Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Booze and World Leadership

The current rumour of Bush taking to the bottle again brings to mind past leaders with a liking for booze. Notable among them was Winston Churchill. One noted Churchill scholar once maintained that Churchill 'was not an alcoholic, as no alcoholic could drink that much'. And, as most know, his loathsome foe Hitler was a teetotaling vegetarian.

According to published reports:
Churchill drank throughout the day and in large quantities. He wrote in April 1924 "I drink Champagne at all meals and buckets of claret and soda in between." He would take his first whisky and soda soon after breakfast. For the rest of the day the tumbler was rarely empty. After his regular afternoon nap he would have two or three glasses of "iced whisky and soda" before dinner, at which "he always had champagne, followed by several doses of brandy"; this would be followed by several whisky and sodas as the night wore on.
Churchill’s drinking habits may make some shudder but he did prosecute history’s most awful war and live till 90. It is worth remembering that in the last remaining 20 years of his life the ‘drink-sozzled’ old man wrote the six-volume history of World War II that won him 1953’s Nobel Prize for Literature. Then he got re-elected as prime minister, and after leaving office for the final time in 1955, he published his four-volume “History Of The English-Speaking Peoples”.

If anything Churchill’s remarkable life, particularly his steely resolve during the darkest of times of WWII, makes a strong case for every world leader to consume a daily gallon of whatever Churchill had been consuming.

But copious amounts of alcohol is not enough, the company one drinks in seems to matter just as much. Why? Most people would agree that drinking buddies (hum pyalas in Pakistan) often bear a leading influence in one’s attitude on life. In Pakistan Musharraf is known to enjoy his evening whiskies. But going by his recent utterances on democracy, good governance and rape, one can only surmise that his drinking buddies are rather short supplied on wit and wisdom.

On the issue of imbibing alcohol, let’s take a look at the ongoing disaster in Iraq.

At the time of the invasion George W. Bush hadn’t touched a drop since 1986, and his pal Tony Blair was hardly one of life’s born carousers. Between them they have managed to put together a foreign policy that, as
a wit from the Guardian has asserted, ‘drink sodden’ leaders such as Churchill 'couldn’t have contemplated without first lunching on magic mushrooms washed down with methadone, with big crack pies for dessert.'

Now going back to the rumours of Bush hitting the bottle again,
one commenter notes:

Since alcoholics are never cured, this is possible. The stress of having his ineptitude so publicly displayed as it was in New Orleans and of having his every major policy collapsing before his eyes would certainly tend to push him in this direction.

There are also rumors of very ugly behavior towards associates and especially anyone bringing unwelcome news.

These rumors have sparked stories of the dangers of a drunken President, but I think these stories are misguided. If true, Bush's drinking is a development we should welcome. There is, in fact, less danger from a drunken Bush, and his return to drinking would provide one of the most fitting possible outcomes for his destructive, miserable time in office, a political version, if you will, of time wounds all heels.

So a Dubya daily comatosed by drink might make the world a much safer place for us all.

The moral of the story might go: Don’t think George W. Just drink!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bush - A Bumbling Drunk in Charge?

Yesterday the front page headlines of a US newspaper read “BUSH'S BOOZE CRISIS”.

OK, so it was the National Enquirer - a supermarket daily known for its trashy gossip content. A couple of decades ago this tabloid gave up its famously cooked-up ‘abducted by Martians’ type of stories to make way for celebrity obsessed gossip. Oddly enough, to avoid libel suits, National Enquirer has now garnered a reputation for its reporting accuracy. As the US journal
Slate recently commented:

Striving for the kind of journalistic accuracy that repels libel suits, the tabloid paid many of its sources and scrupulously reported and fact checked its pieces …

Now with the intro over, this is what the National Enquirer actually had to say about Bush:
Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.

Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.

Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."

Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against "falling off the wagon" and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.

"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot," said one insider. "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: "Stop George!""

Laura gave him an ultimatum before, 'It's Jim Beam or me.' She doesn't want to replay that nightmare — especially now when it's such tough going for her husband."

Bush is under the worst pressure of his two terms in office and his popularity is near an all-time low. The handling of the Katrina crisis and troop losses in Iraq have fueled public discontent and pushed Bush back to drink.

A Washington source said: "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him — but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months."

The war in Iraq, the loss of American lives, has deeply affected him. He takes every soldier's life personally. It has left him emotionally drained.

The result is he's taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to cope. "And now with the worst domestic crisis in his administration over Katrina, you pray his drinking doesn't go out of control."

Another source said: "I'm only surprised to hear that he hadn't taken a shot sooner. Before Katrina, he was at his wit's end. I've known him for years. He's been a good ol' Texas boy forever. George had a drinking problem for years that most professionals would say needed therapy. He doesn't believe in it [therapy], he never got it. He drank his way through his youth, through college and well into his thirties. Everyone's drinking around him."

Another source said: "A family member told me they fear George is 'falling apart.' The First Lady has been assigned the job of gatekeeper." Bush's history of drinking dates back to his youth. Speaking of his time as a young man in the National Guard, he has said: "One thing I remember, and I'm most proud of, is my drinking and partying. Those were the days my friends. Those were the good old days!"

