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Ingrid
04.11.2007, 12:46
To Imram, Maximus, Hunza and all of the travellers who are in Pakistan now, have been or want to go - how is the situation from your points of view in the North ?

It is difficult to chose "the right" source for publishing here, so I take BBC's (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7077136.stm) publication of the emergency declaration:

Text of Pakistan emergency declaration

Following is the text of the "Proclamation of emergency", declared by Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf on 3 November.
Whereas there is visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists and incidents of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, IED [improvised explosive device] explosions, rocket firing and bomb explosions and the banding together of some militant groups have taken such activities to an unprecedented level of violent intensity posing a grave threat to the life and property of the citizens of Pakistan;
Whereas there has also been a spate of attacks on state infrastructure and on law enforcement agencies;
Whereas some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the executive and legislature in the fight against terrorism and extremism thereby weakening the government and the nation's resolve diluting the efficacy of its actions to control this menace;
Whereas there has been increasing interference by some members of the judiciary in government policy, adversely affecting economic growth, in particular;
Whereas constant interference in executive functions, including but not limited to the control of terrorist activity, economic policy, price controls, downsizing of corporations and urban planning, has weakened the writ of the government; the police force has been completely demoralised and is fast losing its efficacy to fight terrorism and intelligence agencies have been thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing terrorists;
Whereas some hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released. The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous terrorist activities, resulting in loss of human life and property. Militants across the country have, thus, been encouraged while law enforcement agencies subdued;
Whereas some judges by overstepping the limits of judicial authority have taken over the executive and legislative functions;
Whereas the government is committed to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and holds the superior judiciary in high esteem, it is nonetheless of paramount importance that the honourable judges confine the scope of their activity to the judicial function and not assume charge of administration;
Whereas an important constitutional institution, the Supreme Judicial Council, has been made entirely irrelevant and non est by a recent order and judges have, thus, made themselves immune from inquiry into their conduct and put themselves beyond accountability;
Whereas the humiliating treatment meted out to government officials by some members of the judiciary on a routine basis during court proceedings has demoralised the civil bureaucracy and senior government functionaries, to avoid being harassed, prefer inaction;
Whereas the law and order situation in the country as well as the economy have been adversely affected and trichotomy of powers eroded;
Whereas a situation has thus arisen where the government of the country cannot be carried on in accordance with the constitution and as the constitution provides no solution for this situation, there is no way out except through emergent and extraordinary measures;
And whereas the situation has been reviewed in meetings with the prime minister, governors of all four provinces and with the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice chief of army staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan army;
Now, therefore, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I General Pervez Musharraf, Chief of Army Staff, proclaim emergency throughout Pakistan.
I hereby order and proclaim that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance.
This proclamation shall come into force at once.


Ingrid

imranthetrekker
11.11.2007, 02:19
Bonjour mes amis,

Once again, a dictator imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan, but for the people of Pakistan, martial law, emergency, diactatorship, these things're not new, they've been coping with them as long as Pakistan's there.

Firstly, Musharraf'd dragged Pakistan into so called war against terrorism, and what we got, travel advisories, instability, insurgency, extremism, increase in the prices, poor started getting poorer, rich richer.

A very strong pillar, in any democratic system, Judiciary, when it went against the dictator and his decesions, emergency's imposed and suspended the judges, who were honest.

Innocent civilians were being abducted and still there're more than 2000 people're missing from differnt parts of Pakistan and that case's filed in the supreme court of Pakistan, and the court's going to announce the decesion along with many other cases like his eligilblty to be a president and army chief at the same time, so he smelt the rat and the situation's infront of you.

But now we can only hope, that soon free and fair elections'll be held in the country and we'll get rid of these corrupt people and their backers.


Imran Schah

Mountains of Pakistan
http://flickr.com/photos/imranthetrekker/

maximus
11.11.2007, 13:44
Hello Ingrid

Thank you very much for your concern for all of us, we are safe but under an Emergency Plus !..the + meaning anything and everything can be done to people under the pretext of….this is what ( I ) want.

