Posts tagged ‘Minority rights’

July 8, 2012

Ahmadiyya Islamic sect has appealing message for U.S. politicians but has global enemies – by Dan Merica, CNN

by admin

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, presides over a sermon to his followers in suburban Washington, D.C.

Washington (CNN) – You’ve almost certainly never heard of him, but Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad drew some serious star power at a recent Capitol Hill reception in his honor.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. John Cornyn were

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February 5, 2012

In support of Ahmadi Muslims and other oppressed communities of Pakistan – by Nehdia Sameen

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In Support of the Minority Communities of Pakistan

English translation:

This message is in support of the Ahmadiyaa community of Pakistan. As a responsible citizen of the country I condemn the recent hate campaign towards the community by the religious parties and politicians. Let’s not forget the words of the founder of Pakistan, “…You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste

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February 2, 2012

PML-N’s Punjab government hand in glove with the extremists in persecuting Ahmadis – by Imran Jattala

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Thousands of Jamat-ud-Dawa and Sipah-e-Sahaba militants participated in the anti-Ahmadi rally in Rawalpindi

Source: Al Ufaq; Ahmadiyya Times

Rawalpindi: The impudence of the Punjab government peaked yesterday as the ruling party’s leadership joined a banned terrorist group and several other extremists, and militants from various religious groups in a protest rally against the already besieged Ahmadiyya Muslim community here.

The rally was called by the banned terrorists’ organization, Jama’at-ud Da’awa (JuD) to protest the

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October 20, 2011

What was the founder of Pakistan’s vision for minorities? – by Haider Karrar

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Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan with Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan said while giving an interview to the ‘APA Representative in Bombay on November 8, 1945’:

“Minorities can rest assured that their rights will be protected. No civilized Government can be run successfully without giving minorities a complete sense of security and confidence. They must be made to feel that they have a hand in Government and to do this they must have adequate representation in it. Pakistan will give this”

Unfortunately, today’s Pakistan is quite opposite to the country visioned by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Minorities especially Shia Muslims , Ahmadi Muslims , Hindus , Sikhs & Christians are treated with prejudice and violence.

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October 15, 2011

Deafening Silence on Minorities’ Massacres in Pakistan – by Haider Karrar

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In a speech to the New Delhi press club on July 14, 1947, the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said:

“Minorities, to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion, faith or belief will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life and their culture. They will be, in all respects, the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste and creed”

Mr. Jinnah forcefully defended the rights of the minorities to be protected and have their belief respected.

In today’s Pakistan we have forgotten the basis on which the new state of Pakistan was founded. Religious

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December 31, 2010

Pakistanis shout for secularism, minority rights and end to Islamization

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LUBP supports the following initiative and hopes that this movement spreads and grows all over Pakistan. Furthermore, while we applaud and support this development, we think it should be extended to:

1) Support for Baloch Human Rights which cannot be possible with an end to the Brutal Military Operation and presence.

2) The Continual Massacres of Pushtuns, especially the Shias of Parachinar by the State supported Taliban and their various Jihadi-Sectarian affiliates.    (Qudsia Siddiqui)

Pakistanis Shout for Secularism, Minority Rights and End to Islamization

Source: Baghi

People of Islamabad got together in front of the Parliament House on Dec 30, 2010 in order to protest against a highly discriminatory

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December 29, 2010

Hindus' contribution towards making of Pakistan – by Sophia Ajaz

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We talk about minorities in India but are strangely unaware of the existence of the same in neighbouring Pakistan.

Even before Independence Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Jews and Christians existed in undivided India. There was large scale migration/exodus post partition (gadar) on either side. Despite being unofficially classified as ‘terror state’, where cricket with India is played on a war level and religious tensions abound (even among Muslims like Ahmediyas, Baha’i, Muhajirs and Shia-Sunni), there is a section among minorities that has carved out a niche for themselves and contributed to the making of Pakistani state and bringing it honours. The country too has honoured them.

“Hindu” is derived from Sindhu (Indus river considered holy) in Pakistan. The land has played an important part in the origin of Hinduism. Hindus may be small numerically (once 20%, now they are mere 1.85%) but Pakistan has fifth largest population. Sindh played an important role in Mahabharata. Legend has it that Lahore city was founded by Luv and Kasur by Kush (both sons of Ram). Cities Peshawar and Multan have Sanskrit roots. Hindus’ contribution towards the making of Pakistan can never be negated.

It is not the majority but the minority communities that shape any country. India was partitioned into East Pakistan (Bangladesh in 1971) and West Pakistan (now Pakistan). Strangely a country formed on religious divide is not called Muslimstan/Islamistan (a la Hindustan) but Pakistan (Pure Land).

The word PAKISTAN was coined in 1934 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never. The name is a portmanteau of PAKISTAN, who live in the five Northern Units of British Raj — Punjab, Afghania (now known as North-West Frontier Province), Kashmir, Sindh, and Balochistan.” This may today be based on eight provinces: Punjab, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Sindh, Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and NWFP.

In 2005, speed-skating champion Sanjeev Bhatnagar filed a PIL to delete Sindh from Indian national anthem Jana Gana Mana and substitute it with Kashmir. Sindh was no longer a part of India, as it was part of Pakistan since Partition of 1947. Opponents said Sindh refers to Indus and to Sindhi culture, and that Sindhi people are an integral part of India’s cultural fabric. The Supreme Court of India declined to change the national anthem and the wording remains unchanged. Surprisingly, in Pakistan, no one decried Iqbal’s Saare Jahan Se Achchha Hindustan Hamara.

Indian Muslims differed on singing of national song Vande Mataram over meaning of ‘vande’ that could be either salutation or worship. Many Indians still add to the Indian national pledge “India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters (except one.)”

Former President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, was born in the Nagar Vali Haveli in Daryaganj, Delhi, India. Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan was born in Karnal (now in Haryana). The 7-year longest-serving Governor and martial law administrator of Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan, General Rahimuddin Khan, was born in the pre-dominantly Pathan city of Kaimganj, which now lies in Uttar Pradesh. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who came to power in a military coup in 1977, was born in Jalandhar, East Punjab. The families of all four men opted for Pakistan at the time of Partition.

Bollywood actors like Prithviraj Kapoor (Samudri, Faislabad), Raj Kapoor (Peshawar), Dev Anand (Shakargarh, Gurdaspur, Punjab), Sunil Dutt (Khurd, Jhelum, Punjab), Raaj Kumar (Balochistan) were born in Pakistan. Indian politicians Manmohan Singh (Gah, Punjab), IK Gujral (Jhelum Punjab) and LK Advani (Karachi) too were born in Pakistan. Cricketer Lala Amarnath was raised in Lahore.

