Masarrat not presented before court in IOK

Srinagar, November 01, 2015 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, illegally detained senior Hurriyet leader and the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League, Masarrat Aalam Butt was not presented before the court in Srinagar on his hearing. The JKML spokesman, Mohammad Rafiq Ganai in a media interview in Srinagar condemned the puppet regime led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for not allowing the arrested leader to be heard in the court.

Masarrat Aalam was scheduled to be presented before Chief Judicial Magistrate in Srinagar, but the police was not presenting him before the court to prolong his illegal detention, he deplored. He added that the PDP was running the agenda of RSS. Meanwhile, the CJM directed the authorities that Masarrat Aalam be presented before the court on December 17, the next hearing date.

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IOK people urged to make Million March a success

Srinagar, November 01, 2015 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Political Front (PPF) Muhammad Musadiq Aadil, Dukhtaran-e-Millat President Aasiya Andrabi, Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement and People’s Freedom League have announced their full support to Million March program called by Syed Ali Gilani in Srinagar on 7th November.

Musadiq Aadil, during his visit to Baramulla to express solidarity with Sikh community where a woman was mysteriously murdered, said that making the Million March a success was imperative for countering the nefarious designs of the BJP and RSS. He said, “It has become our religious duty to unite and stand under the green flag against the fascist forces and their agents in the valley.

He urged the people to convey a historical message to the world by massively participating in the November 7 Million March that the people of Kashmir are united and have not forgotten the mission of freedom and the sacrifices given by the Kashmiri martyrs.

Aasiya Andrabi in her statement called upon people to boycott Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally and march towards TRC ground to participate in Million March programme. Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement in a statement issued in Srinagar, said that party had held numerous meetings in all districts of Kashmir and mobilized its resources for making the Million March a success.

Jammu and Kashmir Nation Front Chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan in his statement denouncing the latest crackdowns on pro-freedom leadership and activists said that India would face final rout on November 7 when millions of people will march on roads to reach Srinagar.

Jammu and Kashmir People’s Freedom League (JKPFL) General Secretary, Muhammad Ramzan Khan has also appealed Kashmiris to join Million March so that a clear cut message to India be given that the people of Kashmir do not want any economic package but their only demand is right to self-determination.

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Police blocking web pages promoting ‘Million March’ call in IOK

Srinagar, November 01, 2015 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, Indian police are trying to block hundreds of Facebook and Twitter pages, which call for joining the Million March programme announced by Syed Ali Gilani. Police on Sunday marked 120 such Facebook and Twitter pages for blockade, media reports said.“The cyber cell of police is making efforts to block them and more pages are being identified,” the reports quoting police sources said.

The pages have been created following an appeal by Syed Ali Gilani to promote the proposed march on social networking websites. Scores of Hurriyet leaders have already been arrested or placed under house arrest to foil the proposed march. The Million March is being organized on November 7 to counter Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar.

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Indian troops martyr 14 Kashmiris in October

Srinagar, November 01, 2015 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, Indian troops in their continued acts of state terrorism martyred 14 Kashmiris including a young boy during the last month of October. According to the data issued by the Research Section of Kashmir Media Service, today, these killings rendered two women widowed and two children orphaned.

During the period, 341 Kashmiris were critically injured when Indian police and paramilitary personnel used brute force against peaceful demonstrators in the occupied territory. The troops and police personnel also arrested 991 people, mostly Hurriyet leaders and activists. The troops molested or disgraced seven women and destroyed a residential house during the month.

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Arrests, frisking and searching mar Valley ahead of Modi’s visit

Srinagar, November 01, 2015 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, almost a week ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to the Valley and address to a public rally at Cricket Stadium in Srinagar, the authorities have unleashed arrest spree, frisking and searching and number of other measures in the name of security to pre-empt outbursts of protests and a million march called by the veteran Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani on the occasion. The personnel of Indian police and army have been deployed in strength in Srinagar and other parts of the territory. Police are searching every nook and corner of the stadium, the venue of Modi’s rally, with sniffer dogs and electronic gadgets.

Police check-posts and bunkers have been set up at all entry and exit points of Srinagar where every passenger and passer-by is compelled to undergo minute frisking. Barriers and CCTV cameras have been installed at main roads and no one is spared from body search. Meanwhile, a large number of Hurriyet leaders and activists during police raids on their offices and residences have been arrested and lodged in different jails and police stations.

The arrested leaders included Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Zafar Akbar Butt, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, Showkat Bakshi, Ayaz Akbar, Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri, Feroz Ahmad Khan, Bashir Ahmad Wani and others. Shabbir Ahmad Shah and Zafar Akbar have been lodged at Rajbagh police station, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash at Safakadal and Muhammad Yasin Malik, Showkat Ahmad Bakhshi and Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri at Kothibagh police stations in Srinagar, while Ayaz Akbar has been placed at Parimpora police station in Badgam.

Muhammad Yousuf Mir, Feroz Ahmad Khan and Bashir Ahmad Wani have been shifted to unknown locations. Police also raided the houses of Mushtaqul Islam and Yasmeen Raja. She has been placed under house arrest. Other leaders who have been arrested, today, included Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Altaf Shah Imtiyaz Haider, Muhammad Lone Saif-ud-Din, Habibullah, Ghulam Hassan Malik, Haji Ghulam Mohammad Mir, Ali Muhammad, Engineer Farooq and Javaid Ahmad Mir.

