Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Hundreds of Hindus and Christians demonstrated in Hyderabad in solidarity with Jamaat-ud-Dawa. (IOL photo)
ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Hindu and Christian minorities are angered by the government's crackdown on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JD), crediting the charity with helping the country's poor and needy irrespective of religion or cast.
"I would say, this is not a ban on Jamaat-ud-Dawa, but it is against the poor people of Pakistan, who were being assisted by the charity," Kamran Michael, a Christian sanitary worker from the northeastern city of Lahore, told IslamOnline.net.
Hundreds of members of Pakistan's Hindu and Christian minorities demonstrated in the southern city of Hyderabad on Tuesday, December 16, in solidarity with the JD.
The Muslim charity was banned by both Islamabad and the UN Security Council last week over alleged links with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT), the outlawed group India blames for the bloody Mumbai attacks.
Along with the ban, Pakistan closed down hundreds of JD-run schools, hospitals and clinics across the country, where services are provided to the poor free of charge.
"The government has failed to provide us health and education facilities. Now, they have banned those who had been providing us these facilities," Michael said.
"Let’s see what will the government do? But I have little hopes."
For Naresh Kumar, a Hindu farmer in the historic town of Hala, the ban and the crackdown are unjustifiable.
"My family was being provided with monthly ration (food) and free medical treatment for my children and parents by the JD for months," said Kumar.
"I am a poor laborer. I could not afford that, if the JD would not be able to help me."
Headquartered some 30 kilometers north of Lahore, JD has established itself as one of biggest charity organizations in the South Asian Muslim country, where 34 percent of the total population is living below poverty line.
|Hindus and Christians said the Muslim charity helped them on the basis of humanity not religion. (IOL photo)|
Minority groups hailed the Muslim charity as a champion for humanity rather than a terrorist organization.
"They helped us on the basis of humanity," says Michael, one of hundreds of Christians who had been benefiting from the JD charity works in Lahore, the capital of the populous Punjab province.
"A ban on such organizations means a ban on humanity."
The charity is popular in many parts of Pakistan, especially those hit by natural disasters, where it played a major role in providing help to victims.
The Christian worker affirmed that the charity offered his community help irrespective of their religious affiliation or social standing.
"They never asked me or any other Hindu or Christian about our religion or cast."
Christians are the largest minority in this South Asian Muslim country, making around 3 percent of a total population of 170 million.
Most Christians belong to the low-income bracket and work in low-key jobs.
Naresh, the Hindu farmer, can't see how a group doing so much help to religious minorities can be branded a terrorist organization.
"There are a number of big Hindu businessmen here, but they never cared about us because we belong to schedule cast. The JD people never asked us about such kind of things."
Hindus are the second largest religious minority in Muslim Pakistan, constituting 2 percent of the populace.
Most of them are based in southern Sindh, the second most populous province, where they work as farm workers.
"They helped us just because they treat us like human beings," maintains Naresh.
"I think those who respect humanity cannot be terrorists."
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Is that of scarcity . . .
Not enough food.
Not enough land.
Not enough water.
Not enough oil.
Not enough love . . .
Not enough of ANYTHING that's needed for everyone on earth to thrive and survive.
NOTHING can be further from the truth.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thien said the government under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Bill had seen fit to make the Anti-Corruption Agency an independent body with its own commission and funding but made no similar provision in the JAC Bill. He hoped the government and members of parliament would give due respect to the issues raised when the bills were debated.
1. Power concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister (PM).
2. JAC Report goes to the PM
3. JAC Report should go directly to the KING
4. JAC members - the KING should have the power to hire and fire(The PM can advice).
5. The Bill is not clear on the promotion of judges but focuses instead on their Initial appointment.
However, in making these appointments, the PM must consult with many stakeholders including the Bar Council of Malaysia and other relevant bodies as stated in Section 5(1). The officials said that this provision explicitly shows good faith and fair intentions to appoint the eminent persons, who must be very accomplished and widely respected in order to give credibility to the JAC. Politicians, ex-politicians and ex-members of the Executive are not exempt from such qualities, for example, former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam.
- The appointments of the Chief Justice and president of the Appeals Court is concerned - problems would arise as among members of the commission, all the Judges will have to abstain from participating in the proceedings for they have interest, it might be very difficult to meet the minimum quorum.
- It also means when it comes to appointing the CJ, the meeting will only be attended by a federal court judge and four non-judges who are appointed by the Prime Minister.
- The primary purpose and indeed the whole raison d'etre of such a commission must be to ensure the separation of powers between the Judicial, Executive and Legislative branches of government.
Its independence also lies on the basis of its selections -- a clear and transparent criteria which includes integrity, competence, experience, good moral character, decisiveness, ability to make timely judgments, good legal writing skills, industriousness, ability to manage cases well, and physical and mental health, as stated in Section 23(2) of the Bill.
The officials said that above all, the short title as well as an entire provision, namely Section 2, of the JAC Bill, explicitly mentioned the need for the PM to uphold the independence of the judiciary and these provisions clearly showed the spirit of the Bill vis-a-vis judicial independence within the boundaries of the Federal Constitution.
Referring to suggestions that the JAC Bill does not make the judicial appointments more transparent, the officials said, the candidates can only be considered if they fulfilled a clear list of criteria, which included the aspects mentioned as stated in Section 23(2) of the Bill.
- Once it is passed, the power of the Executive over the judicial appointment process will have the force of law.
- The Bar Council's contention that the PM would have unfettered powers to amend the provisions of the Act in the first two years and that it was an unusual provision that would take the power of legislating away from Parliament, the officials said the PM may, to remove difficulties or anomalies, make modifications to the Act as stated in Section 37(1).
- The decisions of JAC do not appear to be binding on its members
- The JAC the right to form consultative committees to help it carry out its duties.
- The positive aspects of the Bill were that it sought to establish more consultations and it included all the four judicial office holders in the entire appointment process.
- Ultimately, JAC must be a process that is completely independent. This move could constitute the country's first step in reforming the judicial process while the final goal of a full-fledged JAC
- A committee to discuss complaints filed by the public on the conduct of judges, is needed.
Receiving and investigating complaints on the conduct of judges lies with the Anti-Corruption Agency (on corruption-related complaints) and the judiciary (on disciplinary-related complaints),
Thursday, December 11, 2008
. . . the oversight committee comprising MPs should be set up under parliamentary rules to reflect the strength of the respective political parties in the House.
The commission, which will include four “eminent persons”, will recommend names but the PM has the final say. This was a compromise, after Umno objected to a whittling down of the PM's powers. . . [more]