Recently Kareena Kapoor (great grand daughter of Prithviraj Kapoor) set a new benchmark by being the modelling face of Pakistan. She charged a cool Rs 3 crore to Firdaus Cloth Mills to launch their lawn summer collection shot in Dubai. Money makes her face west to her ancestors’ birthplace. Even Bollywood movies have paid their own tribute to Pakistan apart from the war and sports sagas. Consider Lahore (1949, Nargis, Karan Dewan), Lahore (2010) and Shoot On Sight (2008, Om Puri). Pakistanis too made Khuda Ke Liye (2007, Naseeruddin Shah) and Ramchand Pakistani (2008, Nandita Das).

The founding fathers of Pakistan had their ancestral roots in Hinduism, who were all converts from Hinduism. M A Jinnah (71, I Governor-General of Pakistan) was born to Mithibai and Jinnahbhai Poonja, who moved from Gujarat to Sindh. His grandfather was Poonja Gokuldas Meghji, a Hindu Bhatia Rajput from Paneli village, Gondal state, Kathiawar. Jinnah’s ancestors were Hindu Rajput who converted to Islam.

Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s (60, national poet of Pakistan and writer of Saare Jahan Se Achchha) father Shaikh Nur Muhammad was a prosperous tailor. His grand father Sahaj Ram Sapru moved to Sialkot after conversion to Islam.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (51, PPP founder, 4th President, 9th Prime Minister) was born to Khursheed Begum née Lakhi Bai and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto. Sir Shah, the son of Ghulam Murtaza Bhutto, was born into a Rājpūt family that had accepted Islām.

Jagannath Azad (86, Isa Khel, Punjab) was a prominent Urdu-speaking Hindu academic who wrote the first national anthem (Qaumi Tarana) of Pakistan.

Ae sarzameene paak (Oh land of Pakistan)
Zarray teray haen aaj sitaaron se taabnaak (Stars themselves illuminate each particle of yours)
Roshan hai kehkashaan se kaheen aaj teri khaak (Rainbows brighten your very dust)
Ae sarzameene paak (Oh land of Pakistan).

In 1947 Jinnah commissioned him to write it. It was used for about 18 months despite competition from rival BT Baghar:Jinnah wanted the anthem to be written by an Urdu-knowing Hindu to sow seeds of secularism. Azad later migrated to India.

In 1950, Pakistan Government adopted a new national anthem Pāk sarzamīn shād bād (Blessed be the sacred land) written by Hafeez Jullundhri (82, Jalandhar, Punjab). Jullundhri, an Indian by birth, also wrote Kashmir anthem/song Watan Hamara Azad Kashmir. He also wrote the famous poem Abhi Toh Main Jawaan Hoon sung by Malika Pukhraj and translated by Yogesh Sethi.

(Pakistan pop band Vital Signs’ song Dil Dil Pakistan Jan Jan Pakistan (1987) became famous as a patriotic song, giving it the status of Pop Anthem or Second National Anthem of Pakistan. In BBC poll (2003) for top 10 most famous songs of all time, Dil Dil was placed third.)

Pakistan’s song is “Pakistan Zindabad, Azadi Paendabad”.

Minority Hindus have played a significant role in making a name for themselves and bringing laurels to the country historically, culturally and politically. Anop Ravi (cricketer), Bherulal Balani (politician), Rana Bhagwandas (former acting Chief Justice Of Supreme Court), Krishan Bheel (politician), Ashok Chandwani (India-born, Pakistan-bred, Canadian journalist), Anil Dalpat (first Hindu to play test cricket), Brojen Das (East Pakistan first Asian to swim across English Channel four times), Dhirendranath Datta (East Pakistan lawyer politician), Sobho Gianchandani (social scientist, writer), Khatumal Jeevan (politician), Jogendra Nath Mandal (first Minister of Law & Labour), Danish Kaneria (cricketer), Lal Kumar (cricketer), Amar Lal (Prime Minister’s advisor to minority affairs), Ramesh Lal (PPP politician), Deepak Perwani (fashion designer), Naveen Perwani (amateur snooker player), Rajesh Ramesh (cricketer), Haresh Sharma (playwright, born in Singapore to Pakistani parents), Rana Chandra Singh (politician), Rana Prasad (Soda Rajput ruler) and Surendar Valasai (first journalist in English).

Harcharan Singh is the first Sikh officer to be recruited in the Pakistan Army on 27 October 2007. Raja Tridev Roy is a former raja of the Chakma tribes Chittagong in Bangladesh and a Pakistani writer, religious leader and politician. He is a federal minister for life and lives in Islamabad and leads the Pakistani Buddhist community. Prominent Parsis, who have contributed towards Pakistan are Byram Dinshawji Awari (businessman), Minocher Bhandara (businessman), Ardeshir Cowasjee (columnist), Aban Marker Kabraji (biologist, scientist), Jamsheed Marker (diplomat), Deena M Mistri (educationist), Dorab Patel (former Justice of Supreme Court), Bapsi Sidhwa (author) and Godrej Sidhwa (religious instructor).

Pakistan’s first Christian Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court was Justice A. R. Cornelius. Distinguished fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force is Peter O’Reilly. Cricketer Yousuf Youhana has recently converted to Islam and is called Mohammad Yousuf. In Britain, the Bishop emeritus of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali is a Pakistani Christian. Anthony Theodore Lobo (bishop), Joseph Coutts (bishop), Joshua Fazl ud Din (bishop), Jia Ali (model, actress), Martin Bashir (journalist), Cecil Chaudhry (fighter pilot), Michael Chowdry (businessman), Alvin Robert Cornelius (Chief Justice of Supreme Court), Antao D’Souza (cricketer), Gulshan Esther (author), Rachel Gill (model, actress, TV host), Mekaal Hasan (musician, record producer), Irene Perveen (singer), Esther John (nurse), Suneeta Marshall (model), Michael Masih (footballer), Wallis Mathias (cricketer), Mervyn L Middlecoat (fighter pilot), Indu Mitha (Bharatnatyam exponent), A Nayyar (singer), Julius Salik (activist) and Duncan Sharpe (cricketer) are other prominent Pakistani Christians. Karachi synagogue’ leader Abraham Reuben became a councilor on the city corporation in 1936.

Source: Booksie

December 28, 2010

Pakistani Hindu families seek political asylum in India

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According to the report published in various national ‘Dailies’ and in international media with regard to the Pakistani Hindu families seek asylum in India. The Times of India report says Kidnapping, killing force Pak Hindus to seek political asylum in India. The Hindu says In the latest incident in that country targeting minorities, an abducted elderly spiritual leader is still untraced.

