Thursday, 5 January 2017

Imran Khan apologizes “publicly” after alleged blasphemy accusations

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan offers apology after being accused of committing blasphemy. Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri, a religious scholar had written an open letter to Imran Khan claiming that he has been guilty of committing blasphemy during his speech. Religious scholar had warned him of ‘dire consequences’ if he doesn’t render an apology.
"Why Asia Bibi's apology is not being accepted by Muslims Clerics, she denied every accusation of blasphemy against her and she told it was just a quarrel between her and some Muslim women on drinking water.It shows vivid picture of victimization of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan ",Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender who heads LEAD.

On Tuesday, January 3, Imran Khan openly apologized for the using ‘inappropriate’ words that had caused grievance to the religious clerics. The religious edict (Fatwa) alleges that PTI Chairman had used derogatory words for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) in one of his speeches. “It was a mistake, and I assure that it won’t happen ever again,” Imran Khan assured during a press conference in Islamabad. He asserted that no believer could purposely blaspheme against the Prophet PBUH).

Previously on Monday, Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri stated: “If the state fails to execute Imran Khan, it wouldn’t be a crime if any ‘aashiq-e-Rasool’ (lover of prophet P.B.U.H) kills him. He will be exempt from Qisas and Diyat (blood money).” He claimed that “blood of blasphemer – in this case, Imran Khan’s – has no worth compared to Prophet (PBUH).”
In July 2016, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan during an interview with an Aljazeera host said that that there is no point in bringing changes to the blasphemy laws. During the interview host Mehdi Hasan asked him about the controversial blasphemy laws, he responded saying, “The laws are not a problem.” Further explaining his stance over the draconian blasphemy laws he said the blasphemy laws are not a problem instead the problem is with “militant groups in Pakistan.”
While commenting about urged amendments to the blasphemy legislation he stated, “Whatever you do with the laws, people will be killed.” His response was followed by host Mehdi Hasan’s question if he dreaded of being wiped out over speaking on the subject, he acknowledged saying: “It is true you have to tread a very thin line. Anything perceived to be… sacrilegious, yes your life is in danger… It is a very difficult subject living in Pakistan.”

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Police arrests Christian over alleged blasphemy charges

LAHORE:Police arrests a Christian in alleged blasphemy case. Blasphemy law has been invoked against the Christian respondent identified as Pastor Babu Shehbaz son of Vero Masih of Kamaha Lahore. Shehbaz had been accused of allegedly desecrating holy Quran.

In this regard, an FIR no 1906/16 has been registered in Nashtar Police Station in Lahore. Media reported today, Tuesday, January 3. Following the registration of the FIR, police arrested Shehbaz and detained him. Section 295/B of Pakistan Penal Code has been invoked against him; if convicted he will no doubt face lifetime imprisonment.

In keeping with details, respondent Babu Shehbaz’s name was found written on the pages of the Holy Quran. This copy of the Holy Quran was found on the streets near a Christian neighborhood in Kamahan village. The complainant in this case Haji Nadeem reported the incident to police and got an FIR registered against Babu Shehbaz.

Nevertheless, the complainant Haji Nadeem claims that he has not seen Shehbaz desecrating the holy Quran. What is more, there is no other eye witness in this case who has seen Shehbaz committing the alleged crime. Haji Nadeem told the police that neither he nor anyone else saw Shehbaz desecrating the pages of the Holy Quran. The complainant also maintained that in the light of lack of eye witnesses, he was unsure that Shehbaz had really committed the crime.Complainant claims that there was possibility that the opponents of Babu Shehbaz, might have plotted the conspiracy against him.

"Blasphemy laws is very sensitive issue and people use it for their personal vendetta against religious minorities and religious extremists have issued 'Fatwa' religious decree that the supporters of the blasphemy accused and any person who provides any kind of assistance to the blasphemy accused would be treated and punished as 'blasphemer' and they claim it is according to Islamic laws",Sardar Mushtaq Gill,human rights defender,head of LEAD.

