Tag Archives: Blasphemy

Cleric sentenced to death in blasphemy case

By Nabeel Anwar Dhakku

CHAKWAL: A ‘blasphemy’ accused was sentenced to death and also to 10 years’ imprisonment on Monday, sources told Dawn.

Soofi Mohammad Ishaq of Talagang town had been facing the charge since 2009.

On Monday, an Additional Sessions Judge of Jhelum sentenced him to death and 10 years’ imprisonment and fined him Rs200,000.

Soofi Mohammad Ishaq was settled in United States where he worked as a cleric. He returned to Talagang in 2009 and was given a warm welcome by hundreds of his disciples. His followers also kissed his feet, but some people objected to the act of “bowing down before Ishaq” and later accused his followers of branding him a prophet.

Later, Ishaq’s rivals launched a campaign against him and a young man named Asadullah, allegedly at the behest of his Deobandi mentors, lodged a complaint at the Talagang police station. He accused Ishaq of committing blasphemy.

Police booked Ishaq under sections 295A and 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code and his case was heard by Chakwal’s Additional Sessions Judge Sajid Awan.

After completion of hearing, the judge set a date for announcing the judgment, but later he wrote a letter to the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench, informing it that he could not announce the verdict because of security risks. “Judge Sajid Awan pleaded to the LHC that as he is deputed in Chakwal, he cannot announce the verdict because of security risks and, therefore, the case should be referred to another district,” said Advocate Chaudhry Mehmood Akhtar, the counsel of the accused.

The LHC referred the case to Jhelum’s district and sessions judge, who marked the case to his subordinate Additional Sessions Judge Chaudhry Mumtaz Hussain, who announced the verdict on Friday.

Informed sources told Dawn that Soofi Ishaq had been appointed Gaddi Nasheen of the shrine of Pir Fazal Shah. This, according to sources, infuriated complainant Asadullah, who belonged to Pir Fazal Shah’s family, and he used the opportunity to register the blasphemy case against Ishaq.

“My client pleaded to the court that he cannot even think of committing blasphemy.” He told the court that he believed that the holy prophet (peace be upon him) was the last Messnger of Allah,” Advocate Chaudhry Akhtar Mehmood said.

When contacted by Dawn, Asadullah claimed to have seen followers of Ishaq bowing their heads before him and heard them chanting slogans of “Yaa Rasool Allah”. When asked why other religious leaders did not move against Ishaq, he said: “I was the first to see the way Ishaq’s followers behaved and I recorded it on my camera. And Allah has given me the courage to move against the blasphemer.”

BEYOND THE SACRED

I gave a talk called ‘Beyond the sacred’, on the changing character of ideas of the sacred and of blasphemy, at a conference on blasphemy organised this weekend by the Centre for Inquiry at London’s Conway Hall on Saturday. Here is a transcript. To talk about blasphemy is also to talk about the idea of the sacred. To see something as blasphemous is to see it in some way as violating a sacred space. In recent years, both the notion of blasphemy and that of the sacred have transformed. What I want to explore here is the nature of that transformation, and what it means for free speech.

For believers, the idea of the sacred is key to moral life. ….

Read more » Kenan Malik

Ethnic cleansing of Christians in Pakistan

Christian children have become the victims of recent violence

The shocking protest of a Catholic Member of Parliament in Pakistan: “In Karachi children are being raped and tortured to eliminate the presence of Christians. Dozens of people have been reported as a result of the blasphemy law

By Vatican Insider staff

Rome –

Children raped and tortured, families extorted, abuse and violence taking place at the expense of terrified victims who remain silent: this is the reality of what is happening to the Christian community in some suburban quarters of Karachi, Southern Pakistan’s biggest city and the capital of the Sindh province.

Speaking to Catholic news agency Fides, Michael Shind, a Catholic MP working in Pakistan’s Sindh province, gave a shocking statement condemning the situation for Christians in the Country. Javed, whose statement was also reported by Vatican Radio, warned that for months now, Christians in the areas of EssaNagri, Ayub Goth and Bhittaiabad, have suffered indescribable violence perpetrated by members of political movements, such as the Pashtuns, which are characterised by a strong ethnic and Islamic identity. Christian families are going through living hell but “people are not reporting the abuse for fear of retaliation.”

Just last month, Javed told Fides, “We recorded 15 cases of rape.” In EssaNagri there are real “torture cells” where Christian children are imprisoned and tortured. “Captors ask for ransoms of up to 100.000 rupees and if families cannot pay, the little ones are tortured until they are beyond recognition.” The result of the violence that has been going on over the past six months is that numerous families have decided to leave Karachi. “These acts of violence are aimed at eliminating Christian presence in the area; it constitutes a kind of ethnic cleansing: we are seen as slaves who are unworthy of setting foot on Pakistani soil.”

