Tag Archives: Salmaan

New Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was born in Sindh and speaks Sindhi but he was elected in Punjab

Zardari bowls out opponents once again

by Omar Derawal

Asif Ali Zardari has been underestimated from day one. The shrewd businessman has proved not only to be a master of the boardroom, but of political strategy as well. Nominating Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as Prime Minister after losing successive wickets appears his latest triumph. And, as with his previous deliveries, this one too seems to have outwitted the opposition.

Nawaz Sharif termed Raja Pervaiz’s election as ‘tragedy’, but perhaps the PML-N chief was thinking of his own political fortunes. After all, Raja Pervaiz was born in Sindh and speaks Sindhi, but he was elected in Punjab. Even the carefully staged energy riots look a little bit awkward with a new Prime Minister who, as Minister of Water and Power, added more Megawatts to the national grid than anyone since the government of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Imran Khan too seems to have been outplayed in this innings as he finds himself with a Vice-Chairman from a feudal family while Asif Zardari has a Prime Minister who rose through party ranks from a middle class background. By nominating Raja Pervaiz, Zardari has also neutralised Khan’s nationalistic appeals to security hawks. Though a liberal himself, Raja Pervaiz is strong on national security. In his first speech as PM, he declared that there can be no peace in Pakistan without peace in Afghanistan, sending a clear signal that the government continues to be united on defending Pakistan’s priorities.

Qamar Zaman Kaira’s stellar performances on talk shows had many PPP supports hoping he would pull off a surprise win, but it’s Kaira’s unmatched ability to silence the chattering heads that made him indispensable as Information Minister. Some suggested the name of Hina Rabbani Khar, too – but her deft handling of foreign affairs means that she too is more needed where she is. What is impressive about this debate among PPP supporters is that despite losing such figures as Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Husain Haqqani, Yousaf Gilani, and Makhdoom Shahabuddin, PPP still has such a deep line-up from which to draw new players.

Politics is a test match – not T20. You have to play a long term strategy if you want to win. Zardari’s opposition thought they could force him to retire early, but he proved too skilled for that. Now they are praying for a draw. But with this latest innings, Zardari has shown once again it’s the opposition who is still chasing.

Courtesy: new Pakistan

Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

By Shehrbano Taseer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

US government website shows that the Sunni Ittehad Council received $36,607 from Washington in 2009 under the State Department’s Public Diplomacy Programmes

US aid to Sunni Ittehad Council backfired

By Huma Imtiaz

WASHINGTON: The United States gave money to the Sunni Ittehad Council to organise anti-Taliban rallies in 2009; however, the council later led demonstrations in support of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, in an apparent boomerang of US policy to support religious moderation in Pakistan.

US government website Usaspending.gov shows that the Sunni Ittehad Council received $36,607 from Washington in 2009 under the State Department’s Public Diplomacy Programmes for Afghanistan and Pakistan. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

By Declan Walsh

Even before you reach Pakistan there’s reason to fret. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly, inshallah,” says the Pakistan International Airlines pilot, 10 minutes outside Islamabad. To the western ear this ancient invocation – literally “God willing” – can be disconcerting: you pray the crew are relying on more than divine providence to set down safety. But these days it’s about right – Pakistan, a country buffeted by mysterious if not entirely holy forces, seems to have surrendered to its fate.

Viewed from the outside, Pakistan looms as the Fukushima of fundamentalism: a volatile, treacherous place filled with frothing Islamists and double-dealing generals, leaking plutonium-grade terrorist trouble. Forget the “world’s most dangerous country” moniker, by now old hat. Look to recent coverage: “Hornet’s Nest” declares this week’s Economist; “The Ally from Hell” proclaims the Atlantic.

Continue reading Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

Faith based Killing no crime – Jamaat e Islami

– Taseer`s killer committed no crime: JI

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

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

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

Read more → DAWN.COM

Leave “The Crazies” alone Shehrbano!

