Monday, May 22, 2006

Pir Binyamin Rizvi (1958-2004)





















The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader, Pir Syed Binyamin Rizvi , son of Pir Syed Muhammad Yaqoob Shah (former MPA), was born on August 15, 1959 in Phalia,District Mandi Bahauddin; he studied civil engineering at the Government Technology College Lahore in 1980. Later, in 1981, he graduated from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad. Mr Rizvi, 46, left behind a wife, two daughters and a son. Mr Rizvi came into politics in l990 after the death of his father Pir Yaqoob Shah, a prominent religious and political personality. The majority of people in Phalia are Beralvis and followers of Pir Yaqoob Shah. He was elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab in the by-election in 1991; Mr Rizvi contested the general election at PP-99, Phalia, with the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP-Niazi). He also served as advisor to the Chief Minister Punjab in 1992. In l993, when Punjab Assembly speaker Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo toppled the Ghulam Haider Wyne government with the cooperation of Pakistan People’s Party legislators, Mr Rizvi objected in and outside the assembly in favour of Mr Wyne. Keeping this in view, PML chief Nawaz Sharif invited him to join the Muslim League. An agriculturist, who was Secretary Information Pakistan Muslim League (Punjab).In 1997, he was re-elected to the Punjab Assembly for the third time and joined Shahbaz Sharif’s cabinet as minister for social welfare, Women Development and Bait-ul-Maal. In 1999, after the dissolution of the Nawaz government, he was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau for four months and later put under house arrest. In 2001, he was forced to join the PML-Quaid as its Punjab information secretary but before the 2002 general elections, he quit the party and left for United Kingdom, where his mother was being treated for kidney disease. After he returned from the United States, he met with Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia and joined the PML-Nawaz as Punjab vice president. According to PML-N provincial secretariat workers Nasir Khan and Hakeem Khan, Mr Rizvi went to the party secretariat at about 11am on Saturday and after studying the newspapers he prepared a press release condemning the “conspiracies” against former prime minister Zafarullah Jamali. At about 12:40pm he left to attend a lunch given by PML-N leaders for journalists at the Gymkhana club. He, his driver and bodyguard were shot dead on the way by unidentified motorcyclists. Condolences: Messages of condolence came pouring in after his death. Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, in a message to Mr Rizvi’s mother and wife, assured them no stone would be left unturned in the search for the killers. He directed the inspector general of police to constitute special teams to find the killers. Punjab Law Minister Raja Muhammad Basharrat said the murderers would not be spared. He said police had started investigating and it was too early ascertain the motive behind the killing. He praised Mr Rizvi’s services to politics, saying his death would be a great loss to the people of Phalia, his hometown, for whose welfare he did sterling work. PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif said his services for the party could not be forgotten. “Binyamin was a true lover of democracy and his killing seems to be a result of his efforts against the dictatorship. The killing of PPP leaders in Karachi and then Binyamin’s murder is state terrorism,” he said. PML-N Punjab General Secretary Saad Rafique told reporters Mr Rizvi had been receiving death threats for two months. Mr Rizvi had told party leaders that he was being pressured from unknown quarters to leave politics and stop criticising the ruling party. Malik Pervaiz MNA said the PML-N would raise Mr Rizvi’s killing in the National Assembly because “the party knows the reasons behind the targeted killings of opposition leaders”. He said Mr Rizvi was an honest politician and even NAB could not prove the corruption charges against him. Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Qasim Zia (PPPP) and Deputy Opposition Leader Rana Sanaullah Khan (PML-N) said the government had failed to provide security and so had no right to remain in power. They said “state terrorism” was at its peak and the ruling party was doing all it could to “crush” the opposition party’s leaders and workers. They said the ban on MMA leaders entering Sindh was also state terrorism. PML-N leaders Dr Asad Ashraf, Zaeem Qadri, Farukh Shah, Nasir Khan, Imran Nazir, Inamullah Khan Niazi, Najeebullah Khan Niazi, Majida Zaidi, Aysha Javed, Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman and Mehr Ishtiaq also expressed sorrow at Mr Rizvi’s death and demanded the government immediately arrest the killers, otherwise the PML-N would start demonstrations.


Death of Pir Binyamin Rizvi


Pir Binyamin was brutally murdered on 24 June 2004

Someone has killed PMLN leader Pir Binyamin Rizvi in Lahore. He was minister for social welfare in the government of chief minister Shehbaz Sharif after the 1997 elections. He was ‘gaddi-nashin’ of a holy ancestor in Phalia and wielded a lot of local power. While in the Punjab cabinet, however, he was used by Shahbaz Sharif to ‘sort out’ the NGOs advocating women’s rights and protesting Pakistan’s 1998 nuclear test. Mr Rizvi took to the task with such single-mindedness that even the chief minister got scared and called off the campaign. During this campaign he accused the NGOs of being ‘agents of the Jews’ and did not balk at accusing the ladies working in them of unworthy acts.

But as his department got after the NGOs, a murder in which he was the accused in 1996 came back to haunt him. The rivals in Phalia threatened him with death a number of times and on one occasion he nearly got killed in the vendetta. His family life unfortunately was nothing to write home either. He had got rid of his first wife in favour of another and was subsequently threatened by his former in-laws. He was a scrappy politician given to rash action. But his death may become a credible pretext for the PMLN, together with the PPP whose leader was also killed earlier in Karachi, to take to the streets against the government’s incompetence. *


Pir Bin Yameen’s ‘suspected killers’ arrested

Wednesday February 21, 2007 (0245 PST)


One of two suspected murderers of Maulana Azam Tariq signs to camera while policemen take them in court on Tuesday. Muhammad Ali and Mudassar Ali arrested by CID from federal capital.

ISLAMABAD: Federal police have captured 2 wanted terrorists who are behind the killings of Maulana Azam Tariq, former provincial minister Bin Yameen and 45 people in bomb blast in Multan adding the operation is underway to arrest their other 4 accomplices.

By Shahzad Malik

ISLAMABAD: Police have arrested two men allegedly involved in the killing of Maulana Azam Tariq, an MNA and chief of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), and a blast at a gathering for his first death anniversary in Multan.

Senior Superintendent of Police Sikander Hayat told a press conference on Tuesday that the alleged killers – Mudasser Ali alias Usman, a resident of Datia Khan tehsil in Bakhar district, and Mohammad Ali alias Abbas, a resident of Pind Dadan Khan in Jehlum – were arrested in the capital’s Sector G-6/2.

He said the men had confessed to their involvement in the murder of Tariq, his three bodyguards and a driver near Golra Mor on October 6, 2003, while they were on their way to Islamabad from Sargodha to attend a National Assembly session. The attackers opened fire on the SSP chief’s vehicle when it slowed down to pass through the Golra Toll Plaza on the Kashmir Highway. Two of the attackers then came to Tariq’s car and fired at him. The incident took place a few hundred yards from a police check-post at Golra Mor.

The police official said the men had also confessed to their involvement in the car bomb blast in Mutlan during Tariq’s first death anniversary.

He claimed the men told investigators that they had also been involved in the killing of Pir Biniamin, a former provincial mister, and his two bodyguards in June 2006. He said the men were hiding in a government quarter in Sector G-6/2, but did not disclose the name of the official to whom the quarter has been allotted.

Six other members of the gang were living in various cities and police teams had been formed to arrest them, he said, adding that complaints of the case against Usman and Abbas would be summoned by court to identify them as culprits. He said the men had been sent to Adiala jail.

BENYAMEEN’ S MURDERERS STILL AT LARGE

Daily “Dawn” Islamabad

Dated: Oct. 05, 2006

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, Oct 4: A human rights group has expressed dismay over what it said the government’s failure to arrest killers of a former provincial minister, Pir Syed Benyaineen Rizvi, and demanded urgent steps to provide justice to the heirs of the deceased.

Pir Benyameen, a prominent PML-N leader, was murdered alongwith two other companions in a very relentless way in broad daylight on a busy road in Lahore. Two years have passed but the culprits have yet not been arrested.

