Nov 8: Lates News from Afghanistan (By: Shahzad Ahmad, Pakistan)

Translation to Arabic | Translation to most European Languages


Freedom of Speech
Date: 11/8/01 4:53:49

Dearest Friends

With the following news item, I actually had been wanting to share my grave concerns, views and wanted to present few facts about the freedom
of speech here (in Pakistan) and all around the world...

Pakistani Govt. have stopped Afghani Ambassador from his daily press briefings respecting the third country law. This law tells that no country can say anything about second country in a third country. This is so called diplomatic norm, which I never seen practiced any where in the world. This has been done due to immense pressure from the American Authorities. In the mean time, USIS and US Embassy's Political Section Incharge (Jeofry Hawkins) has been allowed to propagate, do press briefings and whatever they want. I had thought that we live in a free country and we are free ppl, but this proved to be not true. I am
particularly concerned about why we have to follow what Americans dictate us.

Pakistani Govt. on the directives from US authorities have banned the satellite channel telecasting Al-Jazeera Television in Pakistan. All the cable operators have been told unofficially to stop airing this channel as American authorities had shown their displeasure about this. I myself is not receiving this channel anymore...

This is not all, further adding to this misery, Govt. owned major ISP "PakNet" have blocked the website of Al-Jazeera TV <> and now PTCL is pushing other ISPs also to block this website. In addition, a friend of mine, informed me (though I myself have not done any research on this) that all major search engines have removed all the links pointing towards the website of Al-Jazeera TV. Isn't insane, if it is true?

Friends, this is one of the reasons that USA is a target of terrorists... This is how USA makes ememies... USA had itself been producing terrorists using these tactics... I can tell you that all above steps have ignated hate for Govt. and US among masses in Pakistan... Somebody tell them to not to be an evil policeman rather try to be friend... And this world will be altogether a different place...

Even my family members and friends have been stopping me from writing about all this, as they think that someday FBI or some agency in Pakistan will pick me up on charges for this... Though I am not yet frightened of this threat... ;))

All the peace loving civil society organizations, peace activists, human rights activists have condemned this step of Pakistani Govt. and have condemned the US Govt. for their directives.

We want to know the other side of story also. Let us all know what else is happening in Afghanistan other than a lot of successes, allied forces have been achieving... We wish to know that how many more kids are dying... We wish to know that how many more old ppl have lost their limbs... We wish to know that how the faces looks like when ppl are starving... We wish to know that how can children survive under tents or shadow of trees in this chilly weather... Yes we want to know this all... Please let us know...

War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate...

Shahzad Ahmad

CPC slams ban on Afghan envoy's press briefing
Courtesy: The Dawn, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Nov 7: The Citizen's Peace Committee (CPC), Islamabad-Rawalpindi chapter, affiliated with the Alliance for Peace and Justice, criticized the government's action of banning press briefings by the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan , Abdul Salam Zaeef.

The decision has been taken by the Foreign Office under pressure from the United States, as a direct consequence of reports that have been issued at these briefings of civilian casualties due to US-led coalition bombings.

The CPC said the US Information Service (USIS) had stepped up its propaganda war. "All newspapers and international media are getting daily handouts from the office of the public affairs department of the US embassy in Islamabad, accusing the Taliban of lying and exaggerating human casualties", a CPC official said.

The peace organization said the US campaign in Afghanistan was one-sided, and that a number of international media networks like CNN, Fox and BBC were airing the US perspective on bombardment round-the-clock, he said.

It neither conforms to the norms of fairplay, nor does it behove the country that claims to be the custodian of democratic values and freedom of speech, he added.

He said the action of the Pakistan government to immediately buckle down before the US demand was also deplorable. "This is in sharp contrast to the response of Qatari government which resisted similar pressures from the same quarters regarding telecast of Osama bin Laden's statements on Al-Jazeera", he added.

The CPC said though it did not support the Taliban government in any way, it was absolutely essential that the issue of civilian casualties was not suppressed by this unilateral and typically authoritarian step of the US. There should be an international protest over the US demand and the Pakistan government's action, it added.

He demanded confirmation of the extent of civilian casualties and damages through independent UN teams.


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