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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She fell unconscious as a single Hindu,


Karachi, When 15-year-old Poonam Wasu — a Hindu girl from birth — left her house with friends on the afternoon of October 6, she could never have in her wildest dreams imagined that she would be drugged, only to wake up hours later as a married Muslim woman named Razia.

Although there are no official figures as cases of forced conversions and marriages are often hushed up, organisations like the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believe that a large number of women had been abducted and forced to change their religion. Perhaps an even more distressing fact is that in many such instances, these women are sold to prostitution rings and as a result, lose all contact with their families.

But unlike the other women who chose to remain quiet after being threatened with dire consequences, Poonam broke the silence and took matters to court. Hailing from Lyari — where locals claim that as many as sixteen women have been abducted and forced to marry — Razia remains undaunted by the threats.

Talking about the fateful day that changed her life forever, this lean-framed girl recalls that she left her house with two friends named Saiba and Shazia, who asked her to apply some Mehndhi to relatives at a wedding. After she reached the house and sipped at the tea served to her, the rest was a blank.

“After drinking it, I fell unconscious. I don’t remember what happened after that. All I know is that when I woke up, I was a woman who has accepted Islam and performed a Nikkah with my friend’s brother, Raza Hussain, who I had never even spoken to before.”

Poonam added that she had known both the sisters for several months as one of them attended the same school as one of her siblings. Also, they would visit the same beauty parlour that Poonam would sometimes work for. “I never thought these two girls would do something like this. Both of them were so nice to me,” said the distressed teenager.

While Poonam was being drugged and forced to marry after changing her religion, back at her house, the hours ticked by and her family naturally became worried. “When it turned dark and my niece did not return, we went to her friend’s house, only to find that the door had been locked.”

The teenager’s family had registered FIR 166/2011, under section 365 at the Chakiwara police station and the law enforcers conducted a raid and recovered the abducted girl, who according to her aunt was drowsy and stumbled as she walked.

Showing the blue-inked print on her thumb, Poonam says that although the conversion certificate and the Nikkahnama have her imprints, she was unaware of what was happening with her. “Why would I put a thumb print on the documents when I can write my name in both Urdu and English?” she asked. “I was unconscious when my prints were taken. Neither have I changed my religion, nor have I married anyone.”

And that is exactly what she told the District Court South during the hearing of her case. She now hopes that the court will rule in her favour and yearns to be reunited with her family.

Taking notice of the incident, the Sindh Vice Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Amarnath Motumal, said, “Most of the time, criminals involved in kidnapping and forced conversion are influential and wealthy. Consequently, the victim is warned of dire consequences if she dares raise her voice. Therefore, many cases go unreported and other times, the families surrender. But Poonam is very brave and despite threats to her family that the teenager would be killed, she has decided to fight for her rights.”

The same stance is reiterated by Poonam. “My so-called husband should be severely punished. Why do people do such things? Thank God I was saved in the nick of time as I came to know later that my kidnappers were planning to shift me to another location. If they succeeded, I would have never seen my family again.”

Defence not calling former IGP, ex-Malacca police chief

Anwar Ibrahim's lawyer Sankara Nair says the defence made the decision following the High Court ruling to set aside the subpeonas served on Najib and Rosmah.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Anwar Ibrahim’s defence team has decided not to call former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hasan and former Malacca police chief Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof as witnesses in the Sodomy II trial.

Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair, when contacted by FMT, confirmed that orthopaedic surgeon Dr Thomas Hoogland was the last defence witness.

“In the wake of the High Court’s decision to allow Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Rosmah Mansor’s applications to set aside the subpeonas (compelling them to testify in the trial), we (the defence) decided not to call Musa and Rodwan.”

“We have already informed the prosecution about our decision on Monday,” he added.

The complainant in the Sodomy II trial, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, Anwar’s former aide, during his testimony, had told the court that he had contacted both Musa and Rodwan over the alleged sodomy incidents before lodging a police report on June 26, 2008.

Sankara said with the decision, the prosecution led by Solicitor-General II, Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden, is expected to make an application before trial judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah to call additional expert prosecution witnesses when the trial resumes next Monday.

Mohamad Zabidin, in his decision on Oct 6, ruled that Anwar had failed to show relevancy and materiality in serving the subpoenas on Najib and Rosmah.

Sankara also told FMT that the prosecution is still tight-lipped on the identities of its witnesses to rebut the defence team.

“It’s most likely related to our expert witness Hoogland’s testimony,” said Nair.

Besides Hoogland, the defence had relied on DNA experts Dr Brian McDonald and Dr David Wells, both from Australia.

‘Ibrahim’s liberalistion fears unfounded’

Economists dismiss the threat of liberalisation to Bumiputera entrepreneurs but voice concerns of their own.

PETALING JAYA: Economists have rubbished Perkasa chief, Ibrahim Ali’s, warning that liberalising the economy will sideline Bumiputera entrepreneurs and cost the government crucial Malay votes in the next general election.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s latest budget includes the opening up of 100 percent foreign ownership in 17 sub-sectors to recapture straying investments. Among these sectors are healthcare, education and legal.

Ibrahim yesterday declared liberalisation an opposition idea and accused the Performance and Management Delivery Unit (Pemandu) of habouring a “hidden agenda” by advocating it.

His stand has earned him a drubbing from an economics professor who pointed out that since liberalisation apparently threatens the inefficient and incompetent, Ibrahim was therefore discrediting his own community.

“His assertion assumes that this is what Bumiputera businesses are and that they haven’t improved even after 50 years of independence,” said the professor who requested anonymity.

The former head of the business school of University of Nottingham Malaysia, Subramaniam Pillay, meanwhile doubted that the move would make even a dent in Bumiputera entrepreneurship.