Ravaged by attacks and extortion, dozens of Hindu families from Pakistan’s Baluchistan province have sought political asylum at Islamabad’s Indian High Commission , a senior official said.

‘‘ As many as 27 families have sent their applications to the high commission,’’ Pakistan human rights ministry’s regional director Saeed Ahmed Khan said in Quetta on Sunday. Khan said Hindus have been living in Baluchistan for centuries, but many have been forced to flee due to kidnapping of several members of the community.

The province’s Hindus took to streets in Khuzdar, Quetta, Kalat and Naushki towns and blocked a highway linking it to Karachi to protest their spiritual leader Laxmi Chand Garji’s kidnapping along with four companions — Sajan Das, Ram Chand , Babo Lal and Venod Kumar — last week. The 82-year-old leader heads Qalat’s Kali Mandir.

Baluch Trouble

Protests rage in Baluchistan as spiritual leader Laxmi Chand Garji kidnapped along with 4 companions Hindu families in region say kidnapping and extortion have become routine, allege that cops support kidnappers
Kidnappers backed by police, says leader

The kidnappers later released three of Garji’s companions. Sajan Das said the kidnappers blindfolded and tied their hands before dropping them off at a deserted place.

Baluchistan DIG Hamid Shakil said around 78 groups of criminals operate in the province. ‘‘ These gangs are mostly responsible for kidnapping for ransom and target killing,’’ he said.

Addressing the protesters outside Khuzdar Press Club, a community leader said the government has failed to protect the life and property of the minority, particularly those belonging to the minority community. ‘‘ The incidents of kidnapping had become routine and it seems that the gangsters have been given a free hand,’’ he said. He alleged that police and other law enforcement agencies were supporting the kidnappers .

Baluchistan chief minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani said he has directed the cops to secure Garji’s release at the earliest. ‘‘ I believe it’s an incident of kidnapping for ransom and doesn’t have any religious overtones,’’ Raisani said.

Pakistan has a Hindu population of about 25 lakh and of these Baluchistan has about 40,000. Like Hindus in Sindh, most Hindus there work as traders and small businessmen. They speak the local dialect and follow local tribal customs.

Slain tribal chief Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti , who led a separatist movement in the province, awarded the tribal name of Bugti to Hindus living in his area. He also got a local Hindu leader, Arjun Dass Bugti, elected as the province’s deputy speaker.(Source)

In Pakistan, to be a minority is a curse ?

Pakistan, which does not let go of any opportunity to heckle India on perceived human rights violations, stands exposed as at least 27 Hindu families from Balochistan have approached the Indian High Commission in Islamabad seeking political asylum in this country. The drastic step taken by the Hindus, who have been living in the Province for centuries, shows their miserable plight and that they can no longer live in fear of abduction for ransom, armed robberies and murder. When a Pakistani official — Regional Director for the Federal Ministry of Human Rights Saeed Ahmed Khan — expresses great concern and urges the Pakistani Government to take immediate measures to improve the law and order situation, it serves to underscore that it has failed miserably in its duty to protect the religious minorities from growing Islamist violence. Most important, the Pakistani Government cannot even term it as a false allegation because statistics of its Ministry of Human Rights reveals an alarming rise in the cases of human rights violation in Balochistan. The situation in Sind, where 95 per cent of the Hindus in Pakistan live, is worse. A BBC report, published earlier this year, has cited several cases of abduction, torture, rape and murder to show how Hindus face an uncertain future in Pakistan due to its Government’s failure to take action against Islamic groups hostile to minorities.

Hindus in Pakistan seeking asylum in India is a stark reminder that minority Hindus continue to suffer apartheid in that country despite Gen Pervez Musharraf abolishing the separate electorate system as no political party fights for their cause or respects their aspirations. Therefore, it is extremely galling to see Pakistani leaders taking the moral high ground and indulging in self-righteous rhetoric — both Houses of Pakistan’s National Assembly adopted resolutions in September condemning the ‘violence’ against Kashmiri people to ‘sensitise’ the international community — when discriminatory laws in their own land foster intolerance and compel the oppressed to suffer in silence. Certainly, it is the prerogative of every sovereign state to legislate the laws of its land, but at the same time, it does not merit reiteration that every Government is bound by its responsibility to protect the weak and the vulnerable. Pakistan has relentlessly pursued the Kashmir issue on every conceivable international forum, brazenly accusing India of imagined atrocities. But today, it stands accused of charges it levels against others. Its not Hindus alone who suffer indignity and worse in Pakistan; Christians are treated like criminals and charges of blasphemy are levelled against them on the flimsiest of excuses. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is anything but a republic; it’s a hell for minorities.

بلوچستان سے ہندو خاندانوں کی ہجرت

بلوچستان میں انسانی حقوق کے ڈایکٹر نے کہا ہے کہ عدم تحفظ کی وجہ سے ہندوبرادری کے بہت سے لوگ مجبوراً ہجرت کرکے ہندوستان جاچکے ہیں

ہندو برادری نے اغوا برائے تاوان کی بڑھتی ہو وارداتوں پر سخت پریشانی کا اظہار کیا ہے

دوسری جانب ہندوبرادری نے ایک ہفتہ قبل اغواء ہونے والے ہندومذہبی پیشواکی فوری بازیابی کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔ جبکہ پیرکو جعفرآباد سے نامعلوم افراد نےہندومذہب سے تعلق رکھنے والے ایک اور سب انجینئر کو اغواء کرلیا ہے ۔

کوئٹہ سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ایوب ترین کے مطابق پیر کے روز بلوچستان کے ضلع جعفرآباد میں بعض نامعلوم مسلح افراد نے ہندو مذھب سے تعلق رکھنے والے سابق مقامی صحافی اور محکمہ ایریگیشن کے سب انجینئر نانک رام کو اغواء کرلیا ہے۔ مقامی پولیس نے مقدمہ درج کرلیاہے لیکن تاحال انکا سراغ نہیں لگاسکی ہے

دوسری جانب ایک ہفتہ قبل قلات میں اغواء ہونے والے قدیم ہندومندرکےمہاراج اور ہندو مذہبی پیشوا حسین لکھ میر اور انکا ساتھی ونود کمار کی بازیابی ابھی تک ممکن نہیں ہوسکی ہے۔
دوسری جانب ہندوبرادری نے ایک ہفتہ قبل اغواء ہونے والے ہندومذہبی پیشواکی فوری بازیابی کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔ جبکہ پیرکو جعفرآباد سے نامعلوم افراد نےہندومذہب سے تعلق رکھنے والے ایک اور سب انجینئر کو اغواء کرلیا ہے ۔

