What would SAARC heads say on 06 countries listed for impunity ?

Will the media take the issue to Thimpu ?

The Heads of States of all SAARC member states, 08 in all, would be sitting in Thimpu, Bhutan on 28 and 29 April, for the Sixteenth Summit of SAARC. They would be sitting together after the Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ) indexed 06 of them for impunity in killing journalists.

They have all, meanwhile been talking of eradicating terrorism in the region at the Colombo Summit in 2008, with Sri Lanka thereafter providing a brutal military solution to their encounter with armed LTTE insurgency, termed “separatist terrorists”.

This Tamil separatist movement in Sri Lanka was first picked by the Delhi government that trained them in arms fighting, funded them and allowed them refuge in Tamil Nadu. India previously played a similar foster role in training and arming the East Pakistani liberationist guerillas, the Mukti Bani, to create a separate State as Bangladesh.

Pakistan accommodated a similar programme, when it collaborated with the US in putting together the Taliban that destabilised Afghanistan and is a regional mess for now. Pakistan is also accused by India for its role in running terrorists in Kashmir and for the Lakshar e-Taiba infiltrations and attack on 26/11 in Mumbai. Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan in August, 2003 accused India of running 55 training centres for insurgents that would destabilise Pakistan and the region.

All of it together is not what the ordinary people have been asking for or, doing as their right to civil life. All of it, is the work of political leaders as Heads of States in the South Asian region, who are establishing regimes with brutal power at the expense of democracy. Media freedom and freedom of expression are always casualties in such regimes. That is what this report by CPJ that had indexed impunity in relation to killing journalists clearly define.

This South Asian region is gradually and surely slipping into a region of terror unleashed not only by organisations with extreme ideologies running after their own mythical States, but also by legitimate States, curbing democracies for their own savage rule. Its this legitimacy that provides a rule of terror by them and thereafter allows the use of tax payers money to sit in summit to discuss, terrorists and terrorism.

What is their track record over the past years ? Leaving the enactment of numerous nefarious laws and Acts in different parts of this SA region, the media and its colleagues have been the target and without justice for redress.

These States have been stifling democracy in the name of national security. They have taken the upper hand in curbing democracy to counter the very insurgency they created against each other.

Such curbing of democracy has brutally assaulted media freedom and journalists in 06 of the 08 member countries, in the SAARC. What is savagely conspicuous is that, it is the most established democracies in the SA region that record killing of journalists and the killers going free, with no investigations and judicial interventions for redress.

According to the CPJ in NY, of the 12 countries in the world, listed as those countries that have killed journalists with impunity, 06 are from SAARC countries and their Heads of States are clearly answerable to this continuing impunity in their countries.

The 2010 report titled “Getting away with Murder” lists in order of worst impunity, (according to the index created by CPJ) Sri Lanka 04th, Afghanistan 06th, Nepal 07th, Pakistan 10th, Bangladesh 11th and India 12th. They are being led by countries like Iraq, Somalia and the Philipines.

The issue today is, will the media in this region whose colleagues have been at the butt end of brutal treatment by these Heads of States, take the issue to Thimpu ? Will the media campaign for answers in this SAARC Summit, that would surely discuss terrorism and curbing of democratic rights in turn ?

What is pathetic is also, the consortium of NGOs and careerists in this NGO world who sit as “People’s SAARC” with the blessings of the SAARC Secretariat, are miffling the real people in all SA societies, who need answers to their lives in a democratic SA region.

KP / 2010 April 22



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