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Posts tagged with: Blasphemy

Citizens for Democracy: “Silence Means More Blood” Letter signing campaign

Thousands of people from all walks of life joined hands with Citizens for Democracy (CFD), by participating and signing letters in the interfaith harmony drive “Silence Means More Blood” launched by CFD on Saturday, March 12, 2011.

At a camp set up in front of Jahangir Kothari Parade, opposite Park Towers, Clifton, Karachi, people signed and posted letters addressed to the president, prime minister, interior minister, chief justice of Pakistan, and Chief Ministers, for interfaith harmony and action against calls for violence and vigilante justice. The letter demands that notice and action be taken against the rampant lawlessness in Pakistan, in an atmosphere “in which extremist and militant forces are operating with impunity, and where calls to murder and violence are publicly made, celebrated and rewarded”.


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Blackberry users in Pakistan can migrate to Enterprise Service for unrestricted use

For a good one year, ever since the facebook controversy regarding the burning of the Quran hit Pakistan, internet browsing has been significantly restricted on Blackberry devices under the orders of the Lahore High Court and subsequently conveyed to all telco’s via Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Other cell phone users enjoy unrestricted access to most websites since they rely on simple GPRS connections which can be easily monitored and controlled but Blackberry users face the brunt of the impact of these restrictions since their devices are connected online via a secure tunnel connection to Singapore easily bypassing any government enforced censorship.

My personal position is that any blasphemous / illegal (including porn) content should not be viewed, those individual who seek such content do so on their own free will and they alone are responsible and will be answerable to Allah. Condemning an entire population for something they have no interest in, is unfortunate, and such blanket censorships only become a source of inconvenience.

Most of Pakistani Blackberry users subscribe to Blackberry Internet Services (BIS) which is the simplest form of blackberry service the services and tools are controlled to a great extent by the Telco themselves, one way to bypass all the censorship hoopla is to subscribe to Blackberry Enterprise Server,
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[MiniLink] Cheer the Assassin!

Khurram Husain writes a very powerful Op-ed in the Express Tribune Cheer the Assassin!, as much as the blasphemy law may be a part of our constitution, there is no way that anyone be above the law to commit murder, that act in itself is not Islam


[Op-Ed] Giving up on Pakistan

This op-ed was drafted a day before Gov Salman Taseers assassination, erringly it talks about peace and the notion of blasphemy in Pakistan

As we round the corner, saying goodbye to 2010 and entering the new year, everyone chooses to make a new year’s resolution. Promises are made, hoping for some miraculous conviction that will transform our wishes into a reality. But practically, each one of us knowingly accepts that these promises are meant to be broken, only to be remade the following year. Many wishes are egocentrically linked to personal wealth and happiness, while some fools, like me, choose to wish for a better and a peaceful Pakistan.

Innocent and howsoever utopian this resolution may sound, it should have an important place amongst every Pakistani. After the bloodshed from the escalating violence and uncontrolled terror attacks, one would have hoped that the disastrous year would have sent shockwaves compelling people to denounce terrorism with a very strong commitment to peace. Denounce they do, but it’s limited to a simple vocal chatter rather than concrete measures to prevent such bloodshed from happening again.
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Being Smart about the Blasphemy Law

Politics is best understood as a game of chess: every pawn, rook and knight has its purpose, every move depends on the previous one. No major law or political event is in isolation; each one has a long history in a philosophy or a series of events and proponents on either side. Without an honest appreciation of this background, the ground-realities and a found understanding of the public narrative many efforts to reform can inadvertently spiral into chaos.

The current attempts to reform or repeal the blasphemy law are such moves. No matter how draconian the law may be it can not be changed so easily and so quickly, as the well-intentioned but rather naive move of proposing an amendment wrongly suggests. This proposed amendment and the legitimate outburst by Human Rights Groups in Pakistan has triggered preemptive action across the country : A cleric has offered a cash reward for murdering the accused; protests against inflation and for the return of missing people have turned into pro-blasphemy law rallies; judges have barred the government from amending the law; lawyers have passed resolutions to pressurize government to not consider this amendment, and the urdu media has its own take on the issue. Will the amendment even pass when not one directly elected MNA has voiced their support for the amendment?
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Human Rights and Blasphemy in Pakistan

Today, Human Rights Day is being observed all around the world. Every year, on the 10th of December, this day is celebrated to acknowledge and honor, United Nations’ adoption of ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, sixty two ago in 1948. The theme for commemoration is different every year. This year’s theme identifies the struggle and sacrifices of Human Rights activists around the world, who risk their lives to safeguard rights of the others, against violence, women abuse, child abuse, physical torture, religious and gender discrimination etc.

Perhaps there cannot be a more pertinent theme than this for our beloved country Pakistan. Violence, Torture, physical, social and mental, Woman abuse, Child abuse, Elderly abuse, Oppression of those without power. You name a right that can be abused and we have plentiful examples in the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Yet today the Governing class will cherish the photo opportunity and there will be lot of desk banging for the sake of Human Rights. Such is the scale of sheer hypocrisy in this country that even dogs have become nauseated.