So can it be true? Many people think so – including Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President. Dr Frank told the Enquirer:

“I do think that Bush is drinking again,” Frank said. “Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great. I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening.”
I can only endorse the views expressed by the
Capitol Hill Blue blogger:

It’s scary enough to have a nutcase in the White House. It’s even scarier to think that nutcase may be drunk.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A Sonia Naz Update - 26th September

The reports of the two inquiries into Sonia Naz’s allegations have been submitted. Your blogger now provides a brief summary:

The Judicial Inquiry

  • Sessions Judge Abdul Waheed Khan headed this inquiry on the instructions of Chief Minister Pervez Elahi.
  • Sonia Naz refused to appear before the inquiry as she doubted its impartiality.
  • According to
news reports the inquiry continued for eight days and the judge recorded statements of 22 witnesses including policemen and Excise and Taxation Dept. officials from Faisalabad.
  • The judge then submitted his report to the Punjab government which then instituted a case of illegal confinement against Police Superintendent Khalid Abdullah.
  • Shortly afterwards Khalid Abdullah obtained pre-arrest bail from a court.
  • It’s worth mentioning that the charge of ‘illegal confinement’ registered against SP Khalid Abdullah is comparatively mild.

    Your blogger can quite confidently put forward that at any rural police station there would be at least two or three people illegally confined at any given time. That is the customary way in which the police extort money from the public. Consequently, ‘illegal confinement’ is a common charge against police officers and the punishment imposed is far from draconian.

    The Police Inquiry.

    • Punjab IGP appointed DIG Zafar Ahmed Quresh and SP Saad Akhtar Bharwana to investigate and produce a report on their findings.
    Reportedly the team examined 67 witnesses and was in constant touch with Sonia Naz whose charges and witnesses were very comprehensively and minutely examined by it.
  • In short the inquiry found SP Khalid Abdullah to be a complete and utter scumbag.
  • Ayaz Amir produced a good synopsis of the police inquiry report in last Sunday’s Dawn. In his piece he mentions the following salient details of the report's findings:

    • Khalid Abdullah and his policemen kept Sonia Naz’s husband (and others) in illegal custody with a view to extorting large amounts of money.
    • A large amount was paid to SP Khalid Abdullah.
    • There was enough circumstantial evidence “for registration of an FIR” on the charge of rape.
    • The state of affairs of senior police officers in Faisalabad was scandalous as charges and counter –charges of corruption, extortion and illegal ‘land grabbing cases’ were exchanged between Superintendent Abdullah and his superior officer, the DIG.

    Well there you have it.

    If you needed proof of the complete criminalisation of the police force you need not look further. Unfortunately Khalid Abdullah, vile though he may be, is only the tip of a diseased iceberg.

    Now we wait to see what happens next. The police inquiry report is with the Inspector General of Police of the Punjab, who will pass it on to his chief minister. Undoubtedly, Pervez Elahi - who is normally loathed to reprimand police officers because of his political dependency upon them - will be forced to act upon the report.

    The matter is in the public domain and commonsense would dictate that the government cannot afford another cover up. But then commonsense is a rare commodity in our governmental circles these days.

    Related Sonia Naz Blogs
    The Glasshouse –I Was Raped on Police Officer’s Orders (Part I)
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part II) - The Background
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part III) - Subsequent Events
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part IV) – Latest Update
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part V) – November Update
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz : A Victim of Grubby Punjab Politics?

    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz – The Unfolding Tragedy – April 2005

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Mush and his Merry Men

    I knew we had superfluity in Islamabad but reading the latest figures dumfounded even an old political cynic like your blogger.

    An Arab Daily informs:
    There’s just no stopping the cabinet juggernaut in Pakistan.

    The number of un-elected advisers to the prime minister and those given the status of federal ministers but who have not taken the oath of cabinet has risen to 17 during the last one year, reports said Wednesday.

    If this number is added to the list of those formally inducted into the cabinet, federal ministers, ministers of state and those formally given the status of federal ministers take the total to 76.

    All they need is to add on an extra five star chaprasi to the list and voila we have the equivalent of seven cricket teams - of course, all ensconced in their fatuously important flag flying cars.

    Benazir and the Swiss Chamber of Secrets

    Yesterday Benazir Bhutto appeared before judge Vincent Fournier at Geneva’s Palais de Justice to answer questions on allegations that she had used Swiss banks to launder millions of dollars in kickbacks.

    According to
    European press the Judge had this to say:

    “I can confirm Mrs. Bhutto as here,” Fournier said. “It was a very long meeting.”Fournier said “it is expected” that Bhutto will return to Geneva for another meeting, but was unable to give a date. He declined to comment further on the subject of yesterday’s session.
    Considering the Swiss judge had declined to reveal the deliberations taken place in his court, some of our local press have been more forthcoming.

