| back to homepage
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Women Against Military Terrorism in Pakistan
The People of Pakistan are now under siege! Women are especially under danger as they are using themselves as front line in the various protests being carried out. However, there is an immense spirit of resistance and struggle against the dictatorship of General Musharaf’s Military regime and protests and resistances are already springing all over the country even in the face of acute danger to life.
There is an urgent need for the international community to ask for the Constitution and Judiciary to be immediately reinstated, release and removal of all charges against those who have been arrested since the imposition of the emergency, holding fair and free elections, and removal of all bans against free speech.
The Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD) condemns the state of emergency imposed by the military regime of President General Pervez Musharraf and demands immediate rescinding of the Martial law like state of affairs in the country. Although General Musharaf has termed his new dictatorial imposition as an ‘emergency’ in essence the country has been shackled by what surmounts to be a martial law. The Military regime had come into place through a coup in 1999. According to General Musaraf, who has been the most loyal ally of the US led War on Terror, there was wide spread’ terrorist activity’ and he had no other means to stabilize the country. In reality, he was fearing a verdict from the Supreme Court of Pakistan which would have made him ineligible for standing for presidency in elections due in the next few months.
Since November 3, with the declaration of emergency there has been massive deployment of police and paramilitary forces through out the country. The General has imposed severe restriction on the judiciary and the media in Pakistan. At the moment 60 judges, 14 from the supreme court and 46 from the high court are under arrest. All private national and international audio-visual news channels have been banned from transmission.
On November 3, 70 citizens meeting peacefully at the Human Rights Commission Office, Lahore were arrested. Of these 22 were women, a majority from the Women Action Forum, Lahore Chapter. They were released on 5th November after the consistent efforts of activists groups. However, at a protest at the Press Club, Karachi 5 more activists were put under arrest and are now facing physical remand. Similar acts of police brutality have been imposed in Islamabad. Currently more than 1200 people are under arrest. Nearly 800 of the arrested have been charged with terrorist activities, already. All across the country people are being picked up at random from streets, homes and demonstrations. Public demonstrations, distribution of printed material, or any other form of protest are now all acts of ‘terrorism’ in the country. According to various decrees now passed the government can arrest any body without providing reasons for their arrest. In essence there is severe repression of any public dissent against the dictatorial acts of General Musharaf.
APWLD is a regional women’s human rights network of 150 members in 23 countries of the Asia Pacific region committed to enabling women to use law as an instrument of social change, equality and development.