In another case reported, a so-called “house of tolerance” was opened near a Catholic Church in Ayub Goth where “Christian girls from destitute families are forced into prostitution.” Although the authorities have been made aware of this, they have not taken any action yet. Javed is launching an appeal to ask “for an end to the oppression of our community.”

What is more, the controversial blasphemy law continues to provoke disputes and attract criticism in Pakistan and internationally, while the situation for religious minorities is very serious. They are suffering as a result of the rising extremism of Islamic fundamentalist groups. As reported by Fides, the numbers of people against whom charges have been pressed for allegedly committing blasphemy are shocking. In 2011, the blasphemy law (articles 295b and 295c of the Penal Code) led to at least 161 people being incriminated and 9 killed in extrajudicial executions after they were accused of blasphemy. These accusations “are false in 95% of cases,” says one Muslim lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.

According to a Report by the Asian Human Rights Commission, a human rights watch NGO operative in Asia, “Pakistan failed to guarantee respect for the human rights of its people.” The Commission documented the killings of 18 human rights defenders and 16 journalists in 2011. They had been involved in a process of denouncing evil in society, corruption and Islamic extremism.

Corutesy: Vatican Insider

Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

By Shehrbano Taseer

2011 was a bleak year for Pakistan — even by its own harrowing standards.

My father, Governor SalmaanTaseer, was assassinated by his own fanatical security guard in January for his stand on Pakistan’s cruel blasphemy laws, and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the federal cabinet, was gunned down in March allegedly by the Punjabi Taliban for holding a similar view. In April, five of the six men accused of gang raping village woman Mukhtar Mai on the orders of a village council of elders were set free by the Supreme Court. Since the sexual assault on her in 2001, Mai has braved death threats to have her victimisers punished. She has appealed the verdict, but the court, it is widely believed, is unlikely to reverse the acquittal.

In May, Pakistanis around the world hung their heads in shame as Osama bin Laden was found and killed in sleepy, sedate Abbottabad, a stone’s throw from our premier military academy where Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani spoke just weeks earlier declaring that the “terrorists’ back” had been broken.Then the tortured body of journalist Saleem Shahzad was discovered and suspicion fell on the country’s intelligence services. Pakistan had yet to recover from the devastation wrought by the 2010 floods when the August monsoons inundated Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and especially Sindh affecting tens of million of people. My older brother, Shahbaz, was kidnapped on August 26. It’s January 2012 now and he is still missing.

These are just some of the highlights from a ruefully eventful year. All of these events played out against the cacophonous discord that we have become accustomed to: target killings, routine disappearances in Kashmir and Balochistan, suicide bombings, riots decrying the overall economic condition of the country, protests mourning the loss of Pakistan’s sovereignty, the unsettling hum of rote learning at poisonous madrassas.

But there’s nothing that’s bad about Pakistan that can’t be fixed by what’s good about it. The narrative of lost hope is a tired one.

After the Arab Spring, the first question I was asked by journalists and interviewers was “When will it be Pakistan’s turn?”. General Zia tried hard to convince us that we’re Arabs, but we clearly are not. Watching Muammar Qaddafi’s bloodied and bullet-riddled body paraded up and down streets as protesters cheered, and seeing desperate dictators inflict violence on their own people, I realised that in many ways Pakistan is far ahead. Our transition from a dictatorship to a democracy was relatively smooth — no bloodshed, no political prisoners, no violence. And in 2010 — long before the Arab Spring — Pakistan’s nascent democracy returned the powers usurped by dictators back to parliament with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, passed unanimously in parliament. As a people, we are more critical, more engaged. We believe in peaceful evolution of existing structures, not revolution. A record number of people have registered to vote in the upcoming elections and the deadline isn’t even up yet. We’ve snatched our democracy back and we’re not letting it go.

Continue reading Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

Salmaan Taseer: optimism assassinated – By Dr Mohammad Taqi

The snake-bitten 2011 comes to an end as I sit struggling to collect my thoughts. There are certain moments in life that one wishes one does not have to relive. That unusually dark and cold January 4, 2011 dawn in Florida was one such moment. I had turned on my phone first thing in the morning to get my daily news fix. But the banner headline was anything but a fix. Stunned, dazed and shocked; these words cannot begin to describe that overwhelming feeling. It was almost like I stood outside my body. It was not real.

Salmaan Taseer, the larger than life governor of the largest Pakistani province, Punjab, had been assassinated in broad daylight in Islamabad. The killer, Mumtaz Qadri, a member of the governor’s elite police guard, had pumped a magazine-full of bullets into Taseer, at point-blank range. The governor had died on the spot. I cannot help but think of Taseer’s December 31, 2010 message on the micro-blogging website Twitter: “Peace prosperity & happiness for new year (1 1 11) I’m full of optimism [sic].” ….