Government’s apathy is highly condemnable, said Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar, Human Rights Council of Pakistan chairman, while speaking at a press conference at Melody Press Club. Mr Tarar said the brother of the deceased approached the police station to register FIR against the culprits but he was turned back. The human tights chief said since then the relatives of Mr Rizvi had been running from pillar to post to get justice but in vain. Mr Tarar said this was the first murder in the history of the country which had yet to be probed.

He demanded of the chief justice, president and prime minister to take notice of the case and provide justice to the family of the deceased and warned that they would be compelled to approach international organizations of justice.

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Daily “Pakistan Observer” Islamabad

Dated: Oct. 05, 2006

CJ URGED FOR ACTION IN, BINYAMIN MURDER CASE

ISLAMABAD - Former MNA Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar urged Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice to investigate into the PML-N leader Pir Syed Binyamin Rizvi case, which has been pending for the last two years.

“Two years ago Rizvi along with two others was murdered in broad daylight and not only the culprits are on loggerhead but also no initiative has yet been taken by the government to investigate into the matter,” Mumtaz said while addressing a press conference here on Wednesday.

“The concerned senior police officer often refuses to meet me,” he recalled. Garden Town Police Station did not file the First Information Report (FIR) by the relatives and wrote another with their own version of the event.

He also accused the current regime of committing violation of human rights. There are hundred of families protesting either illeged enforced disappearance of dears by security agencies across the country. There are a large number of those picked up to win the so-called ‘war on terror,’ Mumtaz further added.

Earlier, in an application the family demanded of the President of Pakistan to take personal interest and investigate into the case. The President ordered IG Police but with no result. “If the CJ does not take suo moto notice we will request international human rights organization to take up the issue from their respective platforms,” said Mumtaz.

Hassnain Ghayoor

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Daily “The Post” Islamabad

Dated: Oct. 05, 2006

HRCP TO CONTACT INTERNATIONAL HR BODIES IF BIN YAMEEN KILLERS NOT ARRESTED

KASWAR KLASRA

ISLAMABAD: Upset by law enforcement agencies’ failure to arrest killers of former provincial Minister of Punjab Pir Syed Bin Yameen even two years after the murder, the Human Rights Council of Pakistan on Wednesday hinted at approach ing ‘international human ‘rights organisations if the assassins were not arrested and brought to justice at the earliest.

‘Bin Yameen was gunned down in’Lahore some two years ago by two unknown motorcyclists. After the murder, Yaqub Rizvi, brother of the victim, approached Garden Town Police Station of Lahore for getting an FIR registered against unknown killers but the Station House Officer of the said police station did not register the case.

Talking to reporters at Rawalpindi/Islamabad Press Club, the HRCP chairman, Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar, said it was a pity that the Garden Town Police had yet to register a formal case against the killers of former provincial minister.

According to him, the Inspector General of Police Punjab, after receiving directions from the presidency that was approached by Bin Yameen’s mother for early dispensation of justice, recently ordered police to investigate the killing but to no avail.

“This shows the government itself is not that motivated for bringing the killers of Bin Yameen to justice”, he opined.

He warned if the killers of Pir Bin Yameen were not arrested “soon”, the Council would make contacts with the international human rights organisations for pressuring government to dispense justice to the aggrieved family.

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Daily “Dawn” Lahore

Dated: 08-07-2006

BINYAMIN ‘S MURDER YET TO BE INVESTIGATED

By Our Reporter

LAHORE., July 7: The Human Rights Council of Pakistan has decided to raise the murder case of former provincial minister Pir Binyamin Rizvi on the international for alike tile Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch because of failure of the government to start investigation into it.

Addressing a news conference at the Lahore Press Club here on Friday, former MNA Mumtaz Tarar said that investigation had not been started in the case even two years after the gunning down of former provincial vice-president of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and his two companions near the Punjab Assembly, New Campus. The murderers had escaped on a motorcycle despite the suspension of traffic on the busy road.

Binyamin’s brother Tariq Rizvi suspected government involvement in the murder in the application submitted to the Garden Town SHO for the registration of the case. The police registered an FIR on its own instead. The government did not hand over the body of the deceased to the bereaved family and transported it to Phalia instead. Hundreds of workers gathered for offering his funeral prayers in Lahore were rounded up.

He said that the police had not bothered to contact any member of the bereaved family during the past two years. The District Police Officer had refused to meet deceased’s brother Tariq Yaqub Rizvi despite repeated requests.

President Gen Pervez Musharraf had directed the IGP to hold an inquiry into the case and submit a report on two letters written to him by the mother of the deceased as army chief and president on June 25 last year but nothing had been done in this regard so far. The aged mother of the deceased and his orphaned children were still waiting for justice.

He said that inordinate delay in starting tile investigation of file murder case was strengthening suspicions that Pir Binyamin had been victimised by the government.

The Human Rights Council of Pakistan was left with no option but to raise the issue at international fora so that justice could be done to the bereaved family.

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Daily “The News” Lahore

08-07-2006

NEGLIGENCE IN MURDER PROBE CONDEMNED

By our Correspondent

CHAIRMAN Human Rights Council of Pakistan Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar condemned the government throwing the murder case of former PML-N leader Pir Biniyamin Rizvi Tarar in a cold storage for political reasons. He also warned the government of knocking the doors of foreign embassies and global bodies like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UN Human Rights Committee, Addressing a press conference on Friday, former MNA expressed concerns over what he called the deliberate brushing the issue under the carpet by the rulers in Binyamin murder case. He said it was perhaps the only murder case in country’s history whose investigations were not even started despite the lapse of two years. He said such criminal negligence showed that the rulers were involved in the ugly crime.

Tarar said Garden Town police refused to register an FIR on the application by his younger brother Tariq Rizvi. He said the aged mother of the slain leader was on the death bed waiting for some progress in the murder in investigations. He said the callous attitude of the authorities had left no option but to contact foreign missions and world human rights bodies seeking justice.

Daily “DAWN” Lahore

THREATS FOR PURSUING BINYAMIN CASE

LAHORE, July 9: Human Right Council of Pakistan chairman Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar has received a life threat for taking up the murder case of former provincial minister Pir Binyamin Rizvi.

Disclosing in a statement issued here, a spokesman of the Council said that two unknown people stopped the former MNA near the PIA Housing Society on Sunday morning and threatened to eliminate him if he continued to pursue the case. A report in this regard was lodged with the Sattu Katla police. – Reporter

(10th July 2006)



Govt trying to break up PML-N: Nawaz


March 26, 2006 Sunday Safar 25, 1427


By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE, March 25: Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif opened a two-day meeting of his party’s central working committee on Saturday in London with a bitter denunciation of the present rulers’ policies and their alleged efforts to break up the party.

However, he said, the party had survived all attempts aimed at disintegrating it.

This is the first meeting of the reconstituted CWC after seven years.

He praised all those who had resisted pressure and temptations and refused to switch loyalties. He paid tribute to the late Advocate Iqbal Raad, Pir Binyamin and other party activists for their sacrifices.

PML-N president Mian Shahbaz Sharif also spoke.

The PML-N president told Dawn that the former prime minister would speak again at the conclusion of the meeting on Sunday after discussion on organisational matters.

