Rehmat Shah Afridi...A winner !!!

Rehmat Shah Afridi...A winner
M Waqar
May 24 was indeed a beautiful warm beach day in New York, there was a nice smell in the air and I had feeling that I am going to hear some good news, and I WAS RIGHT, the greatest news for me was the release of Rehmat Shah Afridi, the great son of puktoonistan who refused to bow his head in front of cowards, corrupt, hypocrites of PML(N), BUT DID NOT SELL HIS SOUL, no one can bring nine years of his senseless stay in prison but he proved that he is a man of principles and a professional journalist. I extend my greetings to Mr. Afridi, his family, FP staff. The more shocking news was as Mr. Afridi mentioned after his release that why Nawaz corrupt regime send him to prison, today we can tell that Nawaz Sharif and his brother is not only interested in making money through illegal sources but they can also do anything illegal to get their political opponents in trouble, he is not a real professional politician but is a typical greedy businessman. Today Rehmat Shah Afridi is being released from prison and is enjoying a hero's welcome and we can see real horrible face and mentality of NAWAZ SHARIFF. Champions of human rights and media/press freedom should be ashamed of themselves that that it took so long to recognize the wrong that was being done to Mr. Afridi, who was imprisoned because his work was harming the interests of the powerful and corrupt. In advance and educated societies journalists are considered fourth estate of Govt.
BOB Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post newspaper, is best known for his work in uncovering the government scandal that became known as Watergate and resulted in President Richard Nixon's resignation, President of the most powerful and rich country in the world resigned because a journalist disclosed his illegal and unconstitutional work, but this is America where president is not above the law and journalist BOB did not end up in jail because of his journalistic duty, Bob Woodward has won nearly every American journalism award, As important as Watergate was in political history, it was perhaps equally so in journalism history, if he was in Pakistan, that would be a different story, Bob would be still in prison because Pakistani bourgeois and elite don't like honesty and truth and we can see a classic example of Rehmat Shah Afridi of frontier post who spend nine years in prison because of his journalistic duties. Journalism is more than just a profession, good journalism is a duty. Good Journalism is to report the truth as you see .You are not a journalist because you work for a big company, or because you've got a press card in you pocket, You're a journalist if you provide people with the information they need to know, to be free and self-governing. Otherwise, you may be just another shark in a suit. The right to information, together with freedom of expression and criticism, is one of the fundamental liberties of every human being, straightforward and honest journalist's follows these rules, 1.To seek out the truth, in the interests of the public's right to know, whatever the consequences to him- or herself. 2 To defend freedom of information, freedom of commentary and criticism, and the independence and dignity of the journalistic profession. Persecution of journalists for publishing critical materials is inadmissible. Harassment of journalists in Pakistan is not something new, journalists are being constantly arrested, secretly imprisoned, beaten and tortured by police, and prevented from reporting about sensitive issues or accessing regions of conflict. Rehmat Shah Afridi of frontier post was in prison because he did not desist from calling a spade a spade. When he launched The frontier Post from Peshawar I was student at Islamia College, those were the days of Zia's cruel dictatorship, you were not a good Muslim if you were against Zia's regime. Frontier post impressed me by publishing news and articles about Zia's regime and FP was the only paper those days who was looking straight into eyes of a cruel dictator. Mr. Afridi made Frontier Post voice of Pakhtuns and never hesitated to publish facts even during cruel dictator Zia regime, he was punished for his pen which he was using for his people against tyrant rulers. Any journalist who does not work for the official media, bourgeois, and elite; is considered to be an "enemy or criminal" and that happens in third world countries. Third-world regimes are known to be intolerant of gutsy journalists and publishers. Mr. Afridi was imprisoned because of his peaceful expression of his beliefs during Nawaz Sharif era of corruption. He published a story detailing how members of the ruling party, including Prime Minister Sharif himself, had through illegal and bizarre use of power and influence obtained massive loans from some public-sector banks, leading to the banks' failure. He was tried and convicted solely for his journalistic work. He was in jail on cooked-up charges of possessing narcotics. Nawaz government sentenced Mr Afridi just because he was the real critic of that regime and was a big hurdle for the enemies of the nation and the country. The only sin of Mr. Rehmat Shah Afridi is that he was prisoner of conscience; he criticized the government for its illegal acts; he raised voice against cruelty; corruption; he spoke against unfair justice; and he disclosed those who looted the country. Rehmat Shah Afridi was exposing the corrupt practices of Nawaz regime and educating people of Pakhtunistan through his newspaper, in this case he was a true journalist. Bourgeois, Imperialists and their puppets are enemies of Pakhtun nation, today Pakhtun nation is victim and target of those elements who don't want to see Pakhtuns