Call for separation of religion from state
SINDH – HYDERABAD, Feb 20: Leaders of nationalist and left-wing parties and prominent poets and writers have called for concrete efforts to curb fundamentalism and demanded separation of religion from state and equal rights for minorities.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Religious extremism and black laws of Zia’s regime’ organised by the “Left Unity” at the press club here on Sunday, they stressed the need for a united front comprising all secular, nationalist and progressive forces for combating fundamentalism and promoting secularism.
Renowned intellectual Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo said that after independence the Quaid-i-Azam had unequivocally declared that religion would be the personal concern of the individual and every citizen of Pakistan would have equal rights. But successive governments in the country violated this principle.
Mr Joyo called upon the working class and oppressed people to unite to protect their rights.
He said Sindhis, Balochs and Pakhtuns were oppressed nations. He said that not only “black laws of the Zia regime” but all discriminatory laws should be repealed.
Left Unity secretary Buxal Thallo said that religious extremism was a threat for the country’s progress and called upon all political parties to launch a joint struggle against fundamentalism. …
Read more : DAWN
Has Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law become a political tool in the hands of religious conservatives?
We will be discussing Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law with journalist Shehrbano Taseer whose father – Punjab governor Salman Taseer – was killed for speaking out against it.
The killing ignited a debate in Pakistan with many critics calling for the law to be amended or scrapped, saying it was being used to victimise liberal politicians and religious minorities.
But extremist groups have celebrated Taseer’s killer, calling him a hero who is defending Islam.
So has the blasphemy law become a political tool and should it have a place in today’s Pakistan?
Also joining the discussion will be Asma Jahangir, a well-known human rights activist, and Amjad Waheed, an Islamic scholar.
Read more : ALJAZEERA
Hindu legislator quits in Pakistan, shifts to India
ISLAMABAD: A Hindu member of the legislative assembly in Pakistan’s Sindh province resigned from his seat after receiving threats and shifted to India, media reports said Saturday.
Ram Singh Sodho was elected a member of the Sindh assembly on a reserved seat for minorities on a Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) ticket in the 2008 general elections, Dunya TV reported.
Sodho received threats and shifted base to India, from where he sent his resignation to Sindh assembly speaker Nisar Ahmad Khoro, the report said. …
Read more : The Times of India
More details : oneindiaNews – BBC urdu
A resolution was presented to condemn the murder of Salman Taseer Shaheed, during Peoples SAARC meeting/conference in Dhaka on January 18-19 th, 2011 . Resolution was unanimously adopted by the house.
RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN THE MURDER OF SALMAN TASEER
We the development practitioners, political workers, civil society leaders, representatives of social movements, peace and human rights activists, writers, journalists and concerned citizens of South Asia and the participants of Conference on ‘Envisioning New South Asia: People’s Perspectives, 18-19 January, 2011, Dhaka, Bangladesh condemn the brutal murder of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab, Pakistan, by a religious extremist and demand that the culprit should be brought to justice immediately and the government of Pakistan and other states of South Asian region should stop using communalism and religious fundamentalism to persecute religious and ethnic minorities to divide and rule the peace loving progressive and secular peoples of the region. We express our solidarity with the family of Salman Taseer and with the current moment against religious extremism in Pakistan and in the region.
Pakistani Hindu community is migrating to other countries due to the insecurity. The language of talk show is urdu/ Hindi.
Courtesy: Express TV (Pakistan Poochta Hai with Munizai, 11 January, 2011)
via – ZemTV – You Tube Link
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
More details : Dawn – BBC urdu
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
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.
Continue reading PAKISTAN: Appeasement policy towards religious intolerance leads to murder of a governor
Amnesty International Report 2010 – Millions of Pakistanis suffered abuses. Pakistani Taliban and other extremist groups targeted civilians and minorities throughout the country, while security forces used indiscriminate and disproportionate force and carried out suspected extrajudicial executions. In areas controlled by the Pakistani Taliban and allied armed groups, civilians faced severe abuses, including arbitrary arrest and detention; torture and other ill-treatment; a near total absence of due judicial process; stringent restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly; religious and ethnic discrimination; and violence and discrimination against women and girls. Violence against minorities increased, with the government failing to prevent attacks or punish perpetrators. There were no executions, although 276 people were sentenced to death. – Pakistan 28 May 2010 Christian minority member Fanish Masih, aged 19, was found dead on 15 September in Sialkot prison where he had been held in solitary confinement. Prison authorities claimed that he had committed suicide but his relatives reportedly noted bruises consistent with torture on his forehead, arms and legs. Three prison officials were suspended for negligence, but no criminal charges were brought against them.
Source – You Tube
Letter From An Expat – by Azra Rashid
I decided to write today after being mostly a silent observer for 31 years because now you are seriously …
Read more : CHOWK
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 – zemTv – You Tube Link
By Nazir S. Bhatti
Lahore: November 23, 2010. (PCP) Her father was crying, her Mother was crying and her Siblings were crying on her tortured dead body in Jinnah Hospital Lahore, it was January 2010. But soul of Shazia Masih was smiling as confident victim that Justice will be ensured, her rapist will be punished and her murderer will be hanged to death also because many human right activists, media camera men, line of reporters and doctors were witnessing 27 wounds on her dead body.