He further stated that there has registered blasphemy case in Police Station Islampura,Lahore against unknown person on the usb found in Police in which Shaan Taseer,son of slain Governer Punjab,wishing merry Christmas and asking for prayers for Asia Bibi and Nabeel Masih.Some Clerics have issued Fatwa against him and declared him blasphemer and submitting applications in different police stations of Punjab to register case against him under section 295 C,PPC.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Mob attack on Christians leaves 10 injure, victims threatened to vacate their houses

Sukkur: Armed men attack Christians in Sukkur, leaving 10 injured while victims claim of alleged threats to vacate their houses. Details emerged that a mob in excess of more than 30 launched an attack on Christian residents of Sukkur’s Mission Compound- a Christian neighborhood.
Geo TV reports that the attack unfolded on New Year’s night, when the mob attack on Christians nestled on the Compound Road. The assailants attacked the Christian residents, in an attempt to threaten them to vacate the neighborhood. Victims claimed that the attackers had threatened them to leave the Mission Compound before 6 in the morning.

Moreover, residents of Mission Compound claim that the attackers had tortured the elderly, women, children and men alike. Those injured included one Christian professor; on the other hand, police has registered an FIR of the incident.

Furthermore, the victims revealed that the attackers wore police uniforms while some of them were in plain clothes. They said that the attackers had covered their faces in order to avoid being identified. They launched a sudden attack at 20 to 25 Christian families living in the neighborhood.

The victims told the media that the attacked all indiscriminately, not sparing the elderly, women and the children. They said that the attackers had warned them to vacate the compound before 6 am. Victims revealed that the area belongs to the Diocese of Hyderabad. They confirmed that Mission Compound in church property.

Christians further alleged that the land mafia has been eyeing for seizing the land since long. They said that land mafia intends to build a plaza at the Mission Compound land. Christians claim that the perpetrators had intended to threaten the Christian residents out of the Compound.

Shortly after the incident the victims approached Police Station B Section, where police registered a compliant but maintained that an FIR of the incident would be registered later. In response to the police, Christian community has announced to stage a protest at 12 pm in front of Sukkur Police camp; in case no legal action is taken against the perpetrators.

Sindhi Sangat rallies against amendment in Forced Conversion Bill in cities of Sindh

Sujawal: Activists of Sindhi Sangat Sindh and Sindhi Nari Sangat Sindh protested in Mirpur Bathoro, Bulri Shah Karim, Jhok Sharif and Sujawal against the decision of Sindh government to amend forced conversion bill, growing religious extremism, forced religious conversion of Sindhi Hindu girls, discrimination with religious minorities Sindhi Hindus and Christians in Sindh, Pakistan. 

Responding to the central call given by the central chairman of the Sindhi Sangat Sindh Mansoor Khaskheli, activists of Sindhi Sangat Sindh and Sindhi Nari Sangat Sindh staged protest rallies and demonstrated in Mirpur Bathoro, Bulri Shah Karim, Jhok Sharif and Sujawal against the decision of Sindh government to amend forced conversion bill, growing religious extremism, forced religious conversion of Sindhi Hindu girls, discrimination with religious minorities in Sindh, Pakistan. 
Addressing the crowed activists of Sindhi Sangat Sindh and Sindhi Nari Sangat Sindh Nawaz Kunbhar, Ahmed Baloch, Farooq Mallah, Khalique Ahmed, Rizwana Shah, Shehnila Qambrani, Nusrat Sindhi Fehmeeda Bano and others said that Sindh government's decision to take back recently passed Bill that criminalizes forced religious conversions is highly condemnable, religious minorities in Pakistan are continuously being victimized especially Sindhi Hindus and Christians. Recently Sindh assembly passed a bill The Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) according to the bill, change of religion will not be recognized until the person reaches 18 years of age, moreover at least seven years for perpetrators and five-year jail was recommended for facilitators of forced conversions. 

Moreover adults considering changing their religion be provided with a safe house to live for 21 days, to ensure that they are making the said decision without any coercion. After opposing recently passed bill of forced religious conversions by religious extremists PPP’s Sindh govt has bowed down before banned religious outfits to appease them. 

Sindhi Sangat Sindh strongly condemns PPP Sindh govt’s decision to amend the bill instead of taking action against internationally banned outfits, government trying to appease them. Activists of Sindhi Sangat Sindh and Sindhi Nari Sangat Sindh further said Sindhi Hindu girls are the victims of forced religious conversion. 

