Tag Archives: lawyers movement

Chaos Theory: The Press on Pakistan

I’ve just published a media critique of Pakistan coverage by the American press:

Chaos Theory: How Pakistan was Cast as a Failed State Columbia Journalism Review 4.24.09

An excerpt:

Pakistan is on the clock. “A fast-expanding Islamic insurgency…threatens to devour the country,” wrote The New York Times this month. The 175 million-strong nation has been on deathwatch since at least February, when The Atlantic Council sounded the alarm that Pakistan was headed for turbulence within twelve months. Recently, General Petraeus’s advisor shortened the time frame to within six months. “We could see the collapse of the Pakistani state,” said David Kilcullen. “Al Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover—that would dwarf everything we’ve seen in the war on terror today.”

Tick tock. Boom.

It would be difficult to know from recent articles that Pakistanis scored a stunning mass-political victory only a few weeks ago. Instead, the press has been parroting Washington’s conventional wisdom on Pakistan as a country coming apart at the seams. There is no civil society here, only loons and goons that need to be bombed. The U.S. has based its actions on this decades-old story, and that has now helped produce the very realities Washington claims only to describe.

And shortly following my piece, it appears that other commentators have also noticed the breathless tone of the MSM with regard to Pakistan. Here are some:

  1. Commentary: Pakistan Isn’t Falling Peter Bergen, CNN 4.27.09
  2. Time Magazine’s “Reporting” on Pakistan Drone Attacks is Pentagon Propaganda Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports 4.29.09
  3. Pakistan Crisis and Social Statistics Juan Cole, Informed Comment 4.26.09

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The Lawyers Win!

The lawyers have won! PM Gilani just finished addressing the country: The Chief Justice will be restored on Mar 22nd, and Section 144 has been repealed. This is the 5th day of the Long March. The protests and lawyers movement started in Nov 2007 when Musharraf deposed the judiciary.

This is what democracy movements can do towards a progressive Pakistan.

What next? More to follow….Right now, time to celebrate! Pass the mithai


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Long March Breakthru: Restoration of the Chief Justice?

photo-12The government appears poised to reinistate the Chief Justice and cede to the demand of the Long March. PM Raza Gilani will be addressing the country shortly followed by Nawaz Sharif.  It’s day 5 (Pakistan time) of the protests which began on Mar 12th.

via The News:

ISLAMABAD: In a golden moment in Pakistan’s history, the government has decided to restore the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

The news was announced by PML-N leader, Javed Hashmi who was arrested briefly today. via Dawn Blog:

3.05 PST: Islamabad-Senior PML-N leader Javed Hashmi, who was arrested earlier in the day, has arrived at Iftikhar Chaudhry’s house. Speaking to the media, he said that he hopes that the PM’s announcement will fulfill the expectations of the nation.

PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal call’s it a “people’s revolution,” while speaking with journalist Talat Hussain. Nawaz Sharif had earlier called the protests a “prelude to a revolution.” The state channel PTV is apparently not airing the current developments. Via Twitter:

HumaImtiaz: ptv is airing a show on the soap industry. like seriously. #longmarch
You can watch it all happen live here:
OF NOTE: The Police Refuses
Scenes at the High Court in Islamabad via Emergency List earlier today.  There have been further reports of policemen joining the struggle and refusing to restrict activists:
The Atmosphere there is ecstatic.. All the governments plans have gone in disarray..The police has stopped pelting people, they have stopped the tear-gas. Instead HIGH RANKING Police Officials (of SSP rank and above) are coming inside the High Court and making speeches!!! They are apologizing to the lawyers and civil society activists. They are saying that all that is happening is wrong and from now on they wont hurt them!!! Police officials are, in fact, talking and adjusting with the people inside high court!!!!
Police did fire tear gas on protesters in Lahore, but the New York Times corroborates the general reluctance of security forces to take on the protesters:
In what analysts here called an unprecedented reversal by security forces, phalanxes of riot policemen here in Lahore melted away rather than continue to confront protesters who had rallied around the opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, when he defied a house arrest order early Sunday.

Lahore’s Chief Magistrate refused to comply with the crackdown.


Karachi protests:



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