Monthly Archives: August 2010

Sign a petition: A Hindu community is attacked and evicted on Blasphemy charges

What saddens me is the fact that not a single incident could teach a lesson to those who are biased and believe in vested interests. Protests generated within civil society, people, and human rights organizations could not so far put a halt on future violations of human rights. It piles up lot of frustration and I can well imagine that those who have spent their lives in a hope to create a peaceful and fair environment for minorities here in Pakistan must be shaken with a new wave of extremism. But, defending human rights is a long and unending process which is shaken but can never be collapsed.

Once again, blasphemy comes for the rescue of extremist forces when a Muslim mob attacked Hindu families in Sindh. They have been living in Mirpurkhas for almost a century and on an accusation of writing abusive language against Prophet (PBHU), they had to vacate their houses. Angry mob burned three houses belonging to Hindus and many children and women were assaulted. Seven Hindus were arrested on blasphemy charges. Police and rangers tried hard to control the situation, but it kept going out of their control. One innocent Muslim died in crossfire; whereas one ranger got injured.

If one goes back in the context, it is understood that the whole chaos and hatred do not base on religion rather it is pure material. Land grabbing is not new to me rather I have observed that it has been one of the most prominent reasons leading to attacks on minorities. This case is not so different. The role of a Maulvi (religious cleric) in flaring up the mob emotions is condemnable. The job of religious clerics is just not to become custodians and authority on religion rather guiding people on right path is their supreme duty. The bias and hatred in Maulvis play an important role in dividing people further, quite opposite to what they are supposed to do. In many cases with some exceptions, loudspeakers of Mosque are used to assemble and then motivate people to attack minorities in the name of Islam. The implementation of any law has always been a hard task and carries many weaknesses. Same goes for “Loud Speaker Act 1965” in which Section 3 prohibits use of loudspeaker except for prayers. In 2004, it was made compulsory, but due to having no check and balance system, it was never implemented fully. The misuse has a horrifying side to it which made killing and all sort of violence possible against minorities.

The demand to repeal blasphemy laws by human rights defenders is becoming stronger especially under the given perspective. These laws are meant to target one section of society which has an equal right to live here peacefully. The intolerance has plagued the society which has infected majority of people. Sane voices are becoming rare and sensitive minds are becoming oblivious. It is not a good sign and we all have to raise our voices against extremism and religious intolerance to defeat the extremist forces.

Everyone please sign the petition to prove that we are on the right path and humanity is the greatest religion.

Below is the story:

PAKISTAN: A Hindu community is attacked and evicted on fabricated
Blasphemy charges, houses burned causing death of a person by firing

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information
that a Muslim group attacked on a Hindu community that had been living
there for a century during the early hours on 23 August 2010 in order
to grab the land occupied by the Hindu community in Sindh Province of
Pakistan. The Hindu community, who are minority in Pakistan, had been
forced to vacate their houses and assets from the area. Three houses
were burnt by the Muslim attackers. Many women and children were
assaulted and seven Hindu men were arrested on fabricated charges of
Blasphemy for writing abusive language against the last prophet (peace
be upon him) of Islam on the walls around the mosque. The loudspeakers
of the mosque were used to provoke the Muslim residents to attack on
the Hindu community. A young Muslim man was killed during the exchange
of firing between the attackers and the Pakistan Rangers.

The government authorities have not taken any initiative to protect
the minority community till date.


A centuries-old Hindu community had settled in Mir Wah Gorchani city,
Mirpurkhas district of Sindh province and their main settlement were
known as the Bhemo Mal Megwar colony and Metha Ram Megwar Para. The
total population of the Hindus in the area is more than 400 and the
community has been in existence before the formation of Pakistan.

In the early hours of 23 August 2010, at around 2am, Maulvi Mushtaq
Ahmed Naqshbandi, a leader of the local mosque and Jamia Siddiqia
seminary, announced through the loudspeakers that there was some wall
chalking in which abusive words had been written against the last
prophet (Peach be upon him) of Islam by the Hindus. He provoked that
the people should come out from houses to teach the Hindu community a
lesson. When some people asked for proof that the Hindus were
responsible for the chalking Maulvi said that a truck driver had
informed him that when he was entering the area near the mosque he saw
a young man standing at the wall and after seeing the driver he (young
man) ran away towards the Hindu community of Bhemo Mal Megwar. The
driver saw the wall chalking and he quickly informed this to Maulvi.