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy:→ WICHAAR.COM

Shehrbano Taseer Dazzles USA and Predicts Triumph of Liberalism in Pakistan

By: Khalid Hashmani

Shehrbano Taseer, daughter of murdered Pakistani Governor Salmaan Taseer is currently doing a whirl wind tour of the United States. Her father was killed by an extremist in his security staff for his campaign against misuses of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Ms Taseer has visited many US cities and was interviewed on many popular News and Commentary shows such as National Public Radio and the Rachel Maddow show. These interviews can be seen or read at http://www.npr.org/2011/06/27/137441962/shehrbano-taseer-recalls-her-fathers-assassination and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43488526#43488526 . Last Monday (June 27, 2011), she was in Washington D.C. and had a discussion with the local Think-Tank community and other members of public. Her key message was that although extremists are well-organized, the liberal spirit of Pakistanis that has ruled minds and hearts of many Pakistanis is still thriving and with little courage and encouragement by world communities, the liberal ideas will triumph in Pakistan.

Continue reading Shehrbano Taseer Dazzles USA and Predicts Triumph of Liberalism in Pakistan

Pakistan : Not revolution but anarchy

– Not revolution but anarchy

by Waseem Altaf

Revolution refers to drastic change in thinking and behaving in the cultural, economic and socio-political context.

Socio-economic deprivation or gross disparity or conflict of interest among competing groups causes frustration which leads to aggression. The aggression so caused is channelized by leaders who symbolize an ideology. A critical mass of the population is necessary who are supportive of this ideology.

Today people in Pakistan are frustrated. This has caused aggression. The manifestations of this aggression are visible everywhere. The irritability of the common men, show of force and inflammatory speeches in public rallies, ever increasing crime rate, intolerance and impatience are all indicative of this aggression. However there is no such leader who has an ideology and who enjoys the support of a critical mass of the population which can bring about a revolution in this country. Hence the thought of revolution becomes even more irrelevant in a country where there are so many ethnic, social, political and religious divides with no leader enjoying mass support at the national level.

However this country is fast drifting towards a change. Let us see what the present state of the nation is:

Today it is not the government, the parliament, the media, the judiciary or even the army which calls the shots but the firebrand mullah in the streets who determines the tone and tenor of the statements and initiatives emanating from all the so called pillars of the State. Sherry Rahman has withdrawn the blasphemy bill, informed the Prime Minister on Wednesday 2nd of Feb. Sitting ministers either support the stance taken by the mullah or remain silent. While it is Mumtaz Qadri versus the State, the case has been shifted to Adiala jail for proceedings as the State does not feel secure in an open court in Islamabad. Last time the public prosecutor could not attend the court as the jail premises was thronged by Sunni Tehrik supporters of Mumtaz Qadri.Today the conduct of the Parliament is determined by the mullah as in the Senate, it was not allowed to say fateha for Salman Taseer in response to a resolution moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar. Even the liberal MQM members refused and not a single member of PPP rose to support the resolution. …

Read more : View Point

Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination & the rising tide of fanaticism in Pakistan

By Ahmed Chandio

The assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has spread fear and terror among people. A killer has been made hero and the victim as a villain in the name of blasphemy law. Religious parties of the country have intensified their activities in the wake of the Governor’s assassination. They don’t care about the country’s image abroad and the cost anyway. People are not ready to discuss the issue of blasphemy saying it’s a sensitive issue.

Lawyers of Rawalpindi forced a judge of an anti-terrorism court not to leave for the capital to hear the case. Finally, police shifted the accused to Rawalpindi to present him before the judge. Lawyers and activists of some religious parties placed garlands of roses around the killer’s neck. They showered him with flower petals and kissed him. According to a PPP minister, lawyers who garlanded the killer belonged to the PML-N.

Over 300 lawyers signed legal documents expressing their willingness to defend the killer. But no public prosecutor came forward to plead the case of the assassinated governor because of fear.

One newspaper reported that Qadri was a mercenary killer and paid to carry out the murder. He was given an assurance that his family would be looked after if anything happened to him or if he was convicted. Sources said announcements had been made about bounty to be paid to the killer and the amount offered totaled Rs40 million.

The Punjab governor’s murder is seen as an act of religious fanaticism. The roots of the menace can be traced back to the Zia era. Earlier it was considered that madressahs (religious seminaries) served as breeding grounds for producing fanatics. But profiles of 9/11 terrorists, Times Square bomber, the killer of journalist Daniel Pearl proved that all of them had not studied in madressahs. The killer of Punjab governor had also not studied in madressah.

Can we hold curriculum being taught from primary to university-level education in Pakistan responsible for terrorism? No. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the killer of Daniel Pearl, had studied in the London School of Economics.

Then what instigated them to be a fanatic? What are sources and forces of hate in Pakistan?