    This is what
    Zulfiqar Ghuman of the Daily Times had to say (with information probably fed by military spokesmen from NAB):
    • “Benazir looked very emotional throughout the hearing that lasted for over eight hours and tried to politicise the case, accusing the military of ousting her from power and registering cases against her with political motives”.
    • “About the money deposited in Swiss banks in the names of Nusrat Bhutto, Zardari and Nasir Hussain, Benazir said she was unaware of the bank accounts and had nothing to do with her family members’ business. She did not comment on the statement that the offshore companies received millions of dollars in “commissions” for the award of SGS COTECNA pre-shipment inspection contracts. She denied involvement in the contracts".
    • "Schlegelmilch had signed an agreement, saying that assets of the Bomer Finance Company would be equally divided between Zardari and Benazir families after the former’s death. Benazir denied any knowledge of the document, saying any information on the document should be sought from Schlegelmilch."
    • " Schlegelmilch said a company run by Zardari had paid for jewellery costing £120,000 for Benazir, but she refused to accept it. Asked why she had refused to accept the gift, Benazir said her mother had told her that the gift was “inappropriate”. She also said that it was her personal affair to accept or reject any gift."

    Now if these allegations are true then one can surmise that Benazir Bhutto’s line of defence is to dump all the blame onto her husband and others – thereby saving herself and her leadership of the PPP.

    If she actually admitted the existence of the £120,000 diamond necklace then she has extraordinarily provided corroborating evidence implicating her husband as being the owner of the illegal offshore bank account.

    Let see what comes next…

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Musharraf : 'I've Lost My Marbles"

    Well he really didn’t quite say that in so many words. But if one actually makes an attempt to gather some of his most recent public statements it becomes obvious that this is what he really means to tell us, even if the message is perhaps a bit subliminal.

    So now over to Musharraf himself:


    After that brainless woman Dr Shazia Khalid complained of being raped in Sui in January this year, I took it upon myself to
    declare the chief suspect completely innocent. After all everyone knows that an Army officer can never be accused of any crime in Pakistan, let alone be tried for one - Navy chappies, such as that ex-Admiral Mansoor-ul-Haq, are of course exempt from this rule as they wear white - not khaki - uniforms.

    During a visit to New Zealand in June
    I publicly announced that as President of Pakistan I had personally banned Mukhtaran Mai from travelling abroad. And when asked under what law was I allowed to do such a thing I simply shrugged my shoulders as modesty prevented me from telling the dim-witted Kiwis that I had absolute power to do anything I wished in Pakistan.

    My latest broadside attracted the most attention simply because it appeared in the US Press. Actually what I told them was that George W, the Headmaster sahib, gave me a pass mark by not chiding me about my army uniform.

    I also told these US journalists that:

    "Leave the developing world aside; I think we are better than all of them. Bring the developed world and let us compare Pakistan's record, under me, a uniformed man, with many of the developed countries. I challenge that we will be better off."
    Luckily no one asked me about the abject poverty of the majority of Pakistani citizens, the widespread illiteracy, and the absence of any rule of law or even tried to compare the GDP or GNP of Pakistan with say Italy or Germany.

    Then the Washington Post chappie wrote that I had said:

    "You must understand the environment in Pakistan. [Rape] has become a moneymaking concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped."
    Everyone got worked up about this interview. As usual that anti-Pakistan organisation Amnesty International got on my case but it upset me to see that idiotic Prime Minister of Canada jumped on the bandwagon and ‘blasted’ me as well. I of course denied making such as a statement and CNN reported me as saying:

    “These are not my words, and I would go to the extent of saying I am not so silly and stupid to make comments of this sort." Then they quoted me as saying that the remark had been made by someone else and not me.
    But then that wretched reporter from Washington Post insisted he had a taped recording of the interview. The rascal then wrote:

    The interview was conducted by three Washington Post reporters and was tape-recorded. A review of the recording yesterday confirmed that Musharraf -- who was surrounded by aides who took notes and also recorded the interview -- was accurately quoted.
    To make matters worse in New York, while I was addressing a bunch of harridans – sorry women, all pandemonium broke loose. The sheer audacity of these Pakistanis, albeit women, to unequivocally and publicly disagree with me rendered me speechless with justified rage. But I quickly recovered and as Dawn reported the next day I managed to convey a few harsh truths across to these unbelievably rude women:

    • “You are against me and Pakistan"
    • “I am a fighter, I will fight you. I do not give up and if you can shout, I can shout louder”
    • “Lady, you are used to people who tell lies. I am not one of them”
    • “Are you a Benazir supporter? [The] lady was prime minister of Pakistan twice, ask her what she has done for Pakistan”
    • “You have disappointed me. I am disappointed with people like you. You work with people who looted and plundered the nation. You are against national interest; you have your own agenda”
    • “I know that there are people with vested interests and financial interests who are against Pakistan”

    The newspaper further added that:
    When the altercation began to get uglier, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Jehangir Karamat, who was Gen Musharraf’s senior in the army, approached the podium and moved the president away by gently patting his shoulders.

    Now back to your blogger:

    Reading the above makes it pretty obvious to me that Mush is sending us a concealed message of sorts . An SOS perhaps?