“At this stage of development, Bumiputera entrepreneurs should already be able to compete,” he said. “They even have the option of a joint venture with foreign investors.”

“But Ibrahim is talking about the elite Bumiputeras and has forgotten the poorer segment of that community. So while there are fears over the elite being sidelined, he hasn’t considered that liberalisation could create more employment opportunities for the less affluent Bumiputeras.”

‘Not the only game in town’

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng was more blunt in suggesting that Ibrahim do his math before runing down the undisputed benefits of opening up a country’s economy.

“Why do countries encourage foreign investment?” he asked. “It’s to grow and enlarge the economic pie. This is how countries prosper. Otherwise what’s the point?”

“Without economic liberalisation the younger population will face with a shortage of jobs which will lead to severe socio-economic and political problems. This was the basis of the Middle East revolution.”

Both economists agreed that the move to liberalise Malaysia’s economy was neither wrong nor right in its entirety but emphasised that it had to be selective and sensitive to public perception.

The aforementioned professor stated that liberalisation is important only in the sense that it engenders a level playing field which must not only be level but also be seen to be level.

“The success of liberalisation depends on investors’ perception of whether it is just rhetoric or whether it will be different this time around,” he said. “And this perception hinges on a number of factors, not just a single promise.”

“We have witnessed too many contradictory statements and actions to stave off investors’ doubts. We’re not the only game in town and even if we liberalise, our neighbours may do a better job or be perceived to be doing so.”

More needs to be done

When asked about the nation’s economic future should the government backtrack from its liberalisation plan, he painted a humdrum picture in which Vision 2020 would remain exactly that.

“Actually we may not even reach Vision 2020 even if we don’t backtrack,” he mused. “To achieve it we need to do more than liberalise. We need to upgrade our technology and I don’t see any real focus in this area.”

Subramaniam has a different set of concerns with the main one being the inclusion of healthcare under the 17 sub-sectors identified for liberalisation.

“I completely oppose this because it will encourage the setting up of more private hospitals in the country,” he said.

“The attractive renumeration packages of private hospitals will attract specialists from government hospitals thus giving wealthier patients a wider choice and the rest with virtually none.”

Subramaniam also spoke out against the government’s fondness for granting liberal tax incentives to foreign investors. He referred to Lynas Corp which will enjoy a 12-year tax break.

His final caution to the government in the opening up of the economy is to stem the influx of foreign labour.

“The budget didn’t contain a single plan on how to reduce our dependency on foreign labour which is the source of our poverty levels,” Subramaniam noted.

“Again the government is listening only to people with capital. So if it decides to liberalise the economy then it had better be sure to restrict foreign permits and only hire locals.”

Mahathir: Malays will lose power in 10 years if they don't unite


(The Star) - BANGI: Malays will lose their power in the country in the next 10 years if they do not unite now, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said if the community were to split into different factions, they would become minority groups in the country.

"The minority cannot rule the country in a democratic framework, under which the majority rules," said Dr Mahathir, urging the Malay community to be united based on their Islamic faith.

Dr Mahathir said this in his speech when launching the Ummah Unity and Economy Seminar organised by the Malaysia Islamic Welfare Organisation (Perkim) and Malay Chamber of Commerce here Wednesday.

Dr Mahathir, who is also Perkim president, said Muslims in the country were not taught the importance of uniting when they were young.

He also urged the Malay community not to look forward to receiving "free things" but instead work hard to reap rewards.

He added that Muslims, which were among the poorest communities in the Malaysia, should work hard to be financially stable.

The Quandary of India's Maoists


Image
Singh says it's not his job
Army says it’s not their job
Despite being overshadowed by Kashmir and continuing tension with Pakistan, dealing with Maoist rebels in central and eastern India is regarded as the country’s biggest internal security challenge, and one the military doesn’t feel it is equipped to deal with.

On the surface it seems an odd insurgency. Since dropping the so-called License Raj, India has been developing at breakneck speed, averaging nearly 7.5 percent since 1999 and bringing millions of formerly poverty-stricken people into the formal economy. However, in huge areas of Central and Eastern India, corruption, government inaction, rapacious mining companies and other issues have caused other millions to opt for Maoism, a political philosophy that has been abandoned by most of the world, including China, where it developed.

Although there is growing debate about involving the Army to flush out the insurgents, known as Naxalites, Indian Army Chief General V K Singh has ruled out deployment of armed forces for direct action.

“When the Naxalite issue was presented to us, we were very clear in our minds that it is a socio-economic problem, a problem created by bad governance,” Singh said recently. “The Army is not the answer. The army has a role in preventing external aggression. The army has a role in assisting in humanitarian crisis. But beyond that, in our country, at least the way the army has come up, we do not think that we have a role.”

Although the Maoist rebellion has simmered for nearly four and a half decades, violence has begun to escalate, with 1,169 people killed last year, the most in any year since the armed rebellion began. Nearly 15,000 people, including police, rebels and civilians, have been killed in the violence so far. The rebels are very well armed, with weapons mostly obtained by raiding police and paramilitary posts and smuggling from Nepal, Burma and China, officials say.

Singh’s statements clearly indicate that a strategic retreat has emerged among government leaders on how to tackle the Maoist issue, given New Delhi’s failure to curb retaliatory leftist violence through the increased use of state forces over the last few years.

All of this also means that New Delhi is going to follow a two-pronged strategy of using the less lethal state and paramilitary forces to flush out the armed rebels, while the focus will be on humanitarian and political efforts to diminish the numbers that take up arms and seek mainstream livelihoods.

Thus the approval by the federal cabinet earlier this month of legislation that makes it mandatory for coal miners to share 26 percent of profits with local communities and for other miners an amount equivalent to royalties is a step in the right direction. The bill requires parliamentary approval to become law.

