Friday, 3 June 2016

Weak Defense is the main reason of Christian Persecution getting worse in Pakistan, says a Christian lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, human rights defender.

PAKISTAN:  Today June 3, 2016, when the question was being raised “Why Doses Christian Persecution Get Worse in Pakistan”, Sardar Mushtaq Gill, human rights defender expressed with sorrow that in his views which were established after going through a long time practically handing and assisting victims of the of blasphemy laws, mob violence and forced marriages and forced conversion to Islam, the weak defense is the main reason of getting worse Christian Persecution in Pakistan?

In Pakistan where International Christian organizations and Churches claim to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars through different religious and secular projects to the individual cases despite of all those contributions of International Christian organizations and Churches  for the growth of the Pakistani Church and for the defense of  the persecuted, the precious  lives of Christians were sacrificed, churches are regularly being bombed, Christians are being brutally killed, and blasphemy laws have been misused to snatch the religious freedom of Christians, more over the unending phenomena of forced conversion to Islam and forced marriages of Christian girls is shockingly continue and we are unable to make grow the Church and to defend the victim in true sense.

In this way the defense of the victims always remain on weak footing which may result in long term sufferings for them. Just for reference look at what has resulted in the case of Asia Bibi since her arrest. Her case was not properly handled at earliest stage hence resulted in weak defense which became the reason of dismissal of her appeal from Lahore High Court.

Undoubtedly the situation of Christian persecution in Pakistan has not only been got worse but also has always been appalled to be focused, it is not a fact that it has been only recorded well in recent years rather it actual gets worse and worse day by day because of weak defense against the situation in result the Church and the human rights defenders are not free to carry their legitimate religious and human rights activities in Pakistan. In fact, things are so crucial for Pakistani Christian community that they are leaving the country to avoid religious violence and to seek save heaven for their children that’s why some Christian leaders are making warn that Christians may very soon become extinct in Pakistan as is happening in other neighboring Islamic countries.

In reality, we take to these victims the bread of life only to find they are not in danger of hunger. We offer them the water of life only to discover they are not feeling thirst. We shelter them thinking it is not their need. We give them assistance only to find it is not necessary for them. We totally ignore to give them assistance in the rescue mission thinking their lives are not in danger.

Monday, 30 May 2016

A Christian Rights lawyer concerns for justice and defense for the blasphemy victims and their defenders

LAHORE: In 2011,Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, the most influential human rights defender stood up for the rights of Christians in Pakistan and in result was brutally murdered by an Islamic terror group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, who proudly claimed responsibility at the time for his killing and called him a "blasphemer." He was killed despite having earlier expressed serious concern for his safety after threats were issued. Now more than five years have been passed but the killers of Mr.Bhatti have not been brought to justice.

Sadly after the killing of Mr.Bhatti, the Pakistani Political and Church leadership has completely failed to ask authority to bring his murderers to justice and also has failed to ask Pakistani authority to repeal the blasphemy laws that continues to encourage mob violence, murder with impunity, and the marginalization of religious minorities.

Sardar Mushtaq Gill, human rights defender, who heads LEAD, said that the security and protection of the human rights defenders was always a concern in Pakistan. They put their physical security at high risk to protect blasphemy victims and their family members. The risks tend to increase especially in cases like mob violence. The state should recognize their efforts and the threats involved in their work. The human rights defender should be given physical protection and there is also a dire need to change the non-state and the state actors’ behavior towards violence against the human rights defenders who risk their lives for the promotion and protection of fundamental rights for all.

The EU and other National and International voices also have been failed to ensure from Pakistani authority for the issue of the security and protection of blasphemy victims and their defenders, who uncover the abuses of blasphemy laws and campaign for redress of the victims and repeal of the blasphemy laws, who have also stood up for the defense of the victims and have been abused, harassed, threatened, attacked and in some instances killed on account of their such legitimate human rights work through peaceful and non-violent means. The impunity with which such abuses are carried out has made the defense of human rights a dangerous undertaking in Pakistan.

We at LEAD are witnesses of the abuses, harassment, life threats and attacks by which the human rights defenders, in Pakistan, have been abused, harassed, threatened, attacked and in some instances killed after getting life threats and in the same way the victims of blasphemy laws and their family members harassed, abused, threatened and attacked in broad daylight. We at LEAD further request to the EU and other voices for the HRDs to speak to authority to make ensure the arrangement of physical and digital security and protection of human rights defenders and the victims on our behalf as they committed themselves for the protection and security of HRDs because they are ordinary people who speak for the  rights of others.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Religious discrimination is tormenting Christians in Pakistan

PAKISTAN: A Christian man, Qaisar Jahan, forced to adopt work of sweeper after his appointment made as a water-man at MC Girls’ School Partab Nagar, District Faisalabad. The Muslim headmistress, Najma Naheed, warned Jahan, “you are Christian and no one in the school wants to get a glass of water from you ‘impure’.”

It is the same glass of water which already took two lives of high profile political figures and in the reward given death sentence to a Christian woman ‘Asia Bibi’ who is languishing in jail and awaiting for justice. This is the glass of water which kills humanity and gives a breath of faith based hatred to religious extremists who attack innocent peace loving people.

