Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pride and Human Rights in Pakistan

Yes, pride in Pakistan. In something uniquely Pakistani. Not a word you will hear often given the news coming out of that country.

We have heard about Mukhtaran Mai. And if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will remember my quoting Dr. Adil Najam about how Mukhtaran Mai is the one Pakistani he's most proud to have met. And, if you are more in touch with Pakistan, you know about Edhi, Faiz, Dr. Abdus Salaam...but the one thing that makes me more proud than anything else, is the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the HRCP. This is the organization that gave the world it's first UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions. This is the organization Dr. Amartya Sen mentions when asked about Pakistan and how it's doing as a country.

On the other hand, today, we have Imran Khan and his party today telling us that what we need is Rule of Law, and and an independent judiciary. And we have Farid Esack, Junaid Ahmad, and Robert Jensen telling us about Pakistani liberals that ""Instead of talking about these fundamental questions of justice" and "might ignore ... movements [like the Lal Masjid brigade] and conflicts in the outer provinces" ... and yet "found it offensive that such an embarrassing incident could happen in the capital, where the world eventually would pay attention."

But when a military coup last happened in Pakistan, the only clear voice saying it was a bad idea was not The Great Khan, for example, (he was making appreciative noises).. The only clear voice saying "interrupting the flow of democracy is always a bad thing" was the HRCP. [If you can find the press release or a news story about it, please do send it to me; I am franticly looking for it. PS, 9/11/11: Beena Sarwar helped get HRCP dig it up and it is now part of a subsequent post.]

And now they have a blog: and that's a very, very good thing. I have left them a comment saying that if they need any help, they can ask me. I request other bloggers to to do the same--and pass the word around. This is one Pakistani--one Muslim--organization that needs all the support, ink, oxygen it can get. Especially at a time like this.

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