Who will be the next blasphemer?

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Oracle, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    When Jinnah said that “religion and state should be kept separate”, he could not have more appropriately warned the people of present-day Pakistan where the constitutionally supported, man-made religious doctrines issued by fundamentalists continue, to ruin lives.

    Persecution of religious minorities is not uncommon in Pakistan, however, year 2012 witnessed the height of injustices when a mentally unstable man was torched alive for alleged blasphemy and an 11-year-old girl suffering from Down Syndrome was arrested for alleged sacrilege.

    Given the legal statuette and constitution of Pakistan, no one in his/her right mind would ever venture out to commit blasphemy publicly or otherwise which all the more proves that the aforementioned people were not in full possession of their faculties, when or even if they committed blasphemy.

    Though President Asif Ali Zardari sought a report on the arrest of Rimsha, a minor girl, and took notice of the man killed by scavenging protestors — both accused of blasphemy — but no amount of investigation will ever bring back the man who died the most horrible of deaths. No amount of probing will secure Rimsha’s future. No amount of placatory words will reassure minorities that the blasphemy law will not be manoeuvred to hurt them in Pakistan. And no number of notices will ever empower minorities living an oppressed existence in our country.

    There is only one solution to this ever-growing menace which lies in the amendment of the blasphemy law. Unfortunately most of our hopes were shattered when former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced in 2011 that “the government has no plans of amending the blasphemy law.”

    The fact that the crimes committed by a select group of religiously intolerant people fails to grab the attention of our honourable Chief Justice, who is known for his human rights activism, is most unfortunate for all of us.

    It is also most disappointing that the current ruling government is fully able to pass a quick bill to support and protect political agents against Contempt of Court, however, fail to address the blatant violation of human and minorities’ rights.

    Even more disappointing than the negligence of the government and judiciary is the apathy of the general masses, living in absolute denial with respect to the current state of affairs.

    The fact that most of us try to justify the brutalities by asking why people focus on the plight of minorities when Shias are being killed with equal ferocity in Pakistan, is sheer bigotry. The question is how can one prioritise the killings of any human being? How are Christians, Hindus or Ahmadis any less important than Shias or vice versa? Shouldn’t the focus be on culminating this barbarism rather than debating with words that pacify no one anymore?

    We all stayed quiet when scores of Shia Muslims were pulled off the bus and shot dead. We maintained the same calm when a day later, a bus carrying Shia students was attacked in Karachi. We were in hibernation when Salman Taseer was assassinated for voicing his views on the blasphemy law. We did not care when Ahmadis were restricted from offering Eid prayers at Ewan-e-Tauheed. And we continued to mince words when harassed Hindus migrated from Pakistan.

    Yet, we congregated and protested greatly for the welfare and safety of Muslims living in Myanmar, Kashmir, Assam and Gujrat failing to realise that our country is in a state of civil war, where the situation drastically deteriorates with the passage of each day. We also protested publicly and demanded the authorities to penalise Rimsha by pushing her to the gallows. How are we, a mob that is so fervently bent on penalising a minor girl any different from the forces responsible for killing people in Myanmar and Gujrat? Why such hypocrisy? Do we not owe just a little bit more to our own minorities than the Muslims of other countries?

    The Pakistani flag comprises two colours; one of them to specifically represent our minorities. However, looking at the reprehensible situation of the country, white should be replaced with black for the bleak future we offer to them as citizens of this state.

    It is important to understand that all that happens around is not propaganda, a conspiracy or a plan conceived and executed by foreign elements. People, who hold an opinion over the deplorable situation are not anti-Islam or Pakistan in any way. In fact, they are equally, if not more, concerned about the well-being of Pakistan and everything that Jinnah stood for. It is people like us who are perpetrating these crimes by comparing the atrocities happening in Pakistan with scattered incidents of discrimination carried out against minorities in neighbouring and western countries in a futile hope to placate each other.

    We must wake up from our deep slumber and realise that it is getting too late for all of us. There was a time when Christians, Parsis and Hindus were considered minorities. Then they were joined by Ahmadis and Shias. And no one knows who the next blasphemer or victim will be. However, the one, definite thing we should all be sure of is that with every incident of blasphemy in this country, it is the noose around our own necks that is tightening.

    Dawn
     
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  3. blank_quest

    blank_quest Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pakistan itself is a conundrum.. it has been created on the religious ideology itself. How can then state be separate from religion!:confused:
     
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  4. Zarvin

    Zarvin Regular Member

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    I don't see this happening in the foreseeable future, the present government is trying to milk the nation as much as it can before March 2013 when they will be replaced, any decision making is a waste of time and effort.
     