Imran has summed it all up well and I agree with him.

I visited Kashmir on 7th , on 9th in Islamabad and 10 /11th in Peshawar attending a wedding. That might sound all is well and running smoothly but agitations are increasing against the present government day by day. Sitting abroad, it is not easy to understand Pakistan where international media sells news with different angles. The local media was good in covering all aspects but has been clamped on and all civil rights taken away by the government. We definitely have a political crises, which will stretch.

Situation in Chitral and Northern area is as it was this spring or summers no different . There are visitors in Chitral in December and others are still inquiring so things carry on.
In Swat its politics of the present government for international consumption and to prolong their stay all this led to the present situation . For a year they let the few highlight themselves as saviors that is bad politics , with later consequence out of hand. Definitely there is resentment amongst the public when the administrative structure like roads, hospitals , law etc do not work to a standard . The public demand these services with no results as the government is busy consolidating its power to stay on. Anyone taking up the public cause is cheered and supported. that is the only temporary support that the rebels get from the local public. In our part of the world this is considered normal in your part unimagined. If democracy sustains Swat will be back to normal after sometime ….if dictators prevail it will increase.

Its somewhat like not allowed to see, not allowed to speak not allowed to write …reminds you of that monkey cartoon. Now the latest is we will have elections sooner than expected but under emergency Plus governance , this can easily be rigged with all rights clamped on.

All the best
Maximus

imranthetrekker
11.11.2007, 17:09
Bonsoir mes amis,

That's great, maximux's in Pakistan so he can portray the situation better than me.
I agree with him about the Swat, I worked twice in Swat during October, and the situation's tense and later on , it's worsened by the security forces, and the only solution's democracy, if dictator remains there, it's highest risk for the country, but he's strongly backed by the imperialist.

Now when the transmission of the private news channels's been blocked so we don't know what's happening in the troubled areas.

Maximus, if you're in Peshawar, I invite you for a cup of tea, my cell phone: 0346 98 95 72 0, give me a ring.



tres bon voyage,


Imran Schah
imranthesamana@hotmail.com
Peshawar.

Mountain gods of Pakistan at
http://risingpakistan.blog.co.uk/
http://flickr.com/photos/imranthetrekker/
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/60868/6fb/

Hunza
13.11.2007, 01:12
G'day all,

just would like to add to my friends commnets state of emergency has nothing to do with a normal persons lifehere in Pak, this is not some thing new for this nation this has happend in the past as well.
there is no any tanks or mass killings of people...life of a normall person is as before.


there is always demostration in the past in a civilian Govt. same as now..
Musharaf did it becuase to keep the law and order situation in control because there has been some kind terrorist threats in the trible areas.
and now the big lady is back here as well which is a bit unfortunate for such a crupt lady same as other politicains.
that is why we need a strong man with a stick other wise these bad guys do not listen and keep looting the countries wealth.



i would like to request all the great travellers that Pakistan is safe to travel there is no any such thing to worry about.
people here always are very friendly hospitable and wel coming.

i wish you all have a great trip to the worlds best kept secret.

have a good one.

Cheers Iman

maximus
13.11.2007, 08:49
Hi Imran

Thanks for your kind offer. A cup a tea is a cupatea as they say at the truck stop, I believe you get the best one there. I wont refuse this nice offer but I’ve moved out of Peshawar so can I keep it as a rain check .

I wonder if we should limit our views on this forum to the outdoors and security concerns from that aspect keeping as much of the political mess out. But can we avoid such comments when the question relates and the pressure cooker is moving towards boiling point.