Last year in October 2015, a Catholic teacher, Saddique Azam, appointed headmaster at a primary school in a small village, was beaten and tortured by a group of Muslim extremist teachers who rejected his authority. Muslim teachers expressed hatred and resentment against him, using the term "choora" pejorative used to describe Christians in Pakistan.

Under the law all government departments were bound to implement five percent quota set for religious minorities while making appointments is being non-implemented and the beneficiaries of the job quota were 'not just more than a drop in the ocean' because of religious prejudice and discrimination and if in some places be implemented then the problems started like above instances.

“Christian youths nowadays need to be careful about what they say on social media as some of the comments and posts they make and share about Muslims and Islam may be considered insulting for them,” Sardar Mushtaq Gill, human rights defender said, “but I am worried how they need to be careful if the faith of Christian youths may be considered insulting for Muslims.”

The bitter fact is that the victimization of Christians in all spheres of life in Pakistan, is due to personal faith based hatred of Muslims against the Christians not only in Pakistan but also in the whole world and which is more dangerous than terrorism; and there is no proper policy of authorities how to take appropriate measures to protect Christians from this faith based hatred of Muslims which come on surface in the form of above said happenings consequently Christians are fleeing from Pakistan to save themselves from this faith based hatred. 

Friday, 27 May 2016

Blasphemy victims and unending sufferings

PAKISTAN: It is shocking behavior of religious extremists which engulfed three innocent Christians in the fire of false blasphemy cases within a month whose always end result is admittedly death for victims. 

A Christian sweeper, Imran Masih, was accused of watching an Anti-Islam video clip in his mobile phone and he saved himself by gone into hiding after the Fatwa was issued and later the whole Christian community of village has to suffer the hatred of Muslims of the area. The issue was yet in air to resolve that another alleged case of so called blasphemy against a Christian girl, Sonia Bibi, was surfaced of insulting Muslims by using a poster to sit on in her home. The third case of blasphemy took place in Khanpur Canal area in Sheikhupura in which a Christian automobile worker, Usman Liaqat, was accused of making a blasphemous post on Face-book who is reportedly still disappeared from the scene.

"It is the fact that for their survival a long term assistance is  needed to be provided for their rescue mission if the right of life to be assured for the blasphemy victims and for this the committed defenders come forward for their defense," said Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender.

He further stated that there were situations of threats in such like cases, as the assassination of two high profile political figures,extrajudicial killings of the accused,the defense lawyers and the judges.As part of that, as a lawyer and defender he was attacked and his family after getting death threats which is still continued where they said they were going to attack him again and he believe that, sure, all of this create many situations which thwart you mentally and physically but in-spite all these sufferings you have to defend and to save the victims from the clutches of deadly weapon of blasphemy laws.

We at LEAD request you all to stand and to raise your voice and to pray for the victims and their defenders because without prayers we do nothing to assist them in the time of need and their sufferings.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Kidnapped Parents and sister of human rights defender Sardar Mushtaq Gill rescued

LAHORE: Yesterday on May 22,2016 at about 03:45 PM parents and one married sister of Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender,were kidnapped from bus stop of Village Kot Usad Ullah Khan Manga Mandi by an unknown car driver and rescued after kidnapping incident registered in Police Station Manga Mandi by rescue 15 Ref.360734.

According to details,Father (60) ,Mother  (62) and one sister (38) of Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender,went to Village Kot Usad Ullah for condolence of one relative's death.After condolence they were at bus stop for coming back home in the meanwhile one unknown person on a car reached near them and told them that he was sent by Mr.Gill to pick up them hence they sat in his car.The kidnapper turned the car in opposite direction towards Lahore instead to home and then he drove it speedily when the car reached at near Baath Village there was suddenly rush of vehicles on high way road due to which the car stopped and the mother and the sister of Mr.Gill were seated at back seat of the car immediately opened the door of the car and alighted from the car in the meanwhile the kidnapper appointed a pistol at Father of Mr.Gill and again ran the car speedily.

The abuctees mother and sister informed the whole episode to back their family and Sardar Mushtaq Gill along with other family members reached at the place of occurrence and the matter was got registered to Police on rescue no.15.The formal complaint application has also been submitted at Police Station Manga Mandi,Lahore to register FIR against the unknown kidnapper and the oral statements of abductees have also been recorded by the Police investigator and the crime occurrence places also have been visited by the police for legal action.

At evening about 08:30 pm,the  father of Mr.Gill also reached at home and he told that as the car reached at the Police Check post Thokar bypass,Lahore ,the kidnapper talked on phone with someone about the police 15 call and he stopped the car faraway from the police check post then he himself opened the door of the car and pushed me out from the car,in this way the abductee father of Mr.Gill to be rescued due to action of rescue 15 call of Police.

"I couldn't perceive actual agenda of the kidnapper when he appointed a pistol at me he also asked why my son takes religious cases," told the abductee father of Mr.Gill.

On the other hand,the Police of Police Station Manga Mandi is reluctant to chalked out FIR against the unknown suspect to trace-out him for further taking criminal initiative to arrest the kidnapper.

