Tag Archives: discrimination

Canada drops in worldwide justice index

Access to justice is discriminating against poor and immigrant populations, says a new report by the World Justice Project.

By: Jeff Green, Staff Reporter

A new report from suggests immigrant and poor populations are being discriminated against in Canada because of a limited access to justice. Canada dropped since last year in six of the eight “Rule of Law” factors listed in the report from the World Justice Project.

The report ranked Canada among 97 countries worldwide in categories including government power, corruption, order, fundamental rights, open government, enforcement, and civil and criminal justice.

Some 97,000 people were polled worldwide, in addition to 2,500 experts in 97 countries to compile the report.

Continue reading Canada drops in worldwide justice index

Who gets to certify “caste based” discrimination?

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Hint: It is not the forward community.

I moved this up as a separate article since this is something I feel very strongly about. The Pakistani forward community (as evidenced from BP members) has sworn hand on heart that “caste based discrimination” does not exist in Pakistan. This is because they say so, thus it must be the truth. The reality it seems is something else altogether.

Ms. Kalavanti Raja of Sindh-Pakistan, the active member of Sindhiyani Tahreek presented the case of Pakistani Dalits in International Consultation Meeting of IDSN in Nepal which got a huge importance and space in international IDSN Publication as detailed below.

Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) has been instrumental in raising public awareness of caste discrimination in Pakistan in 2011 and creating a stir in the media. Media reports on caste discrimination have included issues such as bonded labour, untouchability, kidnapping and forced conversions of Dalits.

Media have also reported widely on discrimination in flood relief work in Pakistan following new monsoon rains, causing one of recent history’s worst disasters. Dalit communities were denied access to relief camps because of their caste and were forced to live under the open sky. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits in the on-going flood relief work saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste is unacceptable. Nonetheless the discrimination continued throughout 2011. PDSN has worked to support Dalit victims of the flooding and bring their plight to the attention of authorities, International NGOs and agencies involved in relief operations.

2011 also saw an increased visibility of Dalit women in Pakistan and Ms. Kalavanti Raja joined PDSN as Coordinator of the women’s wing of the network. Ms. Raja participated in several events, including the Dalit Women’s conference in Kathmandu, a South Asian Dalit conference in Bangladesh, and the IDSN International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination and council meeting in Nepal, where PDSN Coordinators also took part. She spoke at several events and monitored Pakistani media attention to the issue of caste discrimination, with regular updates to IDSN on the situation.

Continue reading Who gets to certify “caste based” discrimination?

Pakistan still global jihad hub

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PESHAWAR: Pakistan is still a major destination for radicalised Muslims bent on a life of jihad, despite hundreds of US drone strikes, the death of Osama bin Laden and the fracturing of Al-Qaeda.

New battlegrounds have sprung up in Africa and the Middle East, but the number of foreign recruits smuggled into the northwestern tribal belt is increasing and they come from more diverse countries.

Since the 1980s “jihad” to expel Soviet troops from Afghanistan, Muslim fighters from all over the world have lived and trained on the Afghan-Pakistan border, moulded into Al-Qaeda and a host of spin-off militant networks.

After US-led forces in late 2001 evicted the Taliban in Kabul for sheltering Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban fled across the border into Pakistan.

But Washington and Nato will end their combat mission in Afghanistan next year and these days the Taliban say their foreign allies are drawn to other conflicts, despite their support networks in a region outside direct government control.

“Al-Qaeda is shifting its focus to Syria, Libya, Iraq or Mali,” one member of the Afghan Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity in northwest Pakistan.

Local officials estimate the number of Arab fighters has fallen by more than a half or two thirds in the last 10 years, to below 1,000.

In the last two years, some Al-Qaeda Arabs, particularly Libyans and Syrians, left to take part in the civil war in Syria and the violent uprising that overthrew Libya’s dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011.

Others migrated to Iraq in 2003, and others to Somalia and Yemen.

But Saifullah Khan Mehsud, executive director of the Fata Research Center, a think-tank focused on the tribal belt, says uprisings in the Middle East have had a minimal effect on the Arab presence in Pakistan.

“Arab fighters are not leaving in big numbers,” he told AFP. “They have been there for 30 years and it continues,” he added.

The number of fighters from other countries is also rising, say witnesses in Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan — the district with the largest concentration of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

“The overall number of foreign jihadis has increased in the last two years. Every week we see new faces,” says one regular visitor.

There could be around 2,000 to 3,500 foreign fighters in the border areas from around 30 different countries. During the 1980s, the number was also estimated to have been several thousand.

More nationalities, same problems

Most of the current crop are Turkmens and Uzbeks, numbering between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters according to local officials, who have fled authoritarian secular regimes in their home countries to set up their own groups.

The Islamic Jihad Union, which splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, is based in Pakistan’s border areas. It is committed to toppling the government in Uzbekistan, and fights alongside insurgents in Afghanistan.

It has also plotted an attack in Germany, which was foiled.

US officials say covert drone strikes have played a huge role in destroying training camps and disrupting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 362 US drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since 2004 — 310 of them since US President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Although North Waziristan locals say the strikes kill more Taliban than Al-Qaeda operatives, they have condemned foreign fighters to a life underground.

“They are low profile, they dress like locals, they avoid big meetings and above all they move all the time,” a local journalist told AFP.

Mehsud says that foreigners are coming from a more diverse number of countries than in years past.

