Saturday, May 05, 2007

Censored, Censored, Censored and Censored

Along with innumerable other Pakistanis your Blogger was watching the progress of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s journey to the emotional heartland of the Establishment – Lahore.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was heralded by thousands at Gujar Khan, showered with rose petals in Jhelum as his ever expanding cavalcade headed for Lahore. And then all our TV screens went blank.

Confronted by the sight of thousands of Punjabis hailing the arrival of the Chief Justice apparently proved to be too much for the Establishment – Aaj, both channels of ARY and all three channels of Geo suddenly disappeared off our screens.

Hang on a minute, Geo’s third channel is sports related - but then panicked reactions are often devoid of all logic.

So along with countless other Pakistanis your Blogger switched onto BBC Urdu Service’s 8 pm news broadcast. Listening to BBC I learnt that Iftikhar Chaudhry’s descent into Punjab is proving to be quite a winner. And it is not just lawyers and political parties; according to BBC the Grand Trunk Road was lined with thousands of ordinary Pakistanis waiting under a swelteringly hot sun just to greet their passing chief justice.

We were also informed that PML(Q)’s attempt at organizing a pro-Musharraf demonstration in Lahore fizzled out completely . In the words of BBC’s man on the spot: patha nahin laga kay kub shuroo hua aur kub khatam hua (translation: couldn’t really work out when it began or when it finished). BBC also said that most – if not all – of the pro-Musharraf demonstrators were government employees, some of whom admitted that they had been kept in locked lodgings until they were released and instructed to ‘do their thing’.

What an unbelievable disaster for Musharraf.

With the sudden blocking of the TV News Channels all I can fall back on is that familiar Urdu expression: ‘Jo dar giya, wo mar gaya’.


Anonymous said...

Only thing that scares the military is mass mobilisation. A large number of those who are protesting are not necessarily supporters of the dismissed Chief Justice but this incident brings the whole issue of the lack of democracy and fair-play in the country.
"When people refuse to obey the dictator, then democracy comes alive." Howard Zinn

mountainman said...

Thanks Onlooker, for providing us with timely reporting and comments. The abject failure of the Establishment to prevent CJ's reception desite the most brutal police tactics, roadblocks, arbitrary arrests, teargassing, unprovoked firing are a site for sore eyes. the Q-league's hopeless efforts to muster a modicum of popular support against the CJ is though is the icing on the cake. The prize for the silliest statement of the day, though, should go to DCO Lahore, Mian Mohd Ijaz. When asked by a correspondent to explain why hundreds of teachers had been illegally confined inside a decrepit building for swelling the ranks of Q-league rally, the worthy officer replied that they were there to be interviewed for promotion !! Of course, the glib officer had no answer as to why government teachers, who would ordinarily be desperate for their promotions, were so indifferent to their careers that they would have to be put under lock and key for hours on end:)

Anonymous said...

Musharraf and his generals are determined to stay in power. They will protect the source of their power — the army. They will accommodate those they must — the Americans. They will pander to the mullahs. They will crush those who threaten their power and privilege, and ignore the rest. No price is too high for them. They are the reason why Pakistan fails. (Pervez Hoodbhoy)

Onlooker said...

Dr Hoodbhoy,
I regret to say that I have little choice but to agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Around 7,000 policemen and security officials were deployed for the rally. Tariq Chaudhry, a senior journalist who was part of the Chief Justice’s convoy, said, “thousands of citizens could not reach rally venues due to extensive police barricades. Locals told us that they were threatened and prevented from welcoming the Chief Justice, shopkeepers were asked by police to pull their shutters down on the arrival of chief justice in their respective cities. The police warned them if they do not pull their shutters down, they will be fined”, the journalist added.

He said, “Police were in vain trying their best to keep as many as they can from the rallies. The government seems to be desperate. Whenever the chief justice’s convoy left a city, the police systematically blocked 100-150 vehicles in the tail and cut them from the convoy, however, the vigorous and motivated lawyers and political workers have almost foiled the government’s attempts by adopting alternative measures. I was surprised to see that at various places, even school children were present to welcome the chief justice.”

"People of Pakistan do not trust General Musharraf. He never fulfils his promises. He had promised the nation that he would shed his military uniform by the end of 2004, but he never did that." Justice Nasira Iqbal saw eye-to-eye with Ahsan.

"Our aim is to restore the writ of constitution and democratic norms in the country. We have nothing to do with politics," Nasira, daughter-in-law of Pakistan’s legend poet Muhammad Iqbal, said.

stanvir said...

Make no mistake my friends. Musharraf is hell-bent on turning Pakistan into another Turkey, a nation held hostage by its own military, a military that is aided and supported by Israel and USA.

Pakistani people, it seems, are in for another round of blood and tears in their struggle against occupation.


Anonymous said...

It is now clear that MQM was responsible for shutting down the coverage of the CJ's rally on TV in Karachi.

They don't want to have to resign from the privileged position Mush has put them in but don't have the guts to side with him openly. So they do what cowards do; Pretend something is not happening.

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