Maulvi also provoked the Muslim inhabitants to search the houses of
the Hindus and find the young man whose hand must be stained with
black ink. Around 50 persons under the leadership of Maulvi started
searching each house during which women were dragged by the hair out
from the houses in their sleeping garments conditions; children were
kicked to force them to leave the houses. There were 60 houses and it
took three hours to search for the man suspected of the blasphemy but
no such person was found in the community. When the situation
deteriorated after the humiliation of the Hindus and the threats from
the Muslims to burn the Hindu-houses, a police party under district
police officer of Mirpurkahs arrived and started controlling the mob
of more than three hundred Muslims. The angry mob started pelting the
police with stones shouting slogans to burn down the houses of the
Hindus. The mob then burned three houses and looted the belongings of
the community.

In the meantime the loudspeakers of the mosque were continuously used
to provoke the Muslims to attack the houses of Hindus of Bhemo Mal
Megwar that might have provided shelter to the person, who had written
blasphemous writings on the walls around the mosque. The mob was
swelling and going out of control so the Rangers were called to help
the police in controlling the mob. As the Rangers came some miscreants
used fire arms during which one Ranger, Mr. Haq Nawaz, received a
bullet injury. The rangers and police used tear gas shell and baton
charged the mob. On the demand of the Muslim leaders seven Hindus were
arrested on the charges of Blasphemy. The arrested persons were Mr.
Faqeero, Mr. Kirchand, Mr. Mukesh, Mr. Kishan, Mr. Prem and Mr. Heroo
Ram Chand. One possible reason for their arrest is that they were the
only persons available at that time as the Hindus fled the area to
take shelter in other places. The minority community also left all
their belongings and animals that have been without water and fodder
since then.

One young Muslim man, Mohammad Imran, was killed by gunfire. In the
funeral prayers one particular person attended. He is Pir Aube Jan
Sarhandi, from Sanghar city, of Sindh province, and is known in the
area along the Indian border to convert Hindu women to Islam by
abducting them. He openly claims that he has converted 2000 Hindus to


The Bheemo Mal Megwar Para has been a registered Hindu colony since
the creation of Pakistan but the area around this village is mostly
unregistered where many settlers from the Punjab province and migrants
from India have settled and made their houses. In recent days some
land grabbers have also grabbed the land of Musafir Khana, a public
land, and constructed well concrete houses with the connivance of the
officials of the land department. A journalist, Mr. Rana Jameel Ahmed
and one Haji Khalid Papoo have made their houses in front of the main
road to Bheemo Mal Para, narrowing down the path towards Bheemo Mal.
Observing the threatening situation the Hindu community made a wall
around their settlement and erected an iron gate, both of which were
demolished by an angry mob during the above mentioned incident on 23
August. It is alleged that government sent some officers from land
department of Sindh to vacate the grabbed land but the officials made
some settlement with the illegal occupants of the government land. The
alleged grabbers also received help from the mosque leaders.

The same method was applied last year by the alleged land grabbers in
Soomra colony of Mirpurkhas where, during the Hindu festival of Holy
(colour festival) two Hindu communities, the Kohli para and Bheel
Para, were attacked on the false charges of writing blasphemous words.
The Hindus had to leave the area and moved to other places. The land
grabbers have purchased the land from these two communities at throw
away prices.


The dark aspect of the incident is that extreme, militant Muslim
organizations are using the tool of blasphemy as the best way to keep
religious minority groups under pressure. The State is failing to
protect the lives and property of the minority community. The
blasphemy law has made it compulsory that no police officer below the
level of Superintendent of Police can investigate the charges but this
is rarely adhered to.

Religious minority groups in Pakistan remain vulnerable due to the
continued use and abuse of blasphemy charges, despite section 295C of
the Pakistan Penal Code. The police, who fail to follow the code and
who operate under the directive of extremists in the community, must
face strong legal action. Charges of blasphemy are still met with the
death penalty in Pakistan.

The misuse of loudspeakers is continuous in Pakistan despite the
Section 3 of the Loud Speaker Act 1965. And again in 2004 it was made
compulsory that loudspeakers from mosques can be used only for call of
prayers and Friday sermons in Arabic language. But the irony is that
mosques’ leaders are frequently using the loudspeakers and the state
is ignoring the acts of Muslim religious groups which result in
spreading hatred against the religious minority groups.