If implemented properly, the move could be a major step towards addressing a bit of the angst that fans the Naxalite movement. The Maoists believe in armed struggle to overthrow the state and bring about socio-economic change. They predominate in the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, all of which have large tribal concentrations.

India's valuable coal and mineral industry is focused in these states, which score very poorly on the human development scale as the local populations have not benefited from rich mining activities that have instead filled state coffers, politicians’ pockets, the bureaucracy and a few "outsider" businessmen.

A link has been established between the Maoist insurgency and rapacious mining in forested areas and the exploitation of the local inhabitants. Tribals constitute more than 8 percent of the country’s population but account for 40 percent of the 50-60 million of those who were internally displaced since India’s independence in 1947 due to land diversion, especially because of coal mining. Indeed, over the recent past, questions have been raised about New Delhi’s approach of using sheer force against the Maoists.

The actions were based on an earlier federal home ministry assessment that “the Naxalites are bent on violence and mayhem against the state and the people and there is need for the government to squarely meet the threat.”

Defense forces have been deployed in India’s “Red Corridor” areas for logistical support, even as New Delhi has been toying with the idea of more active use of the military, including use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles procured from the United States and Israel to pinpoint and seek to destroy specific targets.

New Delhi has sought advice from US counter-insurgency personnel involved in fighting the Taliban and jihadis in Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas. However, critics of the approach say that long-term solutions must focus on economic and social development of the deprived population.

A military strategy against the Maoists is regarded as infeasible as the insurgents are spread across vast swathes of India's mineral-rich states, making it near impossible to defeat them solely by force. The thinking is that state forces, with better knowledge of the local populations and terrain, are more capable of strong intelligence-gathering and guerilla tactics to flush out the Maoists.

The US military and its allies have not been able to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. As in that fundamentalist Islamic country, the Maoists have strong grassroots support. New Delhi has also been criticized for equating the Maoists with terrorists, as the rebels mostly prefer to attack symbols of state power such as property and personnel, rather than soft targets or civilians, although admittedly some such strikes have taken place and lots of lives have been lost.

In June 2009, New Delhi labeled the Communist Party of India (Maoist), or CPI (M), the proper name for the Naxalite group, a terrorist organization, putting it in the same league as other banned outfits such as Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Toiba, which has been accused of carrying out some of the most lethal attacks in India, including 26/11 in Mumbai. In that incident, more than 10 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks began across India's largest city on Nov. 29, 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.

Although the leftists differ from the core jihadi aim of solely causing human loss, however, their repeated strikes continue to pose a growing challenge to New Delhi. Clearly, the government has its task cut out.

(Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at sidsri@yahoo.com)

Malaysia’s Old Economic Model

From Wall Street Journal,

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has unveiled a budget full of freebies designed to win over voters in the next general election, expected in the next six months. In the process, he is dashing expectations of economic reforms needed to promote growth.

This contrasts with the political reforms Mr. Najib announced last month. A promised overhaul of the country’s colonial-era legal code would guarantee political and civil freedoms long denied to Malaysians.

Mr. Najib seems to have thought of a handout for nearly everyone in 2012. The country’s 1.3 million civil servants will see salaries and pensions rise, in many cases by as much as 30%; households earning less than 3,000 ringgit ($960) a month will receive one-off payments of 500 ringgit; parents will find many school fees abolished or reduced. Then there are the taxi drivers who get fat tax exemptions.

Worse, the government has not taken the necessary steps to wean Malaysia off food and fuel subsidies. Mr. Najib earlier pledged to phase them out, since they have skewed consumption patterns and strained public finances for many years. He even likened subsidies to “opium” and made small but noteworthy cuts last year. He could have continued that rehab this year by incrementally raising regulated prices to bring them closer to market levels.

This combination of temporary handouts and tax breaks on one hand and welfare spending on the other doesn’t help Malaysia’s competitiveness. The export-dependent economy is already hurting from weak markets abroad and a rising cost of living at home—GDP growth fell below 5% in year-on-year terms for the last two quarters—and needs long-term incentives to invest and build a stronger domestic consumer market.

Yet Mr. Najib offered no permanent changes to the tax structure and no guide to reducing regulation and spending. The 2012 budget proposes a 9.4% hike in expenditure from the 2011 budget. And considering the government spent 13 billion ringgit ($4.16 billion) more than it budgeted in the past year, it could well prove more profligate.

To its credit, one small of area of reform the government has kept pushing is liberalization of foreign investment in services. In 2009, Mr. Najib dismantled a long-time restriction that benefited “sons of the soil.” Foreigners were earlier forced to jointly venture with Malays, the country’s ethnic majority, but they can now own 100% stakes in businesses in 27 sub-sectors. Friday’s budget extends that reform to 17 more sub-sectors such as medical and education services.

However, these are small industries that don’t hire many Malays. The government needs to tackle bigger reforms in industries like manufacturing, where regulations still give Malays dominance. In the same vein, the labor market suffers from entrenched affirmative-action policies. Mr. Najib has spoken of enacting radical changes when he presented a “New Economic Model” last year, but he keeps disappointing voters by failing to follow through.

Recession risk high and rising, says RHB


Research houses have differed with the growth figure tabled by Najib (left) in his Budget, which has been called “too high”. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Malaysia’s economic growth could slow to just 3.6 per cent next year from a projected 4.3 per cent this year due to the increasing risk of a double dip global recession, said the RHB Research Institute.

The RHB unit’s growth projection issued yesterday is significantly lower than Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s forecast of five to six per cent growth for 2012 in his proposed RM232 billion Budget 2012 tabled last Friday.

The research house said that the risk of a double-dip global recession is high and rising as both the US and Europe cannot withstand another shock although a recession could be averted if leaders in both continents act fast enough to contain the debt crises and avert a contagion that could lead to a complete meltdown in confidence.