کوئٹہ سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ایوب ترین کے مطابق پیر کے روز بلوچستان کے ضلع جعفرآباد میں بعض نامعلوم مسلح افراد نے ہندو مذھب سے تعلق رکھنے والے سابق مقامی صحافی اور محکمہ ایریگیشن کے سب انجینئر نانک رام کو اغواء کرلیا ہے۔ مقامی پولیس نے مقدمہ درج کرلیاہے لیکن تاحال انکا سراغ نہیں لگاسکی ہے

دوسری جانب ایک ہفتہ قبل قلات میں اغواء ہونے والے قدیم ہندومندرکےمہاراج اور ہندو مذہبی پیشوا حسین لکھ میر اور انکا ساتھی ونود کمار کی بازیابی ابھی تک ممکن نہیں ہوسکی ہے۔

Source: BBC Urdu

December 24, 2010

PPP's bold stance on blasphemy law, and some encouraging comments

by admin


According to a CNN report, Pakistan will review blasphemy laws to prevent them from targeting innocent people.

The government will form a committee of scholars to revisit the law, said Shahbaz Bhatti, the federal minister for minority affairs. It will submit its suggestions and procedures, which will be implemented to stop the law’s misuse, the minister said.
“After the formation of the committee we will find the way that whether through the legislation or some other procedural way we can stop the blasphemy law,” Bhatti said.
On pardoning of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy of Islam, Bhatti said the president will wait for the judicial proceedings.

Earlier President Asif Ali Zardari resolved that his government would not allow the blasphemy law to be used for the settling personal scores. “The government,” he insisted, “will take all appropriate measures, whether administrative, procedural or legislative to stop growing incidents of misuse of the blasphemy law”.

Pakistan Peoples Party, the only mainstream liberal democratic party is in favour of the repeal of the laws because, simply, party is against all laws introduced by military dictators.

The PPP under the visionary leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari is striving to ensure religious freedom, human dignity and social justice in Pakistani society and it is committed to address the long-standing issues of minorities, Party are making all-out efforts to uplift and empower minorities. During General Pervez Musharraf’s regime, the PPP has sought U.N. help to abolish a “discriminatory blasphemy law” that it said has been used to discriminate against the poor, particularly non-Muslims.

Fauzia Wahab, then coordinator of PPP’s human rights cell, has written a letter to the U.N., apprising her of the “threat posed to civil society in Pakistan by the law”.
“We want an end to this law as it is anti-human, this (law) is highly discriminatory and PPP has asked the U.N. to pressure the military regime to repeal it,” Wahab told media.
Fouzia Wahab wrote that the blasphemy law was first introduced by the British to protect the religious rights of Muslim minorities in the subcontinent.
After independence, this law should have been abolished. Instead it was made more stringent and the death sentence was made mandatory in 1980, 1982, 1986 and in 1991, which further aggravated the wave of intolerance in the socio-political structure of our country,” said the letter.
“It has become a means of hounding and harassing opponents and settling personal scores.”
Wahab said even oral evidence of a dubious kind is considered sufficient to award the death punishment under the law.

We think it’s really good development, that despite the warnings of extremist protests and anarchy from the newly formed religious parties alliance – which includes various factions of the Pakistan Muslim League and religious political parties allied with banned militant groups, the government is very much determined to to amend the controversial blasphemy law.

We have earlier published an article “Blasphemy law, extremists’ reaction and life threatening comments”, which presented an extremist face of our society. It’s just an impression that mostly Pakistani’s are religious fanatics and terrorists, but in reality they are not. Pakistan is a plural society with a number of religious, sectarian and ethno-linguistic groups, a federation of four ethnic provinces Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh and three administrative areas, and Pakistani are liberal democratic and broadminded people.

During Asia Bibi’s case we have received lots of encouraging comments from all around the world on related articles, such comments really keep us moving. So, it’s important to publish few comments to understand and see the brighter side of society.

Here are some extremely encouraging daring comments liberals have made toward Aasia Bibi at LUBP’s articles:

Mobarak Haider says:
November 16, 2010 at 6:28 pm
It is distressing to see the fast growing insensitivity in Pakistani society. This medieval and barbaric law of blasphemy is accepted not only by our common man but by our judges, writers,all sections of so called intelligentsia and politicians. Such is the stone-hearted smugness that the nation is spending tens of billions on the slaughter of animals on Eid while just months ago millions of our countrymen were ruined by floods.
The world, also, has become indifferent to our plight as we refuse to show that we want change.
Let us rally together to shout our pain to the world. Is there anyone who will organize a rally on the Mall to demand the repeal of Blasphemy law? Junaid Qaiser and his group are doing a great job. Will writers, lawyers and humanists join such effort.
I am in Virginia. I promise to meet my Congressmen and Senators tomorrow to persuade them that they send their protest and condemnation to the government of Pakistan.
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/29174

Fazal ur Rehman Afridi says:
December 17, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Great article. I think LUBP is the only forum in Pakistan where one can express his thought on different issues which are considered to be Taboos in our society dominated by religious fanatics who have made a so-called holy-alliance with the half-educated Military Generals, bent upon destroying every bit of civilization in this part of the world. A counter-movement has already begun in the form of LUBP and we need to support it to the end.

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/33878

Saman Agha says:
December 1, 2010 at 9:15 am
The death sentence handed down on Aasia Bibi over allegations of blasphemy has brought shame to Pakistan and been roundly condemned worldwide. It has also distorted the teachings of Islam. Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, despite his murky track record in politics, did the right thing for once by visiting the hapless woman and holding out the promise of a presidential pardon. This prompted obscurantist clerics to stage demonstrations in several cities of the province. On Nov 24 the Alami Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat issued a fatwa (decree) which declared him an apostate.
Blasphemy laws have existed in British India since 1860. In 1927, Article 295 was added to the Penal Code under which “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religious belief” became a culpable offence. The law was non-discriminatory and conviction under its provisions depended exclusively on conclusive evidence, as a consequence of which there were only ten blasphemy cases in the 58 years between 1927 and 1985. Since that year the number of blasphemy cases has soared to more than 4,000.
In 1982, Gen Ziaul Haq introduced Section 295-B in the Penal Code of Pakistan, under which “defiling the Holy Quran” became punishable by life imprisonment. In 1986, Section 295-C was added, mandating capital punishment for “use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet”. Even the law minister at the time did not support the bill when it was introduced in the National Assembly “on the ground that the Quran did not prescribe a penalty for this offence”.
The enactment of Ziaul Haq’s blasphemy laws unleashed a reign of terror in which the impoverished Christian community suffered the most. The violence will continue till these draconian laws are repealed. This is unlikely, however, because the present law minister, Babar Awan, was quoted by the print media on Nov 26 as saying that “no one can change the blasphemy laws.” Thus, so-called liberal politicians have been just as responsible as semi-educated clerics for the distortion of the laws of Islam in pursuit of their respective political agendas.
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/31065