Dictatorship to be buried, says Nawaz

Sunday, March 26, 2006

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
LAHORE - The two-day meeting of the PML (N) Central Working Committee started in London under the chairmanship of Nawaz Sharif on Saturday.
The first session started at 10:00 am (British Standard Time).
PML (N) Secretary-General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra presented nine-point agenda and invited Nawaz Sharif to address the CWC meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Nawaz paid great tribute to PML (N) leader, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi saying, ‘’He is a brave political leader and govt have arrested him while violating the law.’’ He added that he would not make any deal with government.
Nawaz asked the participants of the meeting to dilate upon the matters in detail so that the political strategy could be evolved.
“The government tried to cause defection within the PML (N), but miserably failed in this regard.”
The PML (N) leader commended all those present in the meeting for enduring all odds for the cause of true democracy saying Iqbal Raad, Advocate and Pir Syed Binyamin Rizvi were murdered.
“Ultimately, democracy will be restored and dictatorship will be buried for good,” he said.
Commending the role of the party leaders and workers in the struggle for the revival of democracy as well as cause of the party and declaring them as precious asset of the party, PML (N) President Shahbaz Sharif maintained that their sacrifices would bear fruit.
PML (N) Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq dilated upon the political situation of the country and told about various meetings between the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Raja Zafarul Haq, Zafar Iqbal Jhagra, Sartaj Aziz, Ch Naushad Ali Khan, Ishaq Dar, Siranjam Khan, Pervez Malik, Begum Tehmina Daultana, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Mushahidullah Khan, Ch Jaffar Iqbal, Ahsan Iqbal, Saddiq al-Farooq, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Muhammad Hamza, Ghulam Dastagir, Mian Muhammad Zaman, Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, Sardar Yaqoob Nasir, Pir Sabir Shah, Sardar Mehtab Khan, Anwar Kamal Marwat, Inamullah Niazi, Rana Noorul Hasan, Rana Shaista Khan, Ch Sher Ali, Shaikh Aftab, Ch Asadur Rehman, Memoona Hashmi, Raja Muhammad Afzal, Mahmood Ahmad Khan, Sadia Abbasi, Imdad Chandio, Zain Ansari, Khuday Noor, Subedar Khan Mandokhel, Syed Nasir, Mamoon Hussain, Makhdoom Shah Nawaz, Anwar Kamal Marwat, Ayaz Khan Sawati, Dr Ch Tariq Afzal, Rafiq Awan, Jamshed Ahmad Khan, Malik Nasir Khan, Raja Nadir Pervez, Begum Ishrat Ashraf, Mian Abdul Manan, Shaikh Qaiser, Kh Mehmood Ahmad, Ch Sultan Ali, Raja Azad, Begum Najma Hameed, Malik Shujaur Rehman, Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman, Mian Javed Latif, Haji Nawaz, Raja Muhammad Ali, Afzal Sultan Dogar, Bilal Yaseen, Zubair Gul, Pervez Rashid and Nadir Chaudhry attended the meeting.

'Inefficient' rulers asked to resign

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

By Our Staff Reporter
LAHORE - The rulers should immediately resign owing to their inefficiency and failure to maintain law and order in the country.
This was demanded by the speakers and participants of a seminar held in connection with the death anniversary of Khawaja Muhammad Rafiq Shaheed was held on Monday under the auspices of the Khawaja Muhammad Rafiq Shaheed Foundation.
Former President Pakistan Muhammad Rafiq Tarar presided over the function while eminent leaders including Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, Sar Anjam, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, Liaqat Baloch, Mansoor Ali Khan, Memona Javed Hashmi, Rana Sana Ullah and Hamid Khan from across the political divide spoke on the occasion.
The speakers paid tributes to the Khawaja Rafiq Shaheed and said his services for democracy in this country would always be remembered. They commented that today the country needed people like Kh Rafiq to fight against the dictatorial rule.
During the seminar, six resolutions were also passed regarding General Musharraf's two offices, return of Nawaz Sharif as well as Shahbaz Sharif and arrest of Javed Hashmi and Yousaf Raza Gillani.
In a resolution, the participants urged General Pervez Musharraf to leave both offices and hand over himself to law enforcement agencies while a national government comprising representatives of political parties with representation in the Parliament should be formed. It was also stressed that an independent and autonomous Election Commission should be constituted and elections must be held as soon as possible under the 1973 Constitution.
The speakers blamed the 17th Amendment and General Musharraf's uniform as the root cause of problems and demanded of the government to shed uniform so that a new COAS could be appointed.
Another resolution demanded of the government to allow Mian Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and other exiled political leaders to return to the homeland as it was their basic right. Moreover, the seminar called for the release of PML-N Acting President Javed Hashmi and PPPP leader Yousaf Raza Gillani. Referring to the price-hike, lawlessness, unemployment, mismanagement, wrong policies, etc., in the country, the seminar participants concluded that the government had failed to fulfill its responsibilities and the rulers had no right to stay in the power.
Moreover, the recent increase in the petroleum prices was also discussed in a resolution and they showed concern over the fact that the phenomenon would lead to further price hike and demanded of the government to reduce the petroleum prices and utility charges.
The Kashmir policy of the present government was also severely criticised by the seminar speakers and the said that one person alone had no right to take decisions on Pak-India relations because such decisions did not have the public's backing.
Through a resolution, the participants demanded that the issue should resolved according the wishes of the Kashmiris under the UN resolutions.
The seminar also expressed its deep concern over operations in Wana, Balochistan and termed government's reconciliation efforts as unsatisfactory.
The speaker urged the rulers to protect the citizens. Moreover, dua was offered for the departed souls of shuhada of Wana, Balochistan, Sheikh Zayed Sultan, Yasser Arafat, Mian Muhammad Sharif, Mian Ejaz Shafi and Pir Binyamin Rizvi.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Condemns the Murder


Condoles with the bereaved family

Islamabad, 2 August 2004: Former Prime Minister and the Chairperson Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has condemned the brutal murder of Farhan Afzal, son of Sher Afzal Khan, President PPP district Attock on Saturday and demanded a thorough inquiry into this murder.

In a statement today the former Prime Minister said that as district President of the PPP Sher Afzal Khan is the chief supporter of the Party candidate Dr. Sikandar Hayat in the Attock bye-election. The brutal murder of his son was politically motivated to deter the opposition from challenging the regime's candidate in the elections.

She said that the murder of Farhan Afzal was the fourth high profile politically motivated killing of opposition politicians during the last as many months during which Abdullah Murad, Munawwar Suhrawardhi and Bin Yamin Rizvi were brutally killed.

None of the assassins were arrested while public interest was focused on two attacks on General Musharraf, one on the Karachi Corp Commander and another one on the Prime Minister designate Mr. Shaukat Aziz, she said.

The former Prime Minister deplored that the regime was busy hounding political opponents and had failed to protect the lives of its citizens.

She also demanded a thorough inquiry into the vicious murder of Farhan Afzal to expose and punish the real culprits behind this heinous crime.

Meanwhile in a condolence message to Sher Afzal Khan the father of the victim the former Prime Minister said that she was pained over the way in which his son was brutally cut down not only in the prime of his life but in the prime of career as well.

She prayed to Almighty Allah to grant the soul of deceased eternal peace and courage to the family members and friends to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.

Pir Binyamin Rizvi’s chehlum held in Phalia















Pres. PML-N (Punjab) Z.A Khosa arrived in Phalia

Monday, August 02, 2004

Staff Report

MANDI BAHAUDDIN: Former minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) leader Pir Binyamin Rizvi’s chehlum ceremony was held in Phalia on Sunday. Hundreds of people attended.

Participants included Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s (MMA) Punjab General Secretary Pir Mehfooz Mashhadi, PML-N’s district president Dewan Mushtaq, Syed Mazhar Qayyum Mashhadi, Jamaat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Niazi’s (JUP-Niazi) Pesident Syed Tanveer Haider Madni, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Mandi Bahauddin Tehsil Nazim Shehzad Anjum and former federal minister Mumtaz Ahmad Tarar.

The speakers paid tribute to Binyamin for serving the nation and bringing about harmony between sects. The speakers also criticised the government for not arresting Pir Binyamin’s killers yet.

Changing Managers of Pakistan Inc. at One Man's Whims

July 4-10, 2004














The damaged car of slain PML-N leader, Binyamin Rizvi, in Lahore on June 26

By Husain Haqqani

WASHINGTON: The resignation last weekend by Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali is the latest indicator of Pakistan’s chronic political instability.

The change in Prime ministers came soon after a meeting of the military-dominated National Security Council, confirming that Pakistan’s generals and not parliament are the country’s locus of power.

The generals look upon Pakistan as a wholly owned subsidiary of General Headquarters and consider themselves its board of directors.

The role of the prime minister in this scheme of things is not to provide political leadership but rather to act as a manager implementing the wishes of the board of directors. Changes in management can sometimes have no other reason than the whim of the Chairman of the board or the need to have a new manager who might be better at securing financing from the corporation’s creditors.