  5. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    IMO it will take a leader with great personal conviction and absolute majority in the Senate who can repeal this bill. The hard line extremist parties as it is do not command a sizeable number in the Senate but due to political compulsions the opposition parties will never allow the law to be removed.

    Regarding GHQ, their stand on this issue is an enigma for everybody.
     
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  6. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Power in Pakistan flows through the fountain of the religion. Why will Army upset it and get castigated?. They like back seat driving.
     
  7. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Why Pak can’t bring about change in blasphemy law


    Imran Khan says Pakistan’s blasphemy law is necessary. He says it is a British law and thinks in its absence people would be lynched and there would be anarchy, because it is an emotional issue. The stern law therefore also helps those accused of blasphemy.

    Is he right? Let us consider the law.

    Only seven cases of blasphemy were registered in undivided India and Pakistan from 1927 to 1986, according to a group of Pakistani Christians. The National Commission for Justice and Peace says that in the last 25 years, 1058 cases of blasphemy were registered. Of the accused 456 were Ahmadis, 449 were Muslims, 132 were Christians and 21 were Hindus.

    Non-Muslims, who are four percent of Pakistan’s population, are 57 percent of those charged with blasphemy. The other aspect is that by far the majority of cases are filed in Punjab.

    India and Pakistan share their penal code, which was given to us by Macaulay in the 1860s. Pakistan’s primary law on blasphemy is the same as India’s law, which I wrote about yesterday.


    Imran Khan says Pakistan’s blasphemy law is necessary. Reuters

    Pakistan’s section 295-A reads: “Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations insults the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both.”

    Both in India and Pakistan, this law is secular and applies to all faiths. The only significant difference in Pakistan’s law is the punishment, which in India is only three years.

    In 1982, President Ziaul Haq introduced an ordinance that added a section to this law.

    Section 295-B reads: “Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur’an or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.”

    It is difficult to see what new element this added which was not covered by 295-A, except that it is specifically a law that protects Muslim sensibility, and the punishment is increased.

    Under prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo another addition to the blasphemy law was legislated in 1986.

    Section 295-C reads: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

    This also was already covered by the original secular law. And again, here the punishment was increased, this time delivering death.

    Till this change came, the number of blasphemy cases, to remind the reader, was only seven in 60 years. Therefore Imran Khan is wrong to say the anti-blasphemy law is helpful in keeping peace.

    The truth is the opposite: Pakistanis have registered so many cases since 1986 because the Islam-specific laws 295-B and 295-C are being deployed.

    It is often said that property disputes or personal enmity are the reasons for many of these cases, because people can be charged on the basis of hearsay. If this were the case, the law would be misused in India also, which it is not. My view is that it is strong religious sentiment that is the reason why so many Pakistanis are accused of being blasphemers.

    President Musharraf said he would look into softening the law, but couldn’t. Sherry Rehman tried to introduce a change in the law and failed. Why?

    I would say that it is not possible for the state to bring change over an unwilling population.

    Punjab’s Muslims have defied the state on religion before. Emperor Bahadur Shah I (Aurangzeb’s son) was unable to get the Lahore Jama Masjid to recite the khutba because the word “wasi” was added by him to the name of the fourth caliph, Ali. Wasi means heir, and Shias use the word to suggest that Ali was the only rightful heir to prophet Muhammad, not the first three caliphs whom the Sunnis regard as legitimate. The khutba, which is a formal sermon delivered on Friday, proclaimed the emperor as head of state and was therefore important as a sign of his sovereignty. The emperor had an angry showdown with four sullen clerics in his tent, demanding they comply. In Bahadur Shah’s view the additional word was not against any specific Sunni practice. The clerics did not back down and, supported by the Afghans in Punjab, threatened civil war. A crowd of 100,000 civilians gathered to fight the state. In all the rest of India the khutba continued to be read in the prescribed form except Lahore. The emperor had to back down and finally the khutba was read on 2 October, 1711 without the word wasi.

    There is no chance that the state will be able to undo the two changes in Pakistan’s blasphemy law.
     
  8. Zarvin

    Zarvin Regular Member

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    Regardless, it is not the armies role, the government has power to amend the laws of the country.
     
  9. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    Zarvin, that is as per the constitution, but then the PA and the Govt. in power share a unique relationship due to the past history. In the present set up as an outsider I do not see the law getting amended without the tacit approval of the Army.
     