Knowing Pakistan and its politicians ( mind you most of the political parties here fare no better than the present government all judged corrupt , except Imran Khan ) most of us voted for Musharaf when he came in thinking he would bring honest people but he gathered the same bunch around him who had already siphoned millions. 8 years rule with an absolute free hand along with plenty of foreign funds for development is a long time to now judge results. Much as some people hype about development ask 80 % of the rural folks about inflation and cost of living which is way beyond their means. In 8 yrs education received only 1.8 % of the GDP . With high population growth, unemployment and lack of education there is plenty of gunpowder for the unwanted. Law and order has gone down as per governments own admission with emergency . Yes businessmen mostly in the cities have made money cashing in on opportunities that does not reflect development neither does completing routine development work started by other governments. Credits can only be given for long term new development plans like motorways, education , health, dams , hydle schemes, industries etc. Yes Mushraf did give us freedom of speech, women rights and an attempt at local government system, then to his convenience strangled them. I think dictatorship will prevail in our country till more goes into education. Election will be held ofcourse rigged to get the kings party installed. Emergency will be removed nearer election to give it the credibility ( this for foreign powers concerns ) who cares what the locals think . A new dummy government will be there in 2008 to carry on with the agenda . From the visitors point of view , those of you who are planning treks in Baltoro , Hunza, Shimshal or Chitral carry on your correspondence with whomsoever you are writing to or going out with. You will be able to travel there, safely and will enjoy your visit.

Maximus

maximus
15.11.2007, 12:00
Hello All

I guess I was getting carried away with this emergency problem and the political aspect. I think we should avoid political comments so regret putting that bit in…sorry.

There are hardly any winter treks in Pakistan but some lovely day walks are possible. From security point of view for hill walkers , if someone asked me to take him on a walk I would confidently take him to Gilgit Hunza Baltistan and Chitral at this moment. These areas are open with no problems at all . Barring Swat or the tribal belt traveling in most part of the country does not pose any problem to foreigners.

Maximus

imranthetrekker
22.11.2007, 18:32
Hi there,

Thanks for the words maximus, I'm back in Peshawar today , after a week long official meetings in Bangkok.

Yeah at this time of the year, we can make some plans in the valleys of Kalash, I mean across the valleys, the passes which're almost 3000 or less than that (3, 4 days), I did them last year in December with some friends in a very bad weather, when it's snowy, so they're possible besides other itinearies like Terichmir base camp 3600 m from Owir valley, that's another very enchantring itinerary in Hindukush.

In the north, in winters, one can proceed to Ultar meadows, Fairy meadows, Hoper glacier etc.


But we can't make the longer itineraries as we do during summers.


I'm going to a new trekking itinerary at the end of this month in Chitral so if I make it I'll give the information on the forum about that.



I wish you very happy travels,


Imran Schah

Mountains of Pakistan
http://flickr.com/photos/imranthetrekker/

Ich_ohne_Ich
24.11.2007, 14:05
Hello there!
I agree with critizising the "western" for their role in keeping warlords (well musharaf seems to be one of them though a big one) in power to better control regions.

I got a traveller's question though: What risks are there to travel through te country by train and bus, coming from Iran (what about the Beluchistan border?) and going to India after?

for I am travelling with my just married wife I'd like to avoid risks for our life.

Thanks and keep up hope!

maximus
24.11.2007, 14:27
For a traveler from Karachi right till Peshawar there is no problem in bus or train. I had guests that traveled three weeks back from Quetta into Iran without any problem.

About two days back there has been problem in Quetta where shops were closed and strikes called against a killing of a balouch chief in Afghanistan but this again was political and not directed towards any visitors and will subside.

The road Quetta to Taftan is open and is in a much better condition than previous times. Waghan border is open, there is a festival going on in Lahore 22 Nov to 02 Dec don’t miss that if you are around then . Happy honeymoon , enjoy your journey.

Maximus

imranthetrekker
24.11.2007, 18:26
Salut mes amis,

I gree with maximus, it's fine here but you'll have to keep yourself away from these political rallies, sometimes they attract the tourists a lot because of their colorful posters and flags, it's not safe to get closer to them.