Bulleh Shah says:

December 14, 2010 at 2:09 am
If there is hell, I am 100% sure this Mullah Yusuf Qureshi and people like Kashif will be together on the top level of burning hell. These idiots have no idea about the issue and forcing to kill her….. she never preach anything against Prophet Muhammad and she never published anything against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the matter was just verbal argument between some women and they got their revenge like medical rep did in Hyderabad against doctor. If government never review this controversial law, sooner it will create more hell for this burning nation.

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/32590

TLW says:
November 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm Pakistan should tell the world that these blasphemy laws were passed by a military dictator, with the stroke of his pen.

These laws not only violate fundamental human rights, they are undemocratic in genesis, and I as a Pakistani whole heartedly support their abrogation. Parliament must get on it.

A man I support, Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch, Pakistan branch, writes beautifully on this ugly story:

Filthy Business
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/29174

Shaheryar ali says:
December 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm (Edit)
It will be far better for Pakistan if Rana Sanaullah is hanged. Aasia should be protected at every cost. I am sure brave ppl of Pakistan will not let her die at hands of these evil people.

Sindhyar says:
December 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm
terrifying real!

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/32065

Zalaan says:
December 6, 2010 at 7:11 am
جس نے بھی یہ لکھا ہے اس کا تعلق جماعت اسلامی یا اس جیسی جماعت سے ہے ،سپریم کورٹ ہو اس کا ایکشن لینا چاہیے ورنہ کم از کم یہ پولیس کیس تو ہے ہی ،اگر یہ مولوی اور یہ اخبار سعودی عرب ،لیبیا ،ایران یا دوسرے کسی اسلامی ملک میں ہوتے تو یہ فتویٰ دینے والے مولوی کب کے اٹھا لیہ جا چکے ہوتے ،صرف پاکستان ہی ایسا ملک ہے جہاں دین کے نام پر فساد کرنے کی پوری اجازت ہے .
نوا ے وقت کتنا “اسلامی ” ہے اس پر بھی ایک تجزیہ ہونا چاہیے ، عورتوں کی تصویر لگا کر اخبار بیچنا اسلامی ہے ؟ ان کا اصل اخبار بکتا ہی انٹرٹینمنٹ کی وجہ سے ہے اور یہ ان کے چہیتےطالبانوں کی نذر میں حرام ہے تو پہلے انہیں یہ “حرام ” کاروبار بھی بند کرنا چاہیے

Muhammad ali says:
December 7, 2010 at 4:28 am
first of all everybody must know that nawaz shareef is supporter of extremists and Taliban. Nawa e waqt has direct relations with Nawaz sharif, all mullas who try to spread terrorism in any form must be dealt with seriously. So called supreme court must take acttion against these type of people.

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/32157

Jibran Ali says:
November 23, 2010 at 9:59 am
Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in her last book” Reconciliation gave a detailed outlook of Pakistani society, its deep routed problems and ultimate solution. Dictator Zia used religion as a toy to instigate public sentiments. It was the worst era for minorities in the country, now his crony Nawaz Sharif though claims and pretends to have secular agenda but always supported the right wing fanatics. I wonder what PML-N is doing for the fundamental rights of minorities in the province. We must get rid of these savages as soon as possible. It is second time that fundamental rights of minorities have been violated and PML-N government played a role of dumb spectator because of its close hobnobbing with terrorist outfits. I appreciated President for his amicable action in time.
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/29827

Ashley says:
December 23, 2010 at 7:43 am
Every muslim knows very well that no one, christian or muslim will not dare to say anything about Islam or their prophet. They also know if the court frees you, the fundamentalists will kill you – mob rule. So who would dare to die for doing or saying anything. Everyone knows that scores are settled this way but no one has the guts to do anything because the mullahs control the mobs.

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/34193

Arooj says:
November 20, 2010 at 1:10 am
thats a good omen but then just taking notice is not enough, i think he shoudl do something about it. The misuse of this particular law is really reaching to its height. Really shameful I must say.
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/29681

IRFAN URFI says:
December 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm
Dunya ke azeem treen huste JAN E REHMAT RASOOL E MOHTRUM RAHTUL LIL ALAMEN Ke Mohabbat aur rehmat ka wasta mazheb kay thekay daro is qanon ka sahara laker qatlo garat gary mut karo majbor insano ko maf kardo rahem karo insano pay zulum mat karo .mazheb insano kay lye aye hain .mazaheb k lye insan nahe banay rahem karo !

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/33630

Musa says:
December 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm
good about time Pakistan did something about all theese fake mullahs.
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/32590

Shadab says:
November 27, 2010 at 7:52 am
Hats off for writer. There’s no value of human life in an eye of extremist but question is, will Aasia be saved?
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/30546

Naeem says:
November 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm
Rana Sana still speaking the language of religious terrorists;

http://www.express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1101103620&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20101122&sms_ss=email&at_xt=4ce9dd8d1dd52a63,0

Amos says:
December 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm
I was surfing the net looking for some information and came across your blog. I just wanted to tell you that I think your site has some quality material and that I have already saved the page so I can visit again soon! Nice Job!
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/29741

Wali Gohar says:
November 24, 2010 at 3:06 pm
Situation was not so bad before the Inception of Objective Resolution in 1949.
Vision of M.A. Jinnah for the progress of a section of Indian Muslims was pushed towards Orthodox grip of the ‘frogs of the well’, known as Mullas.
Religious fanatics and sick minded scholars like Maulana Mouddodi, introduced militant and political Islam what gradually derailed the social, moral, economic and political fabric of a secular society, what the poor Muslims of Pakistan are facing today.
People of Pakistan are now hanging at the middle of a rope between 6th and 21st Century.
Mulla is pulling their legs towards Stone Age where ground reality is facing towards Digital Technology.