It also expected businesses to cut spending in view of rising uncertainties although some growth will come from the implementation of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Private investment growth is projected to soften further to 4.6 per cent in 2012, after slowing to an estimated 5.7 per cent for 2011, the report added.

Exports, meanwhile, are expected to grow at just 1.1 per cent compared to 3.4 per cent this year due to dampened foreign demand for electronics and electrical items.

Domestic demand is projected to grow at a slower pace of 5.1 per cent in 2012, compared with an estimated 5.8 per cent for 2011.

RHB said, however, that consumer spending is expected to remain “reasonably resilient” and grow at around 5.3 per cent in 2012, compared with 6.0 per cent for 2011, given high savings, rising consumerism and an increase in salary.

Most research houses have lowered their 2012 growth projections for Malaysia despite Najib’s optimism in the Budget proposals, which critics have say is primed for the next general election that must be called by early 2013.

Bank of America Global Research estimated Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 4.2 per cent in 2012 while Maybank Investment Bank said it expected Malaysia’s GDP to expand at between 3.5-4 per cent. CIMB Investment Bank forecast a GDP growth of 3.8 per cent next year.

In his Budget 2012 proposals, Najib promised cash handouts, more money for civil servants, schools and a fund for “high-impact development” projects as part of measures to put money in the pockets of the majority of Malaysians who live in the lower income group.

The government will offer a one-off RM500 cash handout to households with a monthly income of less than RM3,000, a RM100 cash aid and RM200 book vouchers for students from the Budget, which is forecast to only have a 4.7 per cent fiscal deficit, down from the projected 5.4 per cent this year.

Authorities will trim development spending and maintain subsidies to keep prices down, while banking on low borrowing costs and a healthy job market to keep economic growth on an even keel next year.

The 2012 Budget funds for subsidies is expected to total RM33.2 billion

Guard Post Window Damaged In Protest Demo Outside Malaysian Embassy In Jakarta

By Ahmad Fuad Yahya

JAKARTA, Oct 12 (Bernama) -- Issues concerning the Malaysia-Indonesia border in West Kalimantan which were played up by the Indonesian media caused a group of Indonesians to stage a demonstration outside the Malaysian embassy here Wednesday.

However, the protest went out of control resulting in a glass panel at the guard post at the entrance to the embassy to be damaged while nine Indonesian policemen who were part of a team for crowd control and guarding the embassy were injured.

The group calling itself Forum Betawi Rempug (FBR) numbering some 650 people hurled hard objects at the guard post and perimeter ligthing and also at the policemen.

They began gathering there at about 1pm local time and dispersed about an hour later after venting their anger over news reports that Malaysia had seized 1,000 acres of land belonging to Indonesia along the Malaysia-Indonesia border in West Kalimantan.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and his Indonesian counterpart Dr Marty Natalegawa following the 11th Joint Commission for Bilateral Commission Cooperation Meeting between the two countries in Kuala Lumpur, at a joint press conference, had said that the removal of markers at the border there, either by mischievious individuals or natural disasters, could easily be replaced by their joint survey team.

They added that the coordinates had been established during colonial times.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Syed Munshe Afdzaruddin Syed Hassan said the embassy would be sending a diplomatic note to the Indonesian government over the incident.

He said in the note, the embassy would also be asking the Indonesian government as to how it could help the embassy avoid such incidents from recurring.

Missing police boat engines an inside job?

First it was jet engines that disappeared from an air force base; this time four patrol boat engines have mysteriously ‘walked away’ from a marine police store in Penang. 
 
The engines weigh about 200kg each. Police are investigating the possibility that it could be an inside job.
Check out this Sun report.

What’s next?

PAKISTAN: A 12 year-old Christian is gang raped for eight months, forcibly converted and then 'married' to her Muslim attacker

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-199-2011



10 October 2011
---------------------------------------------------------------------
PAKISTAN: A 12 year-old Christian is gang raped for eight months, forcibly converted and then 'married' to her Muslim attacker

ISSUES: Gang rape; abduction; forced conversion of religion; child rights; miscarriage of justice; impunity
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that A 12-year-old Christian girl was abducted and raped for eight months. The rapists have not been arrested because of their affiliation with a militant Muslim organization. The police are also refusing to order a medical checkup. The Judicial Magistrate of the area took her statement under section 164 Cr Pc (Criminal Procedure Code) but has not made any orders for her security. One of the rapist claims that he has married the girl but she denies that any marriage took place during her abduction and captivity.

The police have warned the Christian parents that it would be better to hand over the girl to her 'legal' husband (the rapist) otherwise a criminal case will be filed against them.


CASE NARRATIVE:

Miss Anna (name withheld), is a 12-year-old Christian girl and the daughter of Arif Masih. Arif is employed as a street sweeper (scavenger) at WAPDA. He is a resident of quarter number 44, WAPDA colony, Shahdra, Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. Anna was kidnapped by two Muslim men on December 24, 2010, one day before Christmas. According to the report sent by the Pakistan Minority Movement, on that day in the morning her friend, Miss Nida, who lives in her neighbourhood, came to her house and asked Anna to go shopping. According to the plan of the perpetrators, her friend took her to a street where they waited in a car. Miss Nida introduced the perpetrator her as her uncle.

Anna was then taken a long distance and dropped at a house where she was raped. After two days some women, relatives of the rapists, namely Mumtaz Bibi.Farzana Bibi, Kiran Bibi along with her friend Nida came with some papers and told her to sign them otherwise she would not be released. Eventually she did sign with hesitation but was not released. The papers were about her marriage to one of the perpetrators, Muhammad Irfan. She was taken to several places and was forced to convert to Islam. When she refused she was manhandled and beaten.