A friend of mine, Dave's arraiving in Peshawar tonite from Quetta, all the way long from Taftan, so I've the meeting with him tomorrow and then I'll be able to update you about the situation but still it's safe.

Bon voyage,


Imran Schah

Pakistan and mountains
http://flickr.com/photos/imranthetrekker/

maximus
25.11.2007, 14:54
But then you have something called the “road show “ which are very interesting and worth viewing under this emergency. The TV news channels and their anchors who have been banned have taken their talk shows to the footpaths. They set up a stage outside the media offices where a huge crowd gathers to see a debate amongst politicians and people from various segments of the society. The news anchor questions all on different aspects of things happening around . They end up asking why cant the government stand up to criticism and has banned these channels. Beside the fiery debates there in a fun and laughter element in what is said that becomes both interesting and an urge for free expression.

Maximus

imranthetrekker
28.11.2007, 15:08
Bonsoir mes amis,

A traveler from Ireland, a friend of mine from lonelyplanet thorntree, dave s, is here in Peshawar, he came through Taftan border to Quetta and then took a train to Peshawar.

Musharraf's resigned from the army today and most of the exiled politicians'rte back in Pakistan, country's moving swiftly towards the elections and democracy.

Bon voyage

Imran Schah

Photos of Pakistan
http://flickr.com/photos/imranthetrekker

AndreasW
27.12.2007, 15:21
Sad news... Benazir Bhutto killed in attack (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7161590.stm)
Let's hope for "peaceful" elections at next... My best wishes to all Pakistanis!

AndreasW

maximus
27.12.2007, 17:04
Thank you AndreasW for your concerns. I got stuck for two hours crossing her political rally which was big. We were going to see a movie with the kids . This really is very sad for all of us even those who were not her supporters. She had a big following and mattered in our country and had to be there to balance political forces for the good of the country. This is senseless whosoever such people are and there are many kind of extremism in this world that destroy peace to dictate themselves .

Maximus

imranthetrekker
27.12.2007, 22:00
Yeah! another very tragic incident happened today here at Liaqat bagh,Rawalpindi.

The story's at

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=16&keywordid=69


Imran Schah

maximus
28.12.2007, 07:25
AFTER BENAZIR BHUTTO....see
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/opinion/28fri1.html?ref=opinion



Maximus

phacops
02.01.2008, 22:50
Thanks Maximus - interesting opinion.
Read this one yesterday: http://satp.org/satporgtp/sair/index.htm (Vol 6 no 25).
Its difficult to get independent and knowledgeable news...

But we trust in the desire of the pakistani people for peaceful development of their country.

phacops

AndreasW
03.01.2008, 07:42
...and read this... :-/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7699

AndreasW

imranthetrekker
03.01.2008, 10:47
Great research by Larry Chin, thanks AndreasW.

malang
04.01.2008, 10:00
Its difficult to get independent and knowledgeable news...

Read this :)

"The Nation" 4.1.2008

Govt not involved in killing: President

Regrets Benazir ignored security threats; admits crime scene cleared quickly
ISLAMABAD (Agencies) - President Pervez Musharraf Thursday said there was neither any chance of extremists coming into power, nor of country’s nuclear assets going into the hands of terrorists.
“There is no possibility of extremists coming into government in Pakistan and therefore taking over the [nuclear] assets ... through political or democratic system,” President Pervez Musharraf told reporters at the weekly television program; “Aiwan-e-Sadr sey”.
The President said the country and the people guard its strategic and nuclear assets very jealously.
“Every individual Pakistani is one on this issue and we cannot accept any kind of threat on them at all,” the President said.
He said these assets were in excellent custodial control which was as good as any other nuclear country.
“There is no problem of any threat [from terrorists] to our strategic assets,” President Musharraf said.
About the security arrangements made for Ms Bhutto, the President said she was provided her hand-picked official from the police, along with 30 personnel detailed full time for her security. He said that Ms Bhutto was previously informed by the intelligence agencies not to go to the venue because of the serious security threats, around four weeks back.
“She ignored the threat,” the President regretted and pointed out that around 1000 police personnel were deployed at the venue, while five walk-through gates were used at the entrances, besides a bulletproof rostrum. He said police was deployed on all rooftops around the venue and she had an armoured vehicle.
The President said Ms Bhutto was flanked by PPP leader Amin Fahim and Ms Naheed Khan in her vehicle, but she decided to get up through the sunroof.
He said that the decision to invite the Scotland Yard was taken because of the conflicting reports. He said there was no point in making statements unless something was 100 per cent final.
He said fresh photographs from various angles, new evidence was coming in and it was important to carry out forensic and technical investigation.
The President when asked as to who would have gained from the murder of Ms Bhutto said definitely the government was not among those who have gained from her death.
“We have now invited the Scotland Yard ... to look at the pieces of evidence that we are looking at and decide how the assassination took place and who did that,” the President said.
He said the people involved in such suicide blasts are the ones who in the last three months, had carried out 19 such attacks most of them against the military and the intelligence personnel.
“If the same military and same intelligence is using the same people, it is a joke,” he added.
President Musharraf categorically stated that no intelligence agency of Pakistan is capable of indoctrinating a man to blow himself up and carry out a suicide blast.
He termed it an act by certain people who can be indoctrinated and comprise of “illiterate and misled youth”.
The President when asked that he was being accused for being behind the incident said it was below his dignity to reply to such allegations. He however said
“I am not a feudal or a tribal.”
“I have been brought up in a civilised family, which believes in values and character. My family does not believe in killing, intrigues and assassination,” the President added.
When questioned how secure he felt after the recent attack, President Musharraf said he has been attacked in the past and was still under threat.
“We can’t run away from it,” he said and added that the only option was to set right the country.
“We are conscious of the threats...we have to defeat those who are causing these threats ... I can’t say I am very secure there are people gunning for me,” the President said and added “I know how to protect myself.”
About the attack on Ms Bhutto’s rally in Karachi on Oct 18, the President said there were security concerns and a special envoy from a friendly country personally informed him about the threats to her life.
He said a foreign intelligence agency had informed the country about an imminent attack.
“I conveyed this to her that there is a threat and please take measures ... she ignored it,” he added.
He said the leaders under threat need to be very careful as people try to throng them when at public rallies, it is thousands who come and swarm, and the police only has to baton charge and fire in the air to disperse them.
About the phone call he made to Ms Bhutto after the Karachi incident, the President said he condoled with her and told her to understand the difficulties Pakistan currently faced. “It is a different Pakistan now,” he told Ms Bhutto who had returned after a long exile.
When asked about being allegedly named by Ms Bhutto as the one responsible if anything happened to her, the President said “I call it baseless and wild accusation.”
The President said if someone accuses the other and says someone is responsible how it is to be reacted.
“Why did she say that ... I would like to investigate that,” the President said and added “I would like to go to the depth of who did it ... whether a pistol shot on her, or [by] banging her head.”
About the detention of PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan, he said he had no objection if he would indulge in politicking, but said no one would be allowed to vitiate the already charged political atmosphere.
President Musharraf rejected the notion that al-Qaeda was gaining grounds but said it was the Taliban support in Pakistan and Afghanistan which effectively needs to be tackled.
Referring to Maulana Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud, he said all the 19 bombings over the last three months have been traced to these two persons.
To a question that Mehsud had announced his presence at a particular location, he said it was not easy to catch such terrorists as they frequently change locations.
He said if these terrorists were caught in tribal areas, it would mean taking on thousands of their followers which could lead to a collateral damage.
He said the recent crisis stemmed from the outpouring of sentiments on the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
He said unfortunately the incidents were compounded by criminal elements, involved in arson, loot and plunder, mainly in Sindh. While there was political involvement to undermine the government in Punjab.
“I am a firm believer in democracy, but I believe in essence of democracy and do not consider that mere holding of elections, as democracy,” the President said.
He mentioned the three phases of transition to democracy, where the country moved from a military rule to a purely civilian rule and where the people were empowered at the grassroots level through the local government system.
He said the women, minorities and the youth too were empowered, the media was liberated and from only one official channel, now over 50 private television channels were operating in the country.
The President spoke at length on the measures taken by the Election Commission of Pakistan and said “the system is transparent and free and I do not believe that there will be any type of rigging.”
The President said the Election Commission of Pakistan has further improved the system of conducting impartial elections and any loopholes in the system have now been rectified.
He dismissed the baseless allegations about rigging in the Feb 18 election saying there was no such possibility.
Musharraf said incidently the date of the election also coincides with the birthdays of his wife and daughter.
President Pervez Musharraf described the Chief Election Commissioner as an “honourable person” and said he has never met him but only when he made an official call on him after assuming charge of his office.
The President said as part of the measures to ensure fairness, the Returning Officers will now announce the results of their respective constituencies.
President Musharraf said he did not believe intelligence agencies had ordered any cover-up since Bhutto was killed in a gun-and-suicide attack that his government blamed on Al-Qaeda, he acknowledged reports that the crime scene had been quickly hosed down, possibly destroying evidence, after her murder.
“I am sure that they did not do it with an intention of hiding some secrets or that the intelligence agencies instructed them to hide secrets,” Musharraf said.
“If you are meaning that it was via design to hide evidence, no,” the president said. “It was inefficiency.”
He insisted there had been no security lapse when she was killed at the campaign rally last Thursday in Rawalpindi.
Musharraf told the assembled reporters that the cleaning of the site was ‘unnecessary’, adding: “It should not have been done.”