Please write letters to the authorities urging them to take stern
action against the persons responsible for attacking on the
century-old settlements of the Hindu community. Please also urge the
authorities to stop the misuse of Blasphemy law. The misuse of
loudspeakers from the mosques should be stopped. The government should
help the displaced Hindu community for their rehabilitation in their
own settlements. Maulvi Mushtaq should be arrested and prosecuted on
the charges of misusing loudspeakers from the mosque and taking search
of the houses of the Hindu community illegally. The government should
also provide compensation to the family of the Muslim man, Mr.
Mohammad Imran, who was killed during the firing from the extremist

To support this appeal, please click here:


Dear __________,

PAKISTAN: Hindu community was attacked and evicted on false charges
of Blasphemy, one person killed by firing

Names of the victims:

1. Mr. Faqeero

2. Mr. Kirchand

3. Mr. Mukesh

4. Mr. Kishan

5. Mr. Prem

6. Mr. Heroo Ram Chand,

All are living in Bheemo Mal Megwar Para,Mir Wah Gorchani city,
Mirpurkas district, Sindh province

7. Inhabitants belonging to the Hindu Community settled in Bheemo Mal
Megwar Para, Mir Wah Gorchani city, Mirpurkas district, Sindh province

8. Mr. Mohammad Imran, died in exchange of firing, Mir Wah Gorchani
city, Mirpurkas district, Sindh province

Names of alleged perpetrators:

1. Maulvi Mushtaq Naqshbandi, Head of Jamia Siddiqia Madressa and
mosque, Mir Wah Gorchani city, Mirpurkas district, Sindh province

2 . Mr. Haq Nawaz, Official of Pakistan Rangers, Mirpurkhas district,
Sindh province

Date of incident: 23 August 2010

Place of incident: Bheemo Mal Megwar Para, Mir Wah Gorchani city,
Mirpurkas district, Sindh province

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the attack on the
settlement of the Hindu community at Bheemo Mal Megwar Para, Mir Wah
Gorchani city, Mirpurkas district,Sindh province, by Muslim extremists
on the false charges of writing blasphemous slogans on and around the
walls of close to the mosque. They burned the houses of the Hindus and
looted their belongings. One Muslim man was killed during the firing
from the extremist elements.

It is shocking for me that on the early hours of August 23, at around
2am Maulvi Mushtaq Ahmed Naqshbandi, a leader of the local mosque and
seminary known as Jamia Siddiqia, announced through the loudspeakers
of the local mosque that there were some wall chalking in which
abusive words were written against the last prophet of Islam by the
Hindus. He provoked that the Muslim people should come out from houses
to teach the Hindu community a lesson. When some people asked about
the prove that Hindus have written abusive language, the Maulvi said
that a truck-driver informed him that when he was entering the area
near the mosque he saw a young man was standing with the wall and
after seeing driver he ran away towards the Hindu community, the Bhemo
Mal Megwar. The driver saw the wall chalking and quickly informed this
to Maulvi.

Maulvi also provoked the Muslim people to search the houses of the
Hindus and find the young man whose hand must be stained with black
ink. Around 50 persons under the leadership of Maulvi started
searching each houses during which women were dragged by the hair out
from the houses in their sleeping garments conditions, children were
kicked to force them to leave the houses. There were 60 houses and it
took three hours to search for the man suspected of the blasphemy but
no such person was found in the community. When the situation
deteriorated after the humiliation of Hindus and the threats to burn
their houses a police party under district police officer of
Mirpurkahs arrived and started controlling the mob of more than three
hundred Muslims. The angry mob started pelting the police with stones
shouting slogans to burn down the houses of Hindus. The mob then
burned three houses and looted the belongings of the community.

In the meantime the loudspeakers of the mosque were continuously used
to provoke the Muslims to attack the houses of Hindus of Bhemo Mal
Megwar who might have provided shelter to the person who had written
blasphemous writings on the walls around the mosque. The mob was
swelling and going out of control so the Rangers were called to help
the police in controlling the mob. As the Rangers came some miscreants
used fire arms during which one Ranger, Mr. Haq Nawaz, received a
bullet injury. The rangers and police used tear gas shell and baton
charged the mob. On the demand of the Muslim leaders seven Hindus were
arrested on the charges of Blasphemy. The arrested persons were Mr.
Faqeero, Mr. Kirchand, Mr. Mukesh, Mr. Kishan, Mr. Prem and Mr. Heroo
Ram Chand. One possible reason for their arrest is that they were the
only persons available at that time as the Hindus fled the area to
take shelter in other places. They also left all their belongings and
animals that have been without water and fodder since then.