The latest change of prime ministers comes amid a worsening law and order situation. In addition to terrorist attacks by groups linked to Al-Qaeda, there has been a marked increase in sectarian terrorism and some unexplained political assassinations.

Munawar Suhrawardy, a leader of Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party was murdered in Karachi a few days earlier and Pir Binyamin Rizvi of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group) was killed in Lahore the same day that Mr Jamali resigned.

Skeptics suspect that at least some of the violence might have been orchestrated to pave the way for the palace coup against Mr Jamali. Such covert operations and machinations have not been unknown in Pakistan’s chequered history.

In any case, random killings of opposition activists scare the opposition sufficiently to prevent anti-government protests in the streets. Having secured such silence without having too many political prisoners enables the military regime to cite the absence of mass protest as evidence of popular acquiescence for its policies.

But machinations by the security services are not a substitute for normal politics. Pakistan’s military leaders have always resented politicians and the generals’ strategy since 1958 has been to eliminate any politician who can be a serious challenge to the military’s domination of decision-making.

The generals select insignificant or inexperienced politicians to serve under their stewardship but are compelled to get rid of anyone who becomes better known or starts accumulating political experience. Ironically, military intervention is said to be the product of Pakistan’s political instability whereas in actual fact it is its source.

Pakistan’s failure to evolve as a democracy under the rule of law with strong institutions and its governance by a civil-military oligarchy creates an air of permanent political crisis.

Members of the oligarchy jockey for power through intrigue, rumor and whispering campaigns. Popular politicians are kept out of the political arena. Almost every Pakistani head of state and government since independence in 1947 has been imprisoned, assassinated, executed or removed from power in a military coup or a palace coup backed by the military.

Occasionally governments have been voted into office but none has been voted out. Mr Jamali, handpicked not long ago by General Musharraf, is the latest victim of a palace coup. He now joins the long list of political martyrs created by the military in its pursuit of retaining control of Pakistan Incorporated. The people of Pakistan had no say in Mr Jamali’s appointment and they have had no say in his removal either.

Mr Jamali, a weak local politician from Balochistan was chosen by General Musharraf to lead what was described as a phased transition to democratic rule. Although General Musharraf remained all powerful, the parliamentary facade provided crucial legitimacy for a regime that came to power in a military coup in 1999.

It helped end Pakistan’s suspension from the Commonwealth, provided a fig leaf to the US State department in dealings with the US Congress and created a justifying argument for those who want to ignore Pakistan’s history and claim that there are reasons for optimism about gradual change under General Musharraf.

As part of an effort to build up General Musharraf’s image as a reformer, Mr Jamali was treated as Pakistan’s elected Prime Minister during an official visit to Washington earlier this year.
The US and its western allies have helped General Musharraf maintain the pretense of abiding by Pakistan’s constitution, terming his appointment of a Prime Minister and the election of a parliament as steps towards democracy.

But General Musharraf and Pakistan’s all powerful military have found it difficult to accept even the semblance of parliamentary democracy they had earlier designed. So strong is the commanders’ desire to control everything that in addition to choosing their partners in government, they even want to dictate who the leader of the country’s opposition ought to be.

Thus, Maulana Fazlur Rahman of the alliance of religious parties, and not someone from the Pakistan Peoples Party - the largest single opposition grouping - has been conferred the mantle of leader of opposition in parliament.

Mr Jamali’s forced resignation follows weeks of intrigue by Pakistan’s ubiquitous intelligence services and squabbling in the ruling party, which itself is the product of the security establishment.

Mr Jamali has been succeeded in the interim by another lackluster provincial politician, this time from, Punjab, which provides a disproportionate share of the country’s military officers. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain will serve as Prime Minister until General Musharraf’s new choice, Shaukat Aziz, a former Citibank executive and currently Pakistan’s finance minister can be elected to the lower house of parliament.

Although Chaudhry Shujaat is a good patronage politician, he has virtually no known ideas on policy and is hardly an inspiring national figure. He would not have been in his present position had he not been a friend of General Musharraf’s college friend, Tariq Aziz, who is also the general’s principal secretary.

Mr. Shaukat Aziz, a competent banker and able financial manager, is better known in the international financial community than in the poorer neighborhoods of Karachi, Gwadar or Lahore. He has no political base whatsoever, which is even worse than his predecessor whose support base was narrow and parochial.

Any advantages of technocratic skills he brings to the office were already available to the government when he served as finance minister. Unlike Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh he has not put in the years of involvement in a political party that help build a national politician’s credentials. Like other US-based Pakistani technocrats close to the military, Mr. Aziz flew in from the US to become a minister and is likely to return to the US once he is out of office.

Mr Shaukat Aziz’s elevation to the office of Prime Minister is likely to enhance Pakistan’s political strife, especially the sense of deprivation among the country’s smaller provinces. But General Musharraf will feel more comfortable with Shaukat Aziz because he is the son of a civil servant and therefore shares the GOR (Government Officers’ Residences) and Cantonment culture that feeds Pakistan’s authoritarian tradition of governance.

In any case, the generals are far more at ease with technocrats without roots than with politicians. The technocrats are grateful for high office, are often ready to fudge economic indicators relating to defense spending, use their goodwill with the IFIs for more development assistance and do not concern themselves with issues relating to Pakistan’s power structure.

Politicians, on the other hand, question the military’s ascendancy and are somewhat limited in their actions by the wishes of their electorate.

As early as 1954, General Ayub Khan wrote a memo titled ‘A short appreciation of present and future problems of Pakistan’, which laid out a top-down agenda for forging a Pakistani nation through the leadership of the existing apparatus of state.

While it lays out in detail the administrative measures necessary for making Pakistan “a sound, solid and cohesive nation, able to play its destined role in world history”, it has no reference whatsoever to the will of the people or to political participation.

Unfortunately for Pakistan, Ayub Khan’s paradigm of considering the military as the ultimate decision-makers and the virtual raison d’etre of Pakistan persists, five decades later.

Why More People Are Turning to Violent Protests

July 4-10, 2004




By Muhammad-Najm Akbar

WASHINGTON: Our national life continues to show signs of growing rifts and tensions, which invariably end up in the street and, in different forms of violence at all levels of our institutional and social structures.

We have witnessed botched Budget exercises in the National Assembly and the two provincial assemblies so far:

- The National Assembly was dishonored with a deceptive schedule as the budget was rushed through it two days before the due date. As the Speaker dropped the cut motions moved by the opposition, angry members encircled his rostrum and chanted anti government slogans for more than 30 minutes. Frustrated, they tore different documents at the floor of the House and walked out.

- The Balochistan Assembly has seen the worst eruptions of anger and resentment. The members stood in the House in front of the Finance Minister holding placards with their demands during the presentation of the budget. Incensed by the government attitude, the opposition leader threatened to “break the legs” of the Deputy Speaker if he refused to listen to them while they articulated their views on the establishment of new army cantonments in Balochistan.

The opposition alleged that he had ruled their privilege motion out of order on the directive of an army officer and an agency. On June 27, opposition members left the House to parade through the Zarghoon Road, Jinnah Bazar, Shara-i-Iqbal, Shara-i-Liaquat, Prince Road, Masjid Road and delivered speeches in front of the Quetta Press Club.

- In Sindh, the opposition boycotted the passage of the budget for the second consecutive year. The budget was hardly the main issue for the members. On June 28, the parliamentary leader of the MMA, Maulana Omar Sadiq entered the hall wearing torn clothes, claiming that the police had meted out this treatment to him, as he was part of an aborted peace march by his party.

The same attitude resulted in the ouster of Maulana Fazlur-Rahman and Qazi Hussain Ahmed from the Province. The government was least perturbed as Sadiq stood in silence during the proceedings while the opposition chanted slogans against the rulers. The power brokers, however, had to wake up as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly threatened that following the Sindh precedent other Chief Ministers could ban the entry of some leaders, for example, the Prime Minister, into their provinces. As MMA runs two provinces, they understood that he was definitely not joking.

