacuate us temporarily. “We will return,” they insisted. “The world will not let such injustice happen!” They were wrong: the world let it happen and we never returned. Little comfort in knowing that we were among many others, that we did not end up in tents, that conflicts do such things. Our lives, our history and our future had been traduced. In those early days, I would wonder with anguish how the Jewish incomers who took over our house could sleep at night, seeing our belongings, family photos, children’s toys.  

Subsequently, Israelis made much of the danger they faced from five Arab armies in the 1948-49 war, but in reality their forces were greater than all their opponents’ combined, and the latter ill equipped and poorly trained. Growing up in Britain, I got no sympathy but rather kept being told about the need to give Jews a state they could feel safe in. But at whose expense was this generosity? We Palestinians had no hand in the Holocaust, nor in persecuting Jews. But we were transformed from a peaceable agrarian people into a nation of beggars under occupation, refugees, exiles and second-class citizens of Israel.

Worse still, we are now labelled terrorists, suicide bombers or extremists. Our crime? We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And for that we have been repeatedly punished, most recently for electing the ‘wrong’ government, headed by a party the West, not Palestinians, labels as terrorist.

I went to ‘Palestine’ last month to see what 58 years of Israel had done. It was also springtime, but this was a shadow of the land I had known. I found a pathetically fragmented society, clinging to a fading dream of statehood against the odds. Israel’s policies have broken up the Palestinian territories into ghettoes behind barriers and checkpoints. Gaza, supposedly liberated, is a big prison where, according to the World Bank, 75 per cent are below the poverty line and a quarter of children are malnourished. Since January, Israel has kept the cargo crossings into Gaza closed most of the time. Flour ran out last month, and now medicines. The UN has warned of a humanitarian disaster. Now Israel is threatening to cut off fuel because of outstanding Palestinian debts, normally paid from Palestinian tax receipts, which Israel has illegally held back since January. The barrier wall, sealing off whole towns and villages, makes normal life impossible.

The new, democratically elected Palestinian government is paralysed because of Israeli and western sanctions. International aid to the Palestinians, $1 billion annually, has been stopped; $70 million donated by Arab states is blocked because banks, fearing international sanctions, refuse to transfer the funds. Money has run out for 150,000 public workers and their approximately one million dependants. I found deserted supermarkets and shopkeepers in despair. Armed men roam the streets full of anger at their loss of livelihood. Meanwhile, Israel’s assault on the Palestinians continues. Last week the army killed nine and wounded 24. It mounted 38 incursions into Palestinian towns and arrested 61 people, including 11 children.

The Quartet powers have agreed a three-month emergency aid package. Because of the freeze on relations with Hamas, the aid will bypass the government, though how essential services can be run without a central administration is hard to imagine. Arab foreign ministers have warned of a breakdown in law and order if the Palestinian Authority collapses, but to no avail. The world’s silence in the face of this cruelty is astonishing. There is no international outcry against a policy whose transparent objective is to goad the Palestinians into overthrowing the government they elected in favour of one more pliant to Israel’s designs.  

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan is to draw Israel’s border ‘unilaterally’, annexing the large West Bank settlement blocs and keeping Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. The roads connecting it to Israel will bisect Palestinian territory. What remains, 58 per cent at most, together with the Gaza prison, will form the ‘Palestinian state’. Olmert will be in Washington soon, no doubt seeking a rubber stamp. The idea is presumably that the Palestinians — dispersed and powerless — will then no longer be in
Israel’s way. Anyone who believes this, as the West’s unthinking support for Israel seems to suggest, knows nothing about history or the will of peoples to resist injustice. The Palestinians are no exception.

Written by: Dr Ghada Karmi, a research fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University (UK), and a former consultant to the Palestinian Authority.

Dawn/The Guardian News Service

Administration, Politics & Religion

In the present-day world, influenced by the anti-theological propaganda of the non-believers, some people are calling “Religion must be separated from politics / administration (government)”.  

While this slogan has deep and well-meaning roots, I will only briefly deal with its premise. It is said that the reason why the Western world developed is that they were wise to have eliminated religion from politics and business 500 years back. Without going in to the fact to what extent they had disfigured their religion before throwing it out as a whole, let us examine what good has mankind achieved during these 500 years and what resulted in industrialization.  

The first and second world wars were fought during these 500 years.  

Nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki not only killing but destroying hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings including young and aged men and women, boys, girls and infants.  

Slavery and colonization are also features of these 500 years. The American and Europeans captured African young men and women by deceit and sold them as cattle in the market.  

Thousands of innocent citizens were killed in Vietnam by

The industrial revolution was achieved by looting and suppressing the weak nations sometimes disguising as friends. Who doesn’t know what East India Company did in

Thousands of defenseless Palestinian refugees were butchered in Lebanon by
Israel, the state which is fully supported by the so-called human loving Western world.

Palestinians are being killed in their own homeland for the last nearly 6 decades by
Israel’s armed forces again supported by the Western world.

Thousands of Afghans were killed and burnt alive by carpet-bombing and dropping Daisy Cutters by
America and her allies.

Iraq devastated by killing hundreds of thousands of human beings by
America and her allies maiming additional thousands and the killing spree still continues.

Even progress in the field of medicine was mainly used for commercial purposes and was also used as a cool weapon against enemy. Was it not the Western World who developed Heroin, Anthrax, fatal & nerve racking gases and the like?    

Research in traditional curing methods, which had long research effort spread over thousands of years starting from times unknown and had rich knowledge-base, was purposely discouraged by multinational firms of the so-called Free Western World.The reality is that decline of Muslims set in when they assumed kingdoms separatin religion from state and, later, from business, thus discarding the ways prescribed by The Creator. They ignored message of Qur’aan: “O Allah! Owner of Sovereignty! Thou givest sovereignty unto whom Thou wilt, and Thou withdrawest sovereignty from whom Thou wilt. Thou exaltest whom Thou wilt, and Thou abasest whom Thou wilt. In Thy hand is the good. Lo! Thou art Able to do all things”.( Sura 3 Al-e-Imran, Verse 26),.  When religion is separated from other aspects of life, the result is that a person obeys God only once in a year, in a week or, may be, even five times a day only for few minutes and there-after remains under no obligation to do so whether in the home, in school, at work, in the street or in the battlefield. The result is evident. 

According to the poet-philosopher Dr Muhammad Iqbal:  

جُدا ہو ديں سياست سے تو رہ جاتی ہے چنگيزی

“Jooda ho Deen siasat say to reh jati hai changaizi”, meaning if religion is separated from politics, then what remains is brutality.


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