– The Blasphemy Law is Blasphemous itself.
The chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, has taken suo motu notice against the murder of governor Punjab, the late Salman Taseer. …
Read more : CHOWK
by Beena Sarwar
A complaint has also been registered in Karachi against the cleric of a Saudi-funded mosque for inciting hatred and making threatening remarks against PPP MNA Sherry Rehman. …
Read more : ViewPoint
In order to make sense of the atmosphere of fear, it is important to distance oneself from essentialist readings of Muslim culture as being inherently intolerant.
By Ammar Ali Jan
It is difficult to point out what is more painful to witness; the brutal murder of a Governor of the largest province of the country because he had dared to express dissent on a controversial law or the public celebration of this violent act by extremist forces, with complete impunity from the state. What is particularly shocking, however, is the muted response of secular political parties in the country in the wake of this assassination. Despite enjoying complete electoral hegemony over religious forces in Pakistan, mainstream parties are finding it increasingly difficult to speak out against discriminatory practices in our society, owing to the growing domination of religious forces in setting the contours of our cultural discourse.
[Please take the time to listen to this incredible speech by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. This speech in many ways demonstrates the future of the PPP and you can see his vision, leadership and direction. His courageous message challenging terrorists and violent extremists who are misusing and misinterpreting Islam for their own benefit gives us hope that Pakistan will yet be able to rid itself of violence and those who dishonor Islam and our nation.]
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Bilawal breaks silence
By Eraj Zakaria
In one single stride, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party, has clinched the issue and made it abundantly clear that the young and upcoming leadership of the PPP will bear no truck with forces of obscurantism and bigotry. He emphatically points out that the supporters of Mumtaz Qadri were in fact blasphemers and not the slain Salmaan Taseer, whose body had been pumped with 27 bullets and consequently left to die in a pool of blood. Young Bilawal has single mindedly emphasised upon the entire West about the direction and bearing the PPP leadership intends to take in the immediate future. Bilawal’s statement has come at a time when eyebrows had begun to be raised regarding the PPP’s silence on the vital issue of Taseer’s assassination. He breaks the silence not only at an appropriate time, but also in an ambiance where his life and personal security could be at stake. Bilawal aptly diagnoses that Taseer’s assassins are the very forces who killed his mother, Benazir Bhutto, and later did not spare Taseer’s life. Bilawal rightly points out that Taseer’s murder is symptomatic of a typical mindset. It is not the act of an individual, but the collective disposition and fanaticism of a certain section of society. Bilawal’s resolve that the blood of the outspoken Salmaan Taseer would not go in vain, must be a matter of solace for the West which views Pakistan’s future as uncertain and rocky, though Bilawal emphasises his viewpoint at peril to his life. As it is, there is no dearth of hotheaded bigots. Regardless of one’s political disposition about Bilawal and irrespective of the fact whether one is at tangent or even diametrically opposed to his views, one has to grudgingly concede to Bilawal’s gumption and gusto. While Asif Ali Zardari has condemned Taseer’s assassination, he left it to Bilawal to take the lead in this matter, since he is the future torchbearer of the party. …
Read more : Daily Times
… a group of men led by Muhammad Sameer, a member of a religious organisation keen on raising its sectarian profile, forced their way into the house and started slapping Zahira, said another of her brothers, Sohail. “Other men and women from the neighbourhood started gathering at the house too and they beat up my sister and mother. They were the only people in the house,” he said.
“We tried our best to get her to confess her crime,” Sameer told The Express Tribune. As a member of the religious organisation, he said he could not tolerate any derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
Sameer added that he was very proud of his wife’s performance during the mob beating. “She beat Zahira more than anyone else. Her hand is so swollen that she hasn’t been able to make rotis since the day of the incident. I’ve been getting my meals from a restaurant,” he said. …
LAHORE: Two Christian women were beaten and publically humiliated by an angry mob over apparently frivolous blasphemy allegations and they and their family are now in hiding for fear of being killed, The Express Tribune has learnt.
“None of our relatives is ready to let us stay with them. They fear the wrath of the extremists, particularly after the assassination of Salmaan Taseer,” a male member of the family said over the phone from an undisclosed location.
