Tag Archives: Pakistan

Video: Ahmadi Persecution In Pakistan

How the murder of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, labelled as apostates by extreme clerics calling for their death, is why in UK we must oppose such justification for murder being preached here.

(Note video does show aftermath of a massacre – but the horror of ideas made real needs telling).

Yesterday I wrote how the Luton Islamic Centre published a paper stating those that leave Islam must be killed. This poisonous idea incites murder, and needs to be challenged. We cannot let fundamentalists lay a theocratic narrative to kill apostates, and only react when we start seeing ex Muslims being killed in the UK.

Ignoring fundamentalism does not make their indoctrination and dissemination of ideas disappear. If you really think challenging extremism is aimed at inciting violence against Muslims that says more about you than me.

Islamism and Anti-Muslim hate both need tackling

The fundamentalists are killing Muslims. These are crimes against humanity. The thinking behind apostasy punishment is to prevent freethought, a plurality of opinion. Individual conscience is suppressed by fear of death.

This needs counter speech. But more importantly, free speech cannot tolerate incitement to murder others for not conforming to another’s views.

I am not prepared to wait and see ex Muslims being killed in the UK, when we know what fundamentalists are capable of. Nor Muslims that stand up to fundamentalists being so either – as happens in Pakistan when challenging blasphemy laws for example.

The dangers are real, and we cannot ignore what is happening and what may yet come by saying nothing.

Thanks to Qasim Rashid for sharing video.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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The World Must Unite To Destroy The Pakistan Taliban

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Where children should be gathering to play and learn, only the blood of at least 132 pupils congeal together as one. The massacre happened at an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, and the dead include nine members of staff. The Pakistan Taliban (TTP) claim their six gunmen while going from classroom to classroom, only aimed at older looking children. As if that would make us think they were not complete and utter murderous bastards. They then for good measure claimed it was revenge for the death of their loved ones. Like more children dying was the answer.

An eye for an eye making the whole world blind, except blind rage is exactly why the Taliban have been the enemy of humanity. You cannot reason or bargain with a group that will try to assassinate a school girl for supporting secularism, wanting an end to theology imposed on citizens. That schoolgirl Malala a few days ago collected her Nobel Peace Prize for her message of education and freedom for all children. The TTP have provided their answer to her hopes of one day returning to the land of her birth. She and her message are not welcome while the fundamentalists can kill anyone they desire in Pakistan.

I wish all of humanity could agree that children were not to be targeted by violence, and not acceptable casualties of collateral damage. These have never been the times we live in. While others are bent on using violence to achieve their ends in the world, the option to allow them to get on with it is impossible. Our media capacity to see and hear the suffering of others has taken us even further from our military capacity to end the carnage one group inflicts on another. Yet blood calls for blood, and will be avenged. The cycle goes on, with the fundamentalists resolve undiminished.

There is no compromise that would be moral, nor is it possible to countenance peace, with the Pakistan Taliban. Their absolute belief in their cause must be met with an absolute determination by the world to end their capacity to harm others with their clerical fascism. We need more than bombs to break this cycle.

Yet in giving our support to Pakistan, we have weakened our claim to stand for the values we uphold. The Senate torture report, unaccountable military use of drones, failure to tackle Assad in Syria and prevent the rise of ISIS there and in Iraq. Let alone our support for dictatorship in the world. These weigh heavy on the heart of any liberal humanitarian interventionist. The moral high ground is not as tall as we would like, but to compare it the TTP would be absurd. Let alone an outrage.

Maybe we are all fallen children of God, but there are demons that roam the land with no doubt, no mercy and no limit to what they will inflict. Even fallen angels must be prepared to grasp the sword to defend the world against the darkness that would spread across the land. Pacifism is not the answer when gunmen arrive at a school.

Now is not the time to doubt our capacity to do good in the world, nor to understand and embrace those that would do evil. Now is the time to fight for the children of the world. This war will be without end, till the blood of those prepared to put kids in the crosshairs runs no more.

In short, we may never know peace. At the very least, neither should the TTP while they still exist.

Photo from this article here that gives a little bit more background to the TTP.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Pakistan Higher Education Commission Suppresses Free Thought

Critical thinking, the ability to think outside the box, the melting pot of ideas that see the status quo as up for grabs. A university degree is not just an education – it is an experience that will send you in the direction you want in life having forged you to think for yourself. With the ability to know the values you stand for and to argue them convincingly against anyone.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) does not see Campus life this way. It has instructed the ideology of the nation be taught, promoting nationalism to bring unity to the nation. Discussions contrary to this, including criticising the government, bring about chaos and negativism.

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This letter is an insult to academia, students and the purpose of universities: to educate and stimulate debate. Bright young minds are to be dimmed. Voices constrained to sing praise to the government. A Higher Education body that would meet the approval of North Korea is a betrayal of the children of Pakistan.

There are campaigns to challenge.

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Via the link above do please support “Bytes For All” efforts on Twitter to hold HEC to account.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Asia Bibi Faces Death For Blasphemy in Pakistan

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The sun is blazing down as you work the field, and having a drink of water you offer some to another labourer. They refuse to be served by you, stating you are unclean as a Christian. Further, they suggest you purify yourself by a ritual to convert to islam. Your kind gesture rudely rebuffed, you make a comment about The Prophet …

The Supreme Court of Pakistan will now decide whether the death sentence for blasphemy will apply to farmworker Asia Bibi, who has already been beaten by a mob. Forget the shambles of a trial that cannot even repeat the allegation for fear it corrupt the soul of the Islamic nation, or the souls of those present may burn a little longer in hell.