“A few months ago, we even welcomed some (two or three) people from Fiji for the first time!” says the Taliban member who spoke with AFP.

“There are more nationalities because they face the same problems. They tell us that they feel left aside by capitalism and discriminated by unfair laws, like the Swiss one on minarets or the French one on hijabs,” he adds.

Local and Western officials say the number of Western militants have fallen to dozens compared to the several hundreds of a few years ago.

A Canadian, who uses the name Mohammad Ibrahim, told AFP that he had been in Pakistan for three years but was now preparing to leave to wage jihad at home.

“Foreigners are now afraid to come to Pakistan because of the drone strikes,” he says, putting the number of his compatriots at 14, compared to “60 to 85 three years ago”.

A mechanical engineer by training, he says he works in “technical and logistic affairs” but does not elaborate further.

“I often met British, Spanish, Italians, Algerians and Germans. But now…our movements have been limited because of the drone strikes,” he says.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/01/27/pakistan-still-global-jihad-hub/

A Wake up Call for Secular India

Shahrukh Khan exposes Indian secularism

Bollywood king Shahrukh Khan has exposed so-called secular face of world largest democracy: India, expressing his agony he is facing for being born as a Muslim.

SRK wrote an article titled Being a Khan for Outlook Turning Points magazine.

Khan said in the article many politicians asked him to go back to his native homeland: Pakistan, after 9/11 incident.

“I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India”.

“There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation (Pakistan) rather than my own country – this even though I am an Indian, whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave and return what they refer to my ‘original’ homeland.”

“I gave my son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-India and pan-religious) ones – Aryan and Suhana,” Shahrukh Khan said.

“The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can’t really escape it.

Khan said that he pronounced names of his children with his epiglottis when asked by Muslims and throw the Aryan as evidence of their race when non-Muslims enquired. “I imagine this will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders or random fatwas in the future,” said Khan.

Khan said that he was pressed to make the film “My Name is Khan” to prove a point after being repeatedly detained in US airports because of his last name.

He said he was grilled at the airport for hours about his last name when he was going to promote the film in America for the first time.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/01/26/news/entertainment/shahrukh-khan-exposes-indian-secularism/

Canada gets human rights failing grade from Amnesty International

By: Olivia Ward, Foreign Affairs Reporter

Excerpt;

…. An Amnesty report released Wednesday says that committees on racial discrimination, prevention of torture and children’s rights found “a range” of “ongoing and serious human rights challenges,” especially for indigenous peoples.

“By every measure, be it respect for treaty and land rights, levels of poverty, average life spans, violence against women and girls, dramatically disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration or access to government services such as housing, health care, education, water and child protection, indigenous peoples across Canada continue to face a grave human rights crisis,” it said. ….

Read more » The Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1304353–canada-gets-human-rights-failing-grade-from-amnesty-international

Invasion of the “Jihadist” barbarians in Sindh today continues to take a greater toll. The last gasp of a secular civilization under siege by the fanatic state of Pakistan?

Pakistan’s minority Hindus feel under attack

By REBECCA SANTANA

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — They came after dusk and chanted into the night sky “Kill the Hindus, kill the children of the Hindus,” as they smashed religious icons, ripped golden bangles off women’s arms and flashed pistols. It wasn’t the first time that the Hindu temple on the outskirts of Pakistan’s largest city was attacked, and residents here fear it will not be the last.

“People don’t consider us as equal citizens. They beat us whenever they want,” said Mol Chand, one of the teenage boys gathered at the temple. “We have no place to worship now.”

It was the second time the Sri Krishna Ram temple has been attacked, and this time the mob didn’t even bother to disguise their faces. The small temple, surrounded by a stone wall, is a tiny religious outpost in a dusty, hardscrabble neighborhood so far on the outskirts of the city that a sign on the main road wishes people leaving Karachi a good journey.

Local Muslim residents blamed people from a nearby ethnic Pashtun village for the attack, which took place in late September on the Day of Love for the Prophet, a national holiday declared by the government in response to an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. No one was seriously injured in the attack.

It was the latest in a rising tide of violence and discrimination against Hindus in this 95 percent Muslim country, where Islamic extremism is growing. Pakistan’s Hindu community says it faces forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam, a lack of legal recognition for their marriages, discrimination in services and physical abuse when they venture into the streets.

Continue reading Invasion of the “Jihadist” barbarians in Sindh today continues to take a greater toll. The last gasp of a secular civilization under siege by the fanatic state of Pakistan?

Crimes against humanity in Sindh and Pakistan that have taken place during the last 4 years of PPP regime.

Crimes against humanity in Sindh and Pakistan

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabani Khar has presented a rosy human rights report in the periodical human rights review session of the United Nations in Geneva, which is an attempt to hide underway crimes against humanity in the country.

SHE HAS claimed remarkable achievements regarding rights regime in Pakistan. Her report and talk at Geneva gives an impression that Pakistan has undergone a huge transformation during last four years similar to a revolution in the governance, rights regime, and legal framework.

The realities in Pakistan are entirely opposite to that report. If an analysis of last four years in Sindh province alone is carried regarding the Hindus exodus and ethnic cleansing, involuntarily disappearances, extra-judicial killings, and ethnically discriminative legislations, the intensity of the violations as well as denial of the rights under various treaties and declarations of United Nations will no doubt prove to be the crime against humanity.