The family and a non-governmental organisation that is helping them asked that their identities not be revealed, lest it put them in further danger. The names mentioned here are fictitious. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
–WITHOUT DEVELOPING A SECULAR AND TOLERANT STATE IDENTITY THAT CAN PROVIDE EQUAL PROTECTION TO ALL ITS CITIZENS REGARDLESS OF THEIR BACKGROUND, INCIDENTS LIKE THE ASSASSINATION OF GOV. TASEER WILL BECOME COMMON-PLACE.
–However, the inability of the general public to see the nakedness of Pakistan is due to the inter-generational brainwashing towards conservative orthodoxy.
The heinous murder of Governor Taseer was shocking, but one should consider the reactions in support of his assassin amongst some Pakistanis as a sign that the society is at a crossroads. Governor Taseer’s life was stolen from him because he rejected a blasphemy law based on a narrow-minded view of Islam that subjects the nation’s minorities to discrimination. Laws such as these reveal the increasingly conflicting view of Pakistan’s future: either as a nation that is able to adapt to modern times and protect the rights of all its citizens or one destined for devolution into chaos through a medieval view of Islam and the state. …
Read more : SOVEREIGN MINDS
by Declan Walsh
Aasia Bibi isn’t at home. Children play at the blue gate of her modest home in Itanwali, a sleepy Punjabi village. Bibi, the woman at the heart of Pakistan‘s blasphemy furore – which triggered the murder of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer last week – is in jail, desperately praying that she won’t be executed. Her neighbours are hoping she will be.
“Why hasn’t she been killed yet?” said Maafia Bibi , a 20-year-old woman standing at the gate of the house next door. Her eyes glitter behind a scarf that covered her face. “You journalists keep coming here asking questions but the issue is resolved. Why has she not been hanged?”
Maafia was one of a group of about four women who accused Bibi, also known as Aasia Noreen, who is Christian, of insulting the prophet Muhammad during a row in a field 18 months ago. But she will not specify what Bibi actually said, because to repeat the words would itself be blasphemy. And so Bibi was sentenced to hang on mere hearsay – a Kafkaesque twist that seems to bother few in Itanwali, a village 30 miles outside Lahore.
A few streets away Maulvi Muhammad Saalim is preparing for Friday prayers. The 31-year-old mullah, a curly-bearded man with darting, kohl-rimmed eyes and woolly waistcoat, played a central role in marshalling the blasphemy charge. When a court sentenced Bibi to death last November – the first woman in Pakistan’s history – he “wept with joy”, he says. “We had been worried the court would award a lesser sentence. So the entire village celebrated.” …
Mumtaz Hussain Qadri smiled as he surrendered to his colleagues after shooting Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab, dead. Many in Pakistan seemed to support his actions; others wondered how he’d managed to get a job as a state bodyguard in the carefully screened Elite Force. Geo TV, the country’s most popular channel, reported, and the report has since been confirmed, that ‘Qadri had been kicked out of Special Branch after being declared a security risk,’ that he ‘had requested that he not be fired on but arrested alive if he managed to kill Taseer’ and that ‘many in Elite Force knew of his plans to kill Salman Taseer.’
Qadri is on his way to becoming a national hero. On his first appearance in court, he was showered with flowers by admiring Islamabad lawyers who have offered to defend him free of charge. On his way back to prison, the police allowed him to address his supporters and wave to the TV cameras. The funeral of his victim was sparsely attended: a couple of thousand mourners at most. A frightened President Zardari and numerous other politicians didn’t show up. A group of mullahs had declared that anyone attending the funeral would be regarded as guilty of blasphemy. No mullah (that includes those on the state payroll) was prepared to lead the funeral prayers. The federal minister for the interior, Rehman Malik, a creature of Zardari’s, has declared that anyone trying to tamper with or amend the blasphemy laws will be dealt with severely. In the New York Times version he said he would shoot any blasphemer himself.
Taseer’s spirited defence of Asiya Bibi, a 45-year-old Punjabi Christian peasant, falsely charged with blasphemy after an argument with two women who accused her of polluting their water by drinking out of the same receptacle, provoked an angry response from religious groups. …
Vice President Joe Biden is the latest high level U.S dignitary to visit Pakistan. As the series of such high profile visits continues, one wonders what actually transpires in such meetings and what kind of assurances are given from both sides to each other. In this episode of Reporter, Arshad Sharif tries to find out what PM Gilani meant when he said that he has given assurances to Joe Biden that practical steps will be taken to resolve all the difficult problems.
Courtesy: Dawn News (program Reporter with Arshad Sharif)
Source- You Tube Link
by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Due to some recent events in Pakistan, the issue of blasphemy is again in the news. It is generally held that Islam prescribes capital punishment for those who commit blasphemy; that is, using abusive language against the Prophet of Islam. But this is quite untrue. According to Islam, blasphemy is simply a misuse of freedom and not a cognisable offence; the blasphemer is not liable to incur legal punishment. This kind of law has no basis in Islamic scriptures. If someone uses abusive language against the Prophet, Muslims must take it as a case of misunderstanding, and then try to remove this misunderstanding. They are required to do so by engaging in discussion or by providing the blasphemer with Islamic literature that gives the true image of the Prophet of Islam.
To use abusive language against the Prophet or to praise him are both a matter of one’s own choice. Whatever the choice, it is in God’s domain to pass judgment on it. Muslims have nothing to do in this situation except try to remove the misunderstanding and then leave the rest to God.
If there is such a case – which could be called blasphemy – and in anger one tries to punish the offender, one is simply reacting negatively to the situation. And acting in this way is looked upon with extreme disfavour in Islam. Islam always tries to go to the root cause of any given problem.
When one abuses the Prophet of Islam, it is most probably due to some kind of provocation. Without provocation, this kind of negative attitude is extremely unlikely. That is why the Quran advises Muslims to get at the real reason.
The Quran points to one such root cause behind this kind of act and urges Muslims to try to come to grips with it: “But do not revile those (beings) whom they invoke instead of God, lest they, in their hostility, revile God out of ignorance.” (6:108)
It is on the record that, during the Prophet’s time, there were some non-believers who used to use abusive language against the Prophet of Islam. The Prophet of Islam never suggested any legal punishment for those persons. He simply directed them to one of his companions, Hassan bin Sabit al-Ansari, who would respond to their blasphemous statements and remove their misunderstanding by means of argument. Islam suggests capital punishment for only one offence, and that is murder.
Read more : The Times of India
She is very religious. I said,” Muslims are very similar to Christians. We do believe that Mary was a virgin mother but we believe that “Jesus was only a miracle of God and not son.”
That doctor’s hands started shaking, her voice started trembling and she literally had tears in her eyes when she said with deep grief, ” Shazia that is our core belief. Our religion is based on that fact that Jesus was God and part of God was in him.”
Before that I did not really know that how strong this part of Christian faith was. I thank that God who created us all that USA does not have blasphemy laws. They let you debate. Or that day, my life would have been taken away from me.
This is what happened to that Christian woman, Aysia Bibi, mother of five children. Since birth she was told that Mohammad (P.B.U.H) [our beloved prophet and last prophet of God according to Muslim faith] is — a prophet (P.B.U.H). — She was beaten and her life was taken away from her and now she is in a jail cell. We all are going to die one day. If I see grave injustice, I would say it. Blasphemy laws can not be applied on non Muslims anyways and a Muslim scholar Javed Ghamdi sahib has said it.
It makes me very sad that a good man (Governor Punjab, Salmaan Taseer) died speaking the truth. I have never called a dead politician Shaheed before but Salman Taseer was.
….. For this monster does not only threaten the `bloody civilians`, it threatens all Pakistanis who might have a view different to the jihadis who, let me insist one more time (and mark my words), are readying themselves for a takeover of the Pakistani state, no less. For have our own soldiers — serving, retired, even their innocent children — been spared the wrath of the murdering terrorists? So depraved is their conduct in the quest for dominance that they do not even spare mosques and those who are in prayer as happened at Parade Lane, Westridge.
But back to Salman Taseer. He did not blaspheme by saying that the law on blasphemy was a faulty law which needed amending to make it more fair, under which innocent people would not be charged/ harassed/ killed as we have seen in umpteen cases. The government, which is now going blue in the face saying it has no intention of bringing changes to the law, should think again. The minorities too are citizens of this country and need the protection of the state.
Salman and I went back a long way, and even though I opposed vehemently his destabilising the Punjab government in which his own party was a coalition partner and then dismissing it — an act that was doomed to failure — I never quite lost a certain affection for him. He was brash; he was in-your-face; he was loud and brazen. But he was outside what he was inside.
When he was on the run during Ziaul Haq`s cruel dictatorship he hid in my home on Nisar Road for some days, always insisting that it was good the police and the intelligence agencies were as inefficient as they were so that people could hide from them for considerable periods of time. They did get to us one day but I had seen the three police vans parked near our house just as I drove out on an errand.
There were no mobile telephones then so I stopped at a neighbour`s and warned Salman of the impending raid. There was no acknowledgement from him, just silence. I drove back home to find the telephone off the hook where Salman had dropped it, the guestroom window open and no Salman. As he told me later, he dropped the telephone, jumped out the window and over the back wall, ran to the nearest road, flagged down a passing motorcyclist and vanished into thin air! That was the Salman Taseer I will remember. RIP. ….
Read more : DAWN
Unless the anti-mullah shahi forces become competitive, the tide of theocracy cannot be stopped. To be competitive, anti-mullah shahi forces have to capture the intellectual discourse in the country and even have the street power to stop the religious madness. If the liberal intelligentsia is hoping that the formal state will reform itself and come to their aid, they are delusionary. The state is nothing but a compromise of interest groups
I am not sure if the state’s official three-day mourning period was for late Governor Salmaan Taseer or for its own paralysis. As it has been reported, Taseer’s martyrdom — that is what it is — was pre-planned and well rehearsed before the day Qadri stole the innocent man’s life, yet no intelligence agency could detect it. If the security agencies are as pervasive and involved in the system as they purport, such a mission could not have gone undetected unless the security apparatus itself is infested with extremists. Either way, the security agencies have proven to be an extension of mullah shahi (rule of the mullahs) and, hence, a fundamentalist party themselves. Indeed, the martyrdom of Salmaan Taseer was foretold by the increasingly fundamentalist security body, which has imposed a toxic ideology amongst the unsuspecting people of Pakistan.
In a way it was a murder foretold, as Garcia Marquez would call it. As every colour and every shade of mullah shahi was issuing fatwas (edicts) against Taseer for supporting Aasia Bibi and branding the blasphemy law as a kala qanoon (black law) — which it is — the state agencies remained silent spectators. How can a private group issue a death sentence when Pakistan is ruled by the constitution and the courts are appointed to protect the people and persecute wrongdoers? And, if mullah shahi can issue death fatwas against citizens, then we should all wonder what the function of the state is. In order to bring Pakistan out of its current state of chaos, fatwa declarations should be banned like they were in Bangladesh and their writers should be put behind bars for sedition.
The anti-Tasser/Aasia Bibi campaign was not limited to fatwas; many mullahs and illiterate and rich politicians and businessmen were offering head money for the death of these two people. A mullah in a Peshawar mosque during a Friday gathering had offered a huge sum of money for Aasia Bibi’s head. Another petty politician in southern Punjab had offered Rs 2 crores for Taseer’s and Aasia’s heads. Were these not extreme cases of blatant hate speech? But the state agencies looked the other way. Even now, the state agencies have no will or intention to bring these criminals to book for their wrongdoings. For example, they arrested the above-mentioned petty politician and released him after his supporters blockaded the highway. So, it is clear that the state’s security agencies lack the will to enforce the law or they are too cowardly to do so. ….
Read more : Wichaar
by Dr. Manzur Ejaz
Watch how Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and its follower religious parties use Pope Benedict’s statement in which he asked for change in blasphemy law. JI hheld demonstrations against it today and Tahreek Namoos Rasalat (TNR) has asked for a country wide strike against it. This is is just an effort of continuation of mullahs to keep their grip on ideological discourse and terrorize its oppenents. One should watch its developments.
Pope Benedict is The Leader of the Christians. His duty is to seek protection for his followers every where in the world. What else could he say on what has been happening in Pakistan? He is not a leader of any superpower or has political means to pressure Pakistan or intefere in its affairs. His size may be huge but he is just like Mullah Munwwar Hasan, Fazalur Rehman et ell.
But on the positive side he has not asked his followers in Christian world to do mob killing of minority Muslims. He has just issued a statement which can be ignored by Pakistan or its citizens. But, the issue is Ji’s concerted campaign to increase religious extremism in Pakistan to provide cover for Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Pope Benedict statement is just being used in this context.
In such a situation liberal and enlightened Pakistanis get confused. They also start blaming the outsiders for instigating the Pakistanis. What they do not understand is that JI and its followers do not need outside instigation. They can always cook up something to keep them going.
