Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

News: Turmoil in Pakistan

Posted by vmsalama on November 6, 2007

The post below is a personal account I received from one of the students of Saman Talib – Assistant Professor at the University of Lahore (Pakistan) – with regard to the on-going turmoil following President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to declare a state of emergency and dissolve the constitution last weekend.   The student was arrested as part of the protests in opposition of the Martial Law. Below it is another message sent via blackberry from Professor Osama Siddique, also in Lahore.  I’ve also posted a package from Al-Jazeera International on the fallout of the emergency (my thanks to Dr. Montague Kern at Rutgers University for passing this news on to me):

from the student of Saman Talib: Yesterday (11/5) around 35 students and a couple of faculty members of this
university, on their own decision, went to the Lahore High Court(LHC) to
register their protest against the suspension of civil and political
liberties. For those who dont yet know about the proceedings here is a
synopsis.

After raising slogans against the current regime, more than a thousand
lawyers tried to move on to the mall road to protest. The police outside
the main gate baton charged the lawyers and tear gased them. Some lawyers
hurled back stones in retaliation. In response, a major tear gas-baton
charge operation took place which forced everyone to take refuge inside
buildings such as the cafeteria, bar hall, medical centre, and the
library.

The police, breaking all rules and laws, proceeded inside the LHC premises
and in a brutal assult broke into each and every building one by one,
breaking doors and windows, and beat up anyone they say including ladies
and elderly lawyers. Two of our students were kicked, slapped, and roughed
up during this operation. Despite Dr. Pervaiz Hassans insistance that the
police cannot enter into a medical facility no matter what, abusive
plainclothes and baton weilding police broke down the door and entered. Dr
Pervaiz Hassan was dragged out. The brave man was arrested defending the
seriously injured people inside.

Meanwhile most of the lums groups was inside a tiny room in the medical
centre after barely escaping baton charging fanatics by mere feets in the
bar hall. After arresting Dr. Pervaiz Hassan, the policemen broke down the
door to our room. After long protests, we were finally let out, forced to
raise our hands as if we were prisoners of war and led out while policemen
standing around threw verbal abuses at us. However, once the media got
hold of the fact that we were students, it created a weird buzz that
resulted in us standing on one side of the main gate. This happened
momments before all of us were loaded into vans with the lawyers.

The concessions given to us did not change the fact that many already
injured and bleading lawyers were being dragged and beaten brutaly infont
of our eyes even after being arrested. The police also hit an ex lady
judge of the high court on the head with a baton and then later did not
even let her treat it in the medical centre. According to conservatice
estimates more than half of the lawyers present were arrested.

It was a sad and shameful day for the country!
********************

Dear all. As I write to you many members of society are actively
protesting against the travesty that has plunged us once again into the
dark ages. The hrcp building has been surrounded by police and peaceful
protesters including some of our faculty members are about to be arrested.
In islamabad and elsewhere the top judiciary of the country remains under
house arrest and similar arrests are being made. The press has been
completely muffled. This is the time to peacefully but unequivocally
express our very strong dismay and protest against yet another martial
law. Howvever as we unite in this please ensure that nothing happens that
in any way undermines our institutional norms. Please introspect and gauge
whether continuing silence makes sense any more. Please speak up, stand
together and be counted. And be careful.   Regards. Osama siddique ***

This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink

 

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