Hindu Exodus and other forms of ethnic cleansing in Sindh

Thousands of Sindhi Hindus have been forced to quit Sindh, Pakistan, who have refuge or settled in the various countries mostly in India. Nearly 8000 Hindus from Sanghar district of Sindh, Pakistan have sought asylum in Rajasthan state of India during October 2012. The other form of ethnic cleansing is the target killings of ethnic Sindhi, Baloch, and Pashtun in Karachi city, which is aimed to resist these peoples settlement and force the existing population to migrate from city. The state support to an ethnic violence-making group through administrative decisions and legislative initiatives is an established reality of violating the various international treaties and declarations, which are rectified by Pakistan.

In this regards, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide’ in Article II reads:

“….genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: a. killing members of the group; b. causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c. deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part…

According to the Article III of the convention, genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; attempt to commit genocide; and complicity in genocide are punishable crimes. The article IV of the treaty clearly mentions, “Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.”

Continue reading Crimes against humanity in Sindh and Pakistan that have taken place during the last 4 years of PPP regime.

Pakistan’s minorities fail to see progress

By Isolda Agazzi

GENEVA – Since the restoration of democracy in 2008, Pakistan has undertaken steps to uphold human rights, but the situation of minorities has only worsened, according to a group of non-government organizations. Dalits – formerly referred to as “untouchables” are in the worst state, facing both religious and social discrimination, they say.

Continue reading Pakistan’s minorities fail to see progress

Free Rimsha Masih

The latest victim of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, is an 11 year old girl suffering from Downs Syndrome. Rimshah Masih screamed pitifully as she was brutally snatched from her mother by an angry mob intent on killing her. Burnt religious texts had been mischievously planted in a bag she was carrying. We call on the Pakistani Government to take action to stop the ongoing discrimination, persecution and hatred towards minorities living there. We call on the Britisha Government the EU and the Un to intervene on behalf of this poor child and to bring about her freedom.

To bring an end to hatred towards minority faiths in conservative Pakistan and to defend otherwise helpless victims like Rimsha please sign the petition below:

This petition will be sent to the Pakistan High Commission and 10 Downing Street.

Here our song for Rimsha here:

Read more » Petition Buzz

» To Sign a Petition to Free Rimsha Masih

Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

Pakistani activists alarmed by threats to minorities

The US has said that it is deeply disturbed by the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges. It also expressed satisfaction, however, about President Asif Ali Zardari’s action to probe the case.

On Monday, when Pakistani Muslims were busy celebrating the Islamic Eid festival, hundreds of Christian families living in the low-income Mehrabad neighborhood of the Pakistani capital Islamabad were forced to leave the homes where they had been living for more than two decades.

The Christians feared that they would be attacked by the majority Muslim community after Rimsha, a Christian girl aged between 10 and 13, allegedly burnt pages with the verses from the Koran inscribed on them. The incident took place last Thursday and Rimsha was later taken into custody by the Pakistani police.

The angry Muslims of the neighborhood, which is only a 20-minute drive from Western embassies in Islamabad, immediately demanded that she be punished for her “sin.”

According to some media reports, the girl was burning papers that she collected from a rubbish pile for cooking when some Muslims entered her house and accused her of burning the Islamic text. Pakistani officials have claimed the girl suffers from Down’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder causing major learning disabilities.

On Monday, the US State Department took serious note of the girl’s arrest. “This case is obviously deeply disturbing,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, adding that the US government was encouraged by President Zardari’s move to order the interior ministry to submit a report on the case.

“We think that the president’s statement is very welcome, and we urge the government of Pakistan to protect not just its religious minority citizens but also women and girls,” Nuland said.

Religious discrimination is widespread

Religious discrimination in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not a new occurrence but it has increased considerably in recent years. Pakistan’s liberal sections are alarmed by the growing influence of right-wing Islamists in their country.

Rights activists complain that the Islamists enjoy state patronage, while on the other hand liberal and progressive voices have to face the wrath of the country’s security agencies.

Rights organizations also point out to the legal discrimination against minorities in Pakistan, which, in their opinion, is one the major causes of maltreatment of Pakistani minority groups.

President Zardari’s PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) government has recently come under sharp criticism from the country’s rights organizations and the West for refusing to reform the anti-blasphemy laws despite the assassinations of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian cabinet minister, and Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab province.

Controversial anti-blasphemy laws

The two politicians were brutally murdered by Islamists in 2011 because they had dared to speak out against the controversial laws, which were introduced by the military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

Many rights activists say they have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes.

Farooq Sulehria, a London-based activist and journalist, told DW that they should be immediately repealed. “But I doubt that in the absence of a working-class struggle in Pakistan, any government will be forced to do it.”

Mohsin Sayeed, a journalist in Karachi, said the laws were “un-Islamic.”

“The anti-blasphemy laws should be abolished because they have nothing to do with Islam. We have been demanding their repeal for a long time. This demand has met with a fierce reaction from religious extremists, who are no more a marginalized group in Pakistan,” Sayeed told DW.

He also criticized the Pakistani judiciary for its alleged sympathetic behavior toward the right-wing. “Asia Bibi is still languishing in jail, while Mumtaz Qadri (Taseer’s assassin), is still alive,” he said.

‘Intolerance is becoming mainstream’

There have also been reports of hundreds of members of the Hindu community trading Pakistan for India, citing mistreatment, discrimination and persecution in their homeland as reasons.

Continue reading Venom spread into the whole of society: the arrest of a young Pakistani Christian girl on blasphemy charges

Shame on us! Hindus leave Pakistan because of religious persecution.

A tale of migrating Hindus

By: Kashif Hussain

Patriotic Hindus, who had refused to migrate to India and remained in Pakistan after the partition in 1947, are compelled to leave the country because of feudalism, class system, religious discrimination, forced conversion and marriages and poor law and order situation in Pakistan.

LAHORE: Patriotic Hindus, who had refused to migrate to India and remained in Pakistan after the partition in 1947, are compelled to leave the country because of feudalism, class system, religious discrimination, forced conversion and marriages and poor law and order situation in Pakistan.

The minority feels society has become more insecure for their young girls and it is also scared after court’s decision in Rinkal Kumari’s conversion case.

Continue reading Shame on us! Hindus leave Pakistan because of religious persecution.

Memoirs of a Hindu girl

By: Faiza Mirza

I grew up in fear – every face around me depicted nothing but fear. I am sure that the first expression on my parent’s face on my birth as a female child born to Hindu parents living in Kandhkot would have been that of fear also. Why did I bring so much fear into the lives of my parents? I grew up always wondering what is it about me that continues to terrify. But I always drew a blank. How naïve I was.

Before I knew it, the time to attend school had arrived. School was comfortable; however, there were times when I felt like an outsider, finding it difficult to gel in with rest of the majority. Perhaps the snide remarks and incidents of discrimination led me to believe that I am not one of ‘them’. Of those incidents, I still vividly remember no one eating with me and refusing to sip from the cup I drank from.

Home wasn’t very different either. My mother asked questions about my life at school and otherwise looking for answers that would somehow relinquish her from the unknown fear. Afraid to disappoint her, I realised very early in my life that my mother could not be my confidant.

Growing up was not easy.

And then it happened. The fears of my mother and many Hindu mothers like her materialised. I went out to one of the largest markets of Kandhkot and was abducted by a man I knew very well. He was none other than the guard who was responsible for safeguarding our temples.

Knowing his face well prompted me to sit with him in his car without protest, however, instead of taking me to my house he turned to an alley that I wasn’t too familiar with. Scared and unsure about what lay ahead I started screaming just to hear my abductor scream louder and threaten me. Astonished and unable to comprehend the gravity of the situation I sat still until it was time to step out of the car to a small house which looked abandoned.

Continue reading Memoirs of a Hindu girl

Sindhi population under attack by Pak govt: US lawmakers

Sindhi population under attack by Pak govt bodies: US lawmakers

Washington: With the popularity of the United States inside Pakistan at an all-time low, an influential American lawmaker has asked the State Department to make efforts to reach out directly to the country’s population, in particular the Sindhis.

“Pakistan is a nuclear-armed Islamic state on the front line of several conflicts with so many extremist groups.

Pakistan is a pressing international problem for us. My hope is that you are reaching out to the Pakistani people not just in Urdu, which is the politically correct language that the government and the ISI in Pakistan would have you use, but also in the other languages, particularly Sindhi,” Congressman Brad Sherman, said during a Congressional hearing Thursday.

Sherman alleged that the people of Sindhi, predominantly those who speak Sindhi language, have been under attack by governmental bodies.

“That’s why the government of Pakistan would just as soon you not use that language. They’re so helpful in so many ways that perhaps you might want to ignore their advice,” he said.

“The US must reach out to Sindh, where the Sindhi language is spoken by more people than Urdu,” Sherman said in his remarks at the hearing of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Courtesy: The Indian Express

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/sindhi-population-under-attack-by-pak-govt-bodies-us-lawmakers/983254/

ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Merit is a word made completely irrelevant by the successive regimes ruling the province for several years

The Minister of Petroleum informed the National Assembly that out of 1,584 positions filled in the oil and gas public sector, only 10 had gone to Sindh. Does the news bother anyone? And does another report that only two officers from rural Sindh have been hired out of 448 positions filled during the last three years in the same ministry perturb anyone of the 180 million conscientious people living in Pakistan? Considering Sindh produces around 70 percent of the total gas and oil in the country and the majority of sites are situated in Sindh, how this is justified is anyone’s guess. Why should it bother the majority? It is happening to Sindhis. So be it. When it happened to Bengalis, we did not care. Why should we now?

About 10 years ago, during the first Nawaz Sharif term, my friend Shah, son of the legendary Sindhi poet, Ustad Bukhari, was in Islamabad. Like the multitudes of Sindhi youth roaming the streets of Karachi and Islamabad looking for the men in the assemblies to help them find a source for subsistence, Shah too, having earned his engineering degree, was in Islamabad searching for a job. One day, he was lucky to have secured a pass to enter the National Assembly. Waiting in the lobby looking for someone to beg for a job, he spotted one of the most powerful ministers of the time. Shah rushed to the minister and handing the minister his application, he made his submission. The minister sensed from his accent where he could be from, asked him if he was a Sindhi. Shah replied affirmatively. At which the minister shoved the application back into Shah’s hands and walked away saying, “Then to get a job you should wait for the ‘Peepul Party’ to come to power.”

The ‘Peepul Party’(Pakistan People’s Party) has been in power twice since. The party is in power today and so is the minister, ironically. The minister in the above story is none other than Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Chaudhry Sahib may not remember the incident, but Shah does very well and so do all his friends, including me, to whom he related the episode. As jobless and helpless now as during Mr Sharif’s two terms, whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait for now to get jobs?

Continue reading ANALYSIS : For whose turn should the Sindhi youth wait now? – Mohammad Ali Mahar

‘Low-caste Hindus facing discrimination in relief distribution’

Low-caste Hindus in Sindh are faced with discrimination in the flood relief distribution programmes initiated by the government in the affected areas, observed Upgrade Minorities for Integrated Development (UMID), an NGO, at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club here on Tuesday. Pakistan has a population of three million Hindu …

Read more » The News

Justce For Rinkel, Justice For SINDH

A Sindhi Saga: The Abduction of Our Daughters

By: Viju Sidhwani

Hindus have remained a minority in Pakistan since the creation of the country in 1947 when India was partitioned into two separate countries: a new India and Pakistan. Since its inception Pakistan has struggled with supporting a democratic government from being overtaken by a military dictatorship, sectarian violence, and harsh treatment of its minorities including Hindus, Shias, Christians, Sikhs, and several other communities.

In particular Hindus in Pakistan have experienced harsh and severely inhumane living conditions. Kidnappings, physical and psychological torture, rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced marriages of young Hindu girls to Muslim men, lack of police protection, bonded labor, and religious-based discrimination have become the norm for Hindus who involuntarily became citizens of the newly created Islamic Republic in 1947. Of late the rise in Islamic fundamentalism throughout Pakistan has created a viciously hostile environment, choking Hindus and other minorities of their basic rights to live in the land of their forefathers.

Continue reading Justce For Rinkel, Justice For SINDH

Forced faith or force of faith?

By: Waris Husain

Excerpt;

…… When the decision by the Pakistani Supreme Court was released, a commentator on twitter noted that Rinkle Kumari, one of the three females in the case, was showing signs of Stockholm Syndrome. Neither the commentator nor I have the credentials to administer a psychological diagnosis to Ms. Kumari, now known as Faryal Bibi. However, let us think of the hundreds of other cases that have existed throughout Pakistan’s history where Hindus, Sikhs, or Christians were converted against their will.

Stockholm Syndrome has been described as a condition where an individual is abducted or kidnapped, and begins to empathise with their captor to the point that they defend their actions. In evolutionary psychology, theories have been developed that explain the evolutionary benefit of the Syndrome. When humans lived in hunter gatherer societies, clans of men would continually fight one another, and women would be taken as “victory prizes.” The women who protested their capture were regularly killed, while the ones who adjusted to life with their brutal captors survived.

Therefore, one should examine the case of religious minorities in Pakistan from this brutal, archaic, and outdated perspective. Potential converts are born into a society that subjects them to massive social and institutional discrimination, for public services and employment. Non-Muslims have been subject to murder, rape, or beatings merely for simply being born to a different religion in a nation where the right to spread Islam is more protected than the right of minorities to live in peace. In this environment, when a woman, child, or minority is converted to Islam, they could likely develop Stockholm Syndrome and embrace their new faith as an instinct to survive in a brutal society.

This raises a question that should be asked to the ‘gairatmand.’ Is the benefit of forcibly converting one individual to Islam worth jeopardising the validity of all the converts to their faith? Many say that the justice system is flawed if it mistakenly punishes one man, even when it rightfully punishes thousands. In that light, does the forced conversion of one soul not call into question the thousands of others that may have converted voluntarily?

There should be no societal benefit for belonging to the majority religion, just as there should be no detriment for being a minority. Therefore, one hopes that Parliament can address the societal discrimination at the heart of this issue by passing appropriate legislation. This legislation could thereafter be utilised and enforced through the Court. The Pakistani Constitution recognises the right to religion as fundamental, and despite contradictory laws that discriminate against minorities, a legislation is required to fairly deal with forcible conversions.

Read more » DAWN.COM

How Long Can Sindh ‘n Sindhis Endure?”

By: Ahmed Makhdoom

Bashir Khan Qureshi, the roaring and raging voice of Sindh, the versatile leader of Sindh, the brave and courageous person, the humble and loving human being is no more with us! He fought for Sindh, he agitated for the rights of downtrodden Sindhis, he vociferously, vehemently and valiantly declared Independence and Freedom for Sindh and, sadly, he paid the ultimate price – the martyrdom.

جي تُون وِڙھٞندي تہ مَا رِيو ويندين؍

سَڄي سِـنڌُ تان وارِيو ويندين؍

دودا؍ تُنھِنجو ساھُ ثہ وِيندو؍

پَرَ قومَ جو ويساھُ نہ وِيندو؍

(شيخ اياز)

“Je tuun wirrhandein ta maaryo weindein,

Sacjee Sindhu taan waaryo weindeinn;

Dodaa, tuhinjo saah ta weendo,

Para qoma jo weisaahu na weendo!”

(Shaikh Ayaz)

“Fight, and sure to die on field art thee,

Sacrificed for Sindh, thy life admirable be;

Oh Dodo, breathe thy last will certainly thee,

Never shall diminish Nation’s trust in thee!”

(Shaikh Ayaz: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

How long can the sacred and sentient land of Sindh continue to be desecrated, demeaned and debased? How long can the effervescent and exuberant children of Mother Sindh keep on being poisoned, murdered and butchered? How long can Sindhis keep on tolerating the savagery against their Motherland? How long would the peace-loving Nation of Sindh continue to witness the ethnic cleansing and genocide being perpetrated against them ruthlessly by the demonic forces of evil?

How long Sindhis will continue to turn the other cheek when their language and culture, values and way of life, history and heritage are systematically being punched, punctured and pulverized by the uncivilized marauders, tyrants and terrorists of deep dark forces? How long peace loving Sindhis continue being taken for a ride in the caravan of fraud, deceit and duplicity by the looters, liars and loafers?

Yes, how long might the Sindh and Sindhis continue to endure with patience? How long will Sindhis keep on suffering in acute pain and anguish? Till the Sindhis in Sindh have become extinct? Till the Sindhi language and Sindhi culture of peace, values and way of life, history and heritage has been deleted, destroyed and dumped by the deep dark forces of the security establishemnt?

Continue reading How Long Can Sindh ‘n Sindhis Endure?”

Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

The recent spate of forced conversions, killings and abductions for ransom of non-Muslims living in Pakistan is an open question mark to the democratic governance and establishment of the country.

“Unless we protect and strengthen the weak, we will not be able to exercise the true power of democracy,” said Nazish Brohi, an independent research professional and a human rights activist.

Inaccessibility to appropriate health facilities, education and other essentials of life have transformed many Pakistanis into ‘weaker beings’, with non-Muslim factions topping the list. It is consequential to understand that protection of the suppressed and marginalised population of Pakistan indeed, is the only way to prove our stance towards a secular country.

In a country such as Pakistan, where male section of the society is predominantly overpowering, women generally face an ‘unequal’ share of hatred and discrimination.

A case of double jeopardy

Pakistani women are more susceptible to violence and other violations of human and civil rights however non-Muslim women are subjected to more discriminated behaviour on different stages and level which increase the magnitude of their ordeal.

“A vast population of Pakistani women suffer from effects of double jeopardy as they are discriminated because of multiple reasons,” said Brohi.

“Women in general are discriminated by men of their own families because they are considered to be carrying the responsibility of safeguarding their honour. Women are then subjected to discrimination because of the fact that they profess other faiths. And then the never-ending discrimination goes on,” added Brohi.

According to a report published by National commission for Justice and Peace, 74 per cent of minority women living in Pakistan faced sexual harassment during 2010 and 2011, respectively, whereas 43 per cent complained about facing religious discrimination at workplaces, educational institutions and neighbourhoods.

Moreover the report also proved that 68.4 per cent of non-Muslim women have no political participation which according to Brohi evidently signifies the mistrust of minority women in the political system primarily because it does not offer significant assistance to them.

Forced conversions

With forced conversions and kidnappings for ransom on the rise, many non-Muslims have fled Pakistan to seek refuge abroad.

Mangla Sharma, Chairperson of Pak-Hindu Welfare association said, “forced conversions and blasphemy laws affect non-Muslims of Pakistan at every level. In fact it will not be unwise to say that legislation and laws are manipulated to favour the majority,”

Continue reading Living a marginalised life – By Faiza Mirza

Betraying the 1940 spirit?

The Pakistan Resolution promised to safeguard the rights of the Muslim minorities living in the Muslim-majority provinces of British India; it sought independence and sovereignty for those provinces outside the independent Indian Union.

However, the struggle took a new turn after the creation of Pakistan, when Bengali, Pashtun, and subsequently Sindhi and Baloch nationalist movements rose to press for provincial autonomy. Later, a powerful federation embracing the idea of the ideological state also led to alienating the country’s religious minorities. Many have come to live in fear because discrimination against them has been given legal cover, in effect, depriving them of equal rights. Here, leaders from various political parties speak of their respective party’s stance on the issues that haunt Pakistan’s minorities, and on ways to redress the problem…

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Mir Hasil Bizenjo, National Party

National party is secular, democratic & secular. We do not believe in minorities, all citizens are equal & must not be discriminated against on the basis of caste, creed or religion. It is matter of great concern for us that the state discriminate against own people in the name of religion.

We have to fight against this constitutionally by making Pakistan a secular state. National party has protested in each & every case of discrimination against Hindus & Christian. Hindus in Balochistan are being victimised by religious groups & criminals. Religious fundamentalism is a major threat to non-Muslim communities, against which political parties & civil society must rise. The solution is a strong, secular & democratic Pakistan.

Courtesy: http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/23/betraying-the-1940-spirit.html

ACTION ALERT: Plight of Rinkel Kumari – Please help!)))))))

Hindus in Pakistan have experienced harsh, brutal, and severely inhumane living conditions since the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Kidnappings, physical and psychological torture, rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced marriages of young Hindu girls to Muslim men, lack of police protection, bonded labor, and religious-based discrimination has become the norm for our Hindu brothers and sisters who chose not to leave Sindh after the partition of India. Of late the rise in Islamic fundamentalism throughout Pakistan has created a viciously hostile environment, choking Hindus of their basic rights to live in the land of their forefathers.

Many of you may have heard about the case of Rinkel Kumari, a teen Hindu girl from the town of Mirpur Mathelo who was kidnapped on February 24, 2012. Rinkel’s case is quickly gaining media attention in Pakistan and around the world – not because it is shockingly rare – but because it is one of several recent cases in which young Hindu girls were kidnapped, tortured, forcibly converted to Islam under the mandate of a Mullah, and immediately forced to marry a Muslim man. Notably, the man behind Rinkel’s abduction – Mian Abdul Haq (aka Mian Mithu) – is a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Her abduction by a MNA of the ruling political party in Pakistan clearly highlights a case of state-sponsored terrorism. Moreover, the same week Rinkel was kidnapped three other Hindu girls were kidnapped and underwent the same harassment, conversion, and forced marriage including a physician who worked at a prestigious hospital in Karachi. The female physician, Dr. Lata, was forcibly married to a Muslim man who already kidnapped and converted 5 Hindu wives previously. Since Rinkel was kidnapped just over two weeks ago dozens of other Hindu girls in Sindh have been either kidnapped or are reported missing.