After her abduction, her father filed an FIR against unknown people on 5/1/2011.F I R NO 18/11. Sr. No 2138 to the Factory area police station district Shaikhupura, Lahore. However, the police took no action for eight months.

In the first week of September 2011, more than eight months after her disappearance, Anna called her family from Tandianwalla, district Faisalabad, 190 kilometers from Lahore, and told them that she had been abducted but had escaped and was hiding at a bus stop. The parents went there and recovered her. She was brought back to her home and the parents produced her before the First Class Magistrate, factory area, Shadra, Miss Aasma Tehseen, who recorded her statement under section 164 of Cr Pc but did not order any action for her protection or a medical checkup.

The rapists then immediately contacted the police through their religious group and produced a marriage certificate showing that one of them, Muhammad Irfan, was married to her. When Anna's parents went to the factory area police station to change the FIR to include the names of the rapists in the case the police flatly refuse to allow this and said she that as she had married and converted to Islam it would be better to hand over the girl to her legal husband. If they refused they were told that a criminal case would be filed against them.

The Christian family is in hiding from the rapists and the police and according to the Christian community, the religious extremists, who are from a banned organization, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, are searching them. The abductors are claiming that she is pregnant but her mother denies that this is true. And in fact, make no difference whatsoever to the girl's plight.

The irony of the matter is that the police never thought to ask the rapists and their religious groups as to how a girl of 12 could be married when according to the law marriage under the age of 16 is illegal. This is yet another example of how the Punjab provincial government is allegedly patronizing banned militant organizations.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

In Pakistan it is has become a common practice from the religious groups to abduct girls from religious minority groups and rape them and when caught they produce marriage certificates and even then do not allow them to meet their parents. The law enforcement authorities never try to prosecute such perpetrators because the religious groups are doing great work in the name of Islam.

Religion can also function both as a primary motivation and as a determinant of criminal complaint outcomes. The increase in forced marriage and forcible conversion by Muslim extremists may owe in part to the aversion of the state to protecting the rights of religious minorities. The U.S. State Department 2009 Human Rights Report for Pakistan concludes that both organic reluctance and outside pressure contribute to the courts’ religious bias: Courts routinely failed to protect the rights of religious minorities. Judges were pressured to take strong action against any perceived offense to Sunni orthodoxy. The judiciary rarely heard discrimination cases dealing with religious minorities. Other manifestations of religious bias include socially condoned instances of harassment at work.

Information regarding this incident can also be found from the following links:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=10317283;
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=10317283
;
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=10317283;
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=10317283.

As many as 20 to 25 girls from the Hindu community are abducted every month and converted forcibly, according to Amarnath Motumal, an advocate and council member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Many abducted girls are raped, others are never heard from again by their families; all cases involved a struggle to access their right to redress. The AHRC has documented numerous cases in which police have ignored or excused themselves from investigating crimes that involve a Madrassa or Muslim cleric. The protection of the national religion does not involve the promotion of its figureheads above the law; this tendency has simply allowed Islam to become a shield behind which human rights violations can take place.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write the letters to the following authorities on the gang rape and abduction of a 12 years old Christian girl for eight months. Please urge the authorities that to prosecute the perpetrators and the officials of the Factory area police station, Lahore for providing protection to rapists and members of banned religious groups. Also urge to provide protection to Christian family and the victim and also to the religious minority who are facing such practices from the extremist Muslim groups.

Please note that the Asian Human Rights Commission has written seperate letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Violence against Women and on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Independent Expert on Minority Issues requesting their urgent interventions on this regard.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

PAKISTAN: A 12 year-old Christian is gang raped for eight months, forcibly converted and then 'married' to her Muslim attacker

Name of victim:
Miss Anna (not her real name) 12, daughter of Arif Masih, employed as street sweeper (scavenger) at WAPDA, resident of quarter number 44, WAPDA colony, Shahdra, Lahore, capital of Punjab province,
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Muhammad Irfan, (rapist) resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
2. Muhammad Irshad, (rapist) resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
3. Mumtaz Bibi.resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
4. Farzana Bibi.resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
5. Kiran Bibi resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
6. Nida, resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
7. Station House Officer (SHO), factory area police station, Shadra, Lahore, Punjab province,
8. Investigation officer, Arif Masih, employed as street sweeper (scavenger) at WAPDA, resident of quarter number 44, WAPDA colony, Shahdra, Lahore, capital of Punjab province,
Date of incident: WAPDA Quarters resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
Place of incident: December 24, 2010

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the gang rape of a young Christian girl who was then forcibly converted to Islam and then 'married' to one of her attackers by the members of a banned religious organization.

I learned that Anna was kidnapped by two Muslim men on December 24, 2010, one day before Christmas. According to the report sent by the Pakistan Minority Movement, on that day in the morning her friend, Miss Nida, who lives in her neighbourhood, came to her house and asked Anna to go shopping. According to the plan of the perpetrators, her friend took her to a street where they waited in a car. Miss Nida introduced the perpetrator her as her uncle.

Anna was then taken a long distance and dropped at a house where she was raped. After two days some women, relatives of the rapists, namely Mumtaz Bibi.Farzana Bibi, Kiran Bibi along with her friend Nida came with some papers and told her to sign them otherwise she would not be released. Eventually she did sign with hesitation but was not released. The papers were about her marriage to one of the perpetrators, Muhammad Irfan. She was taken to several places and was forced to convert to Islam. When she refused she was manhandled and beaten.

It is very distressing that after her abduction, her father filed an F I R against un known people on 5/1/2011.F I R NO 18/11. Sr. No 2138 to the Factory area police station district Shaikhupura, Lahore. But police did not take action on the case for eight months.