There has been no doubt that hate missions are very much institutionalized and billions of rupees are spent on them. Some foreign countries are also funding millions of rupees to groups involved in acts of militancy. …

Read more : Indus Herald

Aasia Bibi Case

Muslim councillor receives death threats over blasphemy case

By Rob Crilly, Islamabad

Raza Anjum travelled to Pakistan in December and spent three weeks meeting political leaders urging them to release Asia Bibi, a mother-of-five found guilty of defaming the Prophet Mohammed, a conviction that human rights campaigners say is unsafe.

In one threatening phone call, which he has reported to police, he was told to “stop supporting Christians or he would be made a terrible example out of”. …

Read more : The Telegraph

Baluchistan

 

Free Baluchistan

 

by Selig S. Harrison

As the Islamist nightmare envelops Pakistan, the Obama administration ponders what the United States should do. But the bitter reality is that the United States is already doing too much in Pakistan. It is the American shadow everywhere, the Pakistani feeling of being smothered by the U.S. embrace, that gives the Islamists their principal rallying cry.

Evidence is everywhere of what the Economist calls “a rising tide of anti-American passion.” The leading spokesman of traditional Muslim theology, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), opposes the “war on terror” because “it is an American war” and blames a U.S. plot for the recent assassination of the moderate Punjab governor, Salman Taseer.

The endless procession of U.S. leaders paying goodwill visits to Islamabad, most recently Vice President Joe Biden, evokes sneers and ridicule in the Urdu-language press, accompanied by cartoons showing Pakistanis scratching fleas crawling over their bodies. The late special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, liked free-swinging encounters with Pakistani journalists that left a trail of bitterness expressed in the Urdu media, but this did not deter Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from return visits. …

Read more : National Interest

Pakistan: Drop Blasphemy Charges Against 17-Year-Old

Student’s Case Underscores Urgent Need to Repeal Abusive Law

Pakistan has set the standard for intolerance when it comes to misusing blasphemy laws, but sending a schoolboy to jail for something he scribbled on an exam paper is truly appalling. It’s bad enough that a school official flagged it, but for police and judicial authorities to go ahead and lock up a teenager under these circumstances is mind boggling. – – Bede Sheppard, senior children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The Pakistani government should immediately drop blasphemy charges against a 17-year-old student and ensure his safe release from detention, Human Rights Watch said today.

The authorities arrested Muhammad Samiullah on January 28, 2011, and charged him under Pakistan’s “blasphemy law,” article 295-C of the criminal code, for allegedly including derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad in his answers on a written school exam in April 2010. According to press reports, police at Shahra Noor Jahan Police Station in Karachi registered a case against Samiullah after receiving a complaint from the chief controller of the intermediate level education board. On January 29, a judicial magistrate, Ehsan A. Malik, ordered Samiullah sent to a juvenile prison pending trial. …

Read more : Human Rights Watch

 

In Punjab most of the poeple are religious hard liners

For moderate majority, a hard line

By Karin Brulliard

IN LAHORE, PAKISTAN Following the assassination of a liberal politician who criticized federal blasphemy laws, loud support for the confessed killer is coming from an unlikely quarter: a violence-eschewing, anti-Taliban school of Islam steeped in Sufism.

While many factions have lauded the slaying, the peace-promoting Barelvi sect has spearheaded mass rallies to demand the release of the assassin, a policeman. Because most Pakistanis are Barelvis, their stance is challenging the belief long held among liberals here – and hoped for by nervous U.S. officials – that the Muslim majority in this nuclear-armed nation is more moderate than militant. …

Read more : The Washington Post

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

“Shoot us” : Mazhar Arif writes on role of media in Taseer’s killing

“Shoot us”

by Mazhar Arif

Urdu press and leading television channels, played a catalytic role in what happened. They lament that the responsibility of Taseer’s assassination rests with the irresponsible media and its howling and yelling anchors. The Jamaat-e-Islami and Sipah-e-Sahaba affiliated journalists and analysts in the media berated and maligned Taseer for supporting poor Christian rural worker Aasia Bibi …

Read more : View Point

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

 

MQM’s representative in the Senate refused to say Fateha (prayer) for Salman Taseer Shaheed – BBC

Islamabad : MQM’s representatives in the Senate refused to say Fateha (prayer) for Salmaan Taseer Shaheed. Also, interestingly, Waseem Sajjad of the PML-Q refused to condemn the assassin Mumtaz Qadri. Since senator Waseem Sajjad is a pillar of the establishment, this speaks volumes about where the “deep state” stands on this issue. …

Read more : BBC urdu

Extremist Intimidation Chills Pakistan Secular Society

by Julie McCarthy

In Pakistan, a battle has been joined by those who want a tolerant Islamic state against those who want a fundamentalist religious regime.