Pope and the rest of the world has their own obligations and one cannot stop them from issuing statements. We would condemn the Pope and others if they incite Christians against Muslims like JI and other religious parties are doing. Other than that we should know that JI and its extensions are going to use one excusde or the other to assert their agenda of Mullah Shahi and dictatorship.
ISLAMABAD: The blasphemy law (295-C) should remain intact, and if Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer committed any mistake or blasphemy, instead of killing him he should have been punished under the law of the country, Pakistan People’s Party senior leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan said.
While talking to reporters at the Supreme Court building, Aitzaz said no amendment of any kind should be brought in the blasphemy law and it should remain intact at every cost. He said that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had given assurance for implementing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif’s agenda …
Read more : Daily Times
LONDON: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of Pakistan’s ruling party, on Monday condemned the killing of late Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer for seeking changes to blasphemy laws, and called those celebrating his death “the real blasphemers.”
Bilawal, the son of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007, also pledged to defend the country’s minorities who have been targeted in the recent past.
“To the Christian and other minority communities in Pakistan, we will defend you,” he said at a memorial ceremony in London for Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab who was killed by his own security guard last week. “Those who wish to harm you for a crime you did not commit will have to go through me first.” …
Read more : Wichaar
By Wajid Shamsul Hasan
The ghastly assassination of Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer is a great loss for the Pakistani nation, Pakistan People’s Party, President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and the government. He was brave, courageous and daring—a great man who spoke for the rights of the people including minorities. He was totally committed to the high democratic ideals and the egalitarian vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and martyred Benazir Bhutto.
Salman was held in highest esteem by the people who respected his boldness to proclaim loud and clear that he believed in liberal and secular politics. He was targeted for elimination for having defended the rights of minorities against the black and discriminatory laws introduced by dictator General Ziaul Haq to terrorise the people into submission to his totalitarian rule. …
Read more : PakMission-UK
We published two photo galleries on BBC’s Urdu website last Friday. One on the Jamaat-e-Islami’s youth wing Shabab-e-Milli’s tribute to Mumtaz Qadri’s father in Rawalpindi and the other on the candlelit vigil in Lahore in memory of the slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.
As expected, comments started to pour in almost instantly. The most telling among them simply said: “Please compare the crowd in the two, for every Taseer mourner, there are at least 50 Qadri supporters.” If nothing else, it says a lot about the state of siege in which liberal opinion finds itself, as more and more people flock behind Mr Qadri, a cold-blooded killer who had been painstakingly planning Taseer’s murder for weeks before he struck.
Irrespective of the number of people who gathered for the vigil in Lahore, I am stunned at their courage in standing up to a crazed mob that neither understands its religion nor the man who brought it to them. It is a mob of moral cheats that has become religiously, politically, intellectually and morally so bankrupt that it seems to have convinced itself that its only salvation lies in baying for innocent blood.
Let us give ourselves some idea of how courageous the dozens who flocked to the vigil in Lahore really are. Since the glowing tribute paid to Qadri by lawyers at his first court appearance, we have been trying to contact the lawyer leadership that spearheaded the civil society movement only three years ago to bring down General Musharraf’s dictatorship. In that movement, millions around the world saw the seeds of a politics that Pakistan has desperately been waiting for all its life — a politics that flows from the combined intellect of the mobile middle class instead of dynastic politics, hereditary constituencies and endemic corruption.
Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood became household names as tens of thousands of people rallied behind them wherever they went. For weeks, no political talk show in the country was considered complete without at least one of them in the chair. Since Taseer’s murder, they simply seemed to have vanished into thin air.
We finally managed to get through to two of them: one simply said that we are free to call him a coward if we want to but he doesn’t want to comment on the issue at all. The other one went even further: he said he would not even allow us to report that he was contacted for his opinion on the issue.
Predictably, Asma Jahangir was the honourable exception who not only spoke in detail about the atrocity against Taseer but was candid and unambiguous in her criticism of the legal fraternity’s sudden gush for a killer. But then, one has always known her to be one of the bravest women in the country.
Which brings to mind another brave woman who dared to bring a bill to the National Assembly aimed at amending some of the more draconian provisions of a law that has spawned nothing but injustice in the quarter century of its existence. Our crazed mob has distributed pamphlets advocating that she must meet the same fate as Mr Taseer. I am proud to have worked for her at Herald for six years. She was one of the bravest editors I know. Today, she has been forced into abandoning her public life by the tyranny of bloodthirsty criminals masquerading as religious zealots.
