LHC rejects plea to ban WikiLeaks; a positive development

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday rejected the plea to ban the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks in the country.

The petitioner was of the view that the leaks were defaming the leadership of the country and must be banned inside Pakistan.

The apex court dismissed the plea, saying the website was operative in more than 170 countries and could not be blocked in Pakistan.

Justice Azmat Saeed, during the hearing, remarked that one should have the courage tolerate criticism for the sake of national development.

Taking the veil off from the faces of some persons would benefit all, he added.

The judge declared the petition non-maintainable as access to information was the fundamental right of every citizen. The judge held that the people in over 170 countries were accessing the secret cables and it should not be blocked in Pakistan.

The judge remarked, “The secret information may cause trouble for some personalities in Pakistan but it will be good for progress of the nation in the long run. We, as a nation, should have courage to tolerate and digest criticism and live with it.”

“Information should not be hidden, especially in the 21st century,”
“One should bear the truth no matter how harmful it is.”
“We should have the courage to face the criticism,” he remarked.

Justice Saeed said Pakistan cannot be isolated in the world by imposing a ban on the whistle-blowing website.

He pointed out that WikiLeaks had released documents about 170 countries and nothing would happen if the people of Pakistan came to know the facts.

Internet users in Pakistan led the way in Google searches for the term “WikiLeaks” in the build-up to and the first two days of releases of secret diplomatic cables and Pakistan media full of WikiLeaks discussion; no matter what daily newspaper you picked up in Pakistan on Thursday, the headline was on the fallout from the WikiLeaks cables.

Google Insights for Search through Monday show that people in Pakistan and Italy seem to have had the most interest in the first batch of documents.

U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks make perfectly clear and straighten out Pakistan’s [strange] civil military relations
, exposes various political conspiracies, the power of its army, it’s role in politics and alleged human rights abuses. It illustrates the supremacy of our unrepresentative institutions and control over representative institutions.It also confirms the [un]democratic intentions of various political stakeholders. And unmasks especially those [behind the scene]characters who are calling the shots? So, in simple words WikiLeaks documents confirm what we, as a nation, already know.

The messages portray Pakistan’s military and political leadership belong to opposition(PML-N) as fawningly pro-American and duplicitous, discrediting almost the entire political class, with details of them agreeing to policies in private meetings with U.S. diplomats that they would passionately disavow in public. The image of Pakistan’s powerful military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, emerges particularly badly damaged from the cables, which reveal that he would confide highly sensitive information to the U.S. ambassador and use her to carry messages to his own political leadership.

The WikiLeaks documents include a 2009 cable in which officials discussed removing fissile material from a Pakistani nuclear reactor, an incendiary issue among Pakistanis, many of whom think the United States is out to strip their country of its nuclear capability.

The credence & hypothesis that the United States is the preeminent might in Pakistan resembles to be shared by Pakistan’s politicians themselves, however. One ambitious contender and an apparently anti American Mulana, Fazl-ur-Rehman, leader of a hard-line religious party that is ostensibly hostile to the United States, held a banquet for Ms. Patterson in 2007 to seek her help in becoming the next prime minister.

The Pakistani media has studiously ignored the other side of the story that emerges from the leaked communications – of deep American frustration at Pakistan’s lack of co-operation. In one cable, from September, 2009, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson laments that there is “no chance” Pakistan will stop funding certain Islamic extremist groups, no matter how much U.S. aid is doled out.

The WikiLeaks dispatches not only unmasks the real puppet masters, but also lay bare the Pakistani leadership’s acquiescence in the use of U.S. drone aircraft to target suspected militants in the country’s tribal area. These documents also destroy the myth and justification for blaming Washington for our own failures and errors.



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