What Bangladesh Can Learn from New York’s Triangle Factory Fire

How do you turn a campaign against corruption into a national priority?

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Firefighters work to douse the flames at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in the Asch building at the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in New York City, on March 25, 1911.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Firefighters work to douse the flames at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in the Asch building at the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in New York City, on March 25, 1911.

A little more than a century ago, in the rapidly developing United States of America, nearly 1,000 workers died on the job every week, on average. Collapsed mines buried them alive. Bursting steam engines scalded them to death. Pots of molten steel poured over their heads. Whirling saw blades worked loose in lumber mills and turned to shrapnel. Railroad engines crashed. Merchant ships and fishing boats sank in trackless seas.

In the years since then, the number of workplace fatalities has been cut by more than 90%, even as the population of the country has more than tripled. The risk of death on the job today is but a tiny fraction — less than 1/30th — what it was on the warm spring day in 1911 when 146 garment workers died in New York’s notorious Triangle fire.

(MORE: Viewpoint on the Bangladesh Disaster: It’s Not All About the West)

Bangladesh now rages and mourns at the latest in an appalling string of garment factory disasters. A shoddy building, illegally constructed on swampy ground, collapsed on April 24. After a week of searching the rubble, the death toll had climbed past 400. This, just five months after a fire killed 112 workers in another factory in the capital of Dhaka, spurred thousands of workers to join a May Day protest, which was echoed by marches throughout Asia.

Can these ghastly events become the sort of catalyst for change that the Triangle fire proved to be in the history of American workplace safety? That depends on what lessons are drawn from history. There is a sentimental version of the Triangle fire aftermath. And there is the true version.

(PHOTOS: Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire)

When I set out to write a book about the Triangle fire, I often heard the first version: That the deaths of so many workers, most of them young women and girls, in a high-rise fire witnessed by thousands of helpless bystanders so shocked the conscience of New Yorkers that they could not help but push for safer workplaces. All that was needed was for decent people to become aware of working conditions.

But gradually I learned that the lasting impact of the fire at the Triangle Waist Co., New York’s largest manufacturer of women’s blouses — then called “shirtwaists” — had little to do with tender hearts, and everything to do with political power. In the years leading up to the fire, several rising forces took aim at the corrupt political machinery of New York, known as Tammany Hall. At the upper levels of society, there was the reform movement known as Progressivism. This movement overlapped with the surging women’s suffrage campaign. A more uneasy alliance joined both of these with the burgeoning labor movement.

(MORE: Bangladesh Factory Collapse Will Force Companies to Rethink Outsourced Manufacturing)

All three came together briefly to support a waistmakers’ strike in 1909, and when fire struck the Triangle factory barely a year later, they came together again. The corrupt Democrats of Tammany Hall could see that their grip on New York was threatened unless they joined the reform bandwagon somehow.

With the blessing of Tammany boss Charles Murphy, two young stalwarts of the machine named Alfred E. Smith and Robert Wagner took up the cause of workplace safety. As their stars rose in national politics (Smith ran for president in 1928; Wagner championed Roosevelt’s New Deal in the U.S. Senate), their cause increasingly became the Democratic party’s cause, and from there it became a shared national priority.

All because it won votes.

To see Bangladeshi workers organizing themselves in protest is a step along this path — but only one. Just as the shirtwaist strikers of 1909 attracted support from some of the most prominent women in America, the workers of Bangladesh will need friends in high places willing to dial up the pressure. More difficult, the government of the country must be steered away from the widespread and casual corruption that allows an obviously unsafe building to be thrown up under the sleepy eyes of paid-off inspectors.

(PHOTOS: Hundreds Dead as Garment Factory in Bangladesh Collapses)

Those fortunate souls who live in countries where the rule of law is robust tend to take its blessings for granted. It is a hallmark of developed societies, and that is no accident. The rule of law unleashes enterprise and productivity by assuring at least a measure of fair play. This makes entire societies richer.

It’s natural to look at the horror in Bangladesh and weigh a vow never to buy another t-shirt sewn in that country. But no one suffers more from a boycott than the impoverished workers for whom even an unsafe job is better than no job at all.