Look at the news tonight and tomorrow and you will see scores of shows and seminars were organized for this purpose. New programs were announced. Different speeches and lectured were delivered by many influential people of the country. We are all talk but no walk at all. All we can do is pay lip service. Has anyone ever thought about their personal conduct? It makes me wonder how they get a peaceful night of sleep. Don’t they have an iota of conscience left in them?
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What is Blasphemy?

Blasphemy, in its literal meanings, is defined as a behaviour or language expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred

The issue of blasphemy, highlighted again by the recent banning of certain websites in Pakistan, has caught the attention of everyone again, through debates on media. I also read and heard different versions of thought on the issues of blasphemy. While due to the rapid transmission of the message throughout the country, and due to pressure generated by the  perceived angry reaction( read road demonstrations resulting in injuries, burning , destruction and looting) of the people, authorities were keen to ban the sites within a few hours.

On the other side, it also gave birth to a serious question in my mind that ‘what the hell is blasphemy’ indeed?

As an ordinary Muslim, I may not be an authority to speak on Islam,(although Islam never limited or restricted opinion formation , to any ‘authority’), still the concept of blasphemy, as it is practiced in Pakistan  at least, seems skewed, lacking commonsense and dare I say quite the opposite to what we learn as Muslims were the teachings of the prophet whose very honour we are trying to protect. Doesn’t that sound how we define the word ‘hypocricy’?

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The Blasphemy Law: An Objective Assessment from Religious, Legal & Social Perspectives

Peoples' ResistanceThe Peoples Resistance invites you to. “The Blasphemy Law: An Objective Assessment from Religious, Legal & Social Perspectives

Date: Saturday 24th October, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: PMA House, Karachi

Some Speakers include:
Dr. Khalid Zaheer,
Advocate Zain Sheikh
Other notable Human Rights Experts and Minority Group Representatives will speak and attend the Seminar.

Chaired and Moderated by Retd Justice Mr. Rana Bhagwandas.

The Peoples’ Resistance (PR) is a civil society group that advocates and supports the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism in our homeland. We, at the PR, are deeply perturbed by the recent blasphemy related incidents in Gojra and other places where many innocent people were subjected to shameless violence and destruction and would like to sponsor an open and objective dialogue aimed at understanding the Blasphemy Law and its implications for our society. In this context, we are organizing a seminar on Saturday, October 24, 2009, at the PMA House, Karachi at 5:30pm under the title of:


Murree Peace Statement: Aman Ittehad

Pathways to PeaceAman Ittehad: insaf, adm tashadud aur barabari ki jiddojehad

Representatives of 35 organizations from across Pakistan belonging to trade unions, media, youth organizations, minority groups, NGOs, academia, business, and the legal profession, gathered in Murree from 9 to 11 October to deliberate over the current situation in the country and to discuss pathways to peace. They unanimously agreed on the indivisibility of peace for all citizens, irrespective of gender, class, nationality, religion, occupation, age, etc.

They agreed to work together for peace by redefining the state’s relationship with citizens, making a paradigm shift from a security state to a benevolent state responsive to the needs of all its citizens, especially the socially, politically, and systemically excluded. They rejected all forms of religious extremisms and the use of violence.
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Interview with Leader of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat Maulana Saeed Jalapuri about Gojra Killings

khatm-e-nubuwwatWe condemn the Gojra killings; Maulana Saeed Ahmed Jalapuri, Ameer Almi Majlis-e-Tahfuz Khatam-e-Nabuat, Karachi

“A very unpleasant incident of Muslim Christian’s riots took place in Gojra, a place near Faisalabad, on Friday, 31st July 2009. Seven people were killed and several injured while 40 houses were set ablaze. Indeed maximum condemnation of this incident becomes insufficient as it was the duty of Islamic state [of Pakistan] to protect the lives and properties of Non-Muslim citizen of the state.” This is the intro of article by Maulana Saeed Ahmed Jalapuri, Ameer Almi Majlis-e-Tahfuz-e- Khatam-e-Nabuat Karachi which he gave me for reading before the interview. Both the English and Urdu version of article “Saniha-e-Gojra, Pase Parda Muharekat” will be published on my blog soon inshaAllah.

After reading the intro of article, I cut short the list of my questions and asked who has committed this heinous crime? Is there any hand of Khatam-e-Nabuat in this incident?

Maulana Saeed smiled despite my blunt questions and replied: “Islam doesn’t allow any individual or group to take law in his hand. We can’t tolerate that our worker would take law in his hand. Khatam-e-Nabuat doesn’t believe in fanaticism. We have a long list of martyrs but you can’t name a single killer in our ranks. We haven’t killed a single Qadiani even, leave alone the Christians. We are struggling in the frame work of the state Law and will keep our struggle continued peaceful. We have neither taken law in our hand nor will we do in future.”
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An Eyewitness Account from Gojra

The curse of religious fanaticism has struck once again. Not in the beautiful valleys of N.W.F.P but in Gojra, the heartland of industrial Punjab. This was not the work of a foreign funded militant group or a separatist movement. It was actually the result of propagating religious chauvinism, intolerance of diverse communities, distorting history, glorifying the use of force and promoting obedience and militancy in the past three decades as state policy and as an integral part of our curriculum.

