Posts Tagged ‘Blasphemy law’

Conversations with Badami Bagh residents

March 15, 2013

By Ahsan Waheed

Badami Bagh is no less than a ravaged town awaiting life once again. Along the sides of the roads are little yellow tents set up for the Christian families who lost their homes when an angry mob set fire to the entire residential area.

These little tents are filled with people. It is as if the little tents have become portable homes for the citizens who have nothing else left. Little toys, water bottles, a pile of clothes – Badami Bagh residents have begun to reconstruct their lives within the temporary homes provided to them since there is no knowing when their real homes will be ready for them to go back to.

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March 13, 2013

By Ghalib Sultan
Area 14/8

The picture on top says it all. A mob in the background and an exultant youth in the foreground with smoke, fire and burning homes all around. This was the scene in the heart of Lahore when Christian homes were set on fire because of alleged blasphemy by a Christian who had already been booked under the Blasphemy Law by the police on the complaint of a Muslim. The mob that went on the rampage looting and burning homes was apparently venting their rage. No one died and no injuries were reported but Pakistan’s image was destroyed beyond repair-collateral damage from the point of view of the bigoted and the intolerant but a mortal blow to Pakistan for those whose heads hung in shame.

Now that the smoke has blown away, compensatory payments made to those who lost everything, the rebuilding process begun and some arrests made a clearer picture is slowly emerging. The Police advised the people to run for their lives hours before the mob arrived and they ran-the men, the women, the aged and the children all ran for their lives in all directions away from their homes leaving everything behind. Why did the police do this-to facilitate looting and burning, to save lives or because they did not want or could not face down the mob to protect lives and property? If the Police had advance information did this information flow upwards and if it did was it ignored? And if it did not then why not?

There are credible reports that the mob came prepared for their grisly task—with sticks, stones, gasoline cans etc. If so then this was no spontaneous venting of rage. This was a well planned event for which a large number of people had been mustered and prepared. If this was planned then who was behind it?- those who wanted the land on which the colony was built?- or those who had political motives and wanted to undermine the political administration in Punjab or was it a combination of both?. The land mafia would have known the consequences of such an atrocity and it is unlikely that they actually believed that the land would fall in their lap after the pillage. The political motive is more plausible and is also borne out by the fact that after the attack on the Christians some apparently counter attacks were organized on the pride and joy of the Punjab government-the new Metrobus system.

The Punjab government moved quickly to limit the damage and to begin rehabilitation work. An inquiry has also been ordered and arrests made. No doubt that there has been political fall-out but on the positive side people have rallied in support of the Christian community and against the forces of bigotry and intolerance that exist in society. There have been many previous incidents of this kind but never has exemplary punishment been awarded to deter such behavior. In the final analysis the blame must also go to people who are ready to undertake such criminal and reprehensible behavior.

Pakistan, Islam face danger from Islamists

June 30, 2011

By Qasim Yousafzai

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Islam’s greatest threat comes from those who claim to be serving it – extremist militants, Shehrbano Taseer, daughter of slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, said June 27.

Shehrbano Taseer, daughter of slain Pakistani Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, speaks at a panel discussion at UN European headquarters in Geneva March 8. Islamists endanger Pakistan and Islam, she said in a speech in Washington, D.C., June 27. [REUTERS/Denis Balibouse]

Shehrbano said that militants, whom she repeatedly called “hate mongers,” have misinterpreted Islam. “Islam is a peaceful religion,” she said.

Her father died for “a progressive Pakistan and moderate Islam, she said. In a speech titled “My Father Died for Pakistan” at the Middle East Institute in Washington, she called extremism a mindset that poses a great danger to Pakistan.

Shehrbano expressed the hope militants would not ultimately succeed by killing individuals like her father, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Shahbaz Bhatti, but warned, “The militants are successful now.”

Taseer was killed in Islamabad January 4, allegedly by a bodyguard angered by Taseer’s opposition to the country’s controversial blasphemy law.

Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi December 27, 2007. Bhatti, federal minister for minorities and the sole Christian in the cabinet, was killed by unknown militants in Islamabad March 2, allegedly over his criticism of the blasphemy law.

Talking about the country’s blasphemy law, Shehrbano said, “The law is not a protector of religions … These laws deserve to be criticised.” Courts have sentenced a large number of defendants under that law, she said.

Regarding her father’s death, Shehrbano refused to attribute it to a security lapse even though a bodyguard is the alleged assassin.

“You don’t know who your enemy is anymore,” she said.

Fighting extremism

Pakistani madrassas are teaching religious intolerance and gun violence, she said. An entire generation is growing up with a violent jihadi mindset, she added.

“Pakistan is fighting the militancy and operations are going on, but no counter-extremism measures can be seen on the ground,” Shehrbano said.

She urged strict steps to deal with that violent mentality and strengthening of Pakistani democracy. “Moderation, inclusion and progression is the need of every society,” she said. Moderates in Pakistan need to reclaim the public sphere, she said.

The international community can help Pakistan by offering a counter-narrative to extremism in addition to weapons to combat terrorists, she said. The government, for its part, should strive to create economic opportunities for the people and work to reform madrassas, she added.

Social media can raise awareness and generate discourse on containing violent trends, she said, calling an uninterrupted process of democracy vital.

Rulers lack courage to take on target killers: JI

April 18, 2011

KARACHI (PPI): The present rulers lack political will to take on the target killers of Karachi because doing so would end their shaky coalition government, which is their worst nightmare, said Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Amir Syed Munawar Hasan here Sunday. Addressing an Ulema Convention at the Idara Noor-e-Haq, he said that a proper use of vote is necessary to eliminate the menace of terror and target killings from Karachi. “If you give vote to the target killers you would ultimately witness more target killings in your city.” He said the woes of Karachi could not come to end till the patrons of crime and killings are sitting in the corridors of power. He regretted Pakistani interior minister could see Taliban working in India, but he fails to see terrorists and killers freely operating under his nose in Pakistan. He observed the sitting regime always look the other way when it is matter of killings and violence in Pakistan, especially Karachi. Hasan the evil forces are hell-bent against Islam and Muslims, adding Pakistan is their special target. He said the West on one hand speaks about inter-faith harmony, but on the other hand wastes not a single opportunity to hurt the feelings of one billion plus Muslims. He said the evil forces think that to defeat Muslims, ideologically, it is necessary to go for blasphemy of their Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). He said it is a pity that when the evil forces are desecrating Holy Quran on streets of West, the rulers of Muslim world are taking pains to prove themselves loyal poodles of these evil forces. He noted after the 9/11, irking Muslims and blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and Holy Quran in the Western societies have almost become a routine matter. The JI chief suggested launching a powerful campaigning in Pakistani society to promote strong ideological beliefs, based on the principles of Quran and Sunnah. Chairman of Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneebur Rehman said the anti-Islam forces believe in power instead of logic and reason; that is why they use power whenever facing logic and reason. He said it is intellectual dishonesty of the West that it was shying away of even defining what ‘terrorism’ really is. He said the Muslim rulers have failed to forge unity to defend Islam and Muslims. He said ironically those sitting on thrones are talking about the changes and revolutions. He said no change would ever occur due to this hollow rhetoric. Maulana Abdul Rauf of Jamait Ittehadul Ulema said it is the religious duty of Ulema to provide guideline to people through their mosque sermons to distinguish between the friends and foes, and do not vote to the local agents of enemies of Islam and Muslims.

Trial pits brother against brother in ‘blasphemy’ case

February 9, 2011

By Shakeel Ahmed

MULTAN, Feb 8: A blasphemy case has been reported in the Khar locality of tribal area of Fort Munro, Dera Ghazi Khan, wherein a man is witness against his brother in the case.

Complainant Khizar Abbas Attari is a resident of Multan, while suspect Noor Khan is of Khar and Dr Jalal, who is brother of Noor, is a witness to the incident.

Attari told Dawn he had visited Khar along with a Barelvi congregation called ‘Madni Kafla’ on a preaching tour.

He said on Aug 1, 2009, he along with others was raising the slogans of ‘Sada-i-Madina’ when Maulvi Idrees and Noor Khan attacked them and uttered “blasphemous” words about the sacred personalities.

He said he informed the elders of Dawat-i-Islami about the issue who advised him not to report the matter to the police. On the insistence of residents, he lodged a first information report (FIR) with Khar Border Military police station of the incident against Noor. Dr Jalal became a witness.The police quashed the blasphemy FIR after investigators said the suspects were innocent. On Feb 20, 2010, the area magistrate, however, ordered the police to submit charge-sheet of the case.

Noor Khan moved the Lahore High Court (LHC), Multan bench, against the orders of the area magistrate and Justice Tariq Javed quashed the FIR on April 20, 2010.

Attari, through his counsel Manzoor Ahmad Talpur, filed an intra-court appeal against the decision of the single bench. On May 25, 2010, an LHC double bench consisting of Justice Hafiz Abdul Rehman and Justice Mansoor Akbar suspended the single bench order and ordered the magistrate to resume hearing.

Mr Talpur quoted the area magistrate as saying that he would start the proceedings only after the complete decision of the court. The LHC is yet to release the detailed judgment.

BMP Risaldar Waqar Aziz Qaisrani said the case had been quashed after investigation as he himself had visited the area and collected evidence.

He said the case was the result of family differences between Dr Jalal and his father, Haji Azad.

Dawn learnt Haji Azad had sold out his first wife (mother of Dr Jalal) to a man of Rakhni (Balochistan) after declaring her “kali” (sinner). Later he married another woman from where he bears Wali Khan and Noor Khan.

Haji Azad and his sons, Wali Khan and Noor, are active members of the preaching congregation of Deoband school of thought, while Dr Jalal is a follower of Barelvi school of thought. Both Haji Azad and Wali established a preaching centre opposite the house of Dr Jalal which annoyed him.

Dr Jalal, however, denied any family dispute, saying it was a religious matter and the suspect had used blasphemous language.