Read more » Daily Times

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More on Salmaan Taseer » BBC urdu

Pakistan: The State of Human Rights in 2011

The year 2011 was started with the killings of hundreds of persons including the killings of high profile personalities, the governor of a province and a federal minister of minority affairs, by the extremist religious groups who seeped in to the law enforcement agencies. The arrest of one Christian lady, Aasia Bibi, on Blasphemy’s baseless charges from some mosque leaders leads to the religious intolerance and fanaticism at its highest peak. The state played a dubious role to appease the religious extremism. state remained as silent spectator in the country and killings of Mr. Salman Taseer, former governor of Punjab province and former federal minister of minority affairs, a Christian minister in cabinet. The government’s ineptness to stop the religious and sectarian intolerance has strengthened the banned militant religious groups to organize and collect their funds in the streets and hold big rallies. This ineptness of the government has helped the forced conversion to Islam of girls from religious minority groups. In total thorough out the country during the year 1800 women from Hindu and Christian groups were forced to convert to Islam by different methods particularly though abduction and rape.

Read more » Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

PAKISTAN: A Christian labourer arrested on blasphemy charge

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Case: AHRC-UAC-242-2011

PAKISTAN: A Christian labourer arrested on blasphemy charges in an attempt to convert his girlfriend to Islam; Religious minority groups; blasphemy law; illegal arrest; arbitrary detention; fabricated charge

7 December 2011: The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a young Christian labourer was arrested on the charges of burning papers of Quran, a Muslim holy book for making tea at home. He surrendered to the court arrest when he was informed that his nephew had been taken into custody by the police in exchange of his arrest. A Muslim mob is protesting and has surrounded the houses of Christians after an announcement was made from the loudspeakers of different mosques. One hospital also came under attack due to presence of some Christians who were admitted there. It is alleged the Muslim neighbours of the victim were forcing his girl friend to convert to Islam otherwise she would be arrested on fornication charges and intentional rape and she would face death by stoning.

The Christian population of Haroonabad Dherh is in danger by the attack of extremists. Around 800 Christians are living in the area and there are more than half a dozen churches in the community and there are chances that they will be attacked at any moment.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Continue reading PAKISTAN: A Christian labourer arrested on blasphemy charge

Why Muslim states fail

By Khaled Ahmed

States released from colonial rule in the 20th century have by and large not done well. Today, most of them are either failing or failed states. Only a few have reached the finishing line of liberal democracy with a survivable economic model beyond the 21st century. Most of the Muslim states are included in the failing postcolonial model. Dictators with mental bipolar disorder — historically mistaken for charisma — who aimed to achieve romantic goals have crumbled, leaving in their wake equally romantic mobs of youths demanding what they presume is liberal democracy.

After Saddam Hussein, Iraq is in disarray; after Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is teetering; Libya promises nothing better. And after Musharraf, Pakistan’s democracy is dysfunctional. Among Muslims, only the market state in the Gulf may survive. In the Far East, too, it is the market state that looks like marching on. Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia may survive if they don’t exterminate their entrepreneur Chinese minorities under the spur of Islam. In Europe, when the dictator quits, civilisation takes over and the state survives. No such thing happens in the Muslim world. The premodern seduction of the Muslim mind prevents return to democracy. The blasphemy law is more powerful than any democratic constitution. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

The brutal murder of three Sindhi doctors of the Sindhi-Hindu community is a crime against the very fabric of the Sindhi Society which has been the symbol of religious tolerance in the entire sub-continent.

The World Sindhi Institute (WSI) Condemns the Murder of the members of Sindhi Hindu Community

PRESS RELEASE (November 11, 2011)- Board members of the World Sindhi Institute in a joint statement strongly condemn the brutal murder of the three Sindhi doctors of Sindhi Hindu community in Chak town of Shikarpur, calling it a crime against the very fabric of the Sindhi Society which has been the symbol of religious tolerance in the entire sub-continent.

The members showed their deep concern over the growing intolerance in Pakistan where both legal system and social environment are increasingly becoming hostile to the minorities, leaving them helpless and vulnerable.

Echoing the sentiments of civil society in Pakistan, the WSI demanded a speedy justice to the families of victims and appealed to both federal and provincial government to play their due role in furthering the cause of peace, religious tolerance, and Human Rights in Pakistan. They further demanded the complete abolition of Blasphemy-law, which has become a tool in the hands of those who want to radicalize the society and silence all voices of reason.

WSI appeals to all political parties, representatives of civil society, legal community, networks of journalist, and enlighten individuals in Pakistan to join hands to defeat this fresh wave of violence against minorities and run a sustained campaign for the protection of human rights in Sindh and the rest of Pakistan.

Something fishy going on: Human Rights in Sindh

“In January 1948—about four months after the creation of Pakistan—the federal government of Pakistan sponsored pogroms by refugees against Hindu Sindhis in Karachi, then the shared capital of Sindh and Pakistan. The pogroms resulted in the massacre of over 1200 Sindhis. When the Sindh government attempted to restore public order and return looted property, Pakistan removed the duly elected Sindh government from office. Today, exiled Hindu Sindhis are denied the Right of Return.”