Every year several cases of forced religious conversions reported in Sindh, Pakistan. But in the most cases culprits often go unpunished therefore such incidents are continuously increasing. How many more daughters of Sindh will be kidnapped and become the victims of forced religious conversion therefore Sindhi Sangat Sindh demands immediate implementation of recently passed bill of forced conversion to protect daughters of Sindh from religious extremists. Activists of Sindhi Sangat Sindh and Sindhi Nari Sangat Sindh demands perpetrators involved in forced religious conversion must be brought to the justice and government takes immediate actions against them. 

Activists further demanded protection of religious minorities, atrocities against religious minorities Sindhi Hindus and Christians in Sindh, Pakistan must be stopped Source PCP

Religious minorities in Pakistan oft-times suffer from misuse of blasphemy law: Amnesty International

PAKISTAN: A recent report issued by Amnesty International stated that the religious minorities in Pakistan often become targets of false blasphemy accusations. The report spotlighted the plight of the Christians in Pakistan, mentioning various cases when Christians and other minorities became victims of blasphemy law.
The report titled: “PAKISTAN: ‘AS GOOD AS DEAD’: THE IMPACT OF THE BLASPHEMY LAWS IN PAKISTAN,” said that the controversial blasphemy law actually “emboldening vigilantes” who are willing to threaten, torture or even kill those accused of committing blasphemy.The report quotes Supreme Court judgment in Malik Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri vs the State, 7 October 2015: “The Majority of blasphemy cases are based on false accusations stemming from property issues or other personal or family vendettas rather than genuine instances of blasphemy and they inevitably lead to mob violence against the entire community.”

“On 4 January 2011, Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was killed by one of hissecurity guards, Mumtaz Qadri. He said he committed the murder because, “this is the punishment for ablasphemer.” Salmaan Taseer had sought a presidential pardon for Asia Bibi, also known as Asia Noreen, a 45-year-old Christian farmhand and a woman with responsibility for five young children from the village of Ittan Wali, near the Punjabi city of Sheikhupura. In November 2010, Asia Bibi became the first Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. Salmaan Taseer’s support for her, and his view that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws were “black laws”, were also cast as an act of blasphemy by supporters of the laws.

Overnight, Mumtaz Qadri became a national hero for supporters of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Religiousparties brought tens of thousands of their followers on to the streets to demand Mumtaz Qadri’s release. A mosque was named after him and became so popular that funds were raised to create a new prayer hall. Many lawyers wanted to represent him pro bono to reward him for what they saw as a justified killing. Lawyers and religious clerics chanted slogans supporting him outside the court hearings. The Pakistan People’s Party-led government of the time bowed to public pressure, vowing not to amend the blasphemy laws.”

The report further stated: “On 2 March 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of the cabinet and the Minister for Minorities, was shot dead outside his mother’s house in Islamabad. Shahbaz Bhatti was the only senior Pakistani official to back Salmaan Taseer’s calls for the blasphemy laws to be amended. Before his death, he told the BBC that he was facing threats to his life for speaking out against the persecution of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.

On 7 October 2015, Mumtaz Qadri’s death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court, and on 29 February 2016 he was hanged. Following his execution, thousands of his supporters took to the streets of his hometown Rawalpindi to mark his funeral. In March 2016, thousands of Qadri supporters protested outside the National Assembly in Islamabad, setting fire to and damaging property, attacking journalists, and clashing with the police.”

“At the time of writing, Asia Bibi remains imprisoned in Sheikhupura. On 13 October 2016, the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear her case in the ultimate stage of her appeal process. On the day, the Supreme Court adjourned the appeal hearing indefinitely. Earlier, on 22 July 2015, the Supreme Court suspended Asia Bibi’s death sentence for the duration of the appeals process.

This report details how Pakistan’s blasphemy laws violate human rights, both in their substance and their application – whether this is violations of human rights by the state, or abuses of the laws by non-state actors. The laws do not meet human rights standards and lack essential safeguards to minimise the risk of additional violations and abuses.

It is difficult to establish precise information on the number of blasphemy cases as there is limited available data. However, data provided by human rights groups the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) shows a large increase of cases since the 1980s. For example, according to NCJP, a total of 633 Muslims, 494 Ahmadis, 187 Christians and 21 Hindus have been accused under various provisions on offences related to religion since 1987.” Amnesty International said in its report.
Source CIP

Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Punjab Police has registered a case of hate speech against unknown on Christmas message, under the National Action Plan

LAHORE: Shaan Taseer claim Punjab police register Blasphemy case against him for saying Merry Christmas.