The killing in Pakistan earlier this month of Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer has cheered the religious right while chilling secular Pakistanis and exposing deep fissures in the society.

The governor was gunned down in Islamabad by a bodyguard angered at his bid to relax the country’s blasphemy laws. The assassination of Taseer, an audacious advocate for modernism, revealed the conservative attitudes about Islam that are sweeping through Pakistan. …

Read more : NPR

PAKISTAN’S BARBARIC LAW OF BLASPHEMY

By Dr. Shabbir Ahmed

Dictionaries define blasphemy as: In simple terms it means insulting someone or something considered sacred or inviolable by a community or group of people.

These days, Pakistan is gripped by the hysteria of blasphemy, particularly about insulting the exalted Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) or the Holy Qur’an. This situation is fast creating a national divide which spreads hatred against each other based upon what they believe and others believe. Every sect then considers itself right and all others wrong. The divergent beliefs thrust them to a massive enmity to the extent of absolute intolerance. The fanatics among the religious people have no hesitation in killing their opponents. Pakistan could possibly be heading towards a civil war. …

Courtesy: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamArticleDetail.aspx?ArticleID=3995

Blasphemy, theirs and ours

by Adnan Farooq

In last ten years, beards have desecrated— in the literal and violent sense— 53 places considered holy by believers of different faith in Pakistan. They have bombed and raided mosques, churches, holy processions, seminaries, shrines, Imambargahs, missionary schools even hospitals. These acts of confessional desecration have claimed 1152 lives and maimed another 2780 innocent people, mostly co-religionists. Not a single incident has provoked any mullah, Media Mujahid or any media house to cry blasphemy. A committed Karachi-based activist and a fellow Viewpoint contributor, Muhammad Nafees, keeps compiling scary figures in his bid to wake a self-indulgent Pakistan up. The mainstream media almost never take note of his efforts. Undeterred, he keeps e-mailing his findings on e-mail lists. Look at the terrifying data, illustrating the breadth and depth of violent puritan blasphemies, he has dispatched:

Read more : ViewPoint

Liberals are losing ground in Pakistan

“They’re armed, we’re not. They’ve nothing to lose. They fight for their faith with bullets. We’re not ready to die.”Rehana Hakim, Editor, Newsline

“The liberal-minded people are thinking of leaving the country. The liberal space will shrink even further.”Ayesha Siddiqa

“Should I remain silent or stand up to be counted? I’m struggling to take a decision.”Moneeza Hashmi, Broadcaster

The Flickering Flame

. Pakistan’s liberals are fleeing the country in fear or being forced into silence.

Mariana Baabar

When Omer announced he had completed his master’s degree from a university in London and wished to return home to Karachi, his father Rahim Khan, a senior government official, should have marvelled at his luck. After all, only a minuscule percentage of boys from the subcontinent ever return to their country from studies abroad. Contrary to expectations, Rahim was dismayed, promptly advising his only son to enrol for another course or grab a job, to do anything he could to extend his visa there. Rahim explained his decision to Outlook, “He will have no future in a city where you can’t be sure of returning home alive in the evening.”

It isn’t just those from the rich, western-educated class who have made it their habit to take a flight out of Pakistan, often for good. Months ago, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, a leading religious scholar, decided to make Dubai his home, so weary was he of the repeated threats from the obscurantists livid at his moderate interpretation of Islam. Marred by continuing ethnic strife, the once-liberal city of Karachi has also undergone rampant Talibanisation, goading the rich to make a beeline for safer climes abroad. This exodus prompted columnist Kamran Shafi to recently write about the “darkened homes in Karachi where the inmates have flown to alternative ‘nests’ in Canada, England and Malaysia”.

For long, Pakistan has seen its people migrate for reasons as varied as better economic prospects to hopes of escaping political discrimination and the state’s inability to provide protection from murderous gangs scouring the land with impunity. Whoever from the minority groups of Hindus and Christians can leave the country, does so at the first opportunity. Joining them in droves in recent times have been those from the Ahmedia sect, which is deemed non-Muslim under law. A significant percentage of the exodus comprises businessmen, often the target of kidnapping and extortion. Pakistanis have always asked themselves: should we leave the country or stay behind?