Further to my information, in the first week of September 2011, after more than eight months of her disappearance, Anna called her family from Tandianwalla, district Faisalabad, 190 kilometers from Lahore, and told them that she had been abducted but had escaped and was hiding at a bus stop. The parents went there and recovered her. She was brought back to her home and the parents produced her before the First Class Magistrate, factory area, Shadra, Miss Aasma Tehseen, who recorded her statement under section 164 of Cr Pc but did not order any action for her protection or a medical checkup.

The rapists then immediately contacted the police through their religious group and produced a marriage certificate showing that one of them, Muhammad Irfan, was married to her. When Anna's parents went to the factory area police station to change the FIR to include the names of the rapists in the case the police flatly refuse to allow this and said she that as she had married and converted to Islam it would be better to hand over the girl to her legal husband. If they refused they were told that a criminal case would be filed against them.

It is appalling to know that this Christian family is in hiding, not only from the rapists but also the police and according to the Christian community, the religious extremists who are from a banned organization, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, are searching them. The abductors are claiming that she was pregnant but her mother denies that this is correct.

The irony of the matter is that the police never thought to ask the rapists and their religious groups as to how a girl of 12 could be married when according to the law marriage under the age of 16 is illegal. This is yet another example of how the Punjab provincial government is allegedly patronizing banned militant organizations.

In Pakistan it is has become a common practice by the religious groups to abduct girls from religious minority groups and rape them and when caught they produce marriage certificates and even then do not allow them to meet their parents. The law enforcement authorities never try to prosecute such perpetrators because they are told that the religious groups are doing great work in the name of Islam.

I am shocked that the government who always claim that religious minorities are enjoying full security and rights as equal citizens turn a blind eye to the actual situation which is that the religious minority groups have no protection, even by the law enforcement authorities, who prefer to work under the pressure of religious groups.

The situation of rule of law is that the police also accept the marriage of a 12-year-old girl and her forcible conversion to Islam whereas according to Pakistan law that no girl can be married before the age of 16 years.

I urge you to investigate the case of Miss Anna and prosecute all the perpetrators involved in the gang rape of a 12 years old girl for eight months. The police officers who failed to act of the complaint of the father must be prosecuted for their negligence. The tolerance of the government toward the actions of the religious militants and the forcible conversation of minorities must be brought to a halt. The government must put a halt to the abduction, rape and forcible conversion of young girls.

I also urge you to provide full protection to the girl and her family and all possible medical and counseling treatment.

Yours sincerely,

----------------
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President's Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: 92-51-9204801-9214171
Fax 92-51-9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk or pspm@pmsectt.gov.pk

3. Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9204108
Email: sarfraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

4. Mr. Lateef Khosa
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Mall Road
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 99203044
Email: governor.sectt@punjab.gov.pk

5. Mr Nasir Mehmood Khosa
Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 7324489
E-mail: chiefsecy@punjab.gov.pk

6. Mr. Rana Sana Ullah
Minister of Law
Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Ravi Road
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 99212004
E-mail: law@punjab.gov.pk

7. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

8. Mr. Tariq Saleem
Inspector-General of Police, Punjab
Police Head Office, Lahore, Punjab province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 9921006


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

HRP again files judicial review for registration (Malaysiakini)


The political platform of Hindraf, the Human Rights Party of Malaysia, has once again filed an application for a judicial review of the government’s rejection of its efforts to be registered as a political party.

The party’s pro-tem secretary-general, P Uthayakumar, named Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein as the first respondent and the Registrar of Societies (ROS) and the Federal Territories Registrar of Societies as the second and third respondents in the application he filed this morning.

NONE“We hope that before the next general election, we will be able to contest under our own banner as the Human Rights Party of Malaysia,” Uthayakumar (left) said at the Jalan Duta Court Complex this afternoon.

The application , filed through M/s M Manoharan & Co, comes after the Home Ministry’s failure to respond to HRP’s appeal on the rejection of its application for registration by the ROS.

Uthayakumar is seeking an order of certiorari to set aside the presumed rejection of the registration of HRP by the Home Ministry, basing this on the ministry’s failure to respond within 14 days of the appeal being made on Aug 19, and the letter of rejection from the ROS.

He also wants a writ of mandamus to compel the respondents to reply to its appeal and approve HRP as a registered political party within seven days of the court making such an order.

Uthayakumar had in April filed his first application for a judicial review after the ROS ignored the HRP application to be registered as a political party.

‘Constitution 99 percent similar to DAP’s’
High Court judge Rohani Yusof had then ordered the ROS to respond to the application.

The ROS replied that it rejected the HRP’s application because it was not in order and that it did not provide a constitution it NONErequired.

“Almost 99 percent of HRP’s constitution is the same as the DAP’s. Are they saying that the DAP’s constitution is not in order? Why then has the DAP been registered for 45 years?” Uthayakumar asked.

This, he said, showed that the ROS decisions were not free from the BN’s political influence and were done in bad faith, with the intention of impeding HRP’s efforts in championing the rights of poor Indians.

“Prime Minister Najib (Abdul Razak) is saying we are heading towards becoming the world’s best democracy, but they wouldn’t even approve one political party. What democracy (are they talking about)?”

The HRP has expressed its desire to contest in constituencies with a significant Indian population in the next general election, which has caused friction with Pakatan Rakyat as most of the seats HRP is eyeing are held by the opposition coalition.

However, the HRP recently offered an olive branch to Pakatan for a fresh start to work together to unseat the BN.

Probe may hurt Ananda Krishnan’s Aircel loan plans, says Indian daily

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — India’s fifth-largest mobile operator Aircel will find it tough to get banks to fund its expansion with police investigating its biggest shareholder T. Ananda Krishnan for criminal conspiracy over his stake in the company, the Times of India reported today.