Again on walking to her final eternal journey lying in coffin in Cathedral Church Lahore, her soul was satisfied because her Christian brother Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was there, Provincial Minister for Minorities Kamran Michael was present, members of various political and religious parties and a large number of people from the Christian community were in her funeral ….
Read more : All voices
by Mohammad Taqi
…. Most leaders of the Pakistani jihadist-terrorist outfits, including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, are the alumni of the Wahabist Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and its offshoots like Lashkar-e-Jhangavi. They work hand-in-glove with the al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, especially the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura. While the Pakistan Army continues to boast victories in the war against terrorism, its inaction in face of the jihadist violence against the non-Wahhabi population raises serious concerns about such claims.
Peter Gourevitch notes that “the dead are innocent, the killers monstrous, and the surrounding politics insane or nonexistent” (in We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda). When the Taliban were ravaging Swat, the politics of resisting them appeared nonexistent. The media then, especially the English newspapers, did an admirable job of building the political and military will to fight the jihadists. Banishing the minorities has never stopped the fascists. One hopes that the Pakistani leaders and media call for banishing the barbarians, not their victims.
To read full article >> OUTLOOK
Prem Chand: His Death Was a National Tragedy; How His Coffin Was Treated a National Disgrace
Amongst the 152 who died in last Wednesday’s tragic crash of Air Blue flight were six members of the Youth Parliament. All death in this tragedy were sad. The death of these talented youth with aspirations of building a better Pakistan was no exception. Maybe it was tragedy compounded. But the story of one of them is sadder even than the others – and because of what happened to him after he died!
This is the story of Prem Chand, a bright young social worker from Sanghar (Sindh), one of the members of Youth Parliament, and one of those who died on the ill-fated AirBlue flight 202. His death – like the death of everyone on that flight – was a matter of national tragedy; the treatment of his dead body a matter of national disgrace.
According to news reports in The News and The Express Tribune young Prem Chand’s coffin was marked “Kafir” – a word that literally means ‘infidel’ or ‘non-believer’ but is mostly used as a serious slur in Pakistan. Literally labeling someone’s coffin as “Kafir” and not even giving them the respect to list their religion by its proper name, is a shameful and disgusting way to disrespect the last remains of anyone. All the more so the last remains of a patriotic Pakistani who was on that plane solely to represent Pakistan and to seek to be a better Pakistani – he was on his way to the ‘session’ of the Youth Parliament!
Read more >> PAKISTANIAT
Geneva , Switzerland . June 3, 2010. A roundtable and interactive dialogue on “The Independence of the Judiciary in Conflict Zones” was organized by the ‘International Human Rights Association of American Minorities’ and co-sponsored by IIFSO, WMC and IED during the 14th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Continue reading Geneva Seminar
Opinion : Blowback In Lahore
– OUTLOOK, WICHAAR
The attacks on Ahmedi mosques that killed over 80 people once again underline that such terrorism is unstoppable until you get at the infrastructure that trains and guides these terrorists.
Continue reading The Terrorist Attack in Lahore
16th March 2010, Geneva: European Organization of Pakistani Minorities an International Independent NGO working for the minority rights for Pakistani’s organized a Peaceful prayer demonstration in front of the United Nations under the symbolic broken chair.
Continue reading Pakistani Women Organize Prayer Demonstration outside the United Nations
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learned that four men who allegedly assisted in the rape of a young Hindu girl have been granted pre-arrest bail by a session court. Rape is a non-bailable offense in Pakistan and this is against criminal procedure and the law. Attempts by the family to file an FIR and obtain a medical report have been obstructed by local police, who later arrested the victim’s father on a false offense. Meanwhile members of an illegal tribal court have reportedly proposed that the victim marry her rapist and convert to Islam. She has threatened public self immolation if the perpetrators are not arrested and brought to justice by the authorities….
The AHRC received frequent reports of forced marriages of minority girls with Muslim men in areas along the Indian borders that have large Dalit Hindu populations, such as Thar Parker, Nagar Parker, Umer Kot, Mithi and Karoonjhar. The term Dalits are members of a scheduled caste, and due to the position of many as bonded labourers, female Dalits are particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is not unknown for Muslim seminaries to urge the forced conversion of Dalit women.
The AHRC has documented several such cases, including UA-008-2006 and UG-020-2006 and is aware of many more, in which Hindu scheduled caste and Christian women and girls have been abducted by Muslim men and raped. When confronted by the authorities perpetrators are often able to produce a marriage certificate from a seminary confirming the marriage and conversion of the victim. The girls are often taken out of contact with their families entirely, and various cases have been documented in which the courts have condoned such marriages with girls below the age of consent.
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-027- 2010
– Zulfiqar Halepoto
On March 12th, 2010, Friday, a group of civil society leaders, layers, writers and legislators (Pitamber PPP MPA, Advocate Javed Qazi, Asho Thama HRCP representative, Punhal Sario, Verji Kolhi, Zulfiqar Halepoto and others) visited the camp of displaced dalit families in Mithi (Thar Desert).
Continue reading Forced conversion and migration of Dalits in Thar Desert