Better to press our retailers, our fashion brands, our investors, and our governments to use their influence — their power — with foreign leaders to promote the idea that corruption is not just a moral problem; it’s bad business. Killing workers is no way to build an economy, nor will a system of bribes and spoils ever lift a nation to lasting prosperity. That’s a message even hard-hearted people can understand, and you need them to get things done.

MORE: Fast, Cheap, Dead: Shopping and the Bangladesh Factory Collapse

27 comments
fogmateweight
fogmateweight

 You probably have read about the more than 1,100 deaths related to the Bangladesh fire than happen several weeks ago at a garment factory. The building itself was in very poor structural condition which led to the building falling apart during the fire and killing its inhabitants. The building was used to produce several lines of clothing for some of the top clothing manufactures in the world. These manufactures are expressing sadness over the loss of lives. These international companies also knew that they were paying very; very low wages to have their clothing lines produced. How did they think they were offered such great deals? They had to know about the conditions at the building. If you are going to be a success in the international market you have to know all the factors involved in making your product. Now with the clothing manufactures running for the hills the local people are going to be hit with massive unemployment, but they are raising the minimum wage from $ 38.00 a month – who knows what luxuries they can now afford?

NoorAlam
NoorAlam

Liberal parties are on target of terrorists: Altaf.

SUKKUR: Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has said that his party wants Pakistan to progress and develop according to the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Dr Muhammad Iqbal.

He was addressing a huge election meeting in Railway Ground Sukkur via telephone.

Altaf Hussain said that the liberal, democratic and progressive political parties in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa did not have the freedom to run their election campaign while conservative parties supporting Taliban have complete freedom to hold election meetings and rallies.

He asked if such elections could be called free, fair and transparent.

Altaf said that a conspiracy was being hatched to bring the conservative parties and avowed supporters of Taliban in power.

Altaf invited the armed forces to join hands with the MQM, ANP and PPP in combating the elements carrying out bomb blasts and wanting to enforce baton-wielding Sharia.

“Today, the armed forces of Pakistan, law-enforcing agencies, and progressive political parties are facing difficult times. Liberal parties are on the target of barbaric terrorists. Bomb attacks and firing at the election offices, rallies, and meetings of the MQM, the ANP and the PPP continue unabated.”

In the end Altaf Hussain announced names of the MQM candidates from Sukkur.

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KARACHI: Rangers arrested several suspects during raids in different areas of Landhi, Geo News reported.

Rangers sources said the para-military forces conducted raids in different areas of Landhi and detained several suspects for interrogation.

Meanwhile, panic gripped the area after exchange of fire between two groups in Landhi. Firing is continuing for several hours.

 

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ISLAMABAD: The deployment of around 70,000 troops of Pakistan Army has been started all over the country to maintain law and order in aid of the civil administration during the general elections.

“Our mandate is to maintain law and order in aid of the civil authorities under Article 245 of the Constitution during the general elections,” Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, DG ISPR, said this while briefing newsmen about the Pakistan Army’s security plan.

He maintained that the army troops would be ready to take any action to bolster security during elections. “The targeted operation of police and rangers against terrorists is already in progress in Karachi but the army troops will take any action to bolster security during elections,” General Bajwa said when asked whether the troops would also target the terrorists.

He told newsmen that the deployment of army troops in Balochistan would be completed by midnight on Thursday while the same activity in Karachi and interior Sindh would start from Friday (today). “The deployment of troops in the KP province will be completed within two days while troops will move to their duties in the Punjab tomorrow,” he said.

The start of deployment of army troops across the country, which would be completed in the next few days, is also enough to neutralise any doubts about any delay in the May 11 elections. Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, only two days back, made it clear that the general elections would be held on May 11 and nobody should harbour any suspicion and misgivings about it.

The military spokesman said the security plan had been chalked out according to army’s own assessed security threats. “The security plan, however, can be modified in view of the subsequent intelligence reports,” General Bajwa said while responding a question.

It may be pointed out here that during the 2008 elections, around 38,000 army troops were deployed for security duty but this time the strength had been doubled in view of increased security threats.

He said that the army troops would act as ‘Quick Response Force’ which would come into action on need basis adding that 50 helicopters would also take part in the security exercise, transportation of ballot papers and other polling materials, etc.