President Asif Ali Zardari’s administration has already surrendered to these criminals. It is pointless to expect him to fight this battle. However unfortunate as it may be for the liberals, they do not have the luxury to follow suit. They have to go on fighting even if their battle is far more dangerous than the one Pakistan has been fighting in its tribal areas for the last 10 years.
Salman Taseer murder: Is Pakistan past tipping point?
By M Ilyas Khan BBC News, Islamabad
Has Pakistan passed the tipping point of religious extremism?
This question has agitated many minds around the world since the governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was murdered by his own bodyguard on Tuesday. …
Read more : BBC
by K. Ashraf
I was never a fan of Salman Taseer. I considered him more a sort of politician. His death has changed my perception about him. Here is it why.
His death changed my perception because I think he stood for the weakest person—a Christian woman who was practically treated as untouchable in Pakistani society. He went to jail cell to meet her, console her, and give her hope in a society which conducts itself on extremely hypocrite religious values.
It is a very rare example in Pakistani society where a Governor would die for a poor Christian untouchable woman. It is the noblest thing a Governor can do. As a Muslim governor he has set a shinning example in true sense of Islamic principles by protecting a minority woman.
Courtesy: CRDP, Jan 8th, 2011.
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
AHRC-STM-001-2011 : The nation has suffered a great loss due to this tragic murder. A voice of sanity has been silenced. This has happened at a time when the kind of political leadership provided by Salman Taseer is most needed. He stood for basic values which are essential for the stability of Pakistan. His shocking death should be an awakening for all right-thinking people of Pakistan about the perils that the country is facing. Creating chaos is not difficult under the tense conditions under which Pakistan has functioned for a considerable time now. The benefits of such chaos will only go to a few. However, the consequences of this death can seriously harm the population which may begin to react with fear of such murders. It is time for all concerned persons and the government to react soberly but strongly on this occasion in order to ensure that the benefits of this situation will go to those are bent on creating chaos.
Thousands of Pakistanis showered rose petals on the assassin of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab who sought clemency for a Christian woman sentenced to death. Here his eldest son, Aatish Taseer, who lives in Delhi, mourns his death – and the nihilism of a country that could not tolerate a patriot who was humanitarian to his core.
By Aatish Taseer
[Excerpt] ….. Already, even before his body is cold, those same men of faith in Pakistan have banned good Muslims from mourning my father; clerics refused to perform his last rites; and the armoured vehicle conveying his assassin to the courthouse was mobbed with cheering crowds and showered with rose petals.
I should say too that on Friday every mosque in the country condoned the killer’s actions; 2,500 lawyers came forward to take on his defence for free; and the Chief Minister of Punjab, who did not attend the funeral, is yet to offer his condolences in person to my family who sit besieged in their house in Lahore. ….
Read more : The Telegraph
– Politicians, lawyers and journalists who championed the cause of democracy now fail to speak up
A month before the governor of the Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was lowered into an early grave, an imam at a mosque in Peshawar asked the Taliban to kill a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, if the Pakistani state did not carry out the death sentence. Nawa-e-Waqt, the second most read Urdu-language newspaper in the country, wholeheartedly approved of the 500,000 rupee bounty that the cleric Maulana Yousuf Qureshi put on Asia Bibi’s head. Its lead editorial went on to threaten anyone, like Taseer, who supported the woman’s cause and campaigned for a repeal of the infamous blasphemy law. “The punishment handed down to Asia Bibi will be carried out in one manner or the other, and who knows whose position and rank will be terminated as a result of the debate on the repeal of the blasphemy laws,” the newspaper wrote. That was on 5 December. A month later Taseer was killed by his bodyguard, a 26-year-old policeman, Mumtaz Qadri. Neither the cleric nor the editors of the newspaper are being charged with incitement.
