Hum Logge- A rally on 9th February, 2008

Today Pakistan stands at the crossroads of chaos and instability. The events of November 3rd, and December 27, 2007, have had a devastating affect on our nation, the Balkanization of which is now a very likely future scenario. The gravity of the situation demands that we, the people of Pakistan, stay united and work for the restoration of our judiciary, which can restore order to our nation. In the wake of rising provincial disharmony and the judicial crisis, Hum Logge has organized a plan to rally under the flag of Pakistan for solidarity on February 9th, 2008 from Lahore to the capital, Islamabad, via the G.T. road.

“Hum Logge” consists of organizers, in consultation with the Leaders of the Bars and major political parties, who are advocates of civil rights, the independence of judiciary, and a restoration of democracy. The parties will participate in the rally for a national cause since they too stand as a symbol of the Federation. We will rally with full support and enthusiasm from all classes of people (awam: the real people), the Leaders of the Bars and other participants including WAF (Women Action Forum), HRCP (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), CCP (Concerned Citizens of Pakistan), the members of various NGOs, local civil society groups, SAC (Student Action Committee), and most importantly, the most marginalized citizens of this nation, who are the real voters. Hum Logge- We, the people, ARE the government. United we stand to make our voice heard.

Objectives:

The rally aims to reiterate the people’s demands for the restoration of the judiciary, free and fair elections for democracy, and to show solidarity amongst the four provinces in order to move the country away from the prevailing, vulnerable situation. It’s time to work together for the solidarity of our country.

We will join our brethren in Islamabad and together march towards the Supreme Court so that we can influence the present regime to meet our demands. We aim to show solidarity with judicial leaders who are acting players for the suppressed of the country, and who are fighting for the independence of the judiciary, civil liberties, freedom of democracy, a free media, and a society rid of atrocities and tyranny.

We anticipate everyone’s involvement and request that all individuals and organizations send their delegations as representatives in large numbers to show strength, power and the struggle of the people of Pakistan for their rights and for democracy.

This is for PAKISTAN and for ALL Pakistanis. It does not matter who you are and what your affiliations are. We ONLY want the Pakistani flag here, be it in the form of the flag itself, stickers, banners, etc. We want to focus on unity instead of the minor differences in agenda that we may have. Now is the time to unite.

We would also be obliged if people can donate cars for transportation to Islamabad. Please do register your cars with us and confirm the number of people you will be bringing along with Bina Qureshi. Please contact Bina Qureshi and Nabiha Meher in Lahore, and Kamil Hamid in Islamabad for any details and information.

UNITED WE STAND FOR A SOLID PAKISTAN.

Looking forward,
Bina Qureshi
Team leader
Phone number: 0300-8412435
Email: images_help@yahoo.com

Nabiha Meher:
Phone #: 0308-4579807
nabihameher@hotmail.com

Kamil Hamid:
Phone #: 0345-5104892
kamilhamid@gmail.com

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Protest Rally: Nasir Bagh to Regal Chowk. Saturday, 2nd Feb, 08.

Protest rally starting from Nasir Bagh to Regal Chowk at 1:30 pm. This is a mega event involving all civil society organisations, lawyers, students, NGOs, as well as like minded political parties.

Please try your best to come to all the events and bring along friends and like minded people.

Nasir Bagh is opposite Town Hall on the Mall. Further down from NCA.

Update: Aitzaz Ahsan will be leading the rally.

WAF’s rainy protest

Today’s WAF protest took place at Dilli Gate, in the heart of the old city. Took me an hour to get there because of the miserable weather. It was cold and wet today, something we’re not used to here, especially since we’ve had a very mild winter.

It was a regular rally with the same people I see everywhere. What was different was that this was the first rally that I’ve been to in the old city. The atmosphere was totally different. First of all it was painfully wet. Anyone been to Kashmiri bazaar? It consists of tiny, tiny lanes, which are full of holes and overflowing sewage. We marched through it, holding candles and placards in support of Benazir Bhutto. (The candles were kind of pointless since they kept extinguishing because of the rain.) We protested against the injustice we all see, we all feel. The best though, however, was that people on the streets (well… lanes) were quite fascinated and some joined us. I heard many teenagers and children screaming: “Go Musharraf go!” One shopkeeper’s entire family took out all their PPP posters and we stood in front of their humble shop (and home) and chanted with them.