The military spokesman said that the aircraft of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) would also be used for deployment of troops and transportation of polling material. “The staff of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will also accompany the troops during by air or by road transportation of ballot papers and other polling material,” he said.

General Bajwa pointed out that the army had been assigned three basic responsibilities including security at four printing press sites in three cities where ballot papers were being printed, transportation of ballot papers from printing press to District Returning Officers and further to the polling stations.

The printing of ballot papers has already started on April 19 and the army troops are performing security duties at all the four printing press sites.

 

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MQM workers being targeted-killed: Altaf Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain said an attempt is being made to push the party out of electoral process through bombings.Condemning the killings of two party workers overnight in Hyderabad, Altaf Hussain noted the entire Pakistan should see as to how the Muttahida’s workers are being targeted-killed.
The MQM chief asserted the caretaker government is doing nothing for security of the political activities; meanwhile, political parties also continue to demonstrate silence and an indifferent attitude over these gory incidents.KARACHI - Targeted killing claimed the lives of three MQM activists in the city on Monday. The MQM workers were heading somewhere, when unidentified gunmen opened fire at their car near Monday Bazaar held at Sector 5-D, North Karachi. As a result, Shoaib, Bilal and an unidentified MQM worker were fatally wounded. They were ferried to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, but doctors there pronounced them dead upon arrival. Police were trying to ascertain the motive behind the attack. According to sources, the car in which the three men were sitting belonged to MQM senior worker’s brother and former member APMSO Hyder. Following the incident, all commercial activities were suspended in North Karachi that remained tensed until the filing of this report.

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2013/05/02/what-bangladesh-can-learn-from-new-yorks-triangle-factory-fire/#ixzz2SKSdphtP

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MQM workers being targeted-killed: Altaf Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain said an attempt is being made to push the party out of electoral process through bombings.Condemning the killings of two party workers overnight in Hyderabad, Altaf Hussain noted the entire Pakistan should see as to how the Muttahida’s workers are being targeted-killed.
The MQM chief asserted the caretaker government is doing nothing for security of the political activities; meanwhile, political parties also continue to demonstrate silence and an indifferent attitude over these gory incidents.KARACHI - Targeted killing claimed the lives of three MQM activists in the city on Monday. The MQM workers were heading somewhere, when unidentified gunmen opened fire at their car near Monday Bazaar held at Sector 5-D, North Karachi. As a result, Shoaib, Bilal and an unidentified MQM worker were fatally wounded. They were ferried to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, but doctors there pronounced them dead upon arrival. Police were trying to ascertain the motive behind the attack. According to sources, the car in which the three men were sitting belonged to MQM senior worker’s brother and former member APMSO Hyder. Following the incident, all commercial activities were suspended in North Karachi that remained tensed until the filing of this report.

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Fede

Trending Discussions Pak prisoner in IHK attacked by Indian in-mates, in ... 77 BB’s murder case prosecutor shot dead in Islamabad 31 ral Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that around 9 culprits involved in targeted killings have been identified. During a joint press briefing with Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza, Rehman said that police have nabbed as many as 195 persons during a crackdown against those perpetrating targeted killings. Malik said the shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in the city and lauded Sindh Police performance despite limited resources. He said the provincial government has constituted a special task force to check the killings. Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza said the police have arrested 195 persons for involvement in firing and other violent incidents. Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H) chairman Afaq Ahmed said Monday he is in contact with the former Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza, adding he (Mirza) has made a lot of efforts for peace in Karachi.Talking to media here in Karachi, he said Karachi is turned into a no-go area for all political parties. Afaq has been indicted Monday in a murder case.
"None of cases against me were abolished under National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO); but the cases against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan were annulled," he said.
"Cases against as many as 37,000 people were condoned under the NRO," he added.
Hitting out at the government for leaving its coalition partners unleashed, Afaq said Altaf Hussain has set up a state within state; however, he stressed the military operations will not resolve the issue; instead, the political governments should restore the peace.
"I will appear before the Supreme Court (SC) in connection with a contempt petition," he said, adding he is not scheduled to call on President Asif Ali Zardari or Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani; however, meetings with political people may happen.
Afaq said, "peace is unlikely to get roots if law is used to protect your aides," adding at present, there are politically appointed people at all police stations of Karachi.    NOTE HE IS PARTNERS PML-N 19 JUNE 1992?