In these days Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender along with his team of LEAD,is following and assisting the case of Shahzad and Shama , a Christian couple burned alive for alleged desecrating of Quranic pages on behalf of legal heirs eye witnesses and on May 21 he has submitted an application on theirs behalf for seeking protection and security in the Anti-Terrorism Court II Lahore. 

Mr.Gill and his family have been attacked and harassed a number of times by different ways and he and his family is suffering because of his human rights work particularly due to his brave voice for justice of the Christian couple burned alive and the bereaved victims family.In these days,LEAD is also bravely working for victims of forced conversion and forced marriages cases and within this month two victim girls have been rescued.

"I know my family is also suffering because of my human rights work particularly work for victims of religious violence," Mr.Gill said,"but in-spite of all these sufferings I will not stop to speak for those who can not speak for themselves".

We at LEAD request you all to stand with us and ask Pakistani authority to trace-out the kidnapper and punish him according to law and also provide protection and security to Mr.Gill and his family and team of LEAD so that our peaceful human rights work could be continued without hindrance of non-state actors.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Tragedy of Criminal procedural at trial:Legal heirs eye witnesses seek protection and security

LAHORE: Legal heirs of Shahzad and Shama , a Christian couple burned alive for alleged desecrating of Quranic pages , for seeking protection and security filled application in the Anti-Terrorism Court II Lahore today during trial. 

According to contents of application the bereaved family eye witnesses were threatened by unknown motor cyclists at previous court hearing while they were waiting for their vehicle at the main gate of the court along with their leading counsel Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender, for leaving to their homes.The application also says that they were threatened and physically abused during cross-examination too about which the honorable court has already been informed and the prayer also added with request to ensure disposal of the case and the completion of the trial as quickly as possible.    

"The total number of nominated accused persons were 138 of which 106 ere arrested and latter three accused were got released on bail and some of whom the accused are still at large particularly from them the legal heirs eye witnesses are under constant life threats," said Sardar Mushtaq Gill who heads LEAD an organization provides free legal assistance in this case.

He further stated that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had already ordered for the eye witnesses protection and security which had not been implemented.The Court has summoned a TV anchor ,Fareeha Adrees,who conducted an interview of the victims family for local TV about which one of accused lawyer submitted an application to the court for considering the interview as documentary evidence. The case has been adjourned the hearing of the case till May 26.

Legal heirs eye witnesses abominate to reveal themselves to the high risk of giving incriminating material testimonies as either they or their families are deadly attacked, many times on the premises of the court as has been seen in previous religious mob violence cases the prosecution witnesses are often threatened by the groups standing trial or the powerful extremist religious groups that support them and the risk become double in the cases where some accused have been declared as absconders as happened in Shahzad and Shama murder case. 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Why Blasphemy Laws Should Not Be On Books

PAKISTAN:  In these days, a Christian community of a small village Chak 44 of Tehsil Phalia, District Mandi Bahauddin, Punjab is under threats from a charged Muslim mob of surrounding areas after a rumor campaign raised against a Christian sweeper Imran Masih who was falsely accused of watching anti-Islam video lecture on his cell phone of a Pastor .The voice crying in the wilderness reaches to The Honorable Jim Shannon MP House of Common of United Kingdom who wrote a letter to Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif The Prime Minister of Pakistan to take appropriate measures to protect Christians of the village Chak 44 of Tehsil Phalia, District Mandi Bahauddin.

A noted Christian human rights defender lawyer, Sardar Mushtaq Gill who heads LEAD, has urged for an immediate repeal of the blasphemy laws. He termed the law as "cruel and inhumane" not only for accused but also for the whole Christian community,in this way  the blasphemy laws are more dangerous than terrorism for Christians in Pakistan keeping in view the previous attacks at Christian’s localities on the pretext of blasphemy.
Under this law all the human rights violations undoubtedly would occur if unluckily the accused is a Christian. No fair investigation, no fair trial, extra-judicial killing, whole Christian community at risk, it is not in line with international standards on freedom of expression; freedom of thought, conscience and religion and it is also against the fundamental rights which are basic rights to survive in this world.

The bitter fact is that the misuse of the blasphemy law is a common practice mostly to decide personal vendetta and there is no proper policy of Pakistani authority how to take appropriate measures to protect Christians from the charged mob motivated on the pretext of blasphemy issue.

The more disturbing factor for us to consider is that no one has the power to criticize as the notorious law after the assassination of two high profile political figures. The people who defend the accused of this law take personal life risk and sometime loss their life. Every case is harmful not only for victim but also for the community, every case is a tragedy and behind every one of them there are more tribulations and the defender will not be successful unless he himself takes life risk to defend them; and the requirement for the success in every case is 'passion' and for which you [Defender] have to put his own life at stake.

The victims of the law and their supporters should not be deliberately downplayed and the religiously motivated attacks on Christians should be covered and documented for the future security measures’ adoption and their rescue mission by the media, charities, human rights organizations, church leaders and Christian organizations not just for their own show of work on websites for this the blasphemy laws should not be on books to take precious life of Christian and now the time to speak against the dangerous misuse of the law to oppress poor and helpless Christians in Pakistan.