    I find it difficult to subscribe to the opinion recently expressed two days ago in the Khaleej Times:

    It is indeed very hard to imagine the state of mind of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf when he said what he said in New York last week about democracy in Pakistan, his reasons for continuing to wear uniform and why rapes take place in his country. People are known to have spoken in such a manner either when arrogance of power had gone to their head or out of sheer naiveté.
    …Clearly Musharraf seems to have stopped caring about what he says in public any more. Such arrogance comes to people when they come to believe in their own infallibility. Accountability of their deeds and utterances is farthest from the mind of such people.

    Surely one can't blame our Commando-in-Chief of such worldly sins - it surely must be the fault of all the sycophants that he surrounds himself with - so all hail to our poor and helpless chief!

    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    Updates on Sonia Naz, Israel, etc.

    Your Blogger will be away for a week or so.

    In the meantime here our a couple of linked updates:
    Dawn – Latest on Sonia Naz
    Dawn – ADP castigates Pakistan saying Poverty remains the key issue.
    Jerusalem Post – On Israel’s growing relationship the ‘failed state’ of Pakistan

    Your Local Crime Boss - The Police Officer

    Your blogger was talking to a senior police official recently – an honest and upright one for a change. The official told me a rather hair-raising story:

    A High Court judge found one his new police guards - they are rotated from time to time – vaguely familiar. A few days later it dawned upon him where he had seen him. It had been in one of his court rooms a few years earlier where the judge had sentenced the man for a lengthy period in jail for dacoity (armed robbery). Shocked with this realisation the judge had his police guard changed almost instantaneously.

    In explaining the story he said that over the years, politicians in Sindh and Punjab had purposely recruited thousands of criminals into the police force. These politicians needed men devoid of any moral compulsions – men who would do what ever was asked of them. With the passing of time some of these hardened criminals– with the help of their political mentors – have managed to reach the ranks of Superintendent and Deputy-Superintendent of Police.

    Interestingly enough most of these criminals were tossed out of service by the Army after Musharraf’s takeover in October 1999. But, according to the senior police official, even our glorious Army soon realised how useful these men were. And so after a short period of time most, if not all, these felons were back in police uniform once again.

    When questioned about the now notorious Superintendent Khalid Abdullah Waraich, the man allegedly behind Sonia Naz’s rape, your blogger was told that Waraich had indulged in various criminal activities, including the famous ‘Dollar case’ (of which your blogger has little knowledge – maybe a reader could help him?). And every time it was thought he was ‘in for it’, he would be saved by some powerful individual.

    So now you know – that is if you didn’t already know – how criminal the Pakistan police force actually is.

    And if on some lucky day our police are actually forced to arrest criminals, then most of them will not only have to handcuff themselves but also place themselves behind bars.

    Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen – do you?


    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    Botoxing the Millitary Republic of Pakistan

    Last month Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued advertisements seeking a ‘Pakistan Image Project’ team and welcomed applications for the posts of Project Chief, Director Media Buying, a Creative Director and a Director Productions (source: The News)

    Let me hazard a guess at Pakistan’s image these days:

    It is a Military Dictatorship
    Like all military rulers before him, Gen Musharraf has maintained his grip on power by forming a party that provides a facade of democracy. No amount of rigged referendums and elections can overcome his basic illegitimacy in power.

    Our Mullahs are Powerful.
    Historically it has always been the military which has repeatedly co-opted Islamist organizations for cover and support. It was only with the Army’s blessing and connivance that the Mullahs won political victories in NWFP and Balochistan in 2002.
    In 2005 Musharraf's regime banned the protest rallies of journalists, feminists and members of the Pakistan People's Party, while it allowed the Mullahs to hold anti-American "million man marches" throughout the country. Bankrolling these groups serves the useful purpose of making the army internationally preferable by contrast.

    Our laws are manifestly unjust

    • Our Hudood laws ‘allow’ the family of the woman that kills her for the sake of their “family honour” escape justice by paying themselves blood money.
    • Our Blasphemy law that allows scoundrels to send innocent people to their deaths so that they can occupy their property.
    • Our military law which can condemn a civilian to death without allowing him recourse to the High or Supreme Courts.

    Our Treatment of Women, especially the victims of rape

    • In January this Dr Shazia Khalid was raped allegedly by an army officer who was publicly declared innocent by Musharraf without any due process of law. As the New York Times reported, she and her husband were then ordered to “leave the country, and warned that if they stayed, they would be killed - by government "agencies" and that no one would even find their bodies. (See my blog on Shazia Khalid).
    • Then there poor Mukhtaran Mai who was detained in Pakistan and prevented from travelling abroad on the express and regal orders of General Musharraf, whose edicts were in complete contravention of the law of the land. (See my bog on this).
    • And now we have Sonia Naz who was brutally raped on the orders of a police officer, who in all probability was handpicked for his post by Musharraf’s Punjab political mafia.