  10. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Who ever tries to talk against, let alone amend, blasphemy law will die just like punjab governor Salman Taseer and Minority Affairs minister Shahbaz Batti. No body, in Pakistan, will dare to touch this law. One has to remember how the killer of Salman Taseer was showered with petals and invited with garlands for his great service to Islam. :rolleyes:
     
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  11. Zarvin

    Zarvin Regular Member

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    The Army already has its beef with the Goverment after the memogate scandal was proven to be true. The present goverment has been ameding the consitution freely in order to save themselves facing corruption charges whereas the army would like nothing better than to see them leave. The army doesn't have much power over the goverment as some would like to believe--- that a coup hasn't taken place months ago is evidence of this. The army can't do anything without the support of public and they have lost this.
     
  12. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The reason a coup has not taken place is the Kerry Lugar bill. The Army will stop receiving US handouts if they take over - this is a clause that is built into the Kerry-Lugar agreement.
     
  13. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    That is a white lie. The army doesn't coup not because it lacks power over GOP. But because it would lack credibility in international fora and Pakistan donors/feeders of all sorts would force it bone dry of funds and support if PA touches the sham of democracy in Pakistan.
    That not only means the downsizing of their official power but also depletes their scope for corruption. If there is no fund, what will you bite into?
    Army has also seen what happened to Mushy who as a military ruler, tried to swallow more than he could digest.
    PA thinks that being at the background and running the puppet show from behind is the smarter thing to do for them (here I agree with them, seeing our own Italian Vish Kanya's master stroke).

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
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  14. Zarvin

    Zarvin Regular Member

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    You obviously haven't read anything about the memogate scandal,
     
  15. Zarvin

    Zarvin Regular Member

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    Before going of half-cocked, please do read up what the Kerry Lugar bill is, it's not that that difficult, Google is your friend.
     
  16. Full Text of The Kerry-Lugar Bill – Details and Conditions


    SEC. 4. STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES.
    -(5) The United States intends to work with the Government of Pakistan–

    (B) to support the people of Pakistan and their democratic government in their efforts to consolidate democracy, including strengthening Pakistan’s parliament, helping Pakistan reestablish an independent and transparent judicial system, and working to extend the rule of law in all areas in Pakistan;


    (C) to promote sustainable long-term development and infrastructure projects, including in healthcare, education, water management, and energy programs, in all areas of Pakistan, that are sustained and supported by each successive democratic government in Pakistan;

    .
    .
    .
    TITLE I–DEMOCRATIC, ECONOMIC, AND DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOR PAKISTAN

    SEC. 101. AUTHORIZATION OF ASSISTANCE.

    (a) In General- The President is authorized to provide assistance to Pakistan–

    (1) to support the consolidation of democratic institutions;

    Sec 101
    5
    b(1) To support democratic institutions in Pakistan in order to strengthen civilian rule and long-term stability, including assistance such as–

    .
    .
    .
    SEC. 201. PURPOSES OF ASSISTANCE.

    The purposes of assistance under this title are–

    (4) to help strengthen the institutions of democratic governance and promote control of military institutions by a democratically elected civilian government.

    SEC. 202. AUTHORIZATION OF ASSISTANCE.

    (B)(i) military and civilian personnel of countries determined by the Secretary of State to be in the process of consolidating and strengthening a democratic form of government; or

    SEC. 205. REQUIREMENTS FOR CIVILIAN CONTROL OF CERTAIN ASSISTANCE.

    6d: Definitions- In this section–

    (2) the term ‘civilian government of Pakistan’ does not include any government of Pakistan whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I don't think it gets any clearer than this . . .Really .

    But ofcourse to the Pakistani mind . . . You never know .
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
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  17. Zarvin

    Zarvin Regular Member

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    Selective quoting in order to prove your point is dishonest, the bill is there for all to read.

    The army has very little power to influence anything currently, and the fact they didn't coup after this major incident proves that point.
    They have had to rely on judiciary to deliver the coup-de-grace against the government on the pretext of corruption charges, but even they have failed.
     
  18. Well...I have posted the Link to the entire Text . . . which is roughly 10 pages long . . . .

    You think Posting that big a text inline is the correct way to make a point . . .?

    If there's any exception noted in the bill that renders the text i highlighted as redundant kindly Post it here . .

    Till then your foot is firmly in your mouth .
     
  19. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    This is what your esteemed anchors like Tarek Fatah have said, and I trust they have read the bill and its text. Its you who needs to do some reading.

    There is indeed a clause that will automatically terminate aid if the military undermines the civilian government in Pakistan.
     

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