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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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US-funded body ignores personal attacks on judges, due criticism on media; analysts say HRW Pakistan chapter highly politicised; serving interests of a particular class of rulers; rights body fails to mention reasons behind court’s action; restraining orders were issued after some highly abusive and derogatory programmes; Brad Adams either ignorant or misled about facts in Pakistan; Justice Wajih says HR bodies should focus on executive, not judiciary

 

By Ahmad Noorani

 

ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Watch (HRW), an American-funded international NGO, has blatantly interfered in the Pakistan’s judicial system and has acted in a highly politicised manner to serve the interests of a particular class of the rulers, directly attacking Pakistan’s independent judiciary, analysts say.

 

No doubt, HRW is considered as one of the leading human rights organisations in the world but unfortunately its Pakistan’s chapter is highly politicised and has close links and affiliations in Islamabad with the ruling PPP.

 

Justice Wajihuddin Ahmad, former chief justice of Sindh High Court and judge of the Supreme Court who refused to take oath under Musharraf’s first martial law, said any order categorically ordering media not to criticise the judiciary will not only be a violation of human rights but will also be against the constitution.

 

But Wajih said that this principle does not mean that media should start abusing judges in its programmes and no democratic system in the modern world can allow such defamatory and malicious programmes in the name of freedom of expression.

 

Wajih said human rights organisations working in Pakistan are respectable institutions and they should not indulge into politics.

 

The senior ex-judge said most of the human rights abuses are done by executive and this branch of government is responsible to control human rights violations. So the focus of criticism, if any, of these HR bodies should be on executive, not judiciary. He said these human rights bodies are rarely seen criticising the government which is mysterious.

 

To support the ruling party, the management of HRW in Pakistan has previously as well ridiculed and attacked the country’s judiciary publicly on issues like Memogate.

 

Ali Dayan Hasan, who heads the Pakistan’s chapter of HRW, has never raised any voice within Pakistan regarding any human rights violations in Balochistan but had taken issue to a US house committee hearing under subject of Balkanisation of Pakistan.

 

Dayan had appeared as a witness and had misstated and twisted facts before the committee hearing. Dayan went to the extent of alleging that killing of Shia community in Balochistan was being carried out at the behest of Pakistan Army. He had opted to keep quiet on the question of “break up of Pakistan” instead of opposing it during this US hearing which was a clear US intervention in the internal affairs of Pakistan.

 

The News has documented many instances where Ali Dayan Hasan was found attempting to create disorder and to destabilise the ranks of Pakistan’s civil society using the platform of HRW. Dayan had directly attacked Pakistan’s constitution and its Islamic provisions and different Pakistani laws by using HRW platform and he was speechless when was confronted by The News to elaborate how these laws were against basic human rights and what were his or his organisation’s efforts within Pakistan to get these laws amended.

 

Even in Tuesday’s press release issued in the name of Brad Adams, the Asia Director of HRW, simply misstated and twisted the facts while launching an unceremonious attack against Pakistan’s judiciary.

 

This international organisation and champion of human rights did not mention as to what exactly was being said in the media over which high courts had to intervene and stop the airing of “defamatory material” towards the judiciary.

 

It is quite clear from the wording of Tuesday’s press release that Brad Adams was either absolutely unaware of what was going on in Pakistani media or he was simply misled by members of HRW’s Pakistan team or kept in the dark.

 

Adams was certainly unaware that almost all the programmes on all the news channels (with no exception) were openly discussing and criticising Pakistan’s judiciary on different issues, but in a decent and civilised manner. If Brad Adams is really an honest professional, he can arrange to get a monitoring report of Pakistan’s electronic media programmes and print media articles of only last six months through some independent organisation and he will come to know that more than half of these programmes were on judiciary and most of it was criticism.

 

Adams could also investigate that high courts in Pakistan have issued restraining orders after some highly abusive and derogatory programmes that were personal attacks on judges and the judiciary. If Brad Adams is really interested to know facts he will be surprised to find that Pakistan’s independent judiciary has never even issued a single order against any criticism of its judgements or observations made by the top judges.

 

Almost in every talk show, issues under consideration of the judiciary are discussed and on many occasions, participants criticise the Supreme Court orders. However, HRW Pakistan chapter has acted as a spokesman for the government involved in corruption of billions of rupees on a daily basis and these facts are now being confirmed by the institutions and parliamentary committees.

 

HRW has however remained a silent spectator when present corrupt PPP government released criminals involved in heinous crimes like murder and terrorism from different jails including jails in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi without any court orders. HRW’s Pakistan chapter also remained quiet on merciless killings of innocent civilians in Karachi by militant wings of ruling coalition parties. HRW only speaks against judiciary which has become the only institution of state to address these issues and to provide justice to the deprived people of Karachi, Balochistan and rest of the country.

 

After issuance of a press release against the judiciary by HRW some months back, former Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui had said that no foreign organisation working in Pakistan under the cover of human rights could be allowed to attack the sanctity of the state institutions or scandalise them.

 

Justice Siddiqui had said that the words used in the press release were a direct intervention in the internal affairs of Pakistan and no such organisation could be allowed to extend its comments to this level.

 

He had stated that the Supreme Court should take immediate notice of these dirty attacks and that too by a foreign American-funded organisation.

 

Senior politician Khawaja Asif of PML-N, Wasim Sajjad of PML-Q and Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar of PPP had also condemned the role of HRW in becoming part of the US house committee hearing on Balkanisation of Pakistan with the focus on Balochistan and had demanded action against it. However, the PPP government has never acted for obvious reasons.

 

When The News wrote about Dayan’s views against Qanoon-Tauheen-e-Risalat (Blasphemy law), there was a campaign on social media against this scribe and the newspaper and some learned people misquoted and twisted facts. Basically Dayan’s views were never criticised as he has all the right to have any views on any law.

 

Dayan was asked if he was against Tauheen-e-Risalat law or Islamic provisions of the constitution, had he submitted any proposal before the parliamentary committee which worked on the 18th amendment and had he publicly requested the people for suggestions to amendment in the constitution. Dayan had admitted that he had not done so and had even admitted thathe had never taken up this issue within Pakistan with any parliamentary forum.

 

With regard to US house committee hearing issue, Dayan had never raised the issue before any Pakistani forum and even never knocked the door of the apex court on this count. Unlike other US funded NGOs like PILDAT, Transparency International (TI) and many others, which highlight issues in Pakistani institutions, Dayan opted to fly to US and become part of an Anti-Pakistan move.

 

Dayan’s entire work on Balochistan simply gives one message that people of Balochistan are fighting for the cause of independence of Balochistan. This obviously was a wrong impression and people can well judge why this was being done.

 

Dayan and Brad Adams could not be approached on their contact numbers despite hectic efforts of The News. When Dayan was contacted after a previous HRW attack on the judiciary, he had replied as follows: “I am a Pakistani and love my country like anyone else. We, as the organisation have no stance on the memo issue of its maintainability. I have little contacts with Husain Haqqani and close to Asma Jahangir because of my professional background in human rights.

 

However, this press release is view of my organisation and has nothing to do, in any way, with my contacts.”Dayan, who always promptly acts after any story about him or the HRW in the media, went missing after The News stories on US house committee hearing on Balkanisation of Pakistan. However, an anonymous forum from Islamabad had issued a letter to the editor of The News and had defended Dayan’s position.