Mukhtar Masih from Gojra is the caretaker of my maternal family’s home in Karachi since 1977. He was hired by my grandmother as a cook and today his son and his family also live in Karachi. Like other migrants to the cosmopolitan, he had supported his younger siblings and had steadily built a house at Gojra. Mukhtar spent sleepless nights last weekend when his locality of Christian Colony was looted and burned. His younger brother, Javed Masih, a sanitary worker in Civil Hospital Gojra for the past 17 years narrated the following accounts to the writer.

Javed mentioned that the episode began at a Christian wedding in the nearby village of Korian on Thursday evening, July 29th, 2009. He said that people were throwing money at the bride groom’s wedding party but later neighbors alleged that torn pages of the Qur’an were used to shower the party as well. Javed questioned how was it possible for people to use pages from a holy book at a wedding reception? Why would anyone in their right mind do such a thing? It has now been learned that children had unknowingly cut pages of an old Islamic Studies textbook to use as shreds to shower on the wedding party. Those who had initially raised the claim of desecration were satisfied the next day when it was proven that illiterate street kids were responsible for unintentionally tearing a textbook, not the holy Qur’an.
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Gojra Update: by Bishop Ijaz Inayat of Karachi

Bishop Ijaz Inayat from the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karachi shares an email with the latest update on the tragic incident which left 9 people dead in Gojra, this is more as a follow up to his earlier report that we published on 2nd of August

According to latest news five terrorist considered to be member of the core group which conspired the burning of Christians and their house in Gojra and Korian have been arrested.

These arrests were done from Sindh and Frontier provinces. In this barbaric incident over forty houses were burnt to ashes and over hundred and twenty looted, killing nine including women and children burnt alive.

The persons arrested stayed for fifteen days in the house of a local Muslim Imam (Clergy of a Mosque) named Mohammad Yaseen and had fled immediately after the incident of Gojra.
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Women threatened for Disrespecting the Quran – Sanghar, Sindh

Sanghar_District SindhIt is as if the news regarding the misuse of Blasphemy Law will never stop. Lala Hassan an activist of the Peoples Resistance movement in Karachi narrated an incident about a woman being wrongly accused of disrespecting the Quran in Sanghar District of Sindh. Considering the ruthlessness of a raging mob, it could be her fortune that the police arrested her before the mob could delivery its judgment which was threatening her with dire circumstances.

According to reports a shopkeeper of the city had made a complaint with the Police that he had gone to recover a loan from the woman while talking she was holding the Holy Quran and refused to give him back his money. According to the complainant the woman put down the Quran with force, but interestingly it he told the media that she first kissed & embraced the holy book & after the talk with him, she then put down the Quran in a forceful manner
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Blasphemy riot in Sheikhupura – leaves two dead

Blasphemous RiotsIn the media frenzy surrounding the Gojra riots just a few days back, another similar incident happened in Sheikupura, Lahore which seemingly never caught the media limelight, remaining submerged within the inside pages of oblivion.

On the 5th of August a riot occurred in a leather factory which left two people dead when a mob of hundreds of people, attacked a leather processing unit near Muridke over alleged desecration of Quranic verses, the owner of the leather factory Sheikh Najeeb Zafar is among the dead. Police suspected that desecration issue had been used to instigate workers of East Leather Factory to settle some personal score. It most likely was the result of a simmering dispute between the management and workers over the wages issue.

A certain Qasim Mughal who was a representative of the workers, held a meeting with Najeeb Zafar to discuss the wages issue Zafar was rolling a calendar carrying Quranic verses at that time. Mughal in turn accused Zafar of desecrating the verses and conveyed his accusations to fellow workers and nearby villagers through his cell phone. It is said that Shabbir, a village prayer leader, played a major role in instigating the villagers through the loudspeaker. He announced that Zafar tore apart the holy book and threw its pages in a nearby drain.
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Joint Declaration from Christian and Muslim leaders & Protest at China Chowk

A meeting was called in local Church to discuss the incident of Gojra. A notable number of 20 Muslim/Christian leadership of Rawalpindi/Islamabad attended the meeting. Meeting was facilitated by Waheed Yousuf.

Fr Rahmat Hakam welcomed the participants for and thanks for their participation on a very short notice. All participants were asked to shared their feelings and suggestion on this incident and many of them addressed the participants including Mian Aslam ex MNA, Allama Inayat Shakir, Moulana Tanveer Ahmad Alvi, Mehboob Sada, Shamsul Haq Awan, Fr Rahmat Hakim, Fr Nadeem Kamran, Malik Ansar, Shafqat Aziz, Amjad Gulzar, Aamir Shehzad, James Jan, Younus Masih, Jamil Khokhar and Basharat. The minutes of the meeting are as follows

Facts of Gojra incidents were shared

  1. Total Death toll is 8 persons, including women and children of one family, who were brunt alive.
  2. 87 houses were brunt or badly damage
  3. 150 families were forced to leave the area
  4. It was also noted that administration of the Gojra took no step to protect the lives and properties of innocent Pakistanis.

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