Stories about shahbaz bhatti

Sawan Masih: Another injustice in the name of justice!

It appears that the public would rather Sawan jaey, than Sawan aaey. Sawan Masih, 26-years-old, a poor cleaner and the father of two, was arrested last year for allegedly uttering blasphemous remarks during an argument.  He protested his innocence saying that there was a property dispute concealed under the accusation of blasphemy but to no avail. Sawan and his family lived in Lahore’s Joseph Colony with other Christian families, clustered together for safety. Unfortunately, the numbers on ‘the other side’ were far greater. When the above event occurred, a mob composed of some 3,000 people attacked Joseph Colony for several days, forcing the inhabitants to leave. When this mob destroyed a hundred ...

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Human Rights day: Lets hope for a better and brighter Pakistan

I hate to be an emissary of doom and gloom. Unfortunately, when I often look around to seek inspiration for my write-ups, I find the wretched in much greater numbers than the elated souls. My quest then becomes one of bringing forth the voice of those derelict yet quiet masses. It is on this note that I would be talking about today, December 10, which is celebrated around the world as the Human Rights Day. This exercise was taken up in the 1950s to commemorate the passing of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations (UN) general assembly ...

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Salmaan Taseer’s sacrifice was in vain

One year on from the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, and all debate on amending the blasphemy laws has essentially come to a close. I do not blame individual citizens for this. Given the prevailing extremist temperament in the country, it is next to impossible to effectively stand up to what is, at the end of the day, a case of bullying in the name of religion. Given the kind of organisation and capabilities the extremists/militants have, it is very difficult for the average man or woman, appalled at the rapid rise of violent radicalism in the country, to speak out. It is not just ...

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A long wait for Aasia Bibi

She has already suffered a lot but it looks like a longer, more painful and tiresome journey lies ahead for her. Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sent to the gallows by a district court in central Punjab last year for committing blasphemy, will have to wait for several years before the Lahore High Court (LHC) takes up her application, seeking review of the lower judiciary’s verdict. Lawyers associated with the case have indicated that it is unlikely that the LHC would take up any time soon the review petition in arguably the most ‘controversial’ case in the country’s recent legal ...

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Pakistan, a place where non-Muslims also live

A lot has been written about the plight of minorities in Pakistan – some by minorities themselves but mostly by the majority. In most such reports, analyses and blogs, the focus has been on the aggressive tactics used by a violent and regressive few to intimidate and persecute the middle to lower-middle class of Christians and Hindus. I speak not of Ahmadis, as the persecution they face is a more severe one resulting in death and legislation-led despair. Theirs is a plight I pray for daily. In this piece, however, I want to focus on another aspect of the issue that ...

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‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’ has no room for Hindus

Hindus and Muslims may have similar wedding celebrations, but there is no registration system for Hindu marriages in Pakistan. The Indian parliament passed the Hindu Marriage Act in 1955 which made it mandatory for Hindu marriages to be registered in India. In Pakistan, the Hindu community has been demanding the same rights for decades, but to no avail. Members of the Hindu community gave a two-month deadline to the government and threatened to hold a sit-in in front of the Parliament House in June if these demands were not met. They urged the media and concerned citizens to participate in a petition campaign as a ...

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After Bhatti: The decay of justice

The dynamics of the state’s relationship in turning a blind eye to terror and extremism has resulted in a decay of justice within the country. By repeatedly abdicating and submitting to extremist ideologies the government has compromised the legal framework of the country. The recent murder of Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti comes at a time when a struggling government is failing to assert itself for the greater survival of the state. Author Semu Bhatt wrote yesterday, “With the existing socio-economic realities, geo-strategic compulsions, and political and institutional weaknesses, it is no wonder that the media is abuzz with the debate about ‘when’, ...

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My Lent prayer for Pakistan

This year, Lent began on March 9 for Christians. Lent is a period of fasting leading up to the feast of Easter, recalling Jesus’ 40 day fast in the wilderness, where he had to struggle with hunger, thirst and the temptations of the devil. In Catholic churches, ashes in the shape of the Cross are applied on the foreheads of all Christians. It is a symbol that we are from “dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). It reminds us that God created everything and no one has superiority over Him. Through these 40 days of lent, Christians should give up ...

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Ahmadi in America: Why Shahbaz Bhatti’s death gives me hope

My life in America has been a breeze compared to the life I would have had in a Pakistani village had we stayed there after I was born. But try telling that to a misfit outsider transplanted to Texas. I happen to be an Ahmadi by birth and by practice. It is common knowledge that in Pakistan, where I still have family, anti-Ahmadi conferences take place regularly. During these conferences, audiences are taught that they have a religious duty to kill Ahmadis. As a result, some uneducated Muslims who are unable to read the Holy Quran for themselves, are misled to believe ...

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The demise of reason

“Being in your company”, said Bahadur Shah Zafar, the principal convict after India’s battle for independence in 1857, “is nothing like what it used to be; it’s harder for one to speak up than it ever was.” The entire experience of those troubled times informs the verse. Strangely, what we are going through nowadays is very similar. Voice the littlest of dissent and you hear a bullet whiz by or a must-be-killed edict. The prudent counsel, therefore, is to shun religious debate. To hear whatever interpretation is being put forward for Islam and to remain quiet. But there are those ...

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