Blasphemy laws should not exist in any form. They are the product of the insider outsider distinction that religion uses to divide people. To entrench state control on the way citizens think and behave about religion. No one is free to understand the Nature of God, when the courts will rule on your thoughts and punish you for them.

The condemnation should be loud not just for the sentence of death on Asia Bibi, but that Pakistan has a blasphemy law. Yet the voices raised even to reform the law are met by the sound of a gun. Governor of the Punjab Province Salman Taseer took an interest in Bibi’s case. He was assassinated by his own bodyguard for doing so.

In an interview, Taseer remarked (follow link for whole Q&A worth reading):

Nearly 90% of the media in Pakistan has spoken out against this. I have watched talk shows, spoken to anchors, read numerous columns and opinions, and barring those with a deliberate agenda, not just every media person but also guests on talk shows have openly condemned the Blasphemy Law. They all say it should be amended, which is something which has been the most encouraging result of my move. Because I took a stand, many people have lined up and taken a stand and that, in turn, will empower judges and law-enforcement agencies to the extent that they may not bow to pressure. I think that now a policeman registering a case of blasphemy or a judge hearing a case will investigate before registering or at least think twice before hearing such as case.

In this situation nothing less than solidarity with those trying to abolish the blasphemy law and the victims of the legal system is vital. Bibi may have to wait a further three years for the Supreme Court to rule. She was incarcerated in 2010.

It is tempting to suggest the fundamentalists are running Pakistan, not least when they openly celebrated the bodyguard’s murderous actions. They are running rings around a political establishment that dare not take them on. As Taseer remarked in the above interview:

The real problem is that the government is not prepared to face religious fanaticism head on. This also gives us a bad name in the world.

Stand with the people of Pakistan determined to take their country back from fundamentalists.

They face the mob, bullets, and the courts. The least we can do is voice our support. Or our silence will be complicit in the actions of fanatics.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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The Damnation of Pakistan’s Second Amendment and Imran Khan

Four million people are discriminated against in a land of 180 million. The Second Amendment of the constitution is devoted to enshrining the legal basis to do so. The second; a religious ruling as constitutional law. It reads:

1- Short title and commencement.

(1) This Act may be called the CONSTITUTION (SECOND AMENDMENT) ACT, 1974

(2) It shall come into force at once.
2- Amendment of Article 106 of the Constitution.

In the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to as the Constitution in Article 106, in clause (3) after the words “communities” the words and brackets “and persons of Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’)” shall be inserted.

3- Amendment of Article 260 of the Constitution.
In the Constitution, in Article 260, after clause (2) the following new clause shall be added, namely–

(3) A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.”

The consequence of this is the state has a religious test if you want to vote or have a passport:

Ahmadi Muslims are forced to make a decision if they choose to vote—either register as a non-Mus- lim or sign a document declaring the founder of their community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to be an apostate and a liar.161 In other words, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community must either denounce their faith, denounce their Community’s Founder, or be forbidden from voting. The July-December 2010 UN International Religious Freedom Report on Pakistan explains:

“The government [of Pakistan] designated religious affili- ation on passports and requested religious information in national identity card applications. A citizen must have a national identity card to vote. Those wishing to be listed as Muslims must swear their belief that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet and denounce the Ahmadiyya movement’s founder [Mirza Ghulam Ahmad] as a false prophet and his followers as non-Mus- lims, a provision designed to discriminate against Ahmadis. As a result Ahmadis continued to boycott elections.” [Source]

The form you have to fill in for a passport:

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The hypocrisy the Pakistan Government forces on its citzens, when it is a universal human right to choose your religion or none. That it is no business of government telling it’s citizens what to believe. That it is risible to demand public statements of faith. That it is an abomination to deny what is a citizen’s by birth alone. Not by bits of paper issued by theocratic bureaucrats.

For forty years Pakistan has played the charade of a modern nation state when it cannot even get this fundamental thing right. Far longer some may argue. So long, some friends are leaving you. While others I know lament the failure of their state, and the lie they must give to have the rights that are theirs by birth alone.

The reason I write this post is this Facebook post calling attention to this:

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The Ahmadi rise up, not with protests or placards. Rather, they try to do so by their deeds. Whilst raising consciousness by articles, social media and books – the political process is staked against them as a means. They are four million in a land of 180 million that goes along with the discrimination the constitution allows in an Islamic country.

Imran Khan will not take up their cause. As he stated:

“PTI totally subscribes to the article in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the Ahmadis. It is not part of the PTI agenda to seek amendment of the said article in the Constitution.”

There is no mass protest on the streets of Pakistan. There may never be. Even the Muslim Council of Britain cannot bring itself to condemn the sectarianism against them. The world has to give voice, it must tip it’s denouncement in the scales of justice.

The Ahmadi are denied access to shops, to vote, to travel. They are murdered in the light of day, and their murderers at liberty to sleep at night while their loved ones mourn crying out for justice beyond the new break of day. Many have claimed less of a reason for Londoner’s to take up arms with ISIS.

The Ahmadi instead take up alms. The sorrow continues, yet as more learn of the injustice inflicted based on religious fatwa, the fractured state that is Pakistan might be understood.

You may yet join the chorus demanding change. Nothing less than solidarity with the Ahmadi can be expected of the secular community, let alone humanity.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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