Great turnout, great resolve: Reference for Salmaan Taseer, Karachi
KARACHI, Jan 18: Great turnout and great resolve expressed at PMA House. Hats off to Pakistan Medical Association and the doctors for standing with us when all other avenues were blocked. The Arts Council withdrew permission barely 24 hours before (citing threats), and we learnt that even the Karachi Press Club, which has always provided a platform for democratic struggle, would not give us space. At the last minute, the PMA came through and for that we salute them for sticking to their commitment despite the threats they received all day.
The event was well attended beyond expectations – despite the last minute venue change. The start time had been for 5 pm and by 5.10 pm the hall was FULL. People who came later stood in the hall or in the corridors, or sat on the low stage. We estimate that about 500 people turned up – despite the last minute change of venue and no announcement in the ‘conventional’ media.
The event started with a 10 min presentation by Mansoor Raza on the misuse and abuse of the blasphemy laws (he will post it to this list), followed by Sara N. Haq’s 15 min documentary “Blind Faith” – links to which have already been posted to this list; it’s also provided at this blog in the Blasphemy Laws page
Rahat Saeed of the Progressive Writers’ Association conducted the proceedings. The following people spoke, for 2-3 min each:
Mohsin Sayeed read out a statement from the family of Governor Punjab Shaheed Salmaan Taseer
Kaiser Bengali, Advisor to the Chief Minister Sindh for Planning and Development
Akhtar Hussain, advocate
Asif Buledi, Gen. Secy JSQM
Amar Sindhu, WAF (Hyderabad)
Amar Nath Matomal, HRCP, and President Hindu Panchayat Karachi Division
Jan Mohammad Buledi, National Party
Kunwar Khalid Yunus, MQM
Father Thomas Gulfam, Korangi Parish
Nasir Mansoor, Labour Party
Ramzan Memon, Awami Party
Farid Awan, Deputy Gen Secy All Pakistan Trade Union Federation & Secy Sindh Pakistan Workers Confederation
Fauzia Wahab, PPP Info Secy
Iqbal Haider, HRCP
Resolution (based on CFD Statement condemning Taseer’s murder and the glorification of his assassin, demanding that rule of law be followed in bringing the killer to justice, and condemning threats to Sherry Rehman and anyone discussing amendments) was presented by Zeenia Shaukat, unanimously passed by the House
As speakers emphasised, this was just one part of an ongoing struggle.
Links to news reports: