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