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Grand Congress of Sindhi writers and intellectuals against draconian & black ‘SPLGA’ law

Sindhi writers lend voice to opposition’s movement

HYDERABAD: Over a hundred Sindhi writers, poets and intellectuals who attended the Sindhi Writers and Thinkers Congress have criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party for enacting the new local government law that was detrimental to the unity of the province. The gathering on Sunday, arranged by the Sindhi Adabi Sangat, dealt another blow to the PPP, whose leaders have claimed in the past that opponents of the new law are “illiterate nationalists”.

PPP MNA Zafar Ali Shah was the only political leader who was invited to the event, and he did not disappoint the participants by going all-out against the policy of his own party. Shah termed the new local government system “a big injustice to Sindh” and said that it would “serve the interests of a minority [population]”. Outgoing Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, said that the new law was passed contrary to the wishes of the people of Sindh.

Sindh Democratic Forum’s Zulfiqar Halepoto presented a list of “anti-Sindh” pieces of legislation that were adopted by the present government. They included the Zulfiqarabad Development Authrotiy Act, Thar Coal and Energy Board Act 2011, Colonisation of Government Lands (Amendment) Act 2010 and the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012.

He added that the Sindh Assembly had passed a law in 2005 which asked the provincial government to ensure that multinational companies and other private enterprises in Karachi recruit people that have local domicile. “It meant that residents of 22 districts of Sindh were not allowed to come for jobs to Karachi, which is the only commercial and industrial city in the province.

Jami Chandio, a researcher, stressed upon his fellow intellectuals to continue to acquire knowledge and to impart that to the people. “We need to make people understand these things, so that they can choose their leadership while keeping in mind the threats and opportunities that we face.”

Continue reading Grand Congress of Sindhi writers and intellectuals against draconian & black ‘SPLGA’ law

SANA Toronto Briefs Imran Khan (PTI Chief) on SPLGA

By: Khalid Hashmani

Although I believe that the manifesto of PTI and certain statements of Imran Khan that he has made in the past have elements that hurt Sindh & Sindhi interests, the courageous step by SANA GTA chapter deserves thanks and praises. The PPP is taking Sindhi support as granted and is bartering away Sindhi interests for their short-term gain to remain in power at all costs. This initiative of SANA GTA chapter reflects the sentiment that Sindhis will neither forget nor forgive those who betray our trust.

In the whole scheme of things and as policies of PTI (as expressed in it’s manifesto and the statements of PTI leaders) that favor the building large dams, having one national language, and more centralization at the cost of provinces, Imran Khan’s party is not a natural partner of Sindhis. Nevertheless, meeting of Toronto Sindhis with Imran Khan yells PPP that since they have put Sindh & Sindhi Rights on an auction block, Sindhis will work with traditional adversaries to block PPP from further sell-out of Sindh Rights.

Thank you Abdul-Razzaq Khushk, Jam Muneer, Rajesh Rathi, Vishnu Lohano, Aijaz Kolachi, Naeem Khatree & other friends for their bold step.

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SINDHI ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA (Toronto Chapter)

Memorandum: October 25, 2012

To: Mr. Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf.

Regarding: SINDH NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST SPLGA2012.

Dear Sir,

We, Sindhi speaking immigrants from Pakistan living in North America feel that PPP has violated the mandate of the people of Sindh by Passing this divisive and very controversial, black Law called “SPLGA 2012.

We want to bring following facts in your kind consideration & perusal.

· Under Article 137 of the Constitution, Sindh Assembly has no power to transfer the executive authority of the Provincial Government to any other authority, but PPP did not care and still passed this act.

· Since there is triangle of the powers under the constitution, one organ of the state, particularly a legislative organ cannot snatch executive authority from the provincial government.

· Under Section 14(5) Mayer has been empowered to establish any office or activity which power even the Federal Government does not possess.

· Under Schedule 1, the Metropolitan Corporations will have 43 departments with their own administration that is equal to all departments of Sindh government, hence state with in state has been created.

· Mayer had been made supreme as under Section 23, Mayor could only be removed by two third majority when the Chief Minister & Prime minister can be removed by simple majority of the house.

· Section 109 pertains to preventive detention, 133 and 143 to public nuisances, section 144 to ban any sort of activity including freedom of movement given in this act, Mayer will silence freedom of expression & assembly , which is against the spirit of democracy & will be the cause of silencing the voice of opponents.

· Under section 145, Mayor has been empowered to attach a property of any citizen in case of dispute over title of the property, which will legitimize bulldozing all of properties & seizing them for the city, hence making the way for one party rule in karachi.

· Metropolitan corporations will have their own taxes, plus property tax as well as right over the finances of the Provincial Government but they will not be answerable to provincial government.

· The administration headed by Mayor will be all resourceful and powerful whereas the administration working under Chief Minister will be nominal, weak and toothless having no authority whatsoever.

· Section 8 of the SPLG Act, 2012, creates a single Metropolitan Corporation by abolishing five districts.