educated and advanced, who don't want to see books in pukhtoon kids hands, those anti pukhtoon elements don't want pukhtoon girls to go to the school and become educated mothers of tomorrow. He has not established his newspaper "The Frontier Post" to make money but rather he wished to serve the Pukhtoons particularly and the countrymen generally through his paper. Charges against him were politically motivated. He was sentenced to death on drug trafficking charges following the publication in the Maidan of reports of corruption of government ministers, alleged links between the Anti-Narcotics Force [ANF] and military intelligence and the ANF and drug smugglers. Mr. Nawaz Shariff who as the Prime Minister of Pakistan for two terms i.e. from 6 November 1990 to 18 July 1993 and 17 February 1997 to 12 October 1999 was responsible for gross human rights violations. During the first term of Shariff, even human rights defenders were oppressed. On 1 April 1993, three staff members of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, including its director, I.A. Rehman, were detained by police and documents were confiscated from the HRCP's office. Nawaz Sharif had a history of terrorizing professional journalists. The press faced intense repression during Shariff's second term .In June 1997, Humayun Fur, Peshawar bureau chief of the daily Mashriq, was detained under charges of "anti-state" activities and sentenced to five years in jail by a military court on 9 September 1997.On 8 May 1999, Najam Sethi, editor of the Friday Times, was arrested in Lahore and held without charge for nearly a month by Inter-Services Intelligence. The government finally charged Mr Sethi on 1 June 1999 with sedition, promoting communal enmity, condemning the creation of Pakistan and advocating the abolition of its sovereignty, and violating the Prevention of Anti-National Activities Act. Two other journalists M.A.K Lodhi of The News International and Hussain Haqqani, an opposition leader and columnist for The Friday Times and daily Jang were also arrested. Rehmat Shah Afridi, editor of The Frontier Post, was arrested in April 1999.Extra judicial killings were rampant during the regime of Nawaz Sharif. In 1993, custodial torture and custodial deaths were reported throughout the country, particularly in Sindh province where about 40 cases of deaths in custody and encounter killings of suspected criminals or political detainees were reported during January- June 1993. In this atmosphere of fear and hypocrisy, REHMAT SHAH AFRIDI did not hesitate to challenge Nawaz regime, he disclosed regime's illegal practices, that was his duty as an honest journalist, he did not sell himself like so many others in his profession, committed no sin except propagation of "Amr-e-Bil Maaroof" and "Nahi-e-Anil Munker" to expose the corrupt practices of the people at the helm and reform society, ruler from General Zia to Nawaz Sharif tried their best to offer high public office, elevated positions and huge material benefits, but this great son of pukhtoonistan did not sell his soul. In his own words, Mr. Afridi said,''...Journalists are shouldered with the responsibility of exposing corruption and corrupt practices, guiding the nation on the right path and steering the ship to shore. It can never be expected of me to term night as day and black as white.'' If Mr. Afridi was a criminal then Nawaz sharif and his family should be put in prison too for their crimes of stealing money from the nation and Pakistan was declared a failed state because of their corrupt practices, Nawaz Sharif's only agenda was to make money. In order to achieve this goal, he formed/changed laws and policies for his personal benefit and expanded his business empire by misusing his authority as Prime Minister. Nawaz Sharif is in love with judges but the nation has not forgotten when supreme court was attacked during his Govt. Sharif ordered his thugs to attack the Supreme Court in order to prevent the Chief Justice from giving a ruling against him. There is no difference between a military dictator and Nawaz Sharif of PML (N). The 'Loha Chors' of Lahore should not forget that they crushed media, press and physically assaulted Supreme Court while being in power. Mr. Afridi is a brave man. He considered the field of journalism as mission, a mission against the oppressors and the corrupt. In one of his interviews, Mr. Afridi said that his exposing of how Nawaz was burning the funds of Osama bin Laden for personal political ends made him clash with Nawaz. No one can deny that. Mr. Afridi needs to be recognized. What was his crime? Was he involved in suicide attacks and killing innocent people? Its interesting that Nawaz Sharif forgot that he was punished for life in prison and leading to possible death penalty but he was flown to Saudi Arabia, there were no legal complications then ?Nawaz Sharif wants to be a god father of Punjabi mafia, elite and bourgeois, he knows how to blackmail but people like Rehamt Shah Afridi can't be bought, where were those judges who wants their jobs back when Z A BHUTTO was facing a trial, where those judges when prosecution could not provide solid evidence against Mr. Afridi but they send him to jail? I salute to Frontier Post staff who continued their chief's mission and never hesitate to publish facts. The Frontier Post is a unique institution and voice of Pukhtoons. It's a courageous newspaper. Mr. Afridi becomes the victim because of his newspaper's independent policies and corruption stories of influential people. His release is a historic moment and victory for all oppressed people, Mr. Afridi is a hero in the world of journalism, while his enemies must be scared and feeling guilty today.

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