This question has again become a subject of fervent debate from the time Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down and the shocking feting of his assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who was outraged by his victim’s support for amending the blasphemy law. For someone to be killed for an opinion, an idea, has jolted Pakistanis into reflecting over their journey backward—from liberating progressivism to stifling conservatism. Recalls journalist Adnan Rehmat, “In the ’60s and ’70s, you could even eat at restaurants during Ramadan and see women in saris and bell-bottoms in the bazaars. Burqas and beards were a rare sight.” …

Read more : OUT LOOK

When it comes to PPP, even judiciary acts somewhat differently!?

The language of the discussion is urdu/ Hindi.

Courtesy: ARY News (11th hour with Waseem Baadaami, guest Faouzia Wahab)

via – SiasatYou Tube Link

Movement against Extremism Discussed

Reference Meeting for Mehboob Sada: Movement against Extremism Discussed

Hyderabad – Sindh : A reference meeting to pay tribute to Mehboob Sada of Christian Study Centre, Pakistan was held this evening at The Institute for Social Movements, Hyderabad, where participants discussed his services for peace, inter-faith harmony and youth development. The meeting also discussed the post Taseer scenario and decided to mobilize the communities and youth in the rural Sindh and to coordinate and communicate with similar initiatives in the other cities of the country.

Tariq Ali’s backhanded tribute to Salmaan Taseer

by Mahvish Afridi

Is Tariq Ali a reporter, a Marxist activist or an author of fluffy Islamist novels reminiscent of Nasim Hijazi? Or is he just an ideologue past his sell by date, cashing in on his Communist Cows.  Nonetheless, he clearly has his prejudices and his article “Salman Taseer Remembered” (London Review of Books) reveals some of them.

In what should have been a tribute to a childhood friend, Tariq Ali can’t help himself and resorts to his typical petty digs based on his own prejudices and neurosis. He remembers their childhood memories but cannot bring himself to appreciate the late Salman Taseer’s business success and political activism.  I suppose that is natural given that Tariq Ali comes from a privileged feudal background and ran off from Pakistan instead of facing any consequences for being part of the Left movement of the late 1960s. Tariq Ali’s grandfather Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan was a leader of the Unionist Muslim League, a feudalist political party formed to represent the interests of the landlords of Punjab. It is the same feudal lord about whom Allama Iqabl wrote: nigah-e-faqr mein shaan-e-sikandri kia hai

In Tariq Ali’s elitist lexicon, being a self made and highly successful businessman is far inferior to being a paid lecture circuit mouthpiece for Hamas and Taliban and their supporters that reside on the fringes of the Far Left.

His glossing over the incarceration that Taseer had to face for his political affiliation with the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leadership are probably an indication of his insecurity for running away to England at the first sign of trouble. Not unlike other members of Pakistan’s ‘fake civil society’, Tariq Ali hates the PPP and the Bhuttos because they deprived him and his likes of the imaginary revolution that Tariq Ali so much wanted to lead but never possessed the guts and heart to do so.

In his back handed tribute to Shaheed Taseer, Tariq Ali reveals more about himself and his prejudice than about the late Governor’s successful life. …

Read more : CriticalPPP

Naseem Zehra is discussing Blasphemy Laws & the Role Religious-Political Parties

The typical religious zealots are biggest menace to development of Pakistan. They want to take country back to stone age of Taliban-ism. The narrow minded Mullas were against even the formation of Pakistan and they called Quaid-e-Azam as Kafar-e-Azam and today they call themselves as Champions of Pakistan etc. Religion is one’s individual right and lets make this country free from evil policies of Zia regime and make country a progressive and liberal.

Courtesy: Dunya TV (Policy Matters with Naseem Zehra, guests Hassan Nisar, Abid Minto, Khalid Zaheer and Nazir Naaji & others.  22 Jan. 2011)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link

Islamofascism is a reality: Pakistan is destined to drown in blood from civil war: Pervez Hoodbhoy

The War within Islam

Islamofascism is a reality: Pakistan is destined to drown in blood from civil war: Pervez Hoodbhoy

A New Age Islam reader sent the following letter to the editor:

Here is a letter sent by Pakistan’s foremost progressive intellectual and physicist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy to a friend:

I am sharing with you some lines that I have just written for family and friends who are warning me:

Whatever one might think of Governor Salman Taseer’s politics, he was killed this Wednesday for what was certainly the best act of his life: trying to save the life of an illiterate, poor, peasant Christian woman.