AndreasW
06.02.2008, 17:45
Exclusive: Benazir Bhutto's last testament (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3294410.ece)
Benazir Bhutto accuses Osama Bin Laden's son from beyond the grave (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3295436.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=797093)
Frost: “Does anyone know yet who was responsible for this assassination attempt? There was one report that you had arranged to send President Musharraf a letter, to be sent in the event of your death by assassination, urging him to investigate certain individuals in his government. Is that true?”

Bhutto: “Yes, it is true that I wrote to General Musharraf. I received information from General Musharraf that a friendly country had passed on to them. The information that I could be attacked by a gang from the Afghan warlord Baitullah Mehsud, or by Hamza bin Laden, the son of Usama bin Laden, or by the Pakistani Taliban in Islamabad, or by a group in Karachi. So, I sent back a letter saying that while these groups may be used, I thought it was more important to go after the people who supported them, who organized them, who could possibly be the financers, or the organizers of the finance, for those groups, and I named three individuals who I thought were the sympathizers.

Now I understand that I could be wrong, and my suspicions could be misplaced, but these are the people that I suspect want to stop the restoration of democracy, they want to stop my return, because they know in 1993, when Pakistan was on the brink of being declared a terrorist state, I stopped the rise of terrorism, and they know that I can do it again. So I feel that these are the forces that want to stop, not just me, but the democratic process and the will of the people from triumphing.

Frost: “And in terms of these three people that you mentioned, were they members of or associated with the government?”

Bhutto: “Yes, well one of them is a very key figure in security. He is a former military officer. He is someone who has had dealings with the Jesha

Muhammad, one of the banned groups, with Maulana Azhar, who was in an Indian jail for decapitating three British tourists, and three American tourists, and he also had dealings with Omar Sheikh, the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden (http://www.google.de/search?q=%22the+man+who+murdered+Osama+Bin+Laden%2 2&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:de:official&client=firefox-a).

oIO8B6fpFSQ
Crazy... :-/ ...for German readers click here: http://worldcontent.twoday.net/stories/4671433/

AndreasW