    Our Protected Madrassahs
    After several ostensible crackdowns of Islamic militants, madrassahs in Pakistan are still free to propagate hatred against Christians, Jews and Muslims of other sects quite openly. Not surprisingly one of the London underground suicide bombers was videoed in Pakistan making his ‘death speech before martyrdom’.

    And the usual bag of other lovelies
    Such as:

    • The inclusion in the religion column in the Pakistani passport – which other country is blessed which such an inanity?
    • The police thrashing of women running in mixed marathons.
    • Beating of journalists on international Press Freedom Day (of all days!).
    • The regular incarceration of opposition party workers under anti-terrorism and other draconian laws.

    By calling for Image consultants Musharraf appears to be living in a imaginary world created by his durbaris. As a former US Ambassador suggested in the Daily Times Musharraf’s only real option is to ‘clean up the reality’ and not indulge in fantasy.

    While cynical commentators such the Financial Times maintain:
    The nearer the 2007 elections become, the more likely Gen Musharraf will have to share some power either with Ms Bhutto, currently facing corruption charges in Switzerland, or Mr Sharif. It is a prospect he does not relish. For now, at least, Gen Musharraf prefers to concentrate power in Rawalpindi and call in the image consultants.

    So it suits Musharraf to apply botox to the realities of Pakistan

    Sunday, September 04, 2005

    Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part IV) – Latest Update

    On Friday 2 September Sonia Naz recorded her statement before an inquiry committee at the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). According to the Daily Times:

    • Sonia, who a day earlier had expressed her confidence in the HRCP to monitor her case, reached HRCP Chairman Asma Jehangir’s office where she met the two-member committee appointed by Punjab Inspector General (IG) of Police Ziaul Hassan.The victim recorded her statement before the inquiry committee chief Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Zafar Ahmed Qureshi from 11:30am to 5:00pm.
    • Sonia said unidentified people kidnapped her from her house in Johar Town, Lahore, took her to an unknown location (probably Faisalabad).
    • She said Inspector Chishti raped her while SP Abdullah urinated in her mouth after failing to rape her.
    • A formal complaint was registered at Sattokatla Police Station on Friday night, which would be considered as a First Information Report.
    • The HRCP will provide her shelter, while police will provide her security during the investigation process.
    • Sonia said she did not know anything about her husband. She said she would stay with her family (two children) under police guard.
    • Asma Jehangir said, adding, “National Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Amir Hussain and MNA Mehnaz Rafi should publicly apologise to the victim, as their action (of having her arrested for entering the National Assembly) gave way to Sonia’s rape.”
    • Meanwhile, Brian Heath, the principal officer of the US Consulate in Lahore, and several senior US officials also visited the HRCP chairperson’s office and met the investigation team and Sonia’s attorney. Reportedly, the US officials expressed concern over the issue and hoped the investigation would be fair.

    The following day (3 September) the Punjab government announced the formation of a one-member judicial tribunal comprising the Faisalabad district and sessions judge, Abdul Waheed Khan, to investigate the Sonia Naz rape case within seven days.

    But Sonia Naz has refused to appear before the the tribunal. According to Press Reports:

    • Sonia Naz ... said that judge of judicial inquiry tribunal is a close relative of the prime accused of rape case, Jamshed Chishti therefore she (Sonia) had no hope of justice from the said tribunal.
    • She said that she would not record her statement if she were forced to appear before tribunal.
    • Sonia Naz demanded to conduct the investigation of her rape case by High Court or Supreme Court.
    • While the advocates of the Sonia Naz have decided to file writ petition against judicial tribunal in Supreme Court today. Advocates argued that when Supreme Court took notice under suo moto action, how could district and session hold inquiry of the case?

    And today Dawn reports that:

    • Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s lawyers have reportedly decided to ask the one-member inquiry tribunal not to initiate an inquiry into the rape-cum-torture allegations levelled against a former investigation SP and other police officials as the apex court had already sought a report from Punjab chief secretary and IG on the matter.
    • The HRCP has also decided not to send victim Sonia Naz to Faisalabad to appear before the inquiry tribunal which had summoned her on Monday (today).
    • Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights has also taken up the case of Sonia’s alleged rape and torture, and missing of her husband…According to police sources, the committee had directed DIG Sajjad Ahmad and the DPO to appear before it with all relevant record on Monday.
    • [The Police Enquiry Committee] probing the Sonia Naz rape allegations against two police officials and the motor registration scandal has summoned for Monday (today) DIG (Jails) Chaudhry Nasir Mahmood Warraich and over a dozen police officials for recording their statements in the Central Police Headquarters in Lahore.
    • [The Police Enquiry Committee suspects] the involvement of DIG (Jails) Nasir Mahmood Warraich, a close relative of chief accused SP Abdullah Khalid Warraich, and all those officers who remained in touch with the investigation process in the motor vehicles scandal which led to the ‘arrest’ and subsequent disappearance of Asim Yousaf, the husband of Sonia.

    Your blogger will continue providing updates.

    In the meantime let us all hope that justice will prevail.