Some of the naras from today are:
1. Bibi tayray khoon se inqalaab aaye ga! (Bibi your blood will lead to justice)
2. Yeh jo dehshat gardi hai, is keh peechay wardi hai! (The [army] uniforms are behind this terrorism)
3. Muk gaya tera show Musharraf. Go Musharraf, go Musharraf. (Your time is up)
4. Yeh colonel general baghairat! (The army [colonels and generals] is shameless)
5. Hum lay kay rahain gay azaadi! (We WILL get our freedom)
6. Girti hooein diwaroun ko, ek dhaka aur do! (Give the crumbling walls another push)
7. Yah Allah, yah rasool. Benazir bekasoor! (Dear God, dear prophet. Benazir is innocent)
I can’t remember all of them, but these were in my mind so I thought I’d share them. They do get lost in translation! They sound quite stupid and juvenile in English.

I must say I was very impressed with those who made it. Even I felt like turning back after half and hour of sitting in traffic in the middle of the old city, waiting for a cow to cross. The intensity of these few people’s passion motivates me. I was hoping to see more of the teachers. We specifically cancelled this evening’s Teachers’ Action Committee meeting for the protest. I guess, today, I can’t blame anyone who couldn’t make it. For tonight, I won’t judge.

Jab thak janta thang rahe gi
Jang rahe gi jang rahe gi!
Jab thak bhook aur nang rahe hi
Jang rahe gi jang rahe gi!

Jang abhi jari hai…

Concerned Citizens of Pakistan rally at Zaman Park

Concerned Citizens of Pakistan had a rally on Sunday the 6th of January, 2008. Around 300 people from Civil society, lawyers, WAf members, doctors, PPP members, JAC members, students and teachers participated, amongst others of course. It was a pretty good rally because we managed to create a lot of noise and get a lot of attention. It all started at Aitzaz Ahsan’s house, which has been declared a sub-jail. His house arrest has been prolonged for another three months. This protest was mostly about freeing Aitzaz Ahsan and restoring the judiciary.

The rally started at Aitzaz Ahsan’s house in my tiny little neighbourhood: Zaman Park. After speeches, we walked up the Mall underpass (as in we were going the opposite way on a one way road). We chanted our slogans, held placards saying “Restore the judiciary” etc, and distributed leaflets in support of the ousted Chief Justice. The police were quite accommodating, but they asked us to turn back from the Mall intersection since it was a major intersection. We didn’t listen. We marched right on the Mall, blocking traffic and creating a little bit of chaos. While the majority of the people stood on the green belt and chanted their slogans, some of us decided to aggressively hand out the Urdu leaflets. Because I was feeling terribly energetic, and perhaps a bit manic, I started blocking cars, making them open up their windows and accept the leaflet I was giving them. I also opened a few doors- in my defence I asked them top put their window down, but they didn’t listen. I also stopped motorbikes, but that wasn’t easy! However, we managed to make them all grab the leaflets out of our hands as they went by.

Thorough all this, the police patiently stood on the side and let us do what we wanted. The one time a policeman tried to stop me, I asked him to arrest me. That shut him up. I even managed to make some of them accept the leaflets despite their constant refusals. I definitely amused one photographer who kept following me. Eventually we sang the national anthem and went back to light candles.

I’m only writing this because I’m hoping someone will read this post and realise that protests can be a very fun way to deal with one’s frustration. They’re not all about sitting in front of the High Court and fasting. They’re not about crazy mobs. They’re not about unrest. They’re about solidarity and strength. They’re a great way to interact with people who want to make a difference. The world of the protestors is worlds apart from the coke snorting, partying all night while drunk off their asses crowd. I constantly hear Lahoris whine about the lack of intellectual stimulation around here and the party crowd. Too many people I know are getting sick of meeting the same people over and over again in different clothes. Every party is the same… a repeat of the night before. It gets monotonous. Protests are a great way to meet conscientious people who are far more interested in worthwhile discourse than who they’re going to sleep with next and how much alcohol they’re going to consume. This is side of Lahore you all (pretend to?) want to see. Come join us. We need you.

PROTEST

WAF (Women’s Action Forum) is organizing a massive protest in response to the attacks in Islamabad. Laal Masjid has declared that any woman not wearing a burqa will have acid thrown on their face. Please do come and show your support! Details to follow.