One young Muslim man, Mohammad Imran, was killed by gunfire. In the
funeral prayers one particular person attended. He is Pir Aube Jan
Sarhandi, from Sanghar city, Sindh, and is known in the area along the
Indian border to convert Hindu women to Islam by abducting them. He
openly claims that he has converted 2000 Hindus to Islam.

I am appalled as to how a leader of a mosque can order the people to
search of each and every house for a person for writing the alleged
blasphemous slogans. How the law was given over to the hands of an
Imam of a mosque, is this the rule of law in the country? I am also
concerned with the misuse of loudspeakers from the mosques and how
they are frequently used against the religious minority groups.

According to the information I have received, it seems to me that the
local administration is at the mercy of the extremist Muslim groups
who use their influence against the religious minority groups in Sindh
province. Many Hindu communities have already left their settlements
because of the absence of rule of law in the interior of Sindh.

I urge you to take stern action against the persons responsible for
attacking on the century-old settlements of the Hindu community. I
also urge the authorities to stop the misuse of Blasphemy law without
properly following the law. The misuse of loudspeakers from the
mosques should be stopped. The government should help the displaced
Hindu community for their rehabilitation in their own settlements.
Maulvi Mushtaq should be arrested and prosecuted on the charges of
misusing loudspeakers from the mosque and taking search of the each
houses of the Hindu community illegally. The government should also
provide compensation to the family of Mr. Mohammad Imran who was
killed during the firing from the extremist elements.

Yours sincerely,



1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari

President of Pakistan

President’s Secretariat

Islamabad, PAKISTAN,

Tel: 92-51-9204801-9214171

Fax 92-51-9207458


2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani

Prime Minister of Pakistan

Prime Minister House



Fax: + 92 51 9221596


3. Syed Qaim Ali Shah

Chief Minister

Karachi, Sindh Province


Fax: +92 21 920 2000


4. Mr.Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani

Federal Minister for Human Rights

Ministry of Human Rights

Old US Aid building

Ata Turk Avenue

G-5, Islamabad


Fax: +9251-9204108


5. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Soomro

Minister for Law, Parliamantry Affairs & Criminal Prosecution Service

Sindh Assembly Building,

Court road, Karachi, Sindh province


Fax: +92 21 9211982


6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court

High Court Building

Saddar, Karachi

Sindh Province


Fax: +92 21 9213220


7. Ms. Nadia Gabol

Minister for Human Rights

Government of Sindh,

Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,

Karachi, Sindh Province


Fax: +92 21 9207044

Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92
21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043


8. Dr. Faqir Hussain


Supreme Court of Pakistan

Constitution Avenue, Islamabad


Fax: + 92 51 9213452


9. Inspector General of Police

Police Head office, I. I. Chundrigar road

Karachi, Sindh Province


Fax: +92 21 9212051


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Two more Ahmadis murdered in target killings

The principle of “live and let live” is no more valid in this part of the world. The desire to see the world around you having a perfect uniformity in mindset and beliefs remains unfulfilled, but leaves horrifying stories behind. The society has grown intolerant beyond understanding and the biggest cushion they could ever get has been offered in form of religion. Here the mechanics of religious bias and fervor work through high emotions, quite away from the world of rational. It is more like a jungle world where the atmosphere smells nothing like human but the human world smells like jungle with all wildness and brutality.

After two Christians were shot dead on blasphemy charges, two Ahmadis were just killed. Both are clearly target killing where it looks obvious that the motives behind are religious. It is a coincidence that both murders took place in Sindh and looks their religious identity dominated their national identity as Pakistanis which eventually could not be tolerated by some from majority.

Since 1984, Ahmadis have been paying the price for a crime which in the first place should have not been a crime, and if it is then death cannot be its punishment. How many more to go to end this intolerance is a question which arises after every murder. Quaid since beginning of Pakistan’s journey has made it clear that this land is for everyone from all religions and casts, but later “true Muslims” decided to kill the element of freedom and secularism existed earlier. And they did it very well.