    Related Sonia Naz Blogs
    The Glasshouse –I Was Raped on Police Officer’s Orders (Part I)
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part II) - The Background
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part III) - Subsequent Events
    The Glasshouse - A Sonia Naz Update - 26th September
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part V) – November Update
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz : A Victim of Grubby Punjab Politics?

    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz – The Unfolding Tragedy – April 2005

    sonia naz

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Pakistan, Israel and the Guju Chaudhry

    The man who, along with his cousin, has successfully created a malevolent police state in Punjab ‘displayed’ some commonsense for once (no doubt after being prodded vigorously by his Khaki masters).

    Today Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain uttered the following:
    It's very strange that marriage with Jews is a right but talking to them is wrong (source: BBC).

    So why is Musharraf pursuing a rapprochement with Israel?

    Simple, Bush has asked him to and he has to keep his US mentor happy and more importantly he has to protect the longer term interests of his real constituency – his generals.

    The Pakistan Army has a basic ideology of being ‘fully equipped’ against its historical nemesis India, despite the unbearable cost borne by the people of Pakistan in terms of poverty, joblessness and illiteracy. In pursuit of its ideology it has to keep its major arms supplier – the US - happy and secondly it has to protect its nuclear assets.

    Also, Israel, which has great influence on US foreign policy, is not only a strong proponent against an ‘Islamic bomb’ – having in 1981 destroyed Iraq’s nuclear potential by an air raid on its facilities and being a keen partner with the US to prevent Iran from progressing further – but its increasing bonhomie with India has been a major cause for concern among our Khakis.

    If you wear a khaki uniform then a rapprochement with Israel makes abundant sense all of a sudden.

    But it become laughable when the likes of
    Musharraf announce that with its ‘growing stature’ Pakistan can help resolve the Middle East issue’.

    When after six years of complete power Musharraf has not been able resolve relatively simpler issues such as Pakistan’s endemic corruption, the absence of basic law and order, abject poverty, and alarming illiteracy, does he really believe he has the ability to resolve a complex issue such the Middle East stalemate? Logically if he sorts out our chronic Kashmiri dilemma, only then can he hope to move to another international issue.


    Your blogger can’t understand why we have never recognised Israel. Historically hatred of a country has never stopped any country from recognising it diplomatically. One needs a channel to speak to one’s friends as well as one’s perceived enemies.

    Instead we have buried our head in the sand for too long by refusing to accept the reality that Israel has been in existence nearly as long as Pakistan has. A bit of maturity in our international outlook would help us in escaping from our preoccupation with self-created delusions.

    The Palestinians and its leader, Yasser Arafat, were always closer to India than to Pakistan and they never really bothered about the Muslims in Kashmir. Why did they do so? The answer is plain and simple: Palestinian self-interest. India was perceived by them as being a much more influential country.

    While I completely empathize with the predicament of the downtrodden Palestinians, I believe we must place the interest of Pakistan first and foremost, because if we don’t no one else will.

    By the way like many people on the planet I can’t stand that murderous specimen of the human race, Ariel Sharon.

    But then merciless people like Saddam Hussain, Kim Jong-Il, Alexander Lukashenko, George W. Bush and Shujaat Hussain’s thugs in uniform give me the nasties as well.

    Friday, September 02, 2005

    America the Incompetent

    Nearly forty years ago USA - the weathiest nation on earth - sent men to the moon, the country has enough nukes to destroy the world several times over and its government believes it has the power to forcibly invade countries such as Iraq and change their destiny for good. In other words it is a mighty country with the power to do almost anything. But if you ask the citizens of the city of New Orleans they would today, I am sure, give a different answer.

    After the dreadful tsunami in Bandar Aceh, Indonesia had organised aerial food drops within 48 hours of the disaster. And yet five days after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of America people were still facing a massive shortage of food, drinking water and emergency medical facilities. There is a complete collapse in law and order as some of the locals are looting and creating mayhem due to the breakdown in civic authority. Thousands of people have died - dead bodies seem to be floating everywhere - and more will continue to die because of sheer incompetence.

    As Hurricane Katrina headed for Alabama and Mississippi President Bush spent the time at his Texas ranch enjoying his holiday. The man has broken all records for taking presidential vacations.

    The USA may be the world’s sole super power but I for one moment don’t envy them for having a complete ass for president.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    Sonia Naz: I was Raped on Police Officer's Orders

    How many of us recall the woman who trespassed into the National Assembly earlier this year?

    She was Sonia Naz, a 23-year-old mother of two, whose husband, Asim Yousaf, had been missing “in police custody” since October 2004. She had decided to make
    a desperate attempt to meet the prime minister and plead for help.

    For her offence she was incarcerated in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail on the orders of the National Assembly Speaker. She was kept in jail for four days despite
    investigations by intelligence agencies and the police confirmed that she had acted in complete ignorance. After the police confiscated her car and Rs.10,000 cash that she was carrying, Sonia Naz was released on bail.

