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Press Release: March 12, 2011 re Letter campaign “Silence means more blood”

March 12, 2011

CFD activists explain the letter to citizens at the stall. Photo: K.B. Abro

KARACHI, March 12: 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. . The online letter has already been endorsed by hundreds of prominent academics and professionals as well as students and workers.

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”.

A woman puts her signed letter in the CFD post box

Referring to the murder of Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti and governor Salmaan Taseer, the letter urges the government and its functionaries to swiftly apprehend, charge, try and punish their murderers. It urges political parties, parliamentarians and government functionaries “to take a clear stand” on the blasphemy issue: “no citizen has the right to cast aspersions on the faith and beliefs of any other citizen or to term someone a ‘blasphemer,’ ‘kafir,’ or ‘non-Muslim’.”

The campaign aimed to dissipate the atmosphere of intimidation, draw people out of their homes and enable them to speak up and voice their concerns by directing them to the relevant authorities. The signature campaign will be taken to other parts of the city including North Nazimabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Boulton Market etc., as well as to other cities of Pakistan.

A CFD activist solicits signatures from bus passengers. Photos K.B. Abro

By the end of the day, over 10,000 signatures had been collected. Among those who came and signed the letter including notable personalities like Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi, Nasreen Jalil (former naib nazim, Karachi), Senator Hasil Bizenjo (National Party), Najmi Alam (president PPP, Karachi), Fauzia Wahab (PPP), Hameed Haroon (CEO, Dawn Media Group), Hameed Maker (Helpline Trust), Ahmed Chinoy (chairman CPLC), editors of Newsline, Herald, Dawn and several other publications, Asad Saeed (economist), Atiqa Odho and Umar Sayeed (designer).

On March 20, 2011, CFD will hold a memorial reference for slain minister Shahbaz Bhatti at Karachi Press Club.

For more photos by K.B. Abro, see his facebook album

6 Comments leave one →
  1. readinglord permalink
    March 29, 2011 1:40 am

    I wonder if any body can define ‘blasphemy’ in strictly legal terms.
    I as a lay man perceive it as a feeling or intention of insult, a purely subjective phenomenon. I will try to explain my point by a concrete instance.

    During early 90’s, while I was staying in Mughalpura with a relative of mine, I went to offer Jumma prayer in a nearby mosque in the Engineering University, Lahore. There, after the prayer, as usual, a young man asked a question as I quote hereunder:

    “A friend of mine, an Ahmadi, gifted me a Quran, which, as I examined, is exactly like the one we muslims usually have. I may be advised what should I do with the book.”

    The Imam, a well-known ‘Jayyad Aalim’,(I forgot his name), answered straightaway “Burn it”.

    Now a lot of protest is being raised against an American cleric who is alleged to have burned the Quran, but strangely no body had even said a word against the ‘fatwa’ of the Imam to burn the Quran, merely because it was gifted by an Ahmadi.

    The difference in the two instances is obviously the intention: In the first case, it was to insult an Ahmadi and in the second to provoke the Muslim, by insulting in eithger case, the Quran.

    But the important thing common in both these cases is that the clerics, either of them, knew that the community they are provoking is not in a position to harm them.

    Moral: These protests, vigils, seminars, etc., are not likely to cut any ice unless you are strong enough to harm the clerics who wield the sword of blasphemy to terrorize the people so as to make them submit to their ‘Deen-e-fassaad’.

  2. Mahrukh Husain permalink
    March 14, 2011 12:38 pm


    I think what you guys are doing for the sake of the establishment of transparent democracy in Pakistan is highly commendable. For too long, people with vested interests and self-serving agendas have been spewing hatred, instigating communities to fight against each other, all for the sake of serving their own twisted purpose. I found out about your drive to collect signatures for letters addressed to the president, prime minister and chief justice of Pakistan in front of Park Towers, Clifton too late, otherwise I would’ve definitely attended it. Will you be using this forum as a means of communicating to the people and letting them know of future such events? Or will it be primarily through newspaper advertisements? I want to confirm my attendance for the next event you plan to have in relation to the cause you are working for. And I’ll be visiting this space regularly from now on. =)

    • March 14, 2011 5:11 pm

      Thank you. You are welcome to endorse the letter online through the comments section of this blog at the Open Letter post, or via email to (please include Name, Profession, and City). We do update event information here – two upcoming events in Karachi are the Reference on Mar 20th, 5 pm at Karachi Press Club (info about that already posted on this blog), and the Jashn-e-Faiz at KMC Sports Complex on April 3 (details to be announced). You can also check out the facebook page We’re all in this together and look forward to your joining hands.

  3. March 13, 2011 9:02 pm

    Well done guys –


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