“Of the approximately 30 million Sindhis living in Sindh today, approximately 3 million are Hindus and suffer particularly under Pakistan’s oppressive laws and dis-criminatory practices. Pakistan imposes the death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy.”

“With the connivance of the Pakistani authori-ties, tens of thousands of Sindhis, including a disproportionately large number of Hindu and Christian Sindhis, are held in virtual slavery as bonded laborers.”

“The last census systematically undercounted the number of Sindhis. The census forms in Sindhi were simply printed in insufficient quantities so data could not be collected in many remote villages. In addition, Hindu Sindhis were intimidated by Pakistani authorities who ac-companied the census takers in Sindh.”

“The Pakistani government has designated homes and businesses of Hindu Sindhis in this area as ‘Enemy Evacuee Property’ and seized the legal deeds to their properties.”

“Religious Studies has been made a compulsory subject for Muslims in all government and private schools. The officially mandated textbooks preach a fundamentalist and militant ideology, contravening the indigenous universalist Sufi beliefs of the Sindhis.”

“Pakistan controls all public and private advertising in newspapers through a government body called the Pakistan Information Board. In 2003, the government ordered a cut in Sindhi newspapers’ advertisement ‘quota’ by an additional 50%. Although Sindhi speakers account for about 20% of Pakistan’s population, Sindhi newspapers now receive less than 1% of the total advertising revenue.”

“In 1999, the largest circulation Sindhi monthly magazine Subhu Theendo (‘A New Day will Dawn’) was banned for spreading disaffection against the ‘ideology of Pakistan.’ The magazine focused on sustainable development and environmental protection.”

“A majority of the officials and government employees appointed in Sindh do not speak the Sindhi language. Pakistan refuses to allow the use of Sindhi in University entrance examinations or in job interviews for government employees in Sindh, and severely limits radio and television broadcasts in the language.”

“Pakistan has built several mega-dams and barrages up-stream that have impeded the flow of the Indus (Sindhu) River and its tributaries to Sindh. As a consequence, the floodplains that fed Sindh’s forests are gone, resulting in massive deforestation: less than 20% of the original 600,000 acres of forest land is now being regenerated. ”

“Water no longer flows to the sea; as a consequence, the mangrove forests have experienced a 90% decline—from 2400 square kilometers to 200 square kilometers. With-out protection from the mangrove forests, seawater has encroached—inundating 1.2 million acres of agricultural land and uprooting residents of 159 villages. The once plentiful seafood catch has been drastically reduced. The net result is that throughout Sindh, poverty levels, malnutrition and disease now match those in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“The Sindhi national poet, Shaikh Ayaz (d. 1999) was charged with treason—a crime punishable by death—for advocating peace with India.”

Courtesy » Sonething fishy’s going on

The judge, who had handed down two death sentences to Mumtaz Qadri for killing Punjab governor Salman Taseer, has left Pakistan along with his family after receiving death threats from jihadis

Qadri case judge sent abroad

by Zulqernain Tahir

LAHORE: The district and sessions judge, who had handed down two death sentences to Mumtaz Qadri for killing Punjab governor Salman Taseer, has left for Saudi Arabia along with his family after receiving death threats from extremists.

“The death threats have forced Judge Pervez Ali Shah to leave the country along with his family for Saudi Arabia,” Advocate Saiful Malook, the special prosecutor in the Qadri case, told Dawn on Monday.

He said sensing the gravity of the situation the government had arranged the lodging of Mr Shah and members of his family abroad. “Although security was provided to the judge and his family members, the government on the reports of law-enforcement agencies opted for sending him abroad,” he said.

There were also unconfirmed reports that extremist elements in religious parties had fixed the head money for the judge. “There were such reports but there was a potential threat to the life of Mr Shah and his family members,” he said.

Mr Malook said he also had been receiving threats to his life and urged the government to arrange adequate security. “The government has deployed only two policemen for my security which is not adequate,” he said.

Judge Pervez Ali Shah had said in his verdict: “No-one can be given the licence to kill anyone in any condition, therefore, the killer cannot be pardoned as he has committed a heinous crime.”

Assassin Qadri, a constable in the Punjab Police Elite Force, tried to justify the murder by stating that he had killed Mr Taseer for supporting Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who the slain governor had projected as having been wrongly convicted of blasphemy. Qadri, who was on duty to guard Taseer, gunned him down outside a restaurant in Islamabad on Jan 4 this year. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

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Courtesy » Aaj News Tv (Bolta Pakistan with Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas – 25th October 2011)

via » ZemTv » YouTube

The killer has no remorse

– Salmaan Taseer case: No remorse as defence wraps up arguments

By Mudassir Raja

RAWALPINDI: In their concluding remarks on Saturday, lawyers representing Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, tried to justify the high-profile assassination by saying the governor’s conduct was “unbecoming of a Muslim”.

Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court-II Pervez Ali Shah put off the hearing in the case until October 1 after the lawyers representing Qadri said that if their client had not killed Taseer, someone else would have.

Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Saiful Malook, was absent from court on Saturday, though he is likely to make the prosecuting case on the next date of hearing.

Talking to the media after attending the hearing in Adiala Jail, Advocate Raja Shujaur Rehman, representing the accused, said they had argued before the court that the action of Qadri was as instantaneous as the statements of a public figure like the Punjab governor had been provocative. He added that Taseer’s conduct was against the sentiments of the common man.

The lawyer said the accused himself had tried to justify his act by presenting different passages of the Quran and Islamic teachings against blasphemy.

The governor’s statements against blasphemy laws, Rehman said, were also against the laws of the country but state machinery did not take any legal action against him.

Courtesy: →  The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.

Faith based Killing no crime – Jamaat e Islami

– Taseer`s killer committed no crime: JI

PESHAWAR, Feb 2: Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Prof Muhammad Ibrahim said on Wednesday that former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was responsible for his comments about the blasphemy law, which led to his killing, and the accused Malik Mumtaz Qadri should be released.

“The accused Malik Mumtaz Qadri has committed no crime and he should be released,” said Prof Ibrahim, who is also the JI provincial amir, while speaking at a press conference at Al-Markaz-i-Islami here.

He asked the government to stop supporting Nato forces and reject American pressure for military operations in parts of the country. He expressed grave concern over the killing of three Pakistani citizens by an American national in Lahore and asked for awarding capital punishment to him. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Aatish Taseer, the son of an assassinated Pakistani leader, explains the history and hysteria behind a deadly relationship

– Why My Father Hated India

By AATISH TASEER

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: “Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice.”

My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India’s misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan’s unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947. …

Read more → THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Emir of the barking

by Hakim Hazik

Hundreds of women who would have spent their days in quiet comfort in our serene district jails, because they could not produce four adult, sane, pious, male, Muslim witnesses, will now be dragged through the courts and will have to bear the full brunt of the cross examination of the prurient defense counsel. Any faithful Muslim women would rather die than bear this humiliation.

Ours is a religion which for the first time in human history has given the women the right to be raped with dignity. This is a great civilizational achievement. Empires have come and gone but the condition of the women did not change. ….

Read more→ ViewPoint

Leave “The Crazies” alone Shehrbano!

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

I read the news while exploring the internet on my iPad, sitting at the airport on my way back home from our annual APPNA conference. The news said, “Shadab Qadri, the leader of Sunni Tehreek, said the politician’s daughter, Shehrbano Taseer, 21, must stop speaking out against blasphemy laws.” He said,

”We read the statement of the slain governor’s daughter in a newspaper. She should refrain from issuing such statements and must remember her father’s fate,”

I had just met Sherherbano Taseer a day before I read the news. She was invited to the APPNA conference to speak about the radicalization of Pakistani society. One thing I noticed about her was that she really does not say a word against blasphemy laws. All she keeps on saying is that these laws are being misused to settle personal scores against each other in Pakistan. Many intellectuals living in USA have seen and experienced the freedom of speech, and criticize the law itself. And of course, then we have our real religious scholars who tell you to not kill anyone using our Prophet (pbuh)’s name since it gives the Prophet pbuh a bad name.

One almost want to blame the religion for turning people in to crazy killers. This is what I did initially. But then the Sialkot incident happened in which the whole village got together and tortured two young boys to death. They were shown on TV. Over and over again. Villagers had iron rods. They pushed iron rods in to young boys’ eyes. They removed Mugheez’s pants to hit on his sensitive parts, so it would hurt more. They literally crushed those boys and they made their faces unrecognizable pieces of minced meat.

Then the incident happened in which almost six Pakistani rangers got together and shot a young unarmed boy, and then let him bleed to death. Ah, the site of fresh flowing blood! Nothing better and exciting! And then of course the incident in Multan happened, in which a group of students beat a journalist to death while “protesting” for their rights of some sort.

Religion really was not involved in all these incidents mentioned above. I know what has happened to Pakistan. You would know too if you watched a movie called “The Crazies”.

If you have not seen the movie, please rent it tonight and watch it. In the movie, a virus was dropped over a town as a biochemical weapon. Whoever got infected with that virus became a crazy killer for no reason. People started killing their own families after getting infected with that virus. They loved the sight of fresh flowing red blood. They enjoyed stabbing iron rods through the living humans, just like the village people did to Mugheez and Muneeb.

Seems to me that a virus has infected people of Pakistan too in to being “The Crazies”.

And government and judiciary is incompetent. It’s the lack of rule of law. There is absolute anarchy in Pakistan and no one gets punished for their crimes. Law is unable to punish the killers. Rulers are unable to punish the killers. Shazia Masih’s killer, who tortured her to death, was found “not guilty”.

Muslims who burnt the Christians alive in Gojra were released due to the lack of evidence and witnesses. So, really, there is no reason for people to stop their behavior. I am surprised that killings are limited to only a few a week and people are not looting and killing each other constantly like they did during partition. And like they showed in the movie “The Crazies”

Once Crazies get infected with a virus like that, there is no way to stop them. They have to kill and be killed. It has to happen. Roads have to be red with blood. I would advise my younger Pakistani sister Shehrbano to stay away from the crazies though. Once Taseers and Asias are not there, Qadris would go after each other, and there would be nothing left but fresh flowing blood and shattered pieces of fresh human meat.

Shazia Nawaz MBBS, MD. (Allama Iqbal medical college , Lahore, Session 1998). Practicing medicine in USA now. A blogger, a columnist, a You Tube talk show host. Wants justice and equality for all.

Courtesy:→ WICHAAR.COM

Pakistan’s Army Is the Real Obstacle to Peace – It shelters jihadists and cows liberal civilian politicians.

– BY MIRA SETHI

Two months after Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was assassinated by his own bodyguard for criticizing the country’s blasphemy law, the only Christian member of the Pakistani cabinet, Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, was killed for doing his job—advocating protection of the country’s two million Christians.

Taseer’s assassination prompted a debate: Was the blasphemy law, introduced by Gen. Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s in his bid to “Islamize” Pakistan, being exploited for mundane interests? Was it leading to witch hunts? Bhatti’s death should prompt Pakistanis to ask themselves an equally disquieting question: Does Pakistan have a future as …

Read more: → THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

They’re blood thirsty now

The Good Old Days of Fatwas and Anita Ayub

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

I was reading an article the other day in which a female writer explains that how women too are going to get male virgins in heaven. While I found the article interesting and entertaining, it reminded me of Anita Ayub. Anita Ayub was a model and an actress in Pakistan in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. She also worked in an Indian movie called ‘ Pyar Ka Tarana’. Legend has it that she fell in love with a Sikh, married him, and moved to India. I don’t know if there is any truth to this news or not. Anita was a beautiful, smart, and intelligent model with serious lack of talent. She said things those days that most Pakistani women were not allowed to say. She did things those days that most Pakistani women were not allowed to do.

She got quite a few Fatwas (religious condemnation to be killed) against her. It has been a hobby of our mullas to give Fatwas for centuries. But things were not this bad in the 1990’s. I call those days “good old days of Fatwas”. When moulvi hazarat gave a Fatwa those days, few fanatics sent you death threats, you apologized, they forgave you. Everyone moved on and nobody got hurt.

Who knew that one day the Zia-ul-Haq era would be considered a relatively peaceful era!

Years ago when I was just a child, I heard that Anita Ayub had asked a very bad question, “If men are going to get hoors (virgins) in heaven, what are women going to get?”

I remember my mom commenting on Anita’s morality and mentality in a not so complementing manner. My teenage mind was confused. The question did not seem that unreasonable to me. Risking judgment on my own morality and mentality, I asked my mom if there was an answer to Anita’s question. My mom said very understandably that in heaven women would become hoors themselves. Asking any further questions meant asking for God’s wrath. This is where we are stopped. When you do not understand it, asking any further questions is a sin.

So, moulvis of Pakistan issued a Fatwa against her. Next week, Anita’s apology was published with the explanation that this is not what she meant. How could she possibly question the divine laws? The matter indeed ended. Mullas put her episode of temporary insanity (or logical thinking) behind. So this is what I call good old days of Fatwas. When you spoke your curious mind, few good moulvis actually tried to explain things politely, few gave Fatwa, you apologized, and you got to live.

Mercy no more my friends! Forgiveness no more. Asia Bibi has apologized a million times. Salmaan Taseer gave explanation after explanation that he did not mean to defend a blasphemer, but a weak and poor woman. They did not listen. They’re blood thirsty now. Now those good old days of Fatwas are over. …

Read more: LUBP

Shehrbano Taseer: Hatred that killed my father hurts all Pakistan

Five months ago, my father Salmaan Taseer was assassinated by his security guard Mumtaz Qadri for opposing misuse of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws. During the investigation, we were shown a video that made my blood freeze. In a tiny madrassa in Rawalpindi, the chief cleric of a little known Sunni religious group, Shabab-e-Islami, was frothing at the mouth, screeching to 150 swaying men inciting them to kill my father, “the blasphemer”.

Qadri was in the audience, nodding and listening intently. A few days later, on January 4, he casually strolled up behind my father and shot him 27 times. As was reported this week, the blasphemy laws are still being used to persecute Christians, while Qadri, who has still not stood trial, is treated as a hero.

Continue reading Shehrbano Taseer: Hatred that killed my father hurts all Pakistan

Pakistan: Taseer’s daughter in UK speaks out against political Islam

by Lizzy Millar

LONDON 20 May 2011 – Qur’an schools in Pakistan are raising a new generation of children to propagate hatred in the wake of bin Laden’s assassination.

Shehrbano Taseer, the daughter of Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab region who was assassinated by his bodyguard on 4 January for opposing blasphemy laws, blames Pakistan’s countless madrassas – or Qur’an schools – for using Islam as a ‘political tool’.

Taseer who was speaking at the Quilliam Foundation in London, the first UK-based Muslim think tank dedicated to challenging extremism, is calling on the international community to lobby her government to reform the madrassas and allow greater democracy in Pakistan.

She wants Pakistan to reform the madrassa syllabus so that children are taught viable skills for life and how to value religious freedom and rights.

Taseer, a journalist for Newsweek Pakistan, who describes herself as a civil society activist, has also warned that the death of bin Laden has stirred up extremist sentiment in the already troubled nation.

She said: ‘They are raising children to believe their only contribution to Islam is through jihad. They hail people like Osama bin Laden.’

Taseer said a lack of education coupled with a culture that discouraged any questioning of elders had allowed these radical clerics to spread their ‘poison’.

‘They are becoming more hardline by using Islam as a political tool and this mindset is exported all over the world,’ she added.

Taseer claims her country has been a victim in the war on terrorism after its leaders received direction and funding for schools and mosques from Wahhabis, ultra-conservative dollar-rich Muslims from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

She said this influx had brought with it a rise in the number of radical clerics who had a stronghold on their communities by running Qur’an schools and influencing popular opinion.

Asked by Lapido Media about action taken by Pakistani civil society against so-called hate preachers, she said: ‘Absolutely nothing, as there is an atmosphere of fear. The silent majority feel backed up against the wall.’

She gave the example of Mumtaz Qadri, her father’s killer who was showered with rose petals by a group of two hundred lawyers as he entered the court building. She also mentioned students writing articles that hailed his deeds and criticised her father for speaking up for Asia Bibi, the Christian mother-of-five sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.

‘Mumtaz Qadri represents a mindset that is prevalent in Pakistan. Murder is legitimised because it’s done in the name of God.

‘Repressive mindsets have been allowed to flourish. The state has abdicated its responsibility, and hatemongers have been given a platform.

‘My father’s death has highlighted how grave the situation is, but blasphemy cases are still on the rise.’

Taseer paid tribute to the ‘brave men and women’ who were speaking out in Pakistan as well as the silent majority who she said are looking for a more open society.

But she added that their voices would remain fragmented without the backing of central government.

In recent months Pakistan has come under increasing pressure to crack down on extremism in the wake of the assassination of Salman Taseer.

His murder came only a few months before the fatal shooting of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minorities minister and the only Christian member of the cabinet. He too had criticised his country’s blasphemy laws.

In May protests erupted in Pakistan after US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda, who had apparently been hiding in a compound near Islamabad for 10 years.

Continue reading Pakistan: Taseer’s daughter in UK speaks out against political Islam

US Government Report on Pakistani Press

2010 Human Rights Report: Pakistan – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/sca/154485.htm

Courtesy: ARY NEWSYou Tube

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk

The gains by ISI / Pakistan seem to be too much to digest. A retired Brig is all praise for Kiyani.

Admiral Mullen’s Secret Deal

How the Pentagon Supervised Raymond Davis’ Release and How the CIA Took Its Revenge

By SHAUKAT QADIR

[Please note : The writer is a retired brigadier and a former president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute.]

On February 23, at a beach resort, Gen Ashfaq Kiyani, Pakistan army’s chief assisted by a two star officer met with Admiral Mike Mullen, US Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, assisted by Gen. David Petraeus, and three other high ranking officials, to find a military-diplomatic solution to untangle this web that CIA operatives had spun around both governments. This has been a fairly consistent tradition. On every occasion when relations between Pakistan and the United States have soured (a not infrequent occurrence) the militaries have remained in contact and, invariably, have found a way forward.

The day after this meeting, a military officer posted at the US Embassy in Islamabad travelled to Lahore and met Davis in Kot Lakpat jail. Within 48 hours of this meeting, almost 50 individuals associated with the Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP), including Pashtuns, Punjabis, and some foreigners (nationalities unknown, though one of them is said to be an Aryan) who had been in contact with Davis were arrested. Presumably, Davis ‘sang’, though probably to only a limited degree, on instructions.

Within the same period, a large number of Americans, estimated at between 30 to 45, who had been residing in rented accommodations (like Davis and his associates who had killed a motorcyclist while unsuccessfully attempting to rescue Davis) outside the Embassy/Consulate premises in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Quetta left for the US. It is safe to conclude that these were either CIA, Black ops, or associated personnel from security agencies like Xe.

The intelligence business is broadly divided into two categories: human intelligence, known as HUMINT and electronic intelligence, known as ELINT. The latter has numerous subdivisions: SIGINT (Signals intelligence, also known as COMINT; communication intelligence), Imagery intelligence etc. It appears, therefore, that the deal struck between the military leadership included a shut down of CIA’s HUMINT operations in Pakistan, retaining only ELINT, Davis would ‘sing’, within limits, of course, and only then could Blood Money be negotiated for his release. And the US would be bled in that final deal also so as to ensure the safety and the future of the immediate families of both Davis’s victims.