    The newspaper
    Dawn reported that on 6 May the High Court at Lahore, hearing Sonia Naz’s habeus corpus application for her missing husband, was told by the petitioner’s counsel that:

    Ms Naz had been missing since May 1 when she last visited his office in
    connection with the petition. He informed the court that a relative of Ms Naz
    called him by telephone on May 2 that she had not returned home. He quoted her relative as saying that she had gone to a newspaper office for an interview and then went missing.
    Advocate Tahir submitted that she might have been arrested by police for pursuing her husband’s case in court.
    Subsequently Tahir confirmed to the Press that Sonia had been abducted by the Faisalabad police.

    Then on 30th August in a news breaking story
    Rauf Klasra, a correspondent for ‘The News’ reported that Sonia Naz had informed him that when she returned home, after her release from jail , she was kidnapped by the police who held her illegally for 15 days. This is what she told Rauf Klasra:

    The horror begins: Recounting the day of the horror, Sonia said: "One day, when I was going to my tailor, I was picked up from Lahore by some people at gunpoint, who handcuffed and blindfolded me. After shoving me in a car and driving it for four hours, I was taken to a village house and warned if I ever tried to raise a voice, I would be simply gunned down

    The abductors, she recalled, continued to tell her that she should not think of taking on [Faisalabad’s Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Khalid Abdullah] in the media as she did in the past by approaching the parliament and meeting media persons.

    "Finally, a night before my release, SP Abdullah personally came there with SHO Jamshed Chishti. The SP told me I had been maligning him all over Pakistan by first approaching the parliament and then giving interviews in the media and now he would teach me a lesson I would remember for rest of her life".

    The SP, she said, chided her for doing this as he mocked that he had already released her husband.
    "Then, turning furious, the SP directed the SHO to undress me and he started raping me. When I
    tried to resist, both of them thrashed me, causing many injuries to my face.
    "After I was raped, SP Abdullah stepped forward and urinated in my mouth, challenging me to go and do whatever I could," said Sonia, sobbing bitterly.

    The same morning Sonia was again put in a car and dropped near her house. She was warned to stay silent lest the worst followed.

    After her ordeal she returned home only to be thrown out by her scared father-in-law, Malik Yousaf. Yousaf tearfully told the Press:

    "SP Abdullah has ruined me and all members of my family. I am helpless. You tell me what should I do? Should I not look to the future of my two young daughters or (should I) allow Sonia to live in my house? Tell me what to do?" he said.

    "I am 68 and handicapped. I am travelling on trains to different cities all the time as the SP has made it difficult for me to live in Faisalabad. I was a threadmill owner, enjoying family life. But, today, I have been made to beg on railway stations to survive as our factory, too, has been overtaken by those who have the backing of the SP," Yousaf revealed.

    When asked what he thought was Sonia’s fault and why was she kicked out of the house, Yousaf replied: "I had told this girl not to challenge the might of SP Abdullah. We even gave Rs1.4million to the SP. But, DIG Faisalabad also wanted Rs1 million to release my son. I was left with nothing to pay to the police after selling my shops to secure the release of my only son," Yousaf said.

    "This stupid girl (Sonia) wanted to move courts, media and the National Assembly to seek justice against Abdullah. She used to make tall claims that she would fight against the injustice of the SP. Now, she has been given justice by police," Yousaf said, sarcastically, before breaking down again.

    It appears that the Faisalabad police have registered several criminal cases against Sonia, her mother, brother and father-in-law Malik Yousaf.

    Related Sonia Naz Blogs
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part II) - The Background
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part III) - Subsequent Events
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part IV) � Latest Update
    The Glasshouse - A Sonia Naz Update - 26th September
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part V) � November Update
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz : A Victim of Grubby Punjab Politics?

    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz – The Unfolding Tragedy – April 2005

    Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part II) - The Background

    • A Brief Backgrounder on events related to the Sonia Naz case and the characters involved.

    The Husband- Asim Yousaf

  • Sonia Naz’s husband, Asim Yousaf, worked as a junior clerk in government Excise Department office in Faisalbad. In June 2004 he, along with 17 other members of the Excise department staff were detained by the police on charges of forging documents for stolen cars.
  • According to Press reports the police ignored due process of the law by and did not document these arrests. Instead these men were detained in illegal custody with the intention of extorting money for their release.
  • It appears that at one stage Asim Yousaf was released but as ‘insufficient ransom’ had been paid the police demanded that he return to their custody.
  • Asim Yousaf was compelled to surrender once the police by ‘arrested’ two of his younger relatives and used them as bargaining chips.
  • Asim Yousaf father says: ‘We even gave Rs1.4million to the SP. But [his superior Deputy Inspector General Faisalabad] also wanted Rs1 million to release my son. I was left with nothing to pay to the police after selling my shops to secure the release of my only son"
  • Also Sonia Naz says that her husband release could not be finalised as the SP also demanded an additional Rs5million.
  • The police deny holding Asim Yousaf in custody.
  • The family suspects Asim might have been killed by the police during torture in custody.

  • The Alleged Rapist – Inspector Jamshed Chishti

    A scan of the internet reveals Chisti to be a particularly vile sort of human being.

