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:
We 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.” Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
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. Continue Reading
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
Total Death toll is 8 persons, including women and children of one family, who were brunt alive.
87 houses were brunt or badly damage
150 families were forced to leave the area
It was also noted that administration of the Gojra took no step to protect the lives and properties of innocent Pakistanis.
In an email from Farooq Tariq a spokesperson of the Labor Party of Pakistan has explained how Islamic Religious group fanatics Khatim an-Nabuwwah have threatened their workers of dire circumstances for having sided with the Christian community during the Gojra riots which left approximately 9 people dead due to intensive burns.
Khatim an-Nabuwwah [Wikipedia] or finality of Prophethood, is an Islamic belief that prophethood came to an end after Muhammad. Many Muslims believe that the line of prophets sent by God ended with the advent of Muhammad, who they believe received the final revelation in the form of the Qur’an.
The concept of the finality of prophethood of Muhammad has caused controversy. The Ahmadiyya Community, hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet subordinate to Muhammad. Ahmed claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi in 1889 and founded a movement in Qadian, India. His claims resulted in a violent reaction among many Muslims of the India subcontinent. The Salafi and Sunni scholars vehemently opposed him and in subsequent years a movement for the “protection of Khatme Nabuwwat” was founded. This movement, at times violent, is still very active in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries where Ahmadiyya adherents are present.
This Islamic fundamentalist group quote extreme about forcibly reinforcing the Blasphemy law in Pakistan, a law created more or less to outlaw the Ahmedi community in Pakistan. These Gojra riots need to be vehemently condemned and strict criminal action must be taken against these aggressors, it ironic that this organization has the audacity to hold a press conference and in turn is threatening other and also the Government to release their ‘muslim’ friends who were arrested by the police during the Gojra riots, its amazing how they have the balls to threaten after they themselves burnt alive 9 innocent people Continue Reading
Guest Blog by Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a political economist.
The recent incidents in Gojra are a grim reminder of how existing half laws can be manipulated for personal and political ends. Besides loss of life, property or the reputation of the country, it also reflects an opportunist political system in which strange bedfellows can be espoused for political expediency and where rule of law can be applied selectively. Worse, it exposes false claims of the provincial and federal governments over constant surveillance of banned militant outfits in Punjab.
The entire trail from Jhang to Gojra, Mian Channu and Shantinagar is littered with similar incidents of religiously fanned hatred spearheaded by banned militant outfits. Time and again such incidents take place with impunity and remarkable alacrity. It is to question why the local administration is caught sleeping and why no preventive measures manifest themselves in pre emptive actions.
There is no doubt that the working relationship between the Federal Government and PMLN Government is dysfunctional. It took the Government of Punjab three days to move into a belated action despite warnings given by Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister of Minorities Affairs. The provincial government dismissed the factual reporting of the federal minister for over two days and moved reluctantly after all the damage had been done and Faisalabad-Karachi Railway traffic blocked for two days. The Chief Minister has repeatedly postponed his visit to the city citing security reasons. Meanwhile the frustrations continue to grow resulting in resignations of one federal and one provincial minister. Continue Reading
A lot of detail has been published in the newspapers today. Brig. (R) Samson Sharaf of PTI visited Gojra yesterday and has met and interviewed a lot of people.
He informs us that the incident started at a wedding reception where there was some misbehaviour by a drunk person. On my query he said it was a Pakistani but on my insistence he just said that the person did not belong to the Christian community but of the majority religion in Pakistan. This person was, as courteously as possible in such a situation, escorted out.
But he and his friends reacted and created a scene and started making allegations. The easiest way to put non-muslims on the defensive in Pakistan is an accusation of blasphemy. It is like Karo Kari where an allegation is enough for criminals to unleash their venom. Continue Reading
I share with you an email sent by Bishop Ijaz Inayat from the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karachi where he talks about the killing of seven Christians in Gojram Please circulate widely so that people who matter must not pay only lip service every time but come down with a heavy hand on the culprits and prevent such incidents from happening. Compensations alone though cannot compensate for the fear and terror created in the hearts of our Christian and non-Muslim brothers and sisters.
According to Print, Electronic media and versions from the eyewitnesses there were veiled persons in the mob that attacked “Christian Town”, Gojra yesterday burning alive persons and creation tension both for public and the Government.
The Police, Administration and the people say they could not be handled. The vital question is, who were they and why they needed to hide their faces while they were protesting the desecration of the “Holy Quran”, thought to be noble cause by the Muslims. Continue Reading