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/30194

Shahzad Kamran says:

November 29, 2010 at 4:19 am
The Blasphemy laws must be repealed for the sake of security of innocent people. Islam does not say to kill people to maintain respect of Allah or Prophet (PBUH). I personally condemn this law in which threats of life are directly involved. I can not forget death of two Christian brothers murdered in police custody in premises of Faisalabad Courts. Another poor boy Robert Fanish was killed by hanging by his neck in prison while he was under trail over blasphemy accusation. I am very much disappointed on the release of real culprits of attack on Christian colony Gojra, seven innocent people were burnt alive including little children. I must say this law should be repealed.

Jibran Ali says:

November 23, 2010 at 9:59 am
Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in her last book” Reconciliation gave a detailed outlook of Pakistani society, its deep routed problems and ultimate solution. Dictator Zia used religion as a toy to instigate public sentiments. It was the worst era for minorities in the country, now his crony Nawaz Sharif though claims and pretends to have secular agenda but always supported the right wing fanatics. I wonder what PML-N is doing for the fundamental rights of minorities in the province. We must get rid of these savages as soon as possible. It is second time that fundamental rights of minorities have been violated and PML-N government played a role of dumb spectator because of its close hobnobbing with terrorist outfits. I appreciated President for his amicable action in time.

https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/29827

Gorgh says:
November 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm (Edit)
A very clear n precise attempt to unfold the the existing blasphemy law, punitive measures attached to it and its implication at international spectrum concerning our beloved country. In particular, the inside glimpse of dubious characters n evil minded religous elements who tries to be a self imposed gate keepers of islam, infact they are the biggest defamer of islam n provocater who incite rift /voilence. They are the gamblers of Islamic laws n injuction, rightly be called heckers.
I strongly advocate Sheri Rehman proposal to repeal n
modernize the blasphemy law agreeable n appealing to the international norms. However, before doing that a legislation be framed/passed in the present parliament promulgating into strict law against those stigma of islam, who mis interpret /mis use islamic laws n orders to their advantage to provoke n incite voilence. The law be framed in a way that production of witnesses to prosecute the the culprit of inciting religous rift, voilence n provokation doesnot need witnesses, simple evidence n law enforcing agency remand be taken as proof in this case and the law should work as deterrence into the heart n mind of ppl in society n culprits never intend to commit violence.
https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/zardari1.jpgarchives/30351

December 24, 2010

Hindu holy man’s kidnap in Pakistan triggers protests – by Amir Mir

by admin


Source: DNA, Dec 24, 2010

The kidnapping of Pakistan’s most revered Hindu spiritual leader, 85-year old Lakki Chand Garji, of Kali Mata Mandir in Balochistan’s Kalat district, has caused widespread protests by Hindus.

Garji was travelling from Kalat to Khuzdar area to attend a marriage ceremony when he was intercepted by armed men and kidnapped at gunpoint. They also kidnapped a few others who were with him, but released one of them after his family paid a ransom.

Protesting the kidnapping on Wednesday, hundreds of Hindus blocked roads bringing traffic to a halt.

The protestors also demonstrated in Khuzdar, Quetta, Kalat and Naushki areas of Balochistan demanding that the government secured the immediate release of their spiritual leader besides providing security to Hindus.

Chief minister of Balochistan province, Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, told reporters that he believed the kidnap was for ransom and had no religious overtones. He said he had ordered the police and law enforcement agencies to secure Garji’s release at the earliest.

Raisani noted that the kidnapping for ransom cases had risen in certain areas of the province and instructed district officials to take action to prevent this.

Addressing the protestors in Khuzdar, their leaders Nand Lal, Raj Kumar and Chander Kumar said the government had failed to protect the life and property of the people, particularly those belonging to the minority community.

The Hindu Panchayat Quetta also organised a rally from the Aria Samaj Mandir in Quetta and marched through Jinnah Road, Masjid Road, Shahra-e-Iqbal and Mannan Chowk.

December 16, 2010

Sunnis and Shias unite to harass religious minorities on the Christman Eve

by admin

United against humanity: Extremist Deobandi, Barelvi, Shia and Wahhabi mullahs


December 5, 2010

Aasia must die: Rana Sanaullah's open letter to the people of Pakistan

by admin

This is a war to end all wars. Aasia must die. There cannot be any reprieve to the people who do not adhere to the national ideology. The national ideology is to kill. To kill the religious minorities. To kill the religious majorities. To kill in the name of religion. To kill in the name of nationalism. To kill in the name of staying alive.

The Governor has forfeited the right to live. He goes against the national vision and aspirations. He goes and talks to a common criminal convicted in a court of law. The law must be upheld. Has he ever been to a mosque? If he had been to a mosque, he would have been blown up by now by my colleagues in Jhang and this conversation would not have been necessary. But no; he does not go to the mosque. He goes to the lock-up and talks to this criminal, a mother of five, kept alive on the largesse of the Punjab government.

The Governor is spreading mischief and disorder in the province. Whereas yours truly has ensured that we benefit from the experience of our partners in governance, the Sipah e Sahabah, in ensuring peace and brotherhood, he goes around sowing seeds of rebellion and apostasy.

The law of blasphemy can never be repealed. It was put in place by our leader and Imam, Hazrat Zia ul Haq Shaheed, (may his jawbone rest in peace). He was the founding father of democracy, freedom, and prosperity in Pakistan. He was the visionary who put the nation on the firm footing of ideology, so that we can live in perpetual peace and harmony among ourselves and with our neighbours. The law of blasphemy is the bedrock of our existence. It is the force that binds the nation together. I am sure that the Shaheed is watching us with satisfaction from his heavenly abode, as listens to Benjamin Sisters on his heavenly stereo.

I know that Sahibzada Sahib wants to detach my skin with sharp hooks. But I would like to say to him that the long march was not necessary. We must find a common ground so that the killings can stop. We must not kill in the mosques. We should not kill in the shrines. We should only kill young mothers of five, so that the law and order can be restored in the society and we can all benefit from the Auqaf funds. These funds can easily pay for a ticket to the UN where Sahibzada Sahib should go to protest against the Babri Masjid decision and French Burqa ban. Ours is a religion of peace.

I want to say to the Sahibzada Sahib, Naeemi Sahib, and all other brothers baying for my blood, that once we are done with the mischief makers like Aasia Bibi, we should concentrate on building shopping plazas, in the spirit of public welfare, as enjoined by our great religion and in accordance with the LDA rules. At all times we must obey the injunctions of the High Court about the size of our ambitions and the size of our plazas.

Rana SU Khan
Ministry of Law
Government of the Punjab

Source: Justice Denied – Hakim Hazik

Related articles: An introduction to Rana Sanaullah

Extremist Deobandi mullah offers a reward for anyone who kills Aasia Bibi: Nawaiwaqt joins the jihad

Rana and Mian, the extremist Deobandis of Punjab – by Muhammad Amjad Rashid

PML-N’s Sipah-e-Sahaba group and its cost to Punjab

The daughters of Asia Bibi with an image of their mother, standing outside their residence in Sheikhupura on November 13, 2010.

December 4, 2010

Mubarak ho!

by admin

Muhammad Yousuf was once an impure Pakistani before he saw the light of Islam.

Related articles:

Christian boy Muslim girl marriage forcing Christians to flee Karachi

It’s ok if a Muslim boy loves a Christian girl but….

جملہ اہل اسلام کو مبارک ہو – لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کر لیا

امیرالمومنین آف افغانستان ملا محمّد عمر اور امیرالمومنین آف پاکستان میاں محمّد نواز شریف کو مبارک ہو شیخ اسامہ بن لادن ، حضرت مفتی تقی عثمانی، حضرت مولانا فضل الرحمان ، حضرت منور حسن ، حضرت عمران خان و دیگر تمام اسلامیان ہندو پاک و افغانستان کو مبارک ہو

لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کر لیا

اس سے پہلے بھی ایک لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کیا تھا – نام نامی اسم گرامی تھا یوسف یوحنا ، مشرف بہ اسلام ہونے کے بعد محممد یوسف بن گئے

کبھی اس مملکت خدا داد میں آج تک کوئی مسلمان بھی مسیحی یا ہندو یا سکھ ہوا؟ ہے نہ جیتا جاگتا معجزہ – تبھی تو ڈاکٹر اسرار احمد فرماتے تھے – ستائیس رمضان المبارک کے دن جنم لینے والا یہ پاک وطن  جیتا جاگتا معجزہ ہے –  ہمیشہ ہمیشہ کے لیے بنا ہے – کچھ ناپاک ہم نے انیس سو اکہتر میں خارج کر دے ، باقی ناپاک ہم مسلمان کر کے پاک کر رہے ہیں – جو پھر بھی نہ مانے تو جہادی جیکٹ اور توہین رسالت کا قانون موجود ہے

اب لیجئے پڑھیے آج کی تازہ خبر، عروس البلاد کراچی سے

………

لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کر لیا‘

بلدیہ ٹاؤن میں ایک اندازے کے مطابق تین ہزار کے قریب مسیحی آبادی ہے

پولیس کے مطابق کراچی کے علاقے بلدیہ ٹاؤن میں مسلم لڑکی کے ساتھ گھر چھوڑنے والے عیسائی نوجوان نے اسلام قبول کرلیا ہے، جس کے بعد علاقے میں کشیدگی کم ہوگئی ہے۔

بلدیہ ٹاؤن پولیس کے تفتیشی افسر بلال رضا نے بی بی سی کو بتایا کہ لڑکے نے فیصل آباد کے ایک مدرسے میں اسلام قبول کیا ہے، جس کی سند اور لڑکی سے نکاح کا بیان انہیں موصول ہوگیا ہے۔

انہوں نے بتایا کہ لڑکی کے بیان اور ذوہیب کے مسلمان ہونے کی سند کی تصدیق کے لیے انہوں نے مدرسے اور وکیل کو خط لکھ دیا ہے جو کوریئر کے ذریعے روانہ کر دیا گیا ہے۔

پولیس کا کہنا ہے کہ جب تک ذوہیب کے مسلمان ہونے اور نکاح کرنے کی تصدیق نہیں ہوگی، مقدمہ ختم نہیں ہوگا، اس سلسلے میں لڑکی انعم کا مجسٹریٹ کے روبرو بیان قلمبند کرانا بھی لازمی ہے۔

دوسری جانب انسانی حقوق کمیشن کے مقامی رضاکار ڈاکٹر مقبول نے بتایا کہ لڑکے کے اسلام قبول کرنے کے بعد علاقے میں کشیدگی ختم ہوگئی مگر لڑکے کے والدین اپنے گھر کو واپس نہیں لوٹے ہیں۔

کراچی سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ریاض سہیل کے مطابق دس روز قبل بلدیہ ٹاؤن کے علاقے غوث نگر کی رہائشی مسمات انعم اور ذوہیب عرف نومی گھر سے نکل گئے، لڑکی کے والدین کا الزام تھا کہ ان کی بیٹی کو اغوا کیا گیا ہے تاہم اقلیتی رکن صوبائی اسمبلی سلیم خورشید کھوکھر کا کہنا ہے کہ یہ محبت کا معاملہ ہے۔

غوث نگر میں ذوہیب کے والد مزدوری کرتے تھے، جبکہ لڑکی کی والدہ علاقے میں بیوٹی پارلر چلاتی ہیں۔ اس علاقے میں ایک اندازے کے مطابق تین ہزار کے قریب مسیحی آبادی ہے۔

واقعے کے بعد علاقے میں کشیدگی پیدا ہوگئی اور چرچ پر پتھراؤ کیا گیا، اس صورتحال میں مقامی سکول بھی بند رہا جس کے بعد انتظامیہ پولیس اور رینجرز کی بھاری نفری تعینات کردی گئی تھی۔

Source: BBC

December 1, 2010

Let's join the human race – by Imran Qadir Butt

by admin

If there is anything positive that has come out of current public debate on death penalty of Aasia Bibi on blasphemy charges, it ruptured the ostensibly thick and immutable veneer of rightist argument that there was unanimity among all sections of religious elements on death penalty of blasphemy.

Now a very sizable section of religious elements has come forward with challenging views on present state of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Interestingly, all those who are opposed to any change or repealing of this inhuman and obnoxious act from the statue book belong to politico-religious parties. And those in favour of changes or repealing of this act have no vested interests or have little or no political stakes.

Apart from that Pakistani media especially electronic media with exceptions of few have been dominated by rightist views. People with orthodox, out-dated and oft-repeated views have been given more air time and have never been taken to task by asking strong probing questions.

It seems it is an exercise to strengthen the status quo and stifle any voice which prompts someone to think out of the box. If you want to win an argument it has been the most effective and common practice to quote some Hadith or Koranic verse in favour of your argument and nobody would dare to oppose you. It would normally not because he/she does not want to oppose you but only because of fear of his/her life. It is because rationality and religion are mutually exclusive. Or should I say sanity and religion do not mix very well.

I have always been of the view that if you bring something in public you must accept the public scrutiny. If you want to protect or preserve something then keep it safely away from public domain. Therefore if you bring your religion in to political or public sphere then you must have strong defence. Religion should be subject to same parameters that we normally use to dissect any other social phenomenon. Anywhere in the world when societies tried to stop the clock of evolution on religion after making it political it morphed into a source of great destruction.

Religion is a human experience and let it be this way. It was a great event in common history of human beings but clock did not stop there. It has moved on, we are evolutionary beings our economics, our science, our industry, our culture, our language in fact every facet of our life is evolutionary. There is nothing constant in this world and religion is no exception. Therefore let us embrace big wide world and become the part of human race that is our true identity. Let us preserve human race by preserving human life.

December 1, 2010

No minority rights in Pakistan —by Shahid Saeed

by admin


We live in such an ideologically insecure country hell-bent on maintaining our brand as an Islamic Republic that we undercount and under-report the percentage of minorities in our census. There is a barrier the size of the Great Wall of China that prevents minorities from becoming successful citizens in Pakistan

Amidst the outrage over the sentencing to death of Aasia Bibi, a 45-year old mother of five, over charges of blasphemy that seem difficult to prove and have triggered a debate on the blasphemy law itself, what has been conveniently ignored is the fact that the said incident occurred after people refused to drink water brought by Aasia Bibi, considering it to be napaak (impure). Ironically, it is socially acceptable that people belonging to the poor Christian community are treated despicably, considered unhygienic, called names such as choora (sewer cleaner), regardless of their actual profession. The accusers who refused to drink water brought by Aasia Bibi were somehow acting within religious guidelines. I would like to ask them whether they would act in the same manner if Aasia Bibi and her likes were to be replaced by white Caucasian Christian women. I am pretty positive that there would be no qualms in accepting that glass of water or food touched by Christians who are not chooras. Clearly, then, it is not a matter of religion but socio-economic status that makes people discriminate in such an outrageous and horrific manner in the name of religion.

A few years ago, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had put up a banner on the Islamabad Expressway inviting the Christian biradari (community) to apply for janitorial jobs vacant at the CDA. Historically, Christians from poor backgrounds have served as janitors and cleaners, and many continue to do so whilst fighting social injustice, but for a government department to declare janitorial jobs solely reserved for Christians is disgusting. Our society tolerates, accepts and practises shameful, abominable and repulsive behaviour every day, all in the name of religion. My head hangs in shame.

We live in a country where, for a long time, elections were carried out under religious apartheid as minorities were denied their right to universal franchise by forcing separate electorates on them. The freedom to profess religion guaranteed by Article 20 of the constitution has been meaningless in the light of the legal and social discrimination against minorities. Article 20 grants people of all faiths freedom to “profess, practice and propagate” their religion, but the Second Amendment and Ordinance XX prohibit the Ahmedis from practising their religion openly and denies them the right to call themselves Muslims by categorising their faith for them. We guarantee them freedom of religion, only as long as the majority can feel secure by calling itself the constitutional Muslims and prohibiting the Ahmedis from nearly everything that they believe in, including the right to name their small town of Rabwah, as it has been rechristened Chenab Nagar. The insecurity of the majority sects has been written down in the Second Amendment and Ordinance XX and continues with constant court cases against the Ahmedis.

The fact is there are no minority rights in Pakistan. Minority members of parliament have to begin their speeches by first praising Islam and the government of Pakistan for guaranteeing them whatever limited rights they have, and still they are looked down upon by the ulema (sitting mostly on the treasury desks). It is as if we are doing a favour to them by extending basic humanitarian rights. The Hindu community has faced constant harassment and the number of forced conversions in Sindh has been on a constant rise. The Christian community faces social barriers of enormous proportions and has been the target of innumerable terrorist attacks too. Starting from partition when the Sikh and Hindu populations were killed in massive numbers, minority faiths have suffered immensely. The anti-Ahmedi agitation of 1953 started the wave of mass harassment and persecution that continues to this day. Temples have been razed, churches have been burnt and poor people lynched and killed in the name of religion.

From Shantinagar to Gojra, the history of this land is full of the murder of minorities at the hands of the self-proclaimed righteous guardians of religious boundaries. In a country where sectarian terrorism consumed thousands of lives and minorities have been forced to live in fear, Article 20 is nothing but hollow words.

We live in such an ideologically insecure country hell-bent on maintaining our brand as an Islamic Republic that we undercount and under-report the percentage of minorities in our census. There is a barrier the size of the Great Wall of China that prevents minorities from becoming successful citizens in Pakistan. The wall has been raised by legal and social measures that persecute them and discriminate against them. The majority Muslim population, hijacked by a significant number of hardline religious leaders and their followers, has made life for the minorities a living hell. They use mosque loudspeakers for telling them that they will inevitably go to hell in their afterlife.

With the passage of the Objectives Resolution, the fate of minorities in this country was sealed forever and the dream of the state envisaged in Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 speech had died. The report of the Court of Inquiry constituted under the Punjab Act II of 1954 to enquire into the Punjab Disturbances of 1953, commonly known as the Justice Munir report, had then answered some valid questions about the role of religion in the state. The ulema — disunited as they are on a million issues and unable to come to a single definition of a Muslim — were then nearly united, and still are, on how to treat minorities: they shall be zimmies and “will have no say in the making of law and no right to administer the law” and would not be allowed to propagate their religion. Summarising, the good Justices Munir and MR Kayani wrote: “It is this lack of bold and clear thinking, the inability to understand and take decisions which has brought about in Pakistan a confusion which will persist and repeatedly create situations of the kind we have been inquiring into until our leaders have a clear conception of the goal and of the means to reach it…The sublime faith called Islam will live even if our leaders are not there to enforce it. It lives in the individual, in his soul and outlook, in all his relations with God and men, from the cradle to the grave, and our politicians should understand that if Divine commands cannot make or keep a man a Musalman, their statutes will not.”

These words have proven to be prophetic and stand so apt for today, albeit with the caveat that we no longer have liberal judges who did not think secularism was a bogeyman. The 11-year rule of ‘Islamisation’ has changed our attitudes, ideologies and beliefs immensely, and now we teach our children lies that never were a part of our history. We are confused about the very ideology behind the creation of this country, what it was meant to be, what it has become and what it should be. The confusion persists, but with laws that demand a blind Safia Bibi to produce four witnesses to support her claim of rape, laws that allow honour killings to take place through forgiveness granted under diyat and laws that sentence people to death over fake blasphemy charges, we have arrived at a point where it is clear that theocracy has failed us. Only a secular, progressive and democratic Pakistan can guarantee social progress for the people of this country. Rest assured, the future looks bleak if things are to continue the way they are now.
Source: Daily Times