  • Dawn, 4 December,2003, Thursday : An official “show-cause notice” was issued to Inspector Jamshed Chisti for his involvement in the torturing of five people – two students, a shopkeeper and two reporters.
  • Pakistan News website, 16 April 2004, quoting the Urdu newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt reports that a Judicial Magistrate from Faisalabad discovered a private police torture cell during a raid. According to the news piece:
  • "The torture cell was running under control of Sargodha Inspector Jamshed Chishti. Several tools used in torturing people were also recovered from the cell. Besides, two servants of Inspector Chishti, acting as caretakers of the cell [were] also arrested."

  • Daily Times:, 1 September 2005, informs us that Inspector Jamshed was once suspended for seven-years on corruption charges.
  • The alleged Criminal-in-Charge - Superintendent of Police Khalid Abdullah
    Unlike his junior officer Inspector Jamshed Chisti, Superintendent Khalid Abdullah appears to have no obvious trail of previous misdeeds.

    • He has denied the allegations of ordering a rape and then urinating in the victims mouth.
    Associated Press reported Khalid Abdullah as saying:
    "This woman is a liar. ... Her character is not good, and people where she lives are quite aware of it.".

    Your Blogger’s Comments
    In my experience and personal knowledge many policemen, especially in the Punjab, have a propensity to behave like hardened criminals. Murdering shackled victims in cold blood is extremely common and ends up being portrayed in official speak as ‘a police encounter with armed criminals’. Extortion is widespread among Pakistani policemen in all the four provinces, and unfortunately torture, rape and sodomy of detainees is common in police lock-ups.

    This barbarous state of affairs is openly tolerated by the leadership of Pakistan (more on that in my blog of 27 June, 2005 – State Sanctioned Thugs”) simply because they depend upon this amoral body of people to harass and brutalize their political opponents into submission. The more criminal the policeman the more effective he is in producing the desired political results. In return the leadership turns a blind eye until it is compelled by the Press and public outrage to correct an obscenity of justice.

    And Finally
    In this instance there always remains a possibility, however remote it may be, that Sonia Naz may not be telling the complete truth. Only time will tell. If that ever turns out to be true, then we the people must ensure that such a happenstance should not weaken or hamper the well-being of future rape victims.

    Rape is a crime of grave enormity and every incident of such a crime must be dealt with on its own set of facts and past events or mistakes should never colour or taint our sense of justice.

    Related Sonia Naz Blogs
    The Glasshouse –I Was Raped on Police Officer’s Orders (Part I)
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part III) - Subsequent Events
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part IV) – Latest Update
    The Glasshouse - A Sonia Naz Update - 26th September
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part V) – November Update
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz : A Victim of Grubby Punjab Politics?

    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz – The Unfolding Tragedy – April 2005

    Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part III) - Subsequent Events

    How the Events Unfolded

    News of Sonia Naz’s rape was broken by Rauf Klasra of the Jang group of news media. A sister Jang organisation Geo TV regularly flashed it on the screen as the leading news breaking story.

    Thanks to Mukhtaran Mai and her supporters throughout the world and the pandemonium they created in local officialdom, ‘rape’ is no longer a word that can be easily swept under the carpet in Pakistan anymore.

    The hot story that is doing the rounds among the journalist is Punjab chief minister Pervez Ellahi’s reaction to this sordid criminal event. A news staffer from Geo TV rang the chief minister on 30 August for his views on the breaking news story. This is roughly what Pervez Ellahi is believed to have said (translated into English).

    You fellows were completely wrong to make such a fuss about this rape. These things happen all the time. It’s no big deal. Now thanks to all the fuss Geo has created I have to suspend Superintendent Khalid Abdullah from his job. This is something I was pressured into doing and would not have done if normality had prevailed.

    So according to this senior politico it is the news media fault, but he had been, to his dismay, outgunned. The police are obviously dear to the Chaudhries of Gujrat as it is with their help that this political family manages to grip the reins of power in Punjab.


    Thanks to Geo TV a ruckus had been created by the parliamentarians in the National Assembly. A number of MNAs put pressure on Shaukat Aziz – our nominal prime minister- to act on the issue. With the memory of the Mukhtaran Mai debacle before him, Aziz was quick to respond.

    Newspapers have reported that Shaukat Aziz rang the obdurate Pervez Elahi and told him to
    suspend both Superintendent Khalid Abdullah and Inspector Jamshed Chisti from their posts. He also ordered a judicial investigation into the incident. The Punjab government has now requested the Lahore High Court registrar to appoint a judge for the investigative tribunal.

    In another development a lawyer has filed an application to the Supreme Court (SC) seeking the chief justice’s suo motu notice, requesting for
    an immediate hearing of the plea and action against the named police officials.

    Related Sonia Naz Blogs
    The Glasshouse –I Was Raped on Police Officer’s Orders (Part I)
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz: Rape Case (Part II) - The Background
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part IV) – Latest Update
    The Glasshouse - A Sonia Naz Update - 26th September
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz - Rape Case (Part V) – November Update
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz : A Victim of Grubby Punjab Politics?
    The Glasshouse - Sonia Naz – The Unfolding Tragedy – April 2005