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The situation is not very different in Karachi and elsewhere from the days when Nawaz was in power twice between 1989-1999.He sent Altaf abroad  rather than make him face the justice.Altaf was given a ride to the Karachi airport for boarding the plane to Britain where he managed to form MQM and got British citizenship.

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Police, admin fail to restore peace in Karachi: Nawaz NOTE HE IS KILLING KARACHI 11MAY AFTER I REQUEST TO URDU PEOPLE NOT VOTE CAST PML-N HE KARACHI PEOPLE RE KILLING MIND SATE OK?

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Nawaz vows to bring peace in Karachi  19JUNE1992 ARMY OPERATION IN KARACHI PEOPLE OF KARACHI AGANST IN ANTI URDU PEOPLE IREQUEST TO ALL URDU PEOPLE NOT VOTE CAST FOR PML-N?Talking to newsmen at Karachi airport on Thursday‚ he said leaders and workers of his party are also facing terrorism‚ but certain elements are making false propaganda in this regard.
Nawaz Sharif also pledged to build underground railway system in Karachi besides connecting the port city with rest of the country through motorway.
He said that he does not think the PPP will get votes in the elections.
The PML-N leader said some people are misleading the nation by making false propaganda against PML-N.
Nawaz Sharif said that the PML-N will eliminate violence, poverty, load shedding, joblessness and other problems from Karachi.
He said whether he gets vote or not from Karachi, he would serve the city.
PML-N chief said that the terrorism can only be eliminated from the country through transparent elections.
He also promised to construct underground railway system in Karachi besides connecting the city with Lahore through Motorway.President, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Nawaz Sharif claimed that if voted to power‚ his party will establish peace in Karachi by eliminating militant wings of political parties.

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KARACHI - Awami National Party Sindh President Shahi Syed on Wednesday said that he had good relation with MQM-Haqiqi Chairman Afaq Ahmed and ready to work with all the political forces for peace in the City.
Talking to the media outside the local hospital after inquiring the health of injured Awami National Party workers, he underlined the need of joint efforts for maintaining peace of Karachi and to eliminate the conspiracies of criminals.
Meanwhile, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan called on Senator Shahi Syed at his residence and congratulated him over his success in senate election.
Shahi demanded immediate arrest of the target killers involved in the killing of Awami National Party workers.
Moreover, a delegation of Hazara Community led by Karachi Transport Ittehad Chairman Irshad Bukhari called on the newly-elected senator Shahi Syed at his residence.
They assured him of full cooperation of Hazara community for the peace of Karachi.

 

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ANP President Sindh, Senator Shahi Syed Sunday said his party believed and engaged in the politics of principles and urged the nation to crush the mindset that promotes a culture of guns. "We are not competing against MQM, as we are practical followers of Bacha Khan and Ahmed Shah Abdali," Shahi Syed said while addressing a public rally here at Keamari. He said his party pursues the philosophy of non-violence as preached by Bacha Khan. "If we take up arms, it will negate the philosophy of Bacha Khan," he added. Shahi Syed appealed to the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to stop subjecting Pakhtuns to discrimination, adding 'we had joined PPP for strengthening the democracy'. He paid tribute to the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for the Supreme Court's judgments.

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in Karachi. Addressing a public meeting here in Karachi on Monday, Shahi Syed said that dialogue was the only way for peaceful resolution of political problems and crises could not be resolved through force. He said that without flushing out the firearms, dreams of making Karachi a peaceful city again, could not be materialized. The ANP Sindh President was of the view that military operation like Swat and Buner- were the need of the hour to defeat terrorists. He requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the target killings in Karachi, saying that the families of the victims must be compensated. He also demanded the re-opening of May 12 case when the roads of Karachi were stained with blood of innocent people. 

