ISLAMABAD:The Senate was informed on Wednesday that the government is taking measures to address sectarian violence in the country and legislation is also being tabled in this regard.
Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman told the House during question hour that 2,090 people have been killed in sectarian attacks since 2008. He said 173 people have been convicted in these sectarian attacks and killings.
He said 104 people were killed in Punjab in these incidents while 252 in Sindh, 22 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 737 in Balochistan, 867 in FATA, 103 in Gilgit Baltistan and five people were killed in Islamabad.
To a question, the minister said that the government is taking steps to control cybercrime in the country. He said Prevention of Cyber Crime Act has been prepared and submitted to the cabinet for approval. He said that it would be introduced in the House shortly and would address all the issues related to cybercrime.
"It is not something that we can control”, was what the SHO of the local police station said to the Ahmadi men, watching the burning down of their fellow community members’ homes in Gujranwala the night of July 27.
Arshad Mahmood, one of the eye witnesses of the arson from the Ahmadi community of Gujranwala had reached the neighborhood where a mob of some 250 men had gathered to intimidate Ahmadi residents.
Attack on Ahmadis
Mahmood told me the mob was pelting stones at Ahmadi homes and beating down doors with batons. When the violent mob – which included some neighbors from the street of Peoples’ Colony where the incident took place – dragged a motor cycle out of one of the houses and set it on fire, the police voiced their helplessness.
Mahmood says the SHO ran from the spot once he saw people getting aggressive; he tried to pacify the mob by offering them an FIR against the Ahmadi boy who had allegedly committed blasphemy. Some from the members of the mob went to the station with him but eventually the size of the mob got bigger in Peoples’ Colony.
The civil war in Syria has quickly spilled over into Iraq, a strategy that has resulted in the country losing control of its borders. While military targets anti-Pakistan militants in Zarb-i-Azb operations, some have started to question whether any success will be undermined once Pakistanis fighting with ISIS return home. While the return of Pakistani jihadis from fighting in foreign wars is certainly a threat, there is another more immediate danger. Just as global jihadi groups hijacked Afghan, Syrian, and Iraqi, they have now set their sights on Kashmir.
Unfortunately, there is more than mere theorising behind such a prediction. My dear readers will recall that is was less that one year prior that Al Qaeda chief Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged fighters to “create a safe haven for Mujahideen in Pakistan” so that it can become a base for “establishing an Islamic system”.
Malik Ishaq’s release in Rawalpindi –the seat of deep events- is a deep event and an event predictably suppressed in the media. However, that Malik Ishaq has been freed does not come as a surprise. The soft corner that some of the stalwarts of the PMLN government have for the terrorists and sectarian killers is well known to all. The fusion of the PMLN with Saudi governing interests is as much political as economic. When the interior minister of the country and the law minister of the largest province openly sympathise with the terrorists then let’s not harbour any hopes for firm prosecution, let alone justice. Unfortunately, this only encourages further violence and is reminiscent of so many past trials where justice was never served to the perpetrators responsible for sectarian violence. So, we are describing a phenomenon that occurred not just once, but consistently, almost predictably. There is a long list of SSP/AWSJ/LeJ killers who were apprehended by the police but set free by the state and then continued their activities, including spewing hatred against the minorities and killing Shias, Barelvis, and Ahmedis.
The Pakistani government’s negligence has created a climate of impunity that encourages further assaults. The government knows well that accountability could serve as a deterrent, and would demonstrate that the government is interested in addressing the issue through application of the rule of law and not just reconciliation sessions with the perpetrators of violence. But this whole episode illustrates what has become all too common in recent Pakistani history, the way in which secret Jihadist policies can take priority over the public interest, even to the point of leading to indiscriminate mass murders or targeted killing of minorities.
RAWALPINDI: A Rawalpindi anti-terrorist court on Thursday acquitted Malik Ishaq, chief of proscribed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group, in three cases relating to terrorism, DawnNews reported.
Judge Rana Masood Akhtar issued acquittal orders for Ishaq in the cases, saying the evidence against Ishaq was not sufficient for further proceedings.
The had been registered against Ishaq at police stations in Attock, Hazro and Talagang and he was also previously arrested over charges relating hate-speech and inciting violence.
ISLAMABAD - The brutal killing of a Pakistani woman outside a supposedly well protected courthouse prompted a growing outcry Wednesday, both locally and internationally, and underlined Islamabad's long-term failure to provide sufficient protection to women at threat.
Farzana Parveen, 25, was brutally killed Tuesday when as many as 20 members of her own family, including her father and brothers, attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks outside the provincial high court in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city. It was the latest so called "honor killing" in the conservative Muslim society.
This case follows many others in which women have been killed by their own families in Pakistan in the name of preserving the family's honor after they chose to marry men of their own choice, rather than accept a partner chosen by parents in a traditional arranged marriage.
According to statistics compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), an independent watchdog, nearly 900 women were honor killing victims in 2013 alone.
CHENAB NAGAR: A member of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya was shot dead in Chenab Nagar on Monday allegedly because of his faith.
A US based cardiologist visiting Pakistan to provide free healthcare has been murdered today in Chanab Nagar (Rabwah), Punjab.
According to preliminary reports, Dr. Mahdi Ali was gunned down few hours ago by unknown assailants shortly after the dawn prayers on Monday.