At the height of the debate on the question of Raymond Davis’ immunity from trial for murder, this writer emphasized that Pakistan could not release him without a trial. A trial took duly place and, in accordance with prevalent law in Pakistan, the next of kin of the deceased young men, pardoned Davis in return for ‘Blood Money’. However outlandish this law might seem to those peoples whose countries have their based on Anglo-Saxon principles, such is the law in Pakistan and so there was nothing underhand in what transpired.

Amongst analysts and journalists there were basically two opposing responses to his release, though there was (and is) an occasional sane voice to be heard, throughout the saga. One category of people had been arguing since Davis’ arrest that he should be granted immunity since Pakistan, given its precarious economy, weak government, and the prevalent security situation, could not afford to fall afoul of the US. For this factionhis release through the judicial system was the next best outcome of the disastrous mistake that had been committed in arresting him!

The opposing view was that it is time and more, that Pakistan asserts its sovereignty and national pride to ensure that Davis is awarded no less than his due: the death penalty. It is ironic that the bulk of those who held this view are all supporters of the imposition of Islamic laws including those on blasphemy, Blood Money (the law that ensured Davis’ pardon), and a host of other issues and, even after Davis’ release under these laws, any attempt to get rid of such laws would be opposed by them, tooth and nail.

While the accusations leveled by the prosecution that the families of Faizan and Faheem, the two men killed by Davis, were coerced into accepting the deal offered to them in exchange for their pardoning Davis, is a pack of nonsense, since the entire family was under the active protection of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, there is absolutely no doubt that the ISI (and, therefore, GHQ) assisted in brokering the deal. In fact, I would be very surprised if both families had not been continuously advised by fairly senior-level representatives of the ISI as to what and how much they should ask for. ….

Read more : Counterpunch

‘Davis released in accordance with Shariah law’: Now why are they upset? What’s their morality & legality & how can they demonstrate against the Islamic Shariah law, protesting against Qasas & diyat, sounds like blasphemy according to their own rules. Otherwise liberel forces have always demanded review of these kind of laws.

Davis released in accordance with Shariah law

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday that Raymond Davis was released after the payment of blood money (Diyat) in accordance with Shariah Law.

Speaking on or show on PTV, she said that it was the federal government had already taken the stance that the matter would be decided by the court of law.

She said that according to the settlement, the families of the Lahore shooting victims pardoned Davis, after receiving the blood money.

The minister said that the Raymond Davis case was registered and carried out in the Punjab court and Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah verified the settlement as well.

“If he speaks against his own party’s policy or decision, It was his legal right”, she remarked. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Losing the battle for Pakistan

by Sher Ali Khan

A few days ago, the progressive-leaning parliamentarian Shabaz Bhatti was shot down in cold blood for advocating a moderated stance against a draconian law in Pakistan. The changing societal dynamics comes in the backdrop of a struggling democratic government, which is failing to assert itself for Pakistan’s survival.

It was almost a month ago when I wrote a report for the Express Tribune about the Christian community yearning for a ‘more tolerant’ Lahore. After exploring various pockets of the society, it was sad to see that the community had become insolent and rather afraid to even interact with general population.

If one spoke to historians regarding the character of Lahore say not sixty but thirty years ago, one would have found a completely different social structure in Lahore. Though Islam had rapidly become a majority entity, communal activities were not exclusive rather they were inclusive.

The story of Pakistan’s road down the conception of Islamic state has only hardened differences between various communities to the point Pakistanis cannot be considered Pakistanis without obeying to a certain brands of Islam.

For years, the army and the ISI have provided safe havens for militant groups as part of a greater plan to maintain a strategic and military presence in Kashmir and Afghanistan. It is clear with the confirmed death of Colonel Imam, the so-called father of the Taliban that the dynamics of these relationships have changed over time. Increasingly these militant groups have become rouge thus functioning beyond the scope of the state. …

Read more : View Point

Deathly Silence Prevails in Pakistan

By Gwynne Dyer

While the people of Arab states are overthrowing dictators, Pakistan is sinking deeper into intolerant Islamic extremism. Emboldened by the meek response of the people to the assassinations of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, Islamist vigilantes will now become more brutal.

At least with a dictatorship, you know where you are  and if you know where you are, you may be able to find your way out. In Pakistan, it is not so simple.

While brave Arab protesters are overthrowing deeply entrenched autocratic regimes, often without even resorting to violence, Pakistan, a democratic country, is sinking into a sea of violence, intolerance and extremism. The world’s second-biggest Muslim country (185 million people) has effectively been silenced by ruthless Islamist fanatics who murder anyone who dares to defy them. What the fanatics want, of course, is power …

Read more : Scribd