Nov 11, 2008

ANAA letter to Pakistan President protesting appoitment of a "Swara" facilitator as an Education Minister

11th Nov, 2008


The President of Pakistan
3517 International Court, NW
Washington DC, 20008
Phone: 202-243-6500

Dear President Asif Ali Zardari,

ANAA is outraged at the appointment of Mir Hazar Khan Bijrani as federal education minister. As you are aware that Mr. Bijrani was arrested for chairing the jirga that decided to hand over five minor girls to settle a dispute in 2006.

This is how the story goes.

15th August 2007, Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudhry, ordered the arrest of 11 members of a jirga, including PPP MNA Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, for handing over five minor girls to the family of a murdered man as compensation to settle the dispute in Jacobabad.

Complaint was filed by a freelance anthropologist Samar Minallah against the handing over of five girls — Aamna, 5, Bashiran, 2, (daughters of Rahmatullah), Shehzadi, 6, Meerzadi, 2, (daughters of Hafeezullah) and Noor Bano, 3, (daughter of Yar Ali) — to the family of the murdered man as compensation.

The feud began in 1997 when one Miandad Banglani was killed in a shootout between Hafiz Qamaruddin and Ali Yar Banglani groups over karo-kari (honour killing). Police registered the case after nine years that too after the media highlighted the injustice.

The event of the jirga was recorded by a regional television and was shown during the hearing. The video footage contained statements of Yar Ali and Rehmatullah, fathers of three of the girls, endorsing the allegations that the girls had been given in to the victim's family as compensation and the decision of marriage had been taken up by the jirga. (Report by Daily Time, Dawn)

As ANAA President I urge you to rescind this appointment.


Zaffar Iqbal, MD
President ANAA

ANAA is US based, registered non-profit advocacy group focused on restoration of human rights in Pakistan. It is a totally volunteer run grass root organization. It is the pioneer group amongst the diaspora engaged in increasing awareness for civil struggle in Pakistan. ANAA believes in participatory politics as a basic human right in Pakistan. ANAA supports independent judiciary and freedom of media in Pakistan


South Asian said...

We need to find an effective channel of protest. Is there any point in sending a letter to Zardari? Does Zardari care about education? If he did, would he have apointed a person like Bijarani in the first place? Do we have any leverage with him to make him change his decision?

It would be more useful to try and influence such incredibly cynical and bad decisions through the donors who are going to pledge money to Pakistan. Let groups like ANAA, ICERP, OPEN, etc. point out the contradiction to the Obama transition team, the Friends of Pakistan, the IMF etc. One column by Nicholas Kristoff in the NYTimes would have more impamct than a million letters to Zardari.

South Asian

Zaffar Iqbal said...

I agree that media, Human right gps and US congress are our strength in pressurizing Pak Govt to do the right thing