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KARACHI  -  Awami National Party Sindh chief and Senator, Shahi Syed has said that handful of terrorists were ruining the peace of the country.
He said that the Taliban had targeted secular and liberal political parties by attacking their elections offices, killing a number of political activists who were busy in election activities.
He said that such attacks had restricted liberal parties from campaigning openly while other political parties are running their election campaigns freely in the City.
Syed stated this during a joint press conference along with leaders of Muttahida Quami Movement and Pakistan Peoples Party at the ANP’s Headquarters in Karachi on Wednesday.
He added that the Taliban have planned to eliminate three secular parties from the election processes to provide an open field to other parties that will lead them in the assemblies. “But our leadership has decided to continue its work to deal with the terrorism until the terrorists have been brought to justice and people also have to decide whether they are with Taliban or moderate and liberal forces of the Pakistan,” he said.
Addressing the press conference, MQM Deputy Convener Farooq Sattar said it was good gesture for the people of sindh, especially Karachi that the PPP, ANP and MQM were sitting together to formulate a strategy at the time when country was facing challenges.
Sattar added that if the political parities did not condemn the terrorism and gave passage to the pro-Taliban segment to hijack the election then the government formed after the election will produce the democratic failure in the country. He said that Election Commission of Pakistan and interim government had not shown serious concerns over the threats of Taliban to the three political parties by stopping them to carry out their election campaign freely. He said that other political segments were running their campaign freely as they had no threat from Taliban although they denied their connection with Taliban in the past.
He said that the LEAs stood silent on the situation and demanded that the all the institutions should play their role to fulfill their responsibilities for holding clear and transparent election.
He further stated that election activities had only been witnessed in Punjab and it seemed that election was talking place only there. Speaking on the occasion PPP’s Rehman Malik paid tributes to the political workers who lost lives by standing against pro-Taliban segments.
Malik urged that all political forces should unite against the Taliban as there aim is to destabilize the Pakistan and damaged the nuclear assets of the country.
Welcoming army chief’s current statement, he said that no one had condemned killing of the soldiers who are fighting against the terrorism. Bashir Jan, Jonah Buner, Raza Haroon, Dr Sagheer Ahmed Najmi Alam were also present on the occasion.

 