- The Sindh Assembly also had to deal with the gruesome murder of Munawar Suhrawardy who sustained three bullets in his face chest and leg, hired a rickshaw and died on his way to the Aga Khan Hospital on 17 June. As there was no institutional support to console the grief-stricken members, political workers and the general public, street offered the sole refuge.

The mourners attacked the United Bank’s Hyderabad Colony branch and torched it, ransacked buildings of the Bank Al-Habib and the Habib Bank, set vehicles on fire and brought business to a standstill. On June 19, the Opposition members used surroundings of the Sindh Assembly to express their dissatisfaction with the government. The law-enforcement agencies deployed water tankers, trucks and other big vehicles to block all roads leading to the Assembly building. Their anguish proved stronger than the tactics of the State to disrupt their protest.

- On June 27, in Punjab, police baton-charged and arrested activists of the PML-N who had gathered outside the Masjid Shuhada on The Mall to offer funeral prayers for Pir Binyamin Rizvi who was killed in Lahore. The people, on their part, are so fed up with the hopeless governance that they tend to adopt violent means to get attention.

- In Larkana on June 29, a large number of farmers from multiple villages demonstrated against power breakdown near Chuharpur. They blocked the Larkana-Naudero road by putting trunks of trees on it for more than one hour.

- In Karachi, June 27, the transporters vowed that they would no longer tolerate snatching of their vehicles by the law enforcement agencies to block roads during demonstrations and protests. They protested against the police forcibly using their buses, minibuses, coaches and water-tankers to block different thoroughfares and maintained that transporters had to bribe the police just to retain the control of their own vehicles.

- On June 26, a group of some 20 persons damaged the office of the city Nazim as the administration ignored their protest against the auction of outdoor hoardings. They smashed the windowpanes of main glass door of Civic Center.

- Facing a perpetual crisis of water supply, on June 24, residents of the water-starved localities in Korangi ransacked the office of the Executive Engineer of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board as he failed to offer them a satisfactory reply. In Landhi also they attacked the office of the XEN.

- Finding no credible official interlocutor on larger national issues, on June 27, the nationalist leaders in Sindh took their views on the Thal canal and Kalabagh dam to the people. On the call of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, press reports indicate that people observed a complete strike in the districts of Dadu, Badin, Shikarpur and Larkana and partially in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Thatta, Nawabshah, Khairpur and Naushahro Feroze.

In encouraging signs, the lawyers maintained their resolve to assert their rights and support just causes. In Gujrat, they were pitched against a District Police Officer as he had allegedly masterminded an attack on the lawyers. The Lahore High Court Bar Association took out a procession to support their colleagues.

The Gujrat case is fully reflective of tensions simmering in our legal landscape. The elements of the case include threats of murder, ransacking of furniture, and an attack, allegedly, by “500- armed men” on the bar room to beat up a group of lawyers at the behest of a rival group.

In another act of courage, the Pakistan and Punjab Bar Councils, the Supreme Court Bar Association, the Lahore High Court Bar Association and the Lahore Bar Association, collectively, on 28 June demanded the arrest of the accused named in the FIR lodged by Lahore Press Club in connection with illegal detention and manhandling of journalists by the Director General of the Postal Services, an army officer. The Bar affirmed that those trying to enslave the entire nation had subjected the journalists to state terrorism.

In Peshawar, June 27, lawyers were outraged while police, as part of the provincial government’s drive against "vulgarity", arrested dozens of people, including 70 young boys, claiming that they were viewing pornographic Internet sites and movies.

Islamabad also offered a different scenario as the Army took another drastic step to ridicule the office designed to be all-powerful under the constitution of 1973. They reduced the PMO to that of a GOC who could be appointed, removed or put on probation on their will.

To set an example, they removed one Prime Minster, made an interim appointment and placed another one on probation. The ruling coalition made no visible protest but many find it hard to believe that they were not aggravated at all.

Senators assail govt over law and order: Politicians' murders

04 July 2004 Sunday 15 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1425

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, July 3: The opposition in the Senate on Saturday blasted the government for its failure to provide security of life and honour to the people and to nab those involved in target killings.

Speaking on an adjournment motion sought to be moved by the combined opposition against the broad daylight assassination of Pir Binyamin Rizvi, a PML-N leader, in Lahore, the opposition senators said that most of the recently killed politicians belonged to the opposition.

The adjournment motion, which was not pressed after being opposed by the treasury, had been jointly moved by Mian Raza Rabbani of PPP Parliamentarians, Prof Ghafoor and Maulana Gul Nasib of MMA, Ishaq Dar of PML-N, Asfandyar Wali of ANP and Sanaullah Baloch of Balochistan National Party.

Mr Rabbani said that law and order had turned so bad in Punjab that the assailants went scot-free after murdering Pir Binyamin and his gunman in a busy Lahore spot, and no one had been nabbed so far.

He said the circumstances in which the killing incident had taken place lent credence to the view that this was a political murder.

He said the Punjab administration showed callousness by taking away the body of the slain leader to his village when arrangements for his namaz-i-janaza had been made at 'Gol Masjid'.

Mr Rabbani had his doubts about the veracity of official claims that those arrested were suspected to be involved in the attack on Karachi's corps commander as their remand was being extended again and again.

He said that no case of target killings, including Sindh MPA Abdullah Murad, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, Munawar Suhrwardy and Pir Yamin had been solved by the police.

Ishaq Dar of PML-N said the slain leader of his party had expressed fears before his assassination that he might be eliminated by the government for his deep involvement in efforts at facilitating the homecoming of the Sharif family and because he was given certain responsibilities in the London meeting in which Shahbaz Sharif's return had been decided.

Prof Ghafoor accused the 'agencies' of kidnapping political workers and pressuring them to switch over to the government party. He said these workers should not be treated as enemies of the country.

Asfandyar Wali posed the question: "Was it a mere coincidence that all the victims of target killings and terrorism belonged to the opposition alone?"

He said such incidents had shaken the confidence of the people in the writ of the government.

Maulana Gul Nasib said that unless Islamic punitive laws were enforced, the law and order issues will remain unresolved "since justice cannot be delivered without the enforcement of Shariat law."

Responding to the opposition senators speeches, leader of the house Wasim Sajjad said the murder of Pir Binyamin was a matter of sorrow for the treasury benches as well, and the whole house shared grief.

He told the house that the Punjab government had already set up numerous investigation teams to nab the culprits and ascertain the motives behind the murder.

He, however, did not agree with the notion that only opposition workers were the target of terrorism, and said the terrorists "do not select their target."

He said the wave of terrorism gripping the country was a threat to the Islamic civilisation and "all of us must act together to get rid of it."

The treasury benches wanted to table a resolution which was forwarded by Balochistan and Punjab provinces recommending parliament to legislate in matters not touched in both the concurrent list as well as the legislative list.

Mian Raza Rabbani opposed the tabling of the resolution under rule 137, 138 and 139 of the rules of business on technical grounds which led to a heated debate.

Senate's deputy chairman Khalilur Rahman announced in the closing moments of the session that he had reserved a decision on the discussion, and that the resolution will be tabled on some other day.

He adjourned the house till 6.30pm on Monday.

Politician condemned murder of Binyamin

Sunday, July 04, 2004



The PML-N chairman, Raja Zafarul Haq in Phalia



ISLAMABAD: Chairman ARD and Vice Chairman Pakistan People's Party Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Parliamentary Leader of Democratic Alliance in the Senate Mian Raza Rabbani have condemned the murder of the PML-N leader Bin Yamin Rizvi in Lahore on Saturday and demanded immediate arrest of the killers.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said the murder of Bin Yamin was targeted killing aimed at eliminating leaders of democratic opposition. "There is a pattern in recent incidents of political murders. The real perpetrators of the crime must be exposed if the steep downslide towards a civil war is to be arrested."

Bin Yamin was the vice president of PML-N, Punjab. A few days back the PPP information secretary, Sindh, Munawwar Suharwardy, was murdered in Karachi by unknown assailants who are still at large. Both Munawwar and Bin Yamin were murdered in broad daylight on busy roads and both were responsible for the media projection of the policies of their parties. None had any personal enmity.