The celebration of Taseer’s assassination has continued ever since. Making common cause with radical Islamists, lawyers showered petals on Qadri. They surrounded the anti-terrorism court at Rawalpindi and at one point the judge refused to hear the case and police considered dropping a reference to the anti-terror act and trying Qadri in a district court. When the hearing went ahead after five hours, no public prosecutor turned up because of fears for their safety, according the report in Dawn.com. Nationally, Taseer’s death was greeted with cold-hearted intolerance from rightwing religious leaders – several of whom said he got what he deserved – and with spineless capitulation from the ruling Pakistan People’s party, of which the Punjab governor was the fifth most important member. Shortly after he visited Asia Bibi in jail with his wife and daughter, a mob rioted outside the governor’s house. Prominent TV commentators joined in. The law minister, Babar Awan, then caved in, saying there was no question of reforming the law. Now Awan has rushed for cover behind a judicial inquiry, painting the killing as part of some unnamed conspiracy to destabilise the country.
The truth is all too clear. Who is responsible for Taseer’s death? Some of the very politicians, lawyers and journalists who championed the cause of democracy, parliament and the rule of law against military dictators. Now they support, or fail to speak up against, a law which has become the weapon of choice of dictators, mobs and bigots. Where is the justice in a law widely abused to settle personal scores and to discriminate against minorities? No proof is needed. The alleged blasphemer can be locked up and executed on the say-so of witnesses and yet the slander can never be repeated in court, let alone proved, because to do so would compound the crime. Asia Bibi has spent 18 months in one of Pakistan’s most hellish prisons, the last month of it in solitary confinement. At least 10 people have been killed while awaiting trial on blasphemy charges since 1990, according to human rights workers. …
Read more : The Guardian
Jinnah’s record as a legislator tells us a different story altogether. He was an indefatigable defender of civil liberties. He stood for Bhagat Singh’s freedom and condemned the British government in the harshest language when no one else would
In the recent debate over the blasphemy law, a group of Jamaat-e-Islami-backed right-wing authors have come up with an extraordinary lie. It is extraordinary because it calls into question the professional integrity of the one man in South Asian history who has been described as incorruptible and honest to the bone by even his most vociferous critics and fiercest rivals, i.e. Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The lie goes something like this: ‘Ghazi’ Ilam Din ‘Shaheed’ killed blasphemer Hindu Raj Pal and was represented by Quaid-e-Azam at the trial who advised him to deny his involvement in the murder. ‘Ghazi’ and ‘Shaheed’ Ilam Din refused and said that he would never lie about the fact that he killed Raja Pal. Quaid-e-Azam lost the case and Ilam Din was hanged.
To start with, the story is entirely wrong. First of all, Jinnah was not the trial lawyer. Second, Ilam Din had entered the not guilty plea through his trial lawyer who was a lawyer from Lahore named Farrukh Hussain. The trial court ruled against Ilam Din. The trial lawyer appealed in the Lahore High Court and got Jinnah to appear as the lawyer in appeal. So there is no way Jinnah could have influenced Ilam Din to change his plea when the plea was already entered at the trial court level. Nor was Ilam Din exactly the ‘matchless warrior’ that Iqbal declared him to be — while simultaneously refusing to lead his funeral prayers. Indeed Ilam Din later filed a mercy petition to the King Emperor asking for a pardon. …
Read more : Daily Times
Mazhab kay jo byopari hein,
Woh sab se bari beemari hein.
Woh jin kay siwa sab kaafir hein,
Jo deen ka harf-e-akhir hein.
In jhootay aur makkaron say,
Mazhab kay theke-daron say,
Mein baaghi hoon mai baaghi hoon.
Jo Chahe mujh per Zulm Karo
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Chaos over Mumtaz Qadri’s court appearance
The crowd in Rawalpindi set up a cordon preventing the judge from leaving for Islamabad for the hearing.
ISLAMABAD: A planned court appearance for Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the killer of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, ran into chaos on Thursday as extremist supporters prevented an attempt to re-locate the session, witnesses said.
Mumtaz Qadri, who was assigned to Salman Taseer’s security detail and confessed to the killing, was charged and ordered to appear before the Anti-Terrorist Court in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
But as a growing crowd of extremist lawyers and madrassah students descended on the building in support of Qadri, authorities instead drove him to a makeshift court hastily set up in a heavily protected building in Islamabad.
But the crowd in Rawalpindi set up a cordon in protest, preventing the judge from leaving for Islamabad, lawyers and an AFP reporter said.
“We requested the judge that legally he cannot go to Islamabad to hear the accused and he accepted our request,” lawyer Malik Waheed Anjum told reporters. …
Read more : DAWN