· District Council, Karachi which comprised of 70% of the rural areas of Karachi has been done away with, thus dealing a severe blow to Sindhi and Balochi,Pashtun,panjabi,Katchi population of Karachi.

· Mayer will be elected indirectly on the basis of fraudulent electoral system and will belong to a particular ethnic community not forming majority of the population in Karachi.

· Under Section 9, eighteen towns have been created without respecting the boundaries of the revenue districts as for the rest of sindh & a dual system has been created to benefit MQM.

· The town boundaries, at present, run across district boundaries only in Karachi to favor MQM, whereas in other districts of Sindh, town or Talukas are the part and parcel of the same district.

· Thus a dual system has been enforced which gives complete control to one ethnic community in Karachi at the cost of others. In Karachi, 18 towns have been created in such a way as to make minority population as a majority to benefit MQM.

· This is also a violation of Supreme Court of Pakistan orders which has already held that constituencies in Karachi may be demarcated afresh giving representation to all communities living there.

· In the name of decentralization, Karachi has been completely centralized eliminating the representation of indigenous and other communities by handing over them to the terrorist Party of the city.

All conscious & patriot people & civil society along with all nationalist parties of Sindh are on the roads and struggling against this treacherous act of PPP through which they have handed over absolute powers to MQM and has thus laid the foundations of “State with in state” and muted the voice of all other nationalities.

We urge you to raise your voice against this black law at all forums & Media and support people of Sindh against this betrayal, tyranny & arrogance of PPP in Sindh.

Best Regards,

Abdul Razzak Khushk

President, SANA,Toronto.

Sindhi woman leader to brief US Congress on plight of Hindus, Christians

A highly respected Sindhi woman leader from the hometown of slain premier Benazir Bhutto would brief the American Congress on the slave-like status of Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian women Thursday.

Dr. Rubina Greenwood, who belongs to a family of scholars and intellectuals from Larkano, Sindh, and is a Briton now, will partake in the Congressional Briefing on Minority Women’s Rights in Pakistan. She will inform the congress of the daily abductions, forced conversions and rape in the garb of marriages of minority Hindu and Christian women in Pakistan.

The Washington DC based Hindu American Foundation has organized the briefing.

The status of Hindu and Christian women in Pakistan is like that of modern day slaves. These minorities are routinely hounded under the draconian blasphemy law that carries the death sentence.

Continue reading Sindhi woman leader to brief US Congress on plight of Hindus, Christians

Draconian & Apartheid LG ordinance backlash: Sindhi poet to return his Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in protest

LG ordinance backlash: Sindhi poet to return his Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in protest

By Sarfaraz Memon

SUKKUR: Poet, writer and research scholar Dr Dur Mohammad Pathan, expressing his disappointment over the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) performance, announced on Sunday that he will return his Presidential Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.

Talking to the media, he blamed the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for ‘trying to harm the integrity and solidarity of Sindh’, which he said could not be tolerated. He was referring to the controversial local government ordinance. Pathan added that despite opposition from all over Sindh, PPP not only encouraged the Sindh governor to promulgate the ‘black ordinance’, but passed it in a record half hour.

Continue reading Draconian & Apartheid LG ordinance backlash: Sindhi poet to return his Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in protest

New blasphemy low – downs syndrome girl arrested!

We have received reports of a new and appalling low in the ongoing abuse of blasphemy laws. Allegedly, a Quran was found with some of its pages burned by Muslims in a Christian area of Islamabad – in previous cases the burning has nearly always shown to have been done by Muslims, or by mentally unstable people – and worse, they have had an 11 year old Christian girl with downs syndrome called Rimsha Masih arrested and charged with the crime.

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Blasphemy: Mob burns man alive

Blasphemy: Mob burns man alive for burning Holy Quran

By Kashif Zafar

BAHAWALPUR: An angry mob lynched a man accused of burning the Holy Quran in the Chanighot area of Bahawalpur, burning him to death after pouring petrol on him on Wednesday.

The police reached the spot to control the matter but the mob refused to hand over the accused and continued to torture him.

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REMEMBERING SHAHBAZ BHATTI – MARTYR OF DEMOCRACY & SECULARISM

Citizens for Democracy (CFD) invites you to join in the Candle light vigil to mark the first anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti, former Federal Minister for Minorities. Mr. Bhatti, who was assassinated on March 2, 2011 in Islamabad, was a member of Federal Assembly of Pakistan and an outspoken critic of misuse of Blasphemy Laws introduced by a military dictator, Zia ul Haq.

The candle light vigil will held on March 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm in front of Bagh Ibn-e-Qasim/ Jehangir Kothari Parade, opposite Park Towers, Clifton, Karachi, Sindh. Please join us, invite friends and help spread the word.

