Sarabjit Singh dies, Pakistan to hand over his body to India


PTI | May 2, 2013,

Pak to return Sarabjit's body after postmortem

Pak to return Sarabjit’s body after postmortem

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thurday said the body of Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh, who died in a Lahore hospital after a brutal assault in jail, will be handed over to Indian authorities after “the early completion of all formalities”.

The Pakistan government will continue to facilitate the “early completion of all formalities and hand over the mortal remains of the prisoner to the Indian High Commission at the earliest possible”, said a statement from the Pakistan Foreign Office.

The body of 49-year-old Sarabjit was moved to the mortuary of Jinnah Hospital in Lahore shortly after he died of cardiac arrest at around 1am. (1:30am IST)

He had been comatose since Friday, when he was attacked by six other prisoners within his barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The Foreign Office said the Pakistan government had been providing “all assistance to the family of Sarabjit Singh as well as to the Indian authorities since the occurrence of this unfortunate incident”.

The statement said Sarabjit had died of cardiac arrest despite being “provided the best treatment available” and the staff of Jinnah Hospital working round the clock to save his life.

Pakistan’s foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani was quoted by the media as saying that the body would be “expeditiously” handed over to India after completing necessary formalities.

Official sources in Islamabad and Lahore said an autopsy and other formalities will have to be completed before handing over the body. A medical board will oversee the autopsy.

The Indian High Commission was in touch with both the federal and Punjab governments on the issue, the sources said.

Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal, who is in Lahore, is expected to meet Punjab caretaker chief minister Najam Sethi this afternoon.

Sarabjit sustained severe injuries when at least six prisoners attacked him in a barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday, hitting him on the head with bricks.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed sadness over Sarabjit’s death, saying criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on the Indian national must be brought to justice.

Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons.

His family says he was the victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border in an inebriated state.

Sarabjit’s mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

The previous Pakistan People’s Party-led government put off Sarabjit’s execution for an indefinite period in 2008.

The official sources in Lahore had yesterday said Sarabjit had slipped into a “non-reversible” coma and this could lead to “brain death”.

His measurements on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which indicates the levels of consciousness and damage to a person’s central nervous system, had dropped to a “critical level”, the sources said.

Police have booked two death row prisoners, Amer Aftab and Mudassar, for the attack on Sarabjit. They reportedly told investigators that they had attacked Sarabjit because he had allegedly carried out bomb attacks in Lahore.

No action has been taken so far against officials of the jail for failing to provide adequate security to Sarabjit.

Following the rapid deterioration in Sarabjit’s condition, New Delhi had requested that he be immediately released so that he could be treated in India or a third country.

Sarabjit should be declared a martyr: Family

The family of Sarabjit Singh, Indian prisoner who succumbed to injuries after being brutally assaulted in a Lahore jail, has demanded that his body be handed over to them and he should be declared a “martyr”.

The family has set forth demand to the Union home ministry including that Sarabjit’s body be cremated with full state honours, Raj Kumar Verka, vice chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes, told PTI.

They have also demanded that the Centre take full responsibility of the family, Verka said.

The government will hold a meeting today to consider the demands of Sarabjit’s family, he added.

Verka said Sarabjit’s family members, who are with him at his New Delhi residence, are in a state of shock after receiving the news of his death.

He said he has forwarded the demands to the Union home ministry and is in touch with the Central leaders, including home minister Sushilkumar Shinde himself.

 

#Mumbai Court rejects Jerrit John’s bail application #Vaw #Acidattack


Rebecca Samervel, TNN | Mar 23, 2013, 03.40 AM IST

JERRIT11
MUMBAI: A Sewri sessions court on Friday rejected the bail plea of film professional Jerrit John, arrested on the charge of attempting to murder his former lover.

“The court read out the operative part of the order and said that the bail plea was rejected,” the victim’s lawyer, Faiz Merchant, said.

On November 7, John allegedly hurled a chemical on his 26-year-old former girlfriend, physiotherapist Aryanka Hosbetkar, at her residence in Worli.

John is also facing charges of wrongful confinement and theft. He was arrested from Nalasopara on November 10.

The police said John planned the attack after Hosbetkar refused to marry him despite his promise to divorce his wife, with who he has a five-year-old son.

Opposing John’s bail application, the police said in court that if released on bail, he was likely to harm the witnesses, including the victim, and jumping bail.

John had applied for bail in December as well, but withdrawn it later.

Merchant too had filed an intervention application opposing the bail plea. “Allowing the accused to go on bail at such a premature stage would set a bad precedent in society where acid attacks are becoming more common than otherwise,” Merchant had said.

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Pakistan: Investigate Plot to Kill Leading Rights Activist Asma Jahangir


Human rights watch, June 6, 2012-
Pakistani authorities should urgently and thoroughly investigate the alleged plot against Asma Jahangir and hold all those responsible to account, regardless of position or rank. A threat against Jahangir is a threat to all those in Pakistan who struggle for human rights and the rule of law.
Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Pakistani government should investigate allegations that elements in the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies have plotted to kill the prominent human rights activist Asma Jahangir, Human Rights Watch said. Jahangir made the allegation in a television interview on June 4, 2012.

Jahangir is globally recognized for her human rights work and is one of Pakistan’s most respected rights activists. She is credited with establishing the highly regarded independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and AGHS Legal Aid, the first free legal aid center in Pakistan. In a career as a human rights activist spanning 30 years, Jahangir has been a consistent critic of human rights violations by the Pakistani military and the intelligence services.

“Pakistani authorities should urgently and thoroughly investigate the alleged plot against Asma Jahangir and hold all those responsible to account, regardless of position or rank,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch. “A threat against Jahangir is a threat to all those in Pakistan who struggle for human rights and the rule of law.”

Jahangir told Pakistani media on June 4 that she had discovered through a “security leak” brought to her attention by a “highly credible” source that an assassination attempt was being planned against her from “the highest levels of the security establishment.” She said that she believed it was best to go public with the information because she feared that she might be killed and a member of her family framed for the murder.

In recent months, Jahangir has been at odds with the Pakistani military in a series of high profile stand-offs. In November 2011, Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, was forced by the Pakistani military to resign his position after allegations that he was responsible for a secret memo delivered to senior US military officials seeking support for Pakistani civilian control of national security policy. As defense lawyer in the “Memogate” affair, Jahangir raised serious reservations about lack of due process in legal proceedings against Haqqani and threats to his life from the military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Jahangir has also been a critic of the military’s policies in the insurgency-hit province of Balochistan, where it is accused of widespread killings, enforced disappearances, and torture.

Jahangir has frequently been the target of harassment and threats over the course of her career, Human Rights Watch said. She was placed under house arrest by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler at the time, after he imposed emergency rule in 2007. She played a prominent role in the “lawyers movement” in Pakistan, which led to Musharraf’s ouster and to the restoration to office of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

In 2010, Jahangir became the first woman to lead the Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan’s most influential forum for lawyers. During her campaign for the Supreme Court Bar Association, Jahangir repeatedly received threats for raising issues such as corruption in the legal arena. Extremist groups and allied Pakistani media ran a campaign accusing Jahangir of apostasy – a capital offense in Pakistan – and urging lawyers not to vote for her.

From 1998 to 2004, Jahangir served as the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions. From 2004 until mid-2010, she was the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

The involvement of the military and its intelligence agencies in high-profile killings is well-documented, Human Rights Watch said. In April 2010, a three-member UN inquiry commission into the December 2007 assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto concluded that Pakistani authorities failed to provide Bhutto adequate security and that elements within the military may have played a role in her assassination. The panel was highly critical of the “pervasive role” played by the ISI in the events leading up to the assassination. In May 2011, Saleem Shahzad, a reporter for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online and the Italian news agency Adnkronos International, was tortured and killed after receiving repeated and direct threats from the ISI.

“Governments that have lauded Jahangir’s human rights advocacy both in Pakistan and internationally should be alarmed by this alleged plot and press for a prompt and persistent investigation,” Hasan said

Kindling music, playing a revolution


NEW DELHI, April 23, 2012

Vijetha S. N, The Hindu

Artistes from Pakistan’s Laal Band performing at Press Club of India in New<br /><br />
Delhi on Sunday evening. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.
Artistes from Pakistan’s Laal Band performing at Press Club of India in New Delhi on Sunday evening. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar.

Laal Band speaks the language of Marx and Faiz Ahmed Faiz

A song dedicated to Lenin, Lal Salaams, the revolutionary poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib and Ahmed Faraz and quotes from Karl Marx — all intrinsic features of the Pakistan-based rock band Laal Band — were the highlights of a performance at the Press Club of India here on Sunday.

“I feel upbeat. So all the songs are going to be fun and fast, nothing slow,” promised the band’s lead singer and guitarist Taimur Rahman, an hour before the show was to begin.

During the performance, Taimur encouraged the audience to sing along, occasionally stopping to quote Marx or a bit of poetry.

“We have a song Jhoot Ka Uncha Sar with visuals that depict women who dress like the military – everyone refused to air that video because they felt it went against the Pakistani army and another song of ours which was against the Taliban. Well I still get hate mails for that one,” added Taimur Rahman when asked about the revolutionary nature of his band which has surprisingly done very well commercially.

The band has been in India for sometime, already having toured Mumbai and Pune along, and has given three recent performances in the Capital. “The response was amazing, equal or even better than in Pakistan. We got standing ovations in almost all our concerts here,” Rahman said, adding: “Delhi is just like Lahore. So much so that I feel more culturally and aesthetically connected to Delhi than other cities in Pakistan like Peshawar and Karachi.”

The band members said their philosophy was firmly based on socialist values and Leftist ideals and also sought to popularise the works of revolutionary poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib and Ahmed Faraz. “It is an honour for us to put their poems to our music,” he added.

Taimur is also a professor of political science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences and has been leading the band for several years now. The band used to play at small gatherings, but all that changed in 2007 when lawyers in Pakistan started a movement against military dictator General Pervez Musharraf‘s unconstitutional sacking of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The band’s philosophy and revolutionary songs calling on the country’s young to fight against injustice and oppression had a widespread appeal, which propelled it into instant popularity.

Dawn’s Magazines head Murtaza Razvi found dead-R.I.P


KARACHI: Murtaza Razvi, senior assistant editor (head of Dawn Magazines), was murdered in the DHA area of Karachi during the early hours on Thursday.
Police said that the body was found from an office flat in DHA. There are reports that the crime scene has been sealed by the police.
The body bore torture marks and the hands were tied. It appeared that Razvi had been strangled to death, but police have said that the real cause of death will be established after the post-mortem.
The body was found by his wife and artist Shahid Rissam in the latter’s studio. Razvi’s body was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for an autopsy.
He was reported missing by his wife when he did not come home on Wednesday night.
Razvi’s family has said that he did not have any personal enmities and have requested that the media not speculate till the police has apprehended the killer(s).
Razvi is survived by his wife and three daughters.
He was a well-known columnist and political analyst who served as as a resident editor for Dawn, Lahore from 2005 to 2007.
He also authored two books, ‘Musharraf: the years in power’, a political biography of former president Parvez Musharraf, as well as ‘Ordinary People’ which comprised interviews with ordinary citizens of Pakistan about history, society and culture.
Razvi held a master’s degrees in Ancient Indian and Islamic History from the University of Punjab, Lahore and Political Science & International Relations from the US.

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