"This is targeted killing aimed at sending a signal to the democratic oppositions," they said and vowed that democratic opposition would not be deterred by such cowardly acts.

"Militants and militancy abound in dictatorships, not in democracies," they said and demanded immediate return to democracy and people.s rule.

Makhdoom Amin and Raza Rabbani said that terrorism had become a serious problem in Pakistan because of its past record of military dictatorship. "Terrorism and extremism go hand in hand with dictatorship". Unless democracy returns to Pakistan, the fear of terrorism mounting and turning into a civil war could become a reality, they said.

Staff reporter adds: The leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-N have condemned the murder of the party's Punjab vice- president Pir Binyamin Rizvi and termed it a result of the "incompetency" of the unrepresentative government.

In a message from Jeddah, PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif and president Shahbaz Sharif expressed shock and grief over the incident, and said not only the PML-N, but all the patriotic forces struggling for restoration of the Constitution and democracy had lost a dedicated leader.

The two leaders said it was a political murder, and the 'present incompetent and unrepresentative government, whose self- centred policies had left the life and property of every citizen unsafe,' was responsible for it.

They said the incident had once again proved that all law- enforcement agencies were in a limbo these days, because 90 per cent of their resources and manpower had been diverted either to protect the rulers, who feared people's wrath, or to the surveillance of political opponents.

They said such a government had no right to remain in power, and Gen Musharraf and his puppet government should resign forthwith. The PML-N leaders said Pir Binyamin had been martyred fighting.

The PML-N chairman, Raja Zafarul Haq, and acting parliamentary leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also expressed anguish and anger over the incident. Terming it the worst instance of political vengeance, they said the responsibility of the government for this act could not be ruled out.

PTI: Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan has condemned the killing of PML-N leader Pir Binyamin Rizvi in Lahore.

In a statement issued here on Saturday, Imran Khan said increasing acts of terror in Quetta, Gwadar, Karachi and now in Lahore indicated a systematic breakdown of governance.

The collapse in governance is because of the fake political system established by Gen Musharraf, which is only designed to perpetuate his rule, he said.

Husain Haqqani: Pakistan's chronic ills exposed again

| Special to Gulf News | 30-06-2004




The resignation over the weekend by Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali is the latest indicator of Pakistan's chronic political instability. The change in prime ministers came soon after a meeting of the military-dominated National Security Council, confirming that Pakistan's generals and not parliament are the country's locus of power.

The latest change comes amid a worsening law and order situation. In addition to terrorist attacks by groups linked to Al Qaida, there has been a marked increase in sectarian terrorism and some unexplained political assassinations.

Munawar Suhrawardi, a leader of Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party, PPP, was murdered in Karachi a few days earlier and Pir Binyamin Rizavi of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group) was killed in Lahore the same day that Jamali resigned.

Random killings

Sceptics suspect that at least some of the violence might have been orchestrated to pave the way for the palace coup against Jamali. Such covert operations and machinations have not been unknown in Pakistan's chequered history.

In any case, random killings of opposition activists scare the opposition sufficiently to prevent anti-government protests on the streets. Securing such silence without having too many political prisoners enables the military regime to cite the absence of mass protest as evidence of popular acquiescence for its policies.

But machinations by the security services are not a substitute for normal politics. Pakistan's military leaders have always resented politicians, and the generals' strategy since 1958 has been to eliminate any politician who can be a serious challenge to the military's domination in decision-making.

The generals select insignificant or inexperienced politicians to serve under their stewardship but are compelled to get rid of anyone who becomes better known or starts accumulating political experience.

Ironically, military intervention is said to be the product of Pakistan's political instability whereas in actual fact it is its source. Pakistan's failure to evolve as a democracy under the rule of law with strong institutions and its governance by a civil-military oligarchy creates an air of permanent political crisis.

Members of the oligarchy jockey for power through intrigue, rumour and whispering campaigns. Popular politicians are kept out of the political arena.

Almost every Pakistani head of state and government since independence in 1947 has been imprisoned, assassinated, executed or removed from power in a military coup or a palace coup backed by the military. Occasionally, governments have been voted into office but none has been voted out.

Jamali, a weak local politician from Balochistan was chosen by Pakistan's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf to lead what was described as a phased transition to democratic rule. But Musharraf and Pakistan's all-powerful military have found it difficult to accept even the semblance of parliamentary democracy they had earlier designed.

So strong is the commanders' desire to control everything that in addition to choosing their partners in government, they even want to dictate who the leader of the country's opposition ought to be.

Thus, Maulana Fazlur Rahman from the alliance of religious parties, and not someone from the PPP - the single largest opposition grouping - has been conferred the mantle of leader of opposition in parliament.

Jamali's forced resignation follows weeks of intrigue by Pakistan's ubiquitous intelligence services and squabbling in the ruling party, which itself is the product of the security establishment.

Jamali is being succeeded in the interim by another lacklustre provincial politician, this time from Punjab, which provides a disproportionate share of the country's military officers.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain will serve as Prime Minister until Musharraf's new choice, Shaukat Aziz, a former Citibank executive and currently Pakistan's finance minister, can be elected to the lower house of parliament.

Although Chaudhry is a good patronage politician, he has virtually no known ideas on policy and is hardly an inspiring national figure. He would not have been in his present position had he not been a friend of Musharraf's college friend, Tariq Aziz, who is also the general's principal secretary.

Narrow support base

Shaukat, a competent banker and able financial manager, is better known in the international financial community than in the poorer neighbourhoods of Karachi, Gwadar or Lahore. He has no political base whatsoever, which is even worse than his predecessor whose support base was narrow and parochial. Any advantages of technocratic skills he brings to the office were already available to the government when he served as finance minister.

He has not put in the years of involvement in a political party that help build a national politician's credentials. Like other United States-based Pakistani technocrats close to the military, Shaukat flew in from the US to become a minister and is likely to return to the US once he is out of office.

His elevation to the office of the Prime Minister is likely to enhance Pakistan's political strife, especially the sense of deprivation among the country's smaller provinces, which feel more excluded from the charmed circle of power than ever.

Husain Haqqani is a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. He served as adviser to Pakistani Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto and as Pakistan's Ambassador to Sri Lanka

Binyamin a 'victim of target killing': Govt denies charge

29 June 2004 Tuesday 10 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1425

By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE, June 28: Opposition in the Punjab Assembly on Monday termed the murder of Pir Binyamin Rizvi a target killing with political motives as the government denied the charge.

The opposition also boycotted house proceedings to condemn "government's failure to find any clue to the killers and not allowing the people to attend funeral prayers for the deceased on The Mall."

Rana Sana said Rizvi was an active political worker with clear affiliations which became a reason for his killing. He said due to lack of any solid evidence he could not charge any one for the incident. However, some evidence collected from the spot and steps taken after the incident could lead to the accused. He said the victim's brother was not allowed to lodge an FIR though he had submitted a written application to the police, nominating the accused.

He also deplored that the government did not allow people offer funeral prayers for the deceased in Lahore, baton charged and arrested those who had gathered on The Mall for the purpose, while the body was transported to Phalia, native town of the deceased, despite resistance by the family.

He said the government had earned a bad name by not allowing its opponents to attend even the funeral prayers. Opposition leader Qasim Zia said the target killing was aimed at damaging the prevalent political system.

He said earlier political culture was weakened in the country by splitting political parties and now political workers were being murdered. He said police stopped on The Mall and did not let him go to Masjid Shuhada for attending the funeral prayers.

Regretting that even top brass of the military was not safe in the recent terror wave, he said the government was not allowing even to offer funeral prayers for those who had become victims of terrorists.

MMA parliamentary leader Asghar Gujjar deplored that Punjab had not been included among the terror-hit provinces. Pointing out that the assassins continued firing on their target for around four minutes, he said it depicted that the criminals were not afraid of being caught.

Referring to ban on entry of MMA leaders into Sindh, he said the step amounted to fuelling anarchy in the country. He also chided Gen Pervez Musharraf "for making a mockery of democracy by sending one prime minister packing to home, bringing forward another for an interim period and keeping the third one in waiting."

He said Shujaat Husain might be incompetent to run affairs of the country as prime minister but his plus point was that he was at least a politician. He asked whether united PML lawmakers were like goats who could be herded anywhere to vote for anyone.

PPP's Rana Aftab said a woman neighbour told him that her vehicle was nearby when killers targeted Mr Rizvi while a police party was just yards away from the spot but it did not intervene. He said this was the police force for which the government had apportioned billions of rupees in the budget.

Terming it a political murder, PML-N's Rana Mashhud questioned how the motorcyclists managed to carry a kalashnikov through various police pickets. He alleged that SP Tahir Alam had asked heirs of Mr Rizvi to nominate such and such person in the FIR.

But when the victim's family went to got register the case, they were kept waiting for four hours by the Garden Town SHO only to tell them later that the state itself had become complainant in the case.

The family also revealed that Mr Rizvi had been receiving threats on phone from senior police officers for his political activities, he added. He said if the government was not involved in the incident why it was not allowing the family to get registered their own FIR.

He claimed that the inspector-general of police had allowed them to hold funeral prayers in Lahore but at Data Darbar, saying the Rizvi was also a great devotee of Hazrat Ali Hajveri (RA). But the government backed out of its promise, he alleged.

Food minister Chaudhry Iqbal urged that the opposition not to give the incident a political colour for he said the family of Rizvi was respectable to all in the province.

Keeping this aspect in view, neither policemen nor the government could afford any lapse in the probe. Law minister Raja Basharat rejected political motives behind the incident saying deceased Rizvi had a long association with the Chaudhry family and he had never indulged in any activity that could be seen as any threat to the incumbent setup.

He assured the house that investigation in the case would be made after including the stance of the victim's family in the FIR. Showing his ignorance to the permission given by the IG for the funeral prayers, he said however funeral prayers in absentia were held on The Mall.

The government earlier resisted the event because holding of political demonstrations was banned on the Mall. He said the government had fixed a point in every district for political gatherings and this point in Lahore was the Minar-i-Pakistan.

He welcomed bringing forward any evidence by the opposition regarding the case so that investigation could progress. He said personal enmity, family feud, sectarianism and all other aspects of the case were being kept in mind by the investigators. He assured the house that motives behind the incident as well as killers would soon be unmasked.

Binyamin’s murderers to be arrested soon, Senate told

Islamabad—Leader of the House in the Senate, Wasim Sajjad assured the Senate that Provincial government would arrest murderers of Pir Binyamin Rizvi, a PML (N) leader and special teams have been set up for this purpose.

He made this statement in the Senate on Saturday while responding to an adjournment motion moved by eight members belonging to the Opposition. Movers of the motion were Mian Raza Rabbani, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Asfand Yar Wali Khan, Amanullah Khan Kanrani, Prof.Ghafoor Ahmed, Maulana Gul Nasib Khan, Dr.Safdar Abbasi and Snaullah Baloch.

After the statement made by Wasim Sajjad, Muhammad Ishaq Dar said, “We are satisfied with the statement and do not want to press the motion.”

Earlier, Mian Raza Rabbani moved the motion on behalf of other movers and condemned the incident in which Pir Binyamin Rizvi, former provincial minister along with his bodyguard and driver was killed.

Leader of the House, Wasim Sajjad opposed the motion and said according to Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business such matters could not be entertained in the Senate.

He said it was a provincial matter and being investigated through special teams, constituted by the Provincial Government.

The House also offered fateha for the departed souls of Pir Binyamin Rizvi, Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti and Maulana Nazir Ahmad.—APP

Murderers of Binyamin to be nabbed soon: Pakistani Senate


(Updated at 1900 PST)
ISLAMABAD: Leader of the House in the Senate, Wasim Sajjad assured the Senate that Provincial government would arrest murderers of Pir Binyamin Rizvi, a PML (N) leader and special teams have been set up for this purpose.

He made this statement in the Senate on Saturday while responding to an adjournment motion moved by eight members belonging to the Opposition. Movers of the motion were Mian Raza Rabbani, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Asfand Yar Wali Khan, Amanullah Khan Kanrani, Prof.Ghafoor Ahmed, Maulana Gul Nasib Khan, Dr.Safdar Abbasi and Snaullah Baloch.

After the statement made by Wasim Sajjad, Muhammad Ishaq Dar said, "We are satisfied with the statement and do not want to press the motion."

Earlier, Mian Raza Rabbani moved the motion on behalf of other movers and condemned the incident in which Pir Binyamin Rizvi, former provincial minister along with his bodyguard and driver was killed.

Leader of the House, Wasim Sajjad opposed the motion and said according to Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business such matters could not be entertained in the Senate.

He said it was a provincial matter and being investigated through special teams, constituted by the Provincial Government.

The House also offered Fateha for the departed souls of Pir Binyamin Rizvi, Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti and Maulana Nazir Ahmad.

Motion filed in NA on murder of Binyamin

ISLAMABAD, June 29, 2004

By Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD, June 29: Members of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) on Tuesday submitted an adjournment motion to the National Assembly Secretariat on the murder of Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Pir Binyamin Rizvi , a source told Dawn on Tuesday.

The motion, submitted under Rule 92 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly 1992, has been signed by 17 members of the Opposition.

THE MOTION STATES: "Pir Binyamin Rizvi, a prominent leader of the PML-N has been murdered in daylight on a busy road of Lahore which is a political target killing and has caused grave concern amongst the general public. It is a matter of recent occurrence and needs immediate discussion on the floor of the house adjourning the business of the National Assembly."

The movers of the adjournment motion are: Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Tehmina Daultana, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Imran Khan, Khawaja Asif, Syed Khursheed Shah, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Raja Nadir Pervez, Sahibzada Fazal Karim, Krishan Bheel, Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Nasir, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Ishrat Ashraf, Raja Mohammad Asad Khan and Rana Asif Tauseef.

Opp protests in and outside PA over Binyamin’s murder

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


* Opposition leaders allege Punjab govt involved
* Ministers ask opp not to exploit murder for political gain
* ARD Punjab condemns murder
* PML-N demo on July 1

Staff Report


LAHORE: The opposition protested inside and outside the Punjab Assembly at the murder of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Punjab Vice President Pir Binyamin Rizvi, walking out of the house after a speaking against the assassination and then staging a demonstration outside.

The house offered fateha for Mr Rizvi, who was gunned down by unidentified motorcyclists on Saturday, before the opposition walked out. Mr Rizvi’s driver and bodyguard were also killed in the attack near the Punjab University’s New Campus. PML-N Parliamentary Leader Rana Sanaullah Khan rose on a point of order to condemn the murders and allege that Mr Rizvi was killed because of his affiliation with the Nawaz League and his struggle for the restoration of ‘true democracy’. He criticised the police for not registering a murder case on the complaint of Mr Rizvi’s brother Rariq Yaqoob Shah, in which he named the Punjab government as an accused, and registering a case with the police as complainant.

Mr Khan was also unhappy that Mr Rizvi’s body was sent to Phalia, his hometown, before funeral prayers could be offered in Lahore. He said there was no ban on offering funeral prayers at Masjid-e-Shahada, but the government and the police “shamefully” prevented PML-N leaders and workers from offering funeral prayers in Lahore. He said hundreds of party workers were arrested after they offered a Ghaibana Namaz-e-Janaza. Opposition Leader Qasim Zia claimed Mr Rizvi’s murder was a “targeted killing”, following the murders of two Pakistan People’s Party leaders in Karachi, and these were part of an attempt to destabilise the system.

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Parliamentary Leader Chaudhry Asghar Ali Gujar accused the government of creating “anarchy”. He condemned the barring of MMA leaders from Karachi, assassination of opposition politicians and nomination of Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz as the next prime minister. He said Mr Aziz was not a politician and so should not be prime minister.

Punjab Food Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal and Jails Minister Saeed Akbar Nawani expressed grief at the murder of Mr Rizvi and urged the opposition not to politicise this issue and cooperate with the government for the arrest of the murderers.

Punjab Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja said Mr Rizvi once had a political affiliation with Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. He assured the house that the government would thoroughly investigate the case and would record the opinion of Mr Rizvi’s family. He said police were considering sectarianism and personal enmity as the possible motives. The opposition then walked out of the house to demonstrate outside the assembly building. The protestors carried placards and banners and chanted slogans against the Punjab government for its failure to protect its citizens.

PML-N Punjab General Secretary Khawaja Saad Rafique vowed that the opposition would continue its fight against “state terrorism”. He questioned why, if the Punjab government was not involved in the PML-N leader’s murder, the police did not allow the FIR filed by Mr Rizvi’s brother. He said the opposition would also protest inside and outside the National Assembly and approach the higher courts.

Mr Sanaullah Khan blamed the provincial government for Mr Rizvi’s killing, saying he was bumped off because of his active political work. He alleged that the PML-N leader had received several death threats from “government quarters”.

Mr Zia said the killing of opposition politicians showed that Gen Musharraf’s rule was a dictatorship. He alleged that opposition politicians were being threatened at the behest of Gen Musharraf in an attempt to eliminate political parties from the country. Mr Gujjar also accused the Punjab government of state terrorism. He questioned the provincial government’s claim that law and order had improved, especially in Lahore. “How could the assailants fire at Binyamin’s vehicle for four minutes and, after making sure that all three occupants of the car were dead, escape from the scene in spite of police pickets?”

The Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy also condemned the murder at its Punjab chapter meeting on Monday.

The PML-N will protest against Mr Rizvi’s murder in a demonstration ouside Muslim Masjid, Lohari Gate on July 1.

POLITICAL MURDERS AGALORE IN PAKISTAN

Islamabad: Following a month of mayhem in May (2004) in Pakistan's main commercial and political nerve centre of Karachi-a metropolis of more than 14 million-June claimed a major toll in the assassination of a key leader of country's biggest political party-Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party-Munawar Suhrawardy---who was killed in cold blood in broad-day light on June 17 (2004). He was sprayed with bullets by unidentified assailants in a car and a motor cycle in the Guru Mandar area of Karachi where nearby in May a Sunni cleric from famous Banuri Mosque/Madressah-training religious institute of Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Umar-was also shot dead.



Munawar Sunhrawardy,44,was not only Sindh PPP's Information Secretary but

was a confidant of Ms Benazir Bhutto described by her as her "brother". He had joined the PPP when he was just sixteen years of age and became Ms Bhutto's security guard--later chief of her security team. He was like a shadow to her--always offering himself as a shield to protect her. His association with PPP lasted for more than 25 years and he was reputed to be an honest, diligent, committed, loyal and devoted person. He enjoyed Ms Bhutto's confidence. He had extraordinary organisational skills especially for political rallies. It is said that his assassination was target killing.



He was in London in early June to attend meetings of PPP party leaders, parliamentarians etc. to plan and finalise a blueprint for Ms Bhutto's return to Pakistan.



During his short stay in London Munawar Suhrawardy had confided to his close

friends that he had been receiving threats from ISI and others in the government to desert Bhutto and leave PPP otherwise he would be fatally sorted out. To one of his party colleagues living in exile in London he had even premonitioned that perhaps that could be his last meeting with him.



Obviously with the experience of previous planning and executions of public rallies of hundreds and thousands-- Suhrawardy had a kingpin role in the whole strategy to execute Bhutto's return to Pakistan which was to synchronise with President Musharraf giving up Army Chief's uniform. It is perceived in Pakistan that he has been removed by those elements that are opposed to Ms Bhutto's return and this was a message to others as well to keep away from her.



It is not difficult to guess who mainly does not want her back. Following his op-ed in Washington Post on "moderation and enlightenment", President General Pervez Musharraf had followed it up with a two-hour long TV interview on a local ARY Digital TV channel in which he declared most obtrusively that he would "kick" Ms Bhutto out and would not allow any of the exile leaders --main target being Bhutto-- to return to Pakistan. According to him their political future has become their past--they have no political role to play--so said Musharraf to the interviewer.



MURDER OF PML(N) LEADER


Pir Binyamin Rizvi was shot dead along with his driver Hakeem Khan and guard Nasir Ahmad in Lahore

Just ten days after Munawar Suhrwardy's assassination with law-enforcers "monitoring the suspect assassins", yet another political murder has rocked the capital of Punjab's capital Lahore.



Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Punjab PML-(N) vice-president and former provincial minister Pir Binyamin Rizvi was shot dead along with his driver and guard by unknown gunmen near the New Campus bridge here on June 26.



According to Lahore police, the 52-year-old politician was coming from the PML-N Secretariat in Garden Town when two motorcyclists intercepted his car near the Punjab University New Campus. They sprayed bullets on his car, killing Rizvi, his driver and guard on the spot. Rizvi sustained over half-a-dozen bullets, said a doctor.



Pir Binyamin's brother Tariq Shah news reporters that his brother had been receiving threats from some government officials for the last several days. "They had asked my brother to stay away from active politics," he said.



According to analysts, assassinations of both Munawar Suhrawardy and Pir Binyamin are messages from powers that be to those who are planning public agitation to oust General Musharraf. It is also a message to both Ms Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif to keep away from Pakistan and to return home a mass movement against Musharraf.

Govt under fire as 20,000 attend Rizvi’s funeral

Monday June 28, 2004-- Jamadi-ul-Awwal 09, 1425 A.H.



20,000 people attended the funeral

By our correspondent

MANDI BAHAUDDIN: Ahl-e-Sunnat chief Pir Syed M Afzal Qadri and former Punjab minister Sahibzada Fazal Karim on Sunday accused the government of killing PML-N Punjab vice-president Pir Binyamin Rizvi, saying the rulers were giving false colour to the assassination to save their skin.

Addressing a big gathering at the Government Pilot Secondary School Phalia, some 23 kms away from here, after Namaaz-e-Janaza of Binyamin, they demanded an impartial judicial inquiry into the murder, to be conducted by some high court judge to bring the culprits to light.

Security was tightened on the burial of the PML-N leader. A complete shutdown was observed in the town for the second consecutive as some 20,000 people attended the funeral. Our correspondent from Lahore adds: The police on Sunday arrested 50 PML-N leaders and workers from Masjid-e-Shuhada, who had gathered to offer Ghaibana funeral prayers of Binyamin. The police did not allow the leaders and workers to offer prayers there as announced. The administration fearing protest had shifted

PML-N leader shot dead in Lahore

27 June 2004 Sunday 08 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1425

By Zulqernain Tahir

LAHORE, June 26: Punjab PML-N vice-president and former provincial minister Pir Binyamin Rizvi was shot dead along with his driver and guard by unknown gunmen near the New Campus bridge here on Saturday.

Police said the 52-year-old politician was coming from the PML-N Secretariat in Garden Town when his car (PG-9152) was intercepted near the Punjab University New Campus by two motorcyclists.

They sprayed bullets on the car, killing Mr Rizvi, his driver Pir Hakeem (40), and guard Naseer (35) on the spot.

Traffic remained suspended on the roads leading to the New Campus bridge for at least half-an-hour following the shooting. Police restored traffic after removing the bodies to the city mortuary.

Mr Rizvi sustained over half-a-dozen bullets, said a doctor.

Pir Binyamin's brother Tariq Shah told Dawn that his brother had been receiving threats from some government officials for the last several days. "They had asked my brother to stay away from active politics," he said.

However, SSP (Investigation) Chaudhry Shafqaat Ahmed said that Mr Rizvi had an old enmity with the family of Azam Chaddar of Mandi Bahauddin. Chaddar was murdered a couple of years ago. His family suspected that Pir Binyamin had some role in the murder, he said.

He said that a police team had been sent to Mandi Bahauddin for the arrest of the suspects.

The funeral prayers will be held at Masjid-i-Shuhada on Sunday here at 10.30am. He will be laid to rest at Phalia.