Citizens For Democracy (CFD)- citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com

Shehrbano Taseer: Hatred that killed my father hurts all Pakistan

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

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

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

Losing the battle for Pakistan

by Sher Ali Khan

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

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

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

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

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

Read more : View Point

Pakistan radicals rule the streets

by Amanda Hodge

TENS of thousands of people crowded the streets of Lahore late on Sunday demanding freedom for the assassin of Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

The protestors are also demanding death for the US consular official who killed two suspected armed robbers in self-defence.

Demonstrators from religious parties Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan and the banned terrorist-linked charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa held banners in support of Mumtaz Qadri — the police guard who killed Taseer last month because the governor had supported changes to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.

Opposition party leaders from more mainstream parties also lined up to assure the protesters they would never support changes to the blasphemy law and would quit the National Assembly should the government attempt to amend them.

Protesters chanted slogans such as “Free Mumtaz Qadri” while demanding the harshest penalty for Raymond Davis, a US consular official who was arrested for double murder on Friday after shooting two armed motorcyclists he feared were about to rob him.

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“We warn the government and administration that . . . if they help the arrested American illegally, then this crowd will surround the US embassy and presidential palace in Islamabad,” one official from the Jamiat Ulema Islam party said.

The US has demanded Mr Davis’s release, claiming he has diplomatic immunity, but the Pakistani government says the courts should decide his fate.

In another corner of the Punjab’s once feted cultural capital, 500 people attended a peace rally and remembrance vigil for the slain governor.

Among them was liberal commentator Raza Rumi, who conceded yesterday: “It’s not a good time to be a liberal in Pakistan.

“Forget liberal — it’s not a good time to be a moderate.”

Analysts say the fact that among the speakers at the larger rally was JUD founder Hafiz Saeed, believed to have also founded terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, says much about the complicity of state forces in Pakistan’s extremist groundswell.

But just as telling was who was sharing the podium.

Members of Imran Khan’s so-called moderate Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party also spoke in support of the blasphemy laws.

“All the major political parties from the Right and the centre were there, which shows the Right is capturing more and more political space,” says Rumi. …

Read more : The Australian

Blame game

by Fawzia Afzal-Khan

Samaa TV program anchor Meher Bokhari, whose aggressive interview of Taseer a few weeks prior to his assassination has raised troubling questions about media responsibility. Did her insistence, that Governor Taseer had somehow engaged in defamation of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) by simply calling the blasphemy law a man-made law and as such, amendable, seem an appropriate line of questioning? …

Read more : View Point

 

Silence from Muslim- Americans

by Peter Skerry and Gary Schmitt

AMID THE uproar earlier this month over the assassination of Salmaan Taseer, the secularist governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab, Muslim-American organizations have been largely silent. At a time when mainstream Muslim leaders have been trying to demonstrate their embrace of religious tolerance and pluralism to their fellow Americans, few have had a word to say about this People’s Party leader whose denunciation of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy law led to his death at the hands of a Muslim zealot — a zealot who has since been celebrated by fundamentalists around the globe. …

Read more : The Boston Globe

 

Flight of Reason – by Aamer Ahmed Khan

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.

Courtesy: http://www.columnspk.com/flight-of-reason-by-aamer-ahmed-khan/

Blasphemy laws are un-Islamic, unethical, inhuman, racist & draconian laws imposed by model dictator Gen. Zia & through it political mullahs are terrorising the people

The language of discussion is urdu/ Hindi.

Courtesy: DunyaTV (4 Dec, 2010, Policy Matter  with Naseem Zehra, guests Francis Joseph, Javed Ahmed Ghamdi,  Ali Hassan Deyan, & Molvi Ibrahim.)

via – zemTvYou Tube Link

Condemnation of Death Sentence to Aysia BiBi Under Blasphemy Law

Renowned Urdu novelist, short story writer and peace activist K. Ashraf condemns the death sentence of Asia BiBi under Blasphemy Law. Awarding such barbaric punishment to anyone under such so called Law is against the universal principles of humanity. He appeals to all Pakistanis to stand up against clergy and oppose such draconian punishments. The use of religion to deny justice to people is naked brutality which has no space in any modern day society.

Islam is an egalitarian religion which teaches human beings to live fear-free and peaceful lives. In Pakistan, so much religious deviation has taken place it has become difficult to differentiate between what is Islamic and un-Islamic.

By implementing tribal punishments in the guise of religion is taking toll on Pakistani society. We are already witnessing such incidents in all parts of Pakistan where people have started taking law into their own hands.

It is about time for the members of the governing elite and the people of Pakistan to clearly define what type of Pakistan they want. Do they want a Pakistan where people start killing people or have them killed through state apparatus simply for uttering words which people of one set of faith do not like?

It is heart breaking to see comments from some Pakistani religious clerks in support of death sentence of Aysia BiBi. Supporting death sentence to Aysia BiBi by these religious clerks is causing a bad name to Pakistan.

Renowned novelist, story writer and peace activist K. Ashraf appeals to the government and the people of Pakistan to stand up against this un-Islamic act in the name of Islam and save Islam from becoming a stigma in the world.

November 24, 2010