The Punjab Police has registered a case of hate speech against my Christmas message, under the National Action Plan.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not satire. A case under sec 295A (hate speech: acts intended to outrage religious feelings) has been registered by Punjab Police at another Police Station in Lahore; Islam pura.
The Police claim they found a USB outside the Station, opened it and were horrified by a Christmas Message.
They also claim not to know who the person in the video is (wink wink), and have therefore named an unknown person. Presumably, when asked tomorrow, they will claim to have done their job at an arms length basis.
Once again, this is not satire, the Punjab Police has moved into action to protect the public against my Christmas Message.

"It is not any crime to say Merry Christmas but Islamic Extremists are attacking and snatching religious freedom of all other religions and misusing blasphemy laws against those who are supporters of religious freedom and working to promote religious harmony",Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights defender,head of LEAD.

He further stated that in the same way some Islamic Extremists filed complaints in different police stations of Lahore and Punjab against him and other members of LEAD because of our human rights and religious freedom work in Pakistan.
"I request westrn powers to take strong measure to stop misuse of blasphemy laws against religious minorities",he stated.
Merry Christmas Punjab Police CIP

Friday, 23 December 2016

Sindh Government orders review of the bill against forced conversions

PAKISTAN: Sindh government has directed a review of the bill on forced conversions, the bill was shown a green light when it was passed as the Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill, 2015. Following the law being passed last month, PPP announced that it will review the bill. The bill is yet to be signed by the Governor of Sindh Saeeduz Zaman, which is a legal formality. Later on it was disclosed that the lawmakers involved in chalking out the bill are now imperiled.
Details reveal that at Sindh Assembly secretariat has sought police protection for at least thirteen MPAs and a bureaucrat. The Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill was proposed a year ago by MPA Nand Kumar Goklani, who hails from Hindu community. After passing the law, Sindh’s legislature became the first assembly to pass such law.

“Every person has the right to practice their religion and beliefs. We must ensure that no one is forced to change their religion due to physical or mental pressure on them. We now have a law to help stop this practice. It is a historical move,” MPA Goklani said. He further explained that the legislation calls for a minimum sentence of five years and maximum of life imprisonment for those found guilty of committing this offence.
The bill mandates a 21-day period for the adults, to consider their decision to convert. At the same time the bill outlaws minors choosing another religion out of their free will. “Forced conversion is an abhorrent and violent offence and an issue that has become prevalent across Sindh [that] must be eliminated by recognizing the importance of tolerance, peace and respect for all religions and persons, irrespective of their religion. It is necessary to criminalize forced conversions and provide protection for those who are victims of this abhorrent practice,” reads the bill.
Data extracted from a research done by a local NGO Auraat Foundation revealed that every year about one thousand minorities’ girls are abducted and sexually assaulted , harassed and threatened to convert to Islam. The report further delineated that the unfortunate victims included seven hundred Christian women who are forced to embrace Islam every year, while three hundred Hindu girls face the brunt of the ferocity. In this regard Sindh province had become the hotbed of forced conversions of Hindu girls while Punjab had become the epicenter of forced conversions of Christian girls.
After the bill was passed by the Sindh government, Pakistan Christian Congress President Dr. Nazir Bhatti called upon Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to move a similar bill in the National Assembly so that the scourge of forced conversions may be done away with once for all. He demanded that the Prime Minister must take efficacious steps to address the growing insecurities of the non-Muslim Pakistanis.
Christians called for similar anti-forced religious conversions law in other provinces at the same time as they appreciated the efforts of the Sindh lawmakers to curb the dilemma of the minorities’ girls in the province. On the other hand, religious parties posed serious opposition to the bill. In a press conference, Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Siraj-ul-Haq had expressed his opinion about the new law adopted by the Sindh Assembly.
JI Chief said that the law against forced conversions is un-Islamic. He had further demanded that the Sindh Assembly must immediately annul the law and announced that he is planning to meet Asif Ali Zardari in person in order to bring the topic under discussion.CIP