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Nawaz supports Kayani, not Haqqani TERENCE J SIGAMONY
ISLAMABAD - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has submitted his rejoinder to the Supreme Court, insisting that the ‘memo is a reality’ and an attempt to lower the morale of Pakistan’s armed forces.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who also submitted his reply along with Ishaq Dar, Ghaus Ali Shah and other petitioners, marinated that whatever he had stated and presented in the court was ‘all correct’. He said that he supports Gen Kayani’s statement and Mansoor Ijaz’s reply but rejects Haqqani’s statement.
ISI DG Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who filed his reply late night, also stood by his earlier statement that their was undeniable evidence of a conspiracy against the army and the country and the matter should be probed thoroughly.
The federal government, in their rejoinder, repeated that the President and the PM have no link with the memo issue, while challenging again the Supreme Court’s authority to hear the case. The defence ministry said in its rejoinder that in the memo case, the court should not involve or include Husain Haqqani, the main accused in the case, and Mansoor Ijaz, the man who stocked the whole controversy.
The apex court had asked all the petitioners and respondents including, President, PM, COAS, ISI DG and others, to submit their rejoinders along with affidavits for the hearing of the memo case. Almost all have submitted their replies, but President Zardari has so far failed to comply with the court order.
In the last hearing, the chief justice told the AGP that no reply in a civil case means acceptance of guilt. Sources said that President Zardari would not file his statement on memo case and the government would stick to its previous stance that it had submitted reply on behalf of the president.
Talking to media, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Maulvi Anwarul Haq said that Gen Kayani’s rejoinder had been submitted to the court. The AGP said that COAS stood firm on his previous stance in the rejoinder. In an affidavit submitted in the court, Kayani said that all his earlier statements were based on facts and nothing had been kept hidden from the court.
In his rejoinder the army chief said that memo issue was about the national security and it was an attempt to lower the morale of army. The COAS also held that the reports regarding the memogate are correct and evidence is available of the contacts made in the context of the conspiracy.
“There is nothing denying the fact that the memo exists and it is also admitted to have been delivered and received by the US authorities. Therefore, there may be a need to fully examine the facts and circumstances leading to the conception and issuance of the Memo,“ he writes. The COAS further stated the memo episode “has an impact on national security and lowers the morale of Pakistan Army whose young officers and soldiers are laying down their lives for the security and defence of territorial integrity and political independence and sovereignty of Pakistan”.
The federation, in its rejoinder, repeated that the President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have nothing to do with the memo issue, ruling out that President Zardari was the originator of this memo. It again objected the Supreme Court jurisdiction to hear the memo scandal case under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.
According to the sources, President Zardari will not file his concise statement on memo scandal case and the government would take stand on its previous stance that it had submitted reply on behalf of the president.
Nawaz Sharif in his rejoinder said that he had not sought stoppage of an inquiry being held by the parliament or administration, adding that in the same way parliament and administration could also not stop the court to play its constitutional role. He said that his petition was maintainable under article 184 of the constitution.
Sharif, in his affidavit, wrote that the issue should be investigated because whatever said and written on the issue was ‘all correct’. The PML-N chief further said that he did not file the petition in SC under any political agenda.
Nawaz Sharif’s rejoinder says the reluctance on part of all the governmental functionaries concerned to seek resolution of an issue which has struck at the very roots of our state is rather enigmatic and the reaction of the respondent 1 and 2 to the said issue is no exception.
It was reiterated that the petitioner never prayed that the Parliament or the executive be restrained from doing their bit in the matter in question nor the honourable court restrained them from exercising the authority resting in them vis-à-vis the said matter. The PML-N chief re-emphasised that the Parliament or the executive having, allegedly, taken cognisance of the said issue creates no bar on the court of law in the matter of discharging their constitutional or legal obligations. It was denied that the petition under Article 184(3) of the constitution was not maintainable. PML-N leaders also supported the reply of Mansoor Ijaz.
Talking to media men at Supreme Court building, AGP Maulvi Anwarul mentioned that parliament and executive could not stop the proceedings of the Supreme Court on the memogate case.
Barrister Zafarullah in his rejoinder to the affidavit of James Logan Jones said that his affidavit requires to be proved through cross-examination of James Jones and Husain Haqqani in the court to determine his affidavit’s veracity. He emphasised that his petition is based on fundamental rights and maintainable in the court.
The court will take up the memo case today (Thursday). Asma Jahangir will appear on behalf of the main respondent Husain Haqqani and will also argue his miscellaneous application seeking recalling of the court’s Dec 1 order in ‘memo’ case. For the proper court decorum and smooth functioning, security measures have been taken at the premises of the Supreme Court. Entry of irrelevant persons shall not be allowed and no cellphone shall be allowed to be carried inside the courtroom.

    on epaper page 1

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, while addressing a gathering on the eve of Youm-e-Shuhada at the GHQ in Islamabad, threw unqualified military support behind the democratic process in the country and ensured that the polls will be held on May 11. General Kayani said: “I assure you that we are committed to wholeheartedly assist and support the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections; to the best of our capabilities and remaining within the confines of the constitution. I also assure you that this support shall solely be aimed at strengthening democracy and rule of law in the country.”
Such a strong and unequivocal support coming from the COAS is not only a reassuring development, in regard to the doubts being expressed about the holding of the elections, in the backdrop of increased terrorist acts targeting political parties, but also reflects a marked change of attitude in the higher echelons of the army about democracy being a panacea to all the ills afflicting Pakistan’s political and social fabric.
General Kayani’s credentials as a supporter of the democratic process are beyond reproach and amply reinforced by the restraint that the army has exhibited in the past five years, making it possible for a smooth and peaceful transition of power for the first time in the history of Pakistan.
Further, he rightly took a swipe at those who were trying to belittle the sacrifices of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies in the war on terror by repeatedly terming it somebody else’s war. Honestly speaking, irrespective of the fact how Pakistan got embroiled in this war and who is responsible for it, the scourge of terrorism poses an existentialist threat to the country and now it is very much our war. A handful of minority has taken up arms against the state to enforce their brand of Islam in the country, challenging the writ of the state and everything it stands for, including democracy. Our armed forces have, undoubtedly, rendered unprecedented sacrifices to defend Pakistan against this threat and their efforts deserve the nation’s unqualified gratitude and support. Those who think otherwise are, consciously or unconsciously, strengthening the hands of the state’s enemies. 
Anyway, the Supreme Court has also repeatedly expressed its determination to ensure that the elections will be held on time. Recently, the Chief Justice reiterated this stance during the hearing of a case pertaining to electoral reforms by saying: “Come what may, the elections will not be delayed.”
In the same vein, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has been maintaining that the polls will not be delayed even by a single day, while the caretaker setup, despite all odds and threats, too has expressed its resolve to accomplish the task peacefully. 
Another landmark development is the 40-page edict issued by the All Pakistan Ulema Council (APUC), clarifying the significance of voting in the light of Islamic teachings and terming the casting of vote a religious duty of every Muslim. The edict’s contents bear the stamp of endorsement by the Holy Quran.
The Holy Quran while emphasising the rewards that await the believers in the world hereafter, identifies those who will qualify for them in Surah Al-Shura (42:59) in these words: “Those who obey God, establish prayer and settle their affairs through a process of consultation.” So one of the attributes of the believers is their belief in deciding matters among themselves, especially those relating to governance through a broader consensus, i.e. in a democratic way. This shows that Islam, while asserting the sovereignty of God over the entire universe, also puts faith in the ingenuity and sagacity of the human beings in managing their worldly affairs through their collective wisdom. That, indeed, is the essence of democracy.
Further, the Surah refers to the believers as a whole and makes no distinction among them on the basis of gender, which implies that even the womenfolk can participate in the consultative process through exercising their right to vote. It is a recorded history that when the Holy Prophet (pbuh) laid down the foundation of a Muslim state in Medinah, the women owed allegiance to him (Bait). In a way, this was an expression of faith in the leadership of the Prophet (pbuh), which is akin to the modern system of voting in choosing the public representatives. Similar evidence is also available in choosing the Caliphs.    
As a final word, these are very encouraging signs and leave no room for anybody to doubt about the elections and democracy not being in line with the spirit of Islam. However, the success of the elections depends on the voters’ participation in the electoral process. Indeed, the people, who along with the armed forces, have suffered immensely due to  terrorism will have to stand up to their tormentors for the country’s integrity no matter what it costs.  
    The writer is a freelance columnist.

MartiWilliams
MartiWilliams

It's a shame that the Republican party can't see this as a way to build up their cred...but it would compromise their doners...and they don't want to lose the money they provide.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

"an unsafe job is better than no job at all."


Tell that to those workers who died.

evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

It would've been of immense help if the author had provided a list of companies - or a link to similar - that we could contact to press the case of "persuading" their suppliers to promote worker safety in the name of "good business."  How do I find out who does business in India?  Who's retailing the blood clothing of those doomed workers?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

What can the Libertarian Fantasy of no Regulations on Business learn from both?

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

What can the US learn from the Texas fertilizer plant explosion?

gysgt213
gysgt213

"What Bangladesh Can Learn from New York’s Triangle Factory Fire."

What New York and the United States can learn from Bangladesh's Factory Fire:

  1. Work protections are important part of your business.  Weak worker protections hurt you as a business owner way more than they help you.
  2.  Weak and unenforced regulations cost you money and actually hurt your business instead of saving you anything.  

rpearlston
rpearlston

@evil.aaronm  WHy India?  This incident occurred in Bangladesh, a different country.  That's not to say that similar attidues may exist in India, but that is a country that has Rule of Law.  Bangladesh does not.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@gysgt213

That owner should be executed.  He ordered them back into the building after cracks started appearing in the walls!

rpearlston
rpearlston

@fitty_three @gysgt213 Do you know if the laws in Bangladesh would allow for such a sentence?  And what did his engineers say aoub the structural integrity of the building at that point?  If he followed their advice, then why is to blame?

You are talking about another country, and another country's legal system.  Do not judge it by your own, because it's simply inapplicable.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@fitty_three

And after the local officials had ordered the evacuation.  He should be forced to work at one of his own factories for 25 years.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@rpearlston

Cracks developing in walls. Did you notice the words 'after' bolded?

I know where you're coming from, teabagger.  He's a "owner" of a commercial interest so it's fine.