Continue reading ACTION ALERT: Plight of Rinkel Kumari – Please help!)))))))

Forced conversion of Hindus in Pakistan jolts US out of slumber

By Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s state-endorsed discrimination, and in some cases extermination, of its minorities has finally caught the eye of Washington lawmakers. Coming on the heels of support in Congress for a Baloch homeland in the face of Islamabad’s depredations in the region, a US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari.

In a sharply-worded letter to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Congressman Brad Sherman urged him to take action to ensure the return of Rinkel Kumari to her family, pursuant to reports that she had been abducted with the help of a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker. In a case that has been widely reported in the liberal Pakistani media, Rinkel, who was abducted on February 24, was forced to marry one Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

She was subsequently produced before a civil judge twice, but she was reportedly coerced into claiming that she had converted on her own will, even as her family was denied access to her in kangaroo court proceedings that revealed in video clips to be led by a frenzied mob of zealots, including armed followers of the Pakistani lawmaker. According to Pakistani civil liberties activists in Washington DC, Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

”Rinkel Kumari’s case is just one case of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan,” Congressman Sherman said in the letter to Zardari, citing the Asian Human Rights commission figure of 20-25 kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh every month. ”I urge you to take all necessary steps to bring an end to this practice and other harassment of Hindus in Pakistan.”

The Rinkel Kumari case was brought to the attention of US lawmakers not by Hindu activists but by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC), a lobby group that, like the Baloch groups, is increasingly asserting the secular and syncretic identity of Pakistan’s Sindhi community in the face of growing Islamization in the country. Sapac activists are telling US lawmakers that state sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant and is causing Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan in droves.

Hindus, who constituted more than 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population soon after Partition, have now dwindled to less than two per cent, mostly in some districts of Sindh. There have been several reports in recent months of Hindu families seeking to migrate to India in the face of growing radical Islamization of Pakistan, including abduction and forcible conversions, but it is the first time that Washington, which literally slept over Pakistan’s genocide of Bengalis in 1970-71, is paying attention to the issue.

US interest in the Rinkel Kumari case comes close on the heels of sudden support in Congress for Baloch self-determination, an effort led by California lawmaker Dana Rohrabacher. That effort has rattled Islamabad to the extent that it has told American interlocutors that Pakistan-US ties will be deeply affected if Washington interfered in Balochistan, even though the Obama administration has clarified that support for an independent Balochistan is confined to the Hill, where lawmakers are free to introduce any legislation they deem appropriate. That in turn resulted in Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.,, writing to House Speaker John Boehner, expressing deep concern over Congressional action on Balochistan.

Courtesy: TOI

International Dalit Soliderity report 2011 – Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) has been instrumental in raising public awareness of caste discrimination in Pakistan in 2011 and creating a stir in the media. Media reports on caste discrimination have included issues such as bonded labour, untouchability, kidnapping and forced conversions of Dalits.

Media have also reported widely on discrimination in flood relief work in Pakistan following new monsoon rains, causing one of recent history’s worst disasters. Dalit communities were denied access to relief camps because of their caste and were forced to live under the open sky. The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits in the on-going flood relief work saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste is unacceptable. Nonetheless the discrimination continued throughout 2011. PDSN has worked to support Dalit victims of the flooding and bring their plight to the attention of authorities, International NGOs and agencies involved in relief operations.

2011 also saw an increased visibility of Dalit women in Pakistan and Ms. Kalavanti Raja joined PDSN as Coordinator of the women’s wing of the network. Ms. Raja participated in several events, including the Dalit Women’s conference in Kathmandu, a South Asian Dalit conference in Bangladesh, and the IDSN International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination and council meeting in Nepal, where PDSN Coordinators also took part. She spoke at several events and monitored Pakistani media attention to the issue of caste discrimination, with regular updates to IDSN on the situation.

Jinnah Institute, a think tank working on minority issues, released a report in 2011 highlighting caste discrimination in Pakistan. According to the report the vast majority of Dalits in Pakistan do not own lands and work on daily wages, a consequence of them not having any permanent settlement. The report said, “One day, they are with one landlord, the next day with another. And this is how they spend a life of debt, with no accountability or education.” Their castes have translated into daily life. For instance, Dalits may be restricted to separate water wells in school, “from which also Muslims will not drink.” Dalits working in bonded labour continues to be a central issue in Pakistan. They are often forced to work under terrible conditions in what has been deemed ‘modern slavery’ with no view to ever repaying their debts. This form of slavery is particularly prevalent in the agricultural sector, construction work, mining and textile industries.

Continue reading International Dalit Soliderity report 2011 – Plight of Dalit of Pakistan

Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was recently informed about Rinkel’s case to members of Congress on Capitol Hill- State sponsored discrimination against Hindus in Pakistan

March 8, 2012 – Washington, DC – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was recently informed about the urgent and alarming case of a Hindu girl, Rinkel Kumari, who was abducted by Muslim fanatics from her home in Mirpur Mathelo and forced to convert her religion to Islam. We are in the process of arranging appointments with members of Congress and their staff to discuss Rinkel’s case as well as the plight of minorities in Pakistan. We would like to invite you to join us as we meet with members of Congress.