Indian investigators have named Ananda (picture), his top executive Ralph Marshall and two Malaysian companies, Maxis Communications Bhd (Maxis Communications) and Astro All-Asia Networks (Astro), in their probe which centres on graft allegations against former Indian telecommunications minister Dayadhini Maran and his media mogul brother, Kalainidhi.

“Naming Aircel in the FIR is not significant. But with others like [Ananda] and Marshall named in the FIR, it would become difficult for Aircel to raise funds from banks,” a lawyer told India’s top English-language paper today, referring to the First Investigation Report.

Aircel, which has 55 million subscribers, recently partnered Virtela — the world’s largest independently-managed network in security and cloud computing services — to boost their global business operations through faster, safer and more mobile networks.

The Indian telecommunications company had budgeted US$1.4 billion (RM4.4 billion) for its nationwide coverage expansion in June last year.

Aircel planned to double its India investment to US$10 billion over the next four years to roll out new services and expand its existing network to include wireless broadband coverage nationwide.

“We have already invested US$5 billion, including 3G spectrum price and network rollout, and by 2014, we will pump another similar amount to take up our investment to US$10 billion to ramp up our capacity,” Aircel chief operating officer Gurdeep Singh was reported saying in February this year by several Indian media

Ananda owns a 74 per cent stake in Aircel through Maxis Communications which also has a 70 per cent stake in Malaysia’s telecommunications giant, Maxis Bhd.

The 73-year-old telecommunications, media and property tycoon is reported to be worth US$9.6 billion and is ranked by Forbes as Southeast Asia’s second-richest man and the world’s 89th.

The controversy centres on Maxis’ 74 per cent stake in Aircel, which was said to have been bought for Rs78.81 billion (about RM506,556,185).

Apart from the case filed against the Maran brothers, Ananda, Marshall and the Malaysian companies, India’s Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has named the Maran brothers’ Sun TV Network.

All three companies are at the centre of an ongoing criminal investigation since they were used to route the alleged ‘pay-off’ money that Dayanidhi earned for providing favours to Ananda’s companies.

Maran has openly described Ananda as a family friend, the Times of India said.

Another lawyer said with Ananda named, the publicity-shy Malaysian mogul will be required to go to India and explain his case. If he refuses, Interpol may step in and request he be extradited there.

The newspaper cited CBI sources as saying the agency is in touch with Malaysian authorities to verify the details of Maxis Communications’ ownership structure and for information on its other companies, including Astro.

The agency is now examining the financial transactions that the accused companies have carried out in the last four years to build a strong case against them based on circumstantial and material evidence.

Ibrahim says Pemandu has ‘hidden agenda’

Opening up the economy to foreign ownership is also an opposition idea, according to the Perkasa chief.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s liberalisation efforts took another beating from influential Malay rights group Perkasa which warned today against opening up the economy to foreign ownership.

At the unveiling of Budget 2012, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced the opening up 100 percent foreign ownership of 17 sub-sectors aimed at recapturing straying investments.

Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali, a staunch advocate of Mahathir-era protectionist policies, said the move would sideline Bumiputera businesses, adding that liberalisation is an opposition idea.

He also took a swipe at the Performance and Management Delivery Unit (Pemandu) for advocating the move to open the 17 sub-sectors.

Ibrahim, the independent Pasir Mas MP, in his speech during the Budget 2012 debate in the Dewan Rakyat, said Pemandu had a “hidden agenda” in promoting liberalisation.

“Liberalisation is an idea promoted by the opposition… the Malay Chamber of Commerce had even made a strong statement against it but it is not heeded.

“I urge the government not to listen to Pemandu because if it implements liberalisation (as advocated by Pemandu), the latter’s hidden agenda would take place,” he said.

Key sectors remain caged

Najib is trying to make liberalisation a key aspect of his New Economic Model (NEM) as he aims to resuscitate the country’s ailing economy.

Race-based affirmative action and Bumiputera protectionist policies have prompted capital flight and caused a deep drop in foreign investments, forcing Malaysia to play catch-up with its neighbours despite being Asean’s economic powerhouse once.

But pressure from groups like Perkasa and hardliners within Umno has pushed Najib’s economic reforms to take a backseat as the unelected premier needs stronger Malay support in the coming general election in a bid to consolidate his position in the party.

Najib’s liberalisation policies are also said to have failed in stimulating the private sector as key industries like oil and gas and finance remain caged in protectionism.

Even if there is any real plan to free the lucrative oil and gas industry, Ibrahim has already warned of potential Malay backlash.

“If the oil industry is liberalised, some 3,000 vendors under (national oil company) Petronas would be sidelined, so what will happen to them? Beware, do not listen to Pemandu,” he said.

He has in the past described Pemandu “as not Malay enough”, accusing the body of trying to influence Najib to implement policies that would threatened the position of the country’s ethnic majority.

DAP: Cancel Deepavali eve Parliament sitting

Party calls on government to cancel eve of Deepavali parliament sitting to allow Hindus to take part in family reunions and traditional prayers.

KUALA LUMPUR: A DAP leader urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to cancel the parliamentary session on Oct 25 out of deference to the sensitivities of Hindus who will be celebrating Deepavali the following day.

M Kulasegaran, the Ipoh Barat MP, said the eve of Deepavali was when Hindus, in a time-honoured tradition, gather for family reunions and offer prayers to their ancestors.

At a press conference at Parliament house today, Kulasegaran said he was taken by surprise when he learnt that the parliament session has been scheduled for Oct 25.

Also present were Bagan parliamentarian Lim Guan Eng, P Ramasamy (Batu Kawan), Fong Kui Lun the Bukit Bintang constitunecy member and Teluk Intan’s M Manoharan.

Najib had at the launch of the 1Malaysia Indian Students Movement at Universiti Malaya in July, announced that the curriculum and exam schedules would be revamped to ensure that it did not clash with Deepavali so that students can celebrate the festival with their families.