Dr Ali had just finished paying his respects at friends and family graves at the Ahmadiyya elders cemetery when he was killed while coming out of the gate, it is reported.
The victim was murdered in front of his wife and a toddler son. He also leaves behind a 5 years old son and a 17 years old son, it was further reported in social media.
ISLAMABAD: Dozens of baton-holding protestors from the Sikh community pushed past the front gate and entered the grounds of parliament on Friday, protesting recent attacks on their houses of worship.
Sikhs from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had gathered outside parliament to protest against what they claimed was the alleged desecration in Shikarpur of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh community.
Sikhs are a tiny minority in predominantly Muslim Pakistan, with most of them living in the southern Sindh province.
Senior police officer Aftab Cheema said the Sikh leaders were also protesting against several attacks on their worship places in Sindh.
MSP REPORT ON
Forced Marriages & Forced Conversions
In the Christian Community of Pakistan
[READ FULL REPORT]
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Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan Issues Global Appeal to End Forced Marriages & Conversions of Christian Girls and Women in Pakistan
International Release of Investigative Report, Forced Marriages & Forced Conversions In the Christian Community of Pakistan, with Recommendations for Action
Contact: MSP media office email@example.com
(Washington, DC) – Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan (MSP) is issuing an appeal for action by releasing an investigative report detailing forced marriages and conversions of Christian girls and women in Pakistan. [The Christian community in Pakistan is over 2 million in size, accounts for 42 percent of Pakistan’s minority population, and is mostly resident in the Punjab.]
The prevalence of forced conversion and marriage are difficult to accurately estimate due to reporting deficiencies and the complex nature of the crime. Estimates therefore range from 100 to 700 victim Christian girls every year (conservative estimates for Hindu girls are on the order of 300 per year).
MSP’s investigations find that cases of forced marriages/conversions follow a distinctive pattern: Christian girls — usually between the ages of 12 and 25 — are abducted, converted to Islam, and married to the abductor or third party. The victim’s family usually files a First Information Report (FIR) for abduction or rape with the local police station. The abductor, on behalf of the victim girl, files a counter FIR, accusing the Christian family of harassing the willfully converted and married girl, and for conspiring to convert the girl back to Christianity. Upon production in the courts or before the magistrate, the victim girl is asked to testify whether she converted and married of her own free will or if she was abducted. (In most cases, the girl remains in custody of the abductor while judicial proceedings are carried out). Upon the girl’s pronouncement that she willfully converted and consented to the marriage, the case is settled without relief for the family. Once in the custody of the abductor, the victim girl may be subjected to sexual violence, rape, forced prostitution, human trafficking and sale, or other domestic abuse.
These patterns of violence and miscarriages of justice are explored in the report through an examination of 10 illustrative cases.
The report also describes the historical and social context of the problem, and the particular grievances of Pakistan’s Christian community in relation to the existing legal, political, and procedural guarantees for the protection of human rights of Pakistan’s religious minorities. The report also highlights the patterns of violence through which the law and social attitudes become complicit in providing immunity for perpetrators, and the complex nature of associated crimes that make it difficult to categorize this crime as specific to religious identity. The report concludes with detailed recommendations at various levels— national, provincial, and local — for key stakeholders.
MSP is mobilizing an inclusive coalition to raise awareness on this issue. MSP will host outreach events in the coming weeks in Pakistan (in collaboration with the National Commission of Justice and Peace in Pakistan) and around the world.
The current investigative effort by MSP follows its 2012 release of “Shia Hazara of Pakistan: A Community Under Siege", an in-depth report revealing abuse of religious minorities in Pakistan’s eastern province of Balochistan.
Concerned individuals can view and download the report and take action at www.msp-pk.org, Movement for Peace and Solidarity in Pakistan’s website.
Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) in Pakistan is a non-partisan organization devoted to building advocacy, education and respect for human rights in Pakistan. Its mission is to ensure that all citizens in Pakistan can avail their rights to equality, security and freedom of religion under the Constitution of Pakistan and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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MSP REPORT ON
Shia Hazara Of Pakistan; A Community Under Seige
[READ FULL REPORT]
Police probe reveals religious sentiment stirred to cover monetary dispute | As word spread, mob burnt Larkana Dharamshala | Confirming desecration became secondary | Religious organisations disassociate | Curfew clamped.
The arson took place on Saturday night in the hometown of opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is the son of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. It was the latest example of violence over an alleged violation of Pakistan’s tough blasphemy laws, which rights groups say are often abused to settle personal scores.
“The law and order problem surfaced in the city Saturday evening after local residents accused a Hindu youth, Surjeet Kumar, of burning pages of the holy Quran,” said senior local administration official Ghunwar Leghari. Dozens of enraged Muslims attacked a Hindu temple in the city and set fire to its sanctuary, Leghari said, adding the situation had been brought under control overnight and Kumar was in police custody. He added that there was a heavy deployment of police and paramilitary Rangers to keep the peace on Sunday.
PPP MNA Faryal Talpur has announced to get the damaged Hindu temple repaired from her own pocket.
The incident of burning of temple comes when the Hindu community is celebrating the festival of Holi.
The preliminary findings of a committee comprising administration officials, ulema and Hindu leaders suggest that some criminal elements orchestrated the incident by giving religious colouring to a monetary dispute. The committee which has been tasked to collect evidence has further submitted in its report that no activist of any religious organisation was found involved in the incident.