Sadly, Rinkel Kumari’s is one of many cases of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan. We have gathered some information about Rinkel’s case and the situation of Hindus in Pakistan below:

· Rinkel Kumari was forcibly abducted from her home in the early hours of February 24, 2012 by Naveed Shah who was accompanied by three other armed men.

· Rinkel was held in custody by Mian Mohammad Aslam, the son of Pakistan Peoples’ Party MNA Miya Mithoo in Bharchundi Shareef where she was forced to marry Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.

· On the morning of February 24, Daya Ram, Rinkel’s uncle registered an FIR against Naveed Shah.

· On February 25, Rinkel’s case was brought before a Ghotki civil judge. Rinkel testified that she had been kidnapped and forced to change her religion against her will. However, the judge ruled in favor of Naveed Shah and Rinkel was taken into police custody for two days at Sukkur police station.

· Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.

· On February 27, Rinkel appeared in court again. This time, her relatives were not allowed inside the court. Additionally, there were armed followers of the MNA surrounding the court.

· During this second hearing, Rinkel was under pressure and changed her statement in favor of Naveed Shah. She was given into his custody. Rinkel’s family is not aware of the whereabouts of their daughter.

· On March 2, the Hindu community protested in front of the Press Club against the abductions and forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam. The family of Rinkel also participated in the protest.

· Hindus are a minority group in Pakistan, making up approximately 2% of the population.

· According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), around 20 to 25 forced kidnappings and conversions of Hindu girls take place every month in Sindh.

· The Hindu American Foundation states that “many Hindus in Pakistan are compelled to pay regular sums, as a type of ransom, to extortionists and local leaders in exchange for the physical security of their families and themselves.”

· As a result of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, minority groups in Pakistan are not free to express their own religions and ideologies without fear of persecution.

· State sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant. This state sponsored discrimination has caused several Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan. In March 2011, Hindu politician in Pakistan Jaipal Chabria, said that “every month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes.”

We humbly request that you contact us to join us in presenting Rinkel’s case to members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Please let us know as soon as possible if you plan to participate. We hope to work together to bring justice to Rinkel and her family and to bring an end to state sponsored discrimination in Pakistan.

Email: sapac.sindh@gmail.com

International Mother Language Day 21 February

By

It seems the founding fathers of Pakistan never really imagined a place for a Bengali speaking, large Hindu minority province. This is because the TNT demanded a full divorce from all that was Hindu. Such was the force of the ideology, there was even an effort to make Bengali arabicized and de-sanskritized!!

Bengali muslims were at the forefront of the partition movement but giving up Bengali was a bridge too far for them.

In the course of the Pakistani government’s occupation of Bangladesh (is there a better word though there were benighted efforts to improve “East Pakistan” it seemed an occupation stroke colonisation) to “Arabify” & “DeSanskritise” Bangla or Bengali (I don’t know which is appropriate to refer to in the English language I prefer using Persian over Farsi, Gypsy over Romany, Eskimo over can’t remember what oh yes Inuit, etc etc) it inadvertently sparked off a global movement to preserve “mother languages” (the usage of the word mother language reminds of me of the elegant song ….

Read more » Brown Pundits

Israel: High Court Rulings Undermine Human Rights

Recent Decisions Uphold Discrimination, Exploitation of Occupied Territory

(Jerusalem) – Recent decisions by Israel’s high court aim to legitimize clear violations of Israel’s international legal obligations, Human Rights Watch said today. In one decision, the court disregarded international law prohibiting discrimination, and in another, it ignored international law on the use of resources in an occupied territory. Israel should annul a law preventing Israeli citizens from living with their Palestinian spouses and end policies that permit private Israeli companies to strip rocks and other construction materials from quarries in the occupied West Bank for their own economic gain.

“With these rulings, Israel’s highest court has veered seriously off course in serving as a final bastion for upholding human rights,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “For the system of legal checks against rights abuses to break down like this is one more indication of the unraveling of protections for rights and freedom in Israel.” ….

Read more » Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Statement of concern – U.S. senators demand fair treatment for former Amb. Haqqani

By Josh Rogin

Three U.S. senators are calling on the Pakistani government and judiciary to protect former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, who they say has been the victim of “ongoing harassment and mistreatment” since resigning late last year due to the Memogate scandal.

“We are increasingly troubled by Ambassador Haqqani’s treatment since he returned home to Pakistan, including the travel ban imposed on him,” said Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in a Thursday statement. “Like many in Washington, we are closely following Ambassador Haqqani’s case. We urge Pakistani authorities to resolve this matter swiftly and consistent with civilian rule of law and to prevent the judicial commission investigating Ambassador Haqqani from becoming a political tool for revenge against an honorable man.” ….

Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)

Asma Jahangir says; the Supreme Court says they (military) cannot come now, but I ask when did they leave?

Aap (Chief Justics) kehtay hain Vo (the Armed Forces) ab nahi aa saktay. Bhai, Vo gaey kab hain ke aa nahi saktay. Pehle aap unko jaanay to dee(n)” Asma Jehangir says this in this interview. Whole interview is like primer for those who consider fundamental rights of an individual more important that the bogey of ‘national security.’ Part 5 and 6 of this interview are a must watch for thinking Pakistanis. She (Asma Jahangir) says transition to democracy not complete – transfer of power not taken place from military establishment to elected government in effective terms! The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy » DAWN News Tv (Memo Gate [Asma Jahangir Exclusive Interview] 1st Jan 2012-p5)

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