Najib was quoted to have said that the decision was made to resolve the two-decade old problem affecting Indian students who had to miss Deepavali celebrations as their examinations almost always fell either a day before or even on the day of the festival.

“By scheduling the parliament session a day before Deepavali, the government had reneged on its word and deliberately failed in its pledge to look after the sensitivities of the Indian community,” said Kulasegaran.

Where are the MIC reps?

He also took to task government officers involved in planning meetings and urged them to have better knowledge of all national festivals in the country.

Kulasegaran added: “The traffic situation will be massive on all the main roads on the Oct 25. So, it is not a good idea to have a meeting on that particular day.”

Ramasamy, who is also Penang Deputy Chief Minister, slammed the Umno-BN government for scheduling the parliamentary session on Deepavali eve.

“Would they arrange a parliament session a day before Hari Raya Aidilfitri?” asked Ramasamy.

He rapped MIC MPs for not being aware about the session on Oct 25. “What are all the MIC representatives doing?” asked Ramasamy.

Penang CM and DAP secertary-general Lim Guan Eng said DAP will ask Minister in PM’s Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz, and Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia to cancel the session.

Meanwhile, Manoharan slammed the education ministry for assigning Indian Hindu teachers to check PMR question papers the day after Deepavali.

“It is embarrassing to assign Indian teachers to check question papers when they will be celebrating Deepavali. We want the education ministry to revoke the idea as well,” he said.

Malaysia upah perunding sokong Israel, hina Nabi Muhammad

KUALA LUMPUR: Kerajaan Malaysia mengupah perunding asing, FBC media yang terlibat dalam kempen menyokong serangan tentera Israel terhadap konvoi misi bantuan Mavi Marmara ke Gaza Mei lalu, kata Ahli Parlimen Machang, Saifuddin Nasution.

Menurut Saifuddin, FBC yang menerima bayaran daripada kerajaan Malaysia sebanyak 19.6 juta Euro (RM94 juta), memuji tindakan Israel menghentikan misi bantuan kemanusian kapal Mavi Marmara ke Gaza, yang menyaksikan beberapa orang terkorban.

“Peranan FBC Media untuk mengukuhkan imej Malaysia sebagai negara Islam yang berjaya, terang-terang bercanggah. Dia dapat duit kita, dia puji Israel.

Kalau baca kempen online mereka, Nabi Muhammad diserang dengan begitu hina dan jijik sekali,”
“Kerajaan mesti menjelaskan kedudukan perkara ini,” kata Saifuddin Nasution dalam perbahasannya di Dewan Rakyat semalam.

Pada 31 Mei lalu, komando Israel menyerang kapal bantuan Mavi Marmara menyaksikan lebih 10 aktivis terbunuh, manakala 12 sukarelawan Malaysia yang berada di atas kapal itu ditahan.

Menurut Saifuddin, tindakan itu disokong FBC Media, sebuah firma penerbitan TV dan komunikasi strategik Britain yang dilantik kerajaan Malaysia dan kerajaan Sarawak.

FBC Media menerbitkan program TV berkaitan Malaysia yang kemudian ditayangkan syarikat penyiaran antarabangsa seperti CNBC, CNN dan BBC.

Sementara itu jawapan bertulis daripada perdana menteri pada  hari ini mengesahkan  kontrak  untuk FBC Media  disambung sebanyak dua kali dan ditamatkan pada tahun 2010.

Manakala nilai kontrak untuk tiga tahun itu ialah sebanyak Euro 19.6 juta (RM94 juta)
Saifuddin menambah, kontrak FBC media yang bermula pada 2007 dan berakhir pada 2010 itu berperanan menasihat, mengurus kempen komunikasi kerajaan, meningkatkan profil kerajaan dan Perdana Menteri serta menangani persepsi negatif negara di peringkat antarabangsa.

Tindakan FBC mendapatkan bayaran dari kerajaan Malaysia bagi menghasilkan program TV berkenaan, bercanggah dengan etika kewartawanan.

“Selepas siasatan badan regulasi media di Britain iaitu Ofcom, semua program FBC Media digantung,”
“Begitu juga di CNN dan CNBC yang menghasilkan program-program mengenai Malaysia,” kata Saifuddin.

Sebelum ini, dokumen-dokumen kerajaan Amerika Syarikat turut mendedahkan FBC Media membayar syarikat perunding Israel, Apco Worldwide sebanyak AS$70,000 sepanjang dua tahun lepas untuk melobi Kerajaan Amerika Syarikat bagi pihak Kerajaan Malaysia

Short URL: http://www.keadilandaily.com/?p=21597

No Police Report Needed For Lost Birth Certificate, Passport, Driving Licence


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 (Bernama) -- The public no longer need to make a police report for lost or damage birth, marriage, academic and vehicle registration certificates, a Malaysian passport, a driving licence and a land grant.

This is stipulated under General Circular No. 3 of 2011 issued by the Prime Minister's Department on Sept 29.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said the decision to abolish the requirement was made at the Public Complaints Standing Committee's meeting on April 6 as police reports were actually a non-administrative practice not provided under any law.

He said in 2010, the police received over 2.8 million reports, of which 1.1 million or 40 per cent were referred to other agencies.

"This shows that most of the reports lodged did not merit police actions. The requirement not only inconvenient the public but also does not reflect the image of an effective and consumer-friendly public service.

"On the other hand, the practice adds to police workload in handling police reports. This requirement also resulted in rising cost in police operations and does not add value to the police service delivery," he added.

Following the abolishment, Mohd Sidek asked all government agencies to identify matters that need the public to submit a police report to government agencies as stipulated under the law.

However, he said this circular did not prevent the public from making police reports and government agencies cannot deter the public from doing so.