But rose petals are being showered upon his murderer. He is being called a ghazi, lawyers are demonstrating spontaneously for his release, clerics refused to perform his funeral rites. Most shockingly, the interior minister – his political colleague and the ultimate coward – has said that he too would kill a blasphemer with his own hands.

Pakistan once had a violent, rabidly religious lunatic fringe. This fringe has morphed into a majority. The liberals are now the fringe. We are now a nation of butchers and primitive savages. Europe’s Dark Ages have descended upon us.

Sane people are being terrified into silence. After the assassination, FM-99 (Urdu) called me for an interview. The producer tearfully told me (offline) that she couldn’t find a single religious scholar ready to condemn Taseer’s murder. She said even ordinary people like me are in short supply.

I am deeply depressed today. So depressed that I can barely type these lines. …

Read more : http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamWarWithinIslam_1.aspx?ArticleID=3953

Pakistan : Fanaticism’s coup d’etat

Fanaticism’s coup d’etat

by Farooq Sulehria

It is not the murder of Salman Taseer that has shocked-and-scared urban majority in Pakistan into either an apparent silence or a plain indifference. It is not even the assassin’s maliciously triumphant smile that has left many speechless. It is ceaselessly mediatised threats and heartless puritan celebrations by a freemasonry of fiery anchorpersons, jingoist columnists and rejected bearded politicians that have created an atmosphere of fear-and-eerie-silence. For the first time, PPP’s fearless workers, the idiomatic Jiyalas, have been scared into political-hibernation. Even if thousands attended Taseer’s funeral and Jiyalas in Lahore initially took to streets in a defiant mood, chanting anti-mullah slogans, the PPP government capitulated, unsurprisingly. The PPP leadership has given up struggle since long. It keeps striking deals and wrap up shameless compromises. …

Read more : ViewPoint

Pakistan awaiting the clerical tsunami: Pervez Hoodbhoy

by Farooq Sulehria

Taseer’s assassin is a Barelvi Muslim belonging to the Dawat-e-Islami, and 500 clerics of this faith supported his action. Most of these mullahs are part of the Sunni Tehreek and are supposedly anti-Taliban moderates. Those who claim that Pakistan’s silent majority is fundamentally secular and tolerant may be clutching at straws …

Read more : ViewPoint

Islamic scholar attacks Pakistan’s blasphemy laws

In the wake of Salmaan Taseer’s murder, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi declares Islamic councils are “telling lies to the people

by Declan Walsh in Islamabad

A prominent Islamic scholar has launched a blistering attack on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, warning that failure to repeal them will only strengthen religious extremists and their violent followers.

“The blasphemy laws have no justification in Islam. These ulema [council of clerics] are just telling lies to the people,” said Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a reformist scholar and popular television preacher.

“But they have become stronger, because they have street power behind them, and the liberal forces are weak and divided. If it continues like this it could result in the destruction of Pakistan.”

Ghamidi, 59, is the only religious scholar to publicly oppose the blasphemy laws since the assassination of the Punjab governor, Salmaan Taseer, on 4 January. He speaks out at considerable personal risk.

Ghamidi spoke to the Guardian from Malaysia, where he fled with his wife and daughters last year after police foiled a plot to bomb their Lahore home. “It became impossible to live there,” he said.

Their fears were well founded: within months Taliban gunmen assassinated Dr Farooq Khan, a Ghamidi ally also famous for speaking out, at his clinic in the north-western city of Mardan.

The scholar’s troubles highlight the shrinking space for debate in Pakistan, where Taseer’s death has emboldened the religious right, prompting mass street rallies in favour of his killer, Mumtaz Qadri.

Liberal voices have been marginalised; many fear to speak out. Mainstream political parties have crumbled, led by the ruling Pakistan People’s party, which declared it will never amend the blasphemy law.

Sherry Rehman, a PPP parliamentarian who proposed changes to the legislation, was herself charged with blasphemy this week. Since Taseer’s death she has been confined to her Karachi home after numerous death threats, some issued publicly by clerics. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk