Solid report by Umar Ali on an ongoing case in Pakistan, published in Dawn Sunday magazine, May 15th, 2016
In his early 60s now, Mr Hafeez is a soft-spoken and kind man but he smiles rarely or not at all. Although sleep-deprived and fatigued, his eyes glimmer with memories of times that were, and hope for the days to come. He travels 200km every week, from Rajanpur to Multan, to meet his eldest son in incarceration.
Mr Hafeez’s son is no ordinary inmate — his name is Junaid Hafeez, formerly a visiting faculty member at Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan’s, Department of English Literature. He was arrested on March 13, 2013, after an FIR was registered accusing him of having committed blasphemy. It was while preparing Junaid’s legal defence that human rights activist and lawyer Rashid Rehman was gunned down. The case is sub judice.
Reuters report, 6 March, 2016
A little-known alliance of hundreds of lawyers in Pakistan is behind the rise in prosecutions for blasphemy, a crime punishable by death that goes to the heart of an ideological clash between reformers and religious conservatives.
The group, whose name translates as The Movement for the Finality of the Prophethood, offers free legal advice to complainants and has packed courtrooms with representatives, a tactic critics say is designed to help it gain convictions.
CFD Delegation meets President Geo TV to deliver protest letter regarding hate speech on Aamir Liaquat’s show
A delegation from Citizens for Democracy (CFD), comprising Uzma Noorani, Naziha Syed Ali, Adam Malik, Hasan Javed and Noman Quadri met with Imran Aslam, President Geo TV at 1600 hours PST, Thursday January 8, 2015 at Geo TV, Office in Karachi. The meeting was arranged to deliver a letter of protest to the management of Geo TV regarding Aamir Liaquat Hussian’s show “Subh-e-Pakistan”.
As mentioned in the letter, Mr. Liaquat in his show on Monday December 22, 2014 allowed the clerics who were invited, to use derogatory language against the Ahmedi community labeling them as enemies of Pakistan, blasphemers and “root cause of terrorism” in the country.
Mr. Aslam apologized for the incident and said that Geo TV has responded with a public apology regarding the incident. The management of Geo TV considers this a mistake which shouldn’t have occurred and assured the delegation that they have taken reasonable in house measures to prevent such an incident from happening again in future. He further said that the management will make sure that a delay of 30 seconds or more is included in his program when he conducts it live. Mr. Aslam informed the delegation that he has spoken to the representative of Ahmedi community in London to apologize. He said that the Editorial Committee of Geo TV will now take greater care while vetting the guests invited in the show. Read more…
Facts behind the brutal killing of couple on false allegation of blasphemy at Kot Radha Kishan, Kasur
Citizens for Democracy joins all those who condemn and protest against the brutal lynching and burning of the bodies of a poor Christian couple by a mob in Chak 59, a village near Kot Radha Kishan in Kasur District southwest of Lahore. Following are facts of the case compiled by the non-government human rights organization Life for All Pakistan.
The victims, Shahzad Masih and his wife Shama belonged to Clarkabad, but had moved to Chak 59 a few years ago and were working for an owner of a brick kiln.
Arshed Javed, the brother of Shahzad Masih has said that while cleaning her quarter, the unlettered Shama had found some old papers used by her late father-in-law that were no longer of any use. She gathered them as trash in order to burn and dispose of them. One of her co-workers at the kiln saw the burning trash and spread the news that Shama had burnt the pages of the Quran. “The news spread and the mob gathered next early morning and attacked my brother and his pregnant wife. The mob killed them, desecrated their bodies and threw them in the kiln.” Read more…
From: Society for Secular Pakistan
The Society for Secular Pakistan (SfSP) strongly condemns the killings of Shazad Masih and his pregnant wife Shama by the crowd incited by the clerics of three mosques of the villages in Kasur. We demand that these clerics should be arrested and punished for inciting people’s religious feeling to kill the kiln worker who had reportedly some dispute with the kiln owner. Unfortunately this is not the first time that the sacred place of worship was used to incite and entice people to kill with impunity. There have been instances when some fanatics had announced hefty head money for killing so-called blasphemers and the state did not take any action although it’s a crime.
While the Society for Secular Pakistan stands for freedom expression, we demand that the state should register all mosques and the religious leader to keep a close check that nobody makes hate speeches from the pulpits. They should be free to preach their faith but not hatred. At present there is no check of the state on over 250,000 mosques and 20,000 madrassahs in the country. Read more…
Pakistani Christian Aasia Bibi had an argument with some coworkers over drinking water in 2009. The argument turned into a religious one and she was accused of blasphemy against Islam. Two politicians have been killed for standing up for her. She was convicted in Nov. 2010 and yesterday her appeal was rejected by the appellate court. Legal arguments in this story, published in Worldwatch Monitor, October 17, 2014, reproduced below (emphasis added). Also see The dangers of ignoring ‘malicious intent’ while accusing of ‘injuring religious sentiments’.
By Asif Aqeel
The first Christian woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws had her appeal rejected by the High Court in Lahore on Thursday.
Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, received the death penalty in 2010 after she allegedly made derogatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.
While the two women were working together, the Muslim woman had refused water from Noreen on the grounds that it was unclean because it had been handled by a Christian.
The Muslim woman, together with her sister, were the only two witnesses in the case, but the defence failed to convince the appeals judges that their evidence lacked credibility.