Friday, June 17, 2005



Musharraf visit: sensitive

MFAT seems to be rather sensitive about the Musharraf visit all of a sudden. Why? Because people are beginning to pay attention to human rights and the Mukhtaran Bibi story. Keith Locke was on Morning Report this morning talking about it. He has apparantly since been interviewed by TV1 and TV3. John Campbell had an interview with Musharraf today, and according to the Campbell Live website, it focuses on "his role in the War on Terror and Pakistan's human rights record". MFAT's response? No more interviews:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has today cancelled two in depth media interviews with Pakistani President Musharraf.

The interviews were scheduled for Radio New Zealand’s “Nine to Noon” and the TVOne programme “Agenda”.

Agenda producer Richard Harman says no explanation has been given for the cancellation of the interview on his programme though a Foreign Affairs spokesman claimed the decision had been made by the Pakistanis.

President Musharraf’s visit here comes in a week with heightened concerns about human rights in his country provoked by an honour gang rape.

Mr Harman said his programme certainly intended to ask the President about the rape and human rights in his country.

“Right from the start the New Zealand authorities have been hyper sensitive over this visit and our interview,” said Mr Harman.

“We even received a demand from the New Zealand police that the President’s motorcade not be filmed as it entered the TVNZ network centre complex in Auckland.”

“It is time for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start upholding the fundamental New Zealand democratic right of a free media and stop pandering to the whims of foreign dictators.”

It's almost as if they're embarassed about hosting a torturer all of a sudden...

Of course, they're not the only people who ought to be embarassed. Our government takes a strong public stance on human rights in the international arena - and yet they have been completely silent about Pakistan's abuses. I think they owe us an explanation for that silence, don't you?

5 comments:

Too right they do!

Posted by Anonymous : 6/17/2005 11:41:00 PM

In NZ Musharraf decides to tough it out by confessing it was him!
____________________________

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) -
Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Friday that he ordered a travel ban on the victim of a village council-ordered gang rape to protect Pakistan's image abroad.

Musharraf said Mukhtar Mai, whose rape was ordered to punish her family for her brother's alleged affair with a woman from another family, was being taken to the United States by foreign nongovernment organizations «to bad-mouth Pakistan» over the «terrible state» of the nation's women.

He said NGOs are «Westernized fringe elements» which «are as bad as the Islamic extremists.»

Musharraf acknowledged to placing the 36-year-old on the list of people banned from leaving Pakistan while responding to media questions during a three-day visit to New Zealand.

«She was told not to go» to the United States to appear on media there to tell her story, Musharraf told the Auckland Foreign Correspondents'
Club.

Pakistan Wednesday lifted the travel ban after Mai appealed to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Mai gained attention at home and abroad after she defied a culture of shame that often surrounds rape victims by going public over her June 2002 assault in the eastern Punjab province.

In August 2002, six of the suspects in her case were sentenced to death and the other eight acquitted. This March, another court in the province overturned the convictions of five men, and reduced the death
sentence of the sixth to life in prison.

Musharraf said atrocities are perpetrated daily against women in developing nations round the world - «in Kashmir and many other
places.»

«I don't want to project the bad image of Pakistan,» he told the journalists' club.

«I am a realist. Public relations is the most important thing in the
world,» he said, adding that media misperceptions would discourage
tourists from traveling to Pakistan.

«Pakistan is the victim of poor perceptions. The reality is very
different,» Musharraf said.

He defended his regime's treatment of women, saying it was working for
their emancipation

Rape was not «a rampant malaise Pakistan suffers from every day,» he said.

__________________________
Moral of the story according to Musharraf: If it is in your country's (i.e the dictator's)interest to detain, from time to time, ordinary rape victims at gun point - well at at least 40 to 60 gunpoints - then you are perfectly entitled to do so.

No wonder no one in Pakistan wishes to vote for the Sod!

Posted by Onlooker : 6/18/2005 05:38:00 AM

In NZ Musharraf decides to tough it out by confessing it was him!
____________________________

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) -
Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Friday that he ordered a travel ban on the victim of a village council-ordered gang rape to protect Pakistan's image abroad.

Musharraf said Mukhtar Mai, whose rape was ordered to punish her family for her brother's alleged affair with a woman from another family, was being taken to the United States by foreign nongovernment organizations «to bad-mouth Pakistan» over the «terrible state» of the nation's women.

He said NGOs are «Westernized fringe elements» which «are as bad as the Islamic extremists.»

Musharraf acknowledged to placing the 36-year-old on the list of people banned from leaving Pakistan while responding to media questions during a three-day visit to New Zealand.

«She was told not to go» to the United States to appear on media there to tell her story, Musharraf told the Auckland Foreign Correspondents'
Club.

Pakistan Wednesday lifted the travel ban after Mai appealed to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Mai gained attention at home and abroad after she defied a culture of shame that often surrounds rape victims by going public over her June 2002 assault in the eastern Punjab province.

In August 2002, six of the suspects in her case were sentenced to death and the other eight acquitted. This March, another court in the province overturned the convictions of five men, and reduced the death
sentence of the sixth to life in prison.

Musharraf said atrocities are perpetrated daily against women in developing nations round the world - «in Kashmir and many other
places.»

«I don't want to project the bad image of Pakistan,» he told the journalists' club.

«I am a realist. Public relations is the most important thing in the
world,» he said, adding that media misperceptions would discourage
tourists from traveling to Pakistan.

«Pakistan is the victim of poor perceptions. The reality is very
different,» Musharraf said.

He defended his regime's treatment of women, saying it was working for
their emancipation

Rape was not «a rampant malaise Pakistan suffers from every day,» he said.

__________________________
Moral of the story according to Musharraf: If it is in your country's (i.e the dictator's)interest to detain, from time to time, ordinary rape victims at gun point - well at at least 40 to 60 gunpoints - then you are perfectly entitled to do so.

No wonder no one in Pakistan wishes to vote for the Sod!

Posted by Onlooker : 6/18/2005 05:44:00 AM

From: Pakistan

Sorry, but I could not get this directly through to you via email - either problems at my end or yours.
___________________________

Let me tell you a interesting story about Pakistan's current state of freedom..

There was this rather unpleasant and corrupt politician in Pakistan named Javed Hasmi. He had a dubious past. As a poor student activist he had risen in politics simply by toadying to the obnoxious regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. Within time he became wealthy and politically prominent and made the effort of adding the title ‘makhdoom’ or ‘descendant of saint’ before his name.

By the nineties he had been made a Federal Minister by his leader Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (himself an army created politician). By now with his corrupt wealth and senior political stature - attained by his abject loyalty to the Sharif family - Hashmi regarded himself as serious man of substance. And, then came Musharraf’s coup in October 1999.

After his leader Nawaz Sharif fled for a safe sanctuary in Saudi Arabia his subordinate Hashmi was appointed president of the 15-party Alliance for Restoration of Democracy.

In October 2003, while seated in the parliamentary cafeteria Hashmi displayed an anonymous letter purportedly written by army officials criticising Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf's leadership. He claimed to have received it from some men in uniform who did not want to be identified. The letter, though unsigned, was reportedly on the letterhead of the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army. He provided copies of the letter to the Press.

Within a day or two Hashmi was arrested on charges of sedition and incitement of disaffection within the armed forces of Pakistan. In April 2004 he was found guilty of sedition, mutiny and forgery by the district and session court. The trial was held in prison for security reasons, and journalists were barred from the proceedings. His sentence: 23 years in jail!

Here are the sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) under which he was found guilty.
Section 131/109 PPC (incitement to mutiny): Seven years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs10,000.
Section 124-A of PPC (defaming the government and the army): Three years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs10,000.
Section 505(a) PPC (defaming army): Two years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs5,000.
Section 468/471 PPC (forgery of documents): Four years rigorous imprisonment on two counts with a fine of Rs5,000 each.
Section 500 PPC (defaming army officers): One-year simple imprisonment with a fine of Rs5,000.
Section 469 PPC (forgery): Two years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs2,000.

There have been reports published on the web of Hashmi’s personal account of his ordeal. Here is one from the South Asia Tribune. :

"MY HAIR WAS PULLED. My head was repeatedly banged against brick walls. I was kept blindfolded in a pitch-dark pit for days. While wrapped around in blindfolds, I was poked with the nozzles of guns trained at me. I heard my captors stomping around me, screaming obscenities at me, and shouting, ‘kill him, kill him.’ My blindfold was removed only to further blind me with blasts of several thousand watts of electric light burning, round the clock, inches from above my head. For days and nights, my captors kept me awake, thirsty, and hungry to break me down.”

And now Hashmi is doomed to his jail cell till the day a civilian government is brought back in power.
_______________________________

PS: Please tell what you know of Fran O'Sullivan from that wimpish ol’grandma of a rag the NZ Herald. She sounds as if Neo-Cons are the nicest things since sliced bread.

Posted by Onlooker : 6/18/2005 08:07:00 AM

Onlooker: Musharraf's admission was mentioned on Agenda (a weekly TV interview program) this morning. People did not seem impressed at all.

Unfortunately I don't know much about O'Sullivan at all.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/18/2005 04:28:00 PM