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APHC extends support to Kashmir’s Million March

Srinagar, November 01, 2015 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) underlining the need for unity among pro-freedom groups, today, endorsed Syed Ali Gilani’s proposed Million March on November 7. The APHC in a statement issued in Srinagar, today, said they fully support the programme to counter Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 7 programme in Srinagar.

“We extend all out support to Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik’s call for a complete shutdown and civil curfew in case the Indian authorities resort to their customary practice of placing bans and curbs on people from participating in the proposed programme,” the statement added.

Appealing people to make the programme a success, the APHC said: “This will send a strong message to the people of India and the world community that Kashmiris have not been offering sacrifices of their lives, their dear ones, their honour and material wealth during the past seven decades for petty economic package but for the lofty and noble cause of securing their fundamental right of self-determination promised to them at the United Nations.”

The statement said that better coordination among pro-freedom groups through prior consultations and organizing joint resistance programmes is an urgent need. “Because the situation in the valley is deteriorating by the day and state-sponsored terrorism and use of excessive force on Kashmiri people and their leadership is touching new heights,” the statement added.

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Those who murder, injure and assault journalists are almost never punished in Pakistan

A report on safety of Pakistani media professionals presents a bleak picture of level of insecurity faced by Pakistani journalists and calls of serious efforts by governments and media to change the present situation where those that kill, injure, abduct and threaten journalists are almost never punished.

The Report on Safety of Media Workers released by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) on the International Day on Impunity documents that since 2001, 47 media workers have been murdered, 164 injured, 88 assaulted, 21 abducted and 40 detained.  In addition 24 media professionals were died while covering dangerous assignments.  There have been convictions in only two cases out of 384 cases of violence against media.

In Pakistan, journalists are killed, unjustly detained, abducted, beaten and threatened by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, militants, tribal and feudal lords, as well as by religious groups and political parties that claim to promote democracy and the rule of law.  Adding to the gravity of the situation is the fact that the perpetrators of violence against journalists and media workers enjoy almost absolute impunity from prosecution in Pakistan.

Because of conflicts and insurgencies the number of murders and killings in the highest in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.  Since 2001, 21 journalists and media workers were killed in Balochistan, 19 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 9 in FATA and 15 in Sindh, 4 in Punjab and 3 in Islamabad.

Threats and violence have forced many journalists to move from these danger zones and to leave the profession or to resort to self-censorship, particularly in conflict areas. As a consequence, news reports from conflict areas are based on press releases, not on observations by independent journalists. Thus, new reports that are published or broadcast lack credibility and do not inform the public in an objective manner.

The two convictions by courts were in Sindh for the murder of Daniel Pearl of Wall Street Journal and Wali Babar of Geo Television.  In both the cases the federal and provincial governments seriously perused the cases because of pressure from the media organisations of the murdered journalists.  The report thus recommends that criminal cases should not only be registered but should also be properly investigated and prosecuted against the perpetrators of violence against media.  The report also calls on media itself to take the lead in ensuring safety of media practitioners and to ensure long-term follow up of cases of assault on media organisations and workers.

Apart from murders and killings, the largest number of cases of violence against media occurred in the province of Sindh.  Out of a total of 164 journalists and media workers injured and assaulted since 2001, 91 were in Sindh.   Surprisingly the second place in these categories with 70 assaults was Islamabad, which was largely due to the assault on large number of media practitioners by supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) during the Dharna in 2014.  Forty Eight media practitioners were injured and assaulted in Punjab, 23 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 14 in Balochistan.

This reluctance to hold those who use violence against media professionals exists even in high profile cases such as that of murderous attack on Hamid Mir in 2014, and the murders of journalists Saleem Shahzad in 2011 and Hayatullah Khan in 2006.  In all three cases high profile commissions were set up but the result has been nil.

Hamid Mir of Geo Television received six bullet wounds when he was attacked in Karachi in April 2014.  The government set up a judicial commission in response to national and international furor over the attack.  The commission was supposed to submit a report in 21 days.  However, eighteen months have passed and the commission has still not submitted the report.  Meanwhile, Mir and other journalists continue to receive threats and face a sense of increasing insecurity.  The report calls for the early completions of the commission report which should fix responsibility and be made public.

Cases that are not high profile are covered up at the local level.  One such example is that of the fatal shooting of Shan Dahar, reporter of “Abb Takk” TV channel on the night of December 31, 2013 in Badh, in Larkana district. He was shot in his back and was taken to the hospital where he remained unattended until he succumbed to his injuries many hours later on January 1, 2014.  The local police, in an investigation that his family believes to be flawed and motivated, termed the death as an accidental death as a result of shooting on New Year’s Eve.  However, the family believes he was targeted because of his stories on use of fake medicines in local hospitals.    Despite repeated promises, including those by Minister of Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid, to have the case re-investigated, no action has been taken by the provincial or federal governments.

The report emphasizes that free media is essential to democracy in Pakistan and for promoting transparency and accountability, a prerequisite of sustained economic uplift and that the impunity enjoyed by those who attack Pakistani media  is seriously hampering independent journalism in Pakistan.

Complete report is available in English at: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Report-on-Safety-of-Media-Workers.pdf

In Urdu at: http://www.pakistanpressfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Report-on-Safety-for-Media-Workers-Urdu-2.pdf