Many people think in terms of solution to this insanity and so did I. We need to reach out to those religious people who are moderate and respect all regions. Those who believe in religious freedom and preach tolerance according to what Islam has taught them. The voice of secular sounds like “voice of a Kafir (infidel)” to extremists and the real message is somehow lost in the process. The killings are a constant reminder that as a society our growth has stopped somewhere and it is the decline of moral values and humanity. Modern world can offer us new gadgets to stay connected, but it still has not invented anything to transform human minds and hearts.

Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Two more Ahmadis, Dr. Najam al-Hasan and Pir Habib al-Rehman have
been murdered in religiously motivated killings. Once again, no one
has been arrested and the likelihood of anyone being prosecuted is
virtually nil.

Dr. al-Hasan was leaving his clinic in Karachi, the capital of Sindh
province, and had just entered his car when he was shot dead by a
group of assailants, who remain unidentified. Dr. al-Hasan was just 39
years old and a professor at the Dow Medical University, Karachi.

Pir Habib-al-Rehman, a resident of Sanghar city, Sindh province, was
on his way to his farm when two masked assailants approached his
vehicle and shot him twice. One of the shots fired struck his head. He
was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Pir
Habib al-Rehman was a US citizen and had been in Pakistan on personal
business. He is the second US citizen in two years to be killed for
being an Ahmadi. In 2006 Pir Habib’s brother, Dr. Pir Mujeeb
al-Rehman, was also killed for being an Ahmadi Muslim in Sanghar city.
Previously in September, 2008, Dr. Abdul Mannan Siddiqi, also a US
citizen, was brutally killed in Mirpurkhas.

Since the anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX in 1984, 20 Ahmadi doctors have
been killed in sectarian attacks, ten of whom were murdered in Sindh
province. Dr. Najam al-Hasan becomes the second Ahmadi to be killed in
Karachi this year because of his religion. Such violence is a result
of the continuing hatred that is spread throughout Pakistan against
Ahmadiyya Muslims.

Violent assaults against Ahmadis are carried out in the name of
religion and all too often they are premeditated and well organised.
It is most unfortunate that certain parts of the media in Pakistan are
being used to incite the sentiments of people against Ahmadis and
inflame the already raging fire of sectarianism in the country. It is
unacceptable that some of the main media and press is aiding the
fundamentalist and extremist agenda by openly declaring Ahmadis to be
Wajibul Qatl (must be murdered) which is leading to the deaths of
innocent Pakistanis. The fundamentalists encourage these deaths by
claiming that the killers will be entitled to place in heaven.

The recent attacks on Ahmadis in Lahore have shown that it is open
season for extremist and fundamentalist mullahs to spill their venom
against Ahmadis which has resulted in the persecution of Ahmadis in
various cities and towns of Pakistan. This lack of law and order is
resulting in increasing agitation and lawlessness in Pakistan which
does not bode well for the country moving forward.

It is also deplorable to learn that during the current national
emergency (flooding) Ahmadi victims have been denied aid and have been
turned away from shelters. In view of the fact that the government of
Pakistan has been asking for millions of dollars in international aid
they have a duty to explain this to the funding countries. The aid is
being provided for all Pakistanis and this includes the extremists,
fundamentalists, Ahmadis and Christians alike. The AHRC calls on the
government of Pakistan to end this inhumane and barbaric treatment.

The AHRC urges the authorities in Pakistan to safeguard the security
and dignity of all its citizens irrespective of race, religion or
creed. In particular it is the Ahmadis who have been denied basic
fundamental human rights and whose tormentors and killers are never
brought to justice.

In the case of the recent killings the government of Pakistan must
show its sincerity to the world and the countries funding the aid by
ensuring that minority groups will receive the same degree of aid that
the majority are receiving. The killers of Dr. Najam al-Hasan and Pir
Habib al-Rehman must be brought to justice.


Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Ahmadis


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I do not want to be an orphan..

Hello everyone,

Writing just to express what I am feeling these days and I believe most of the Pakistanis can relate to it. Many mind boggling incidents ranging from natural calamities to the ones man-made have paralyzed minds and hearts. New year is what I take as a beginning of another chapter of life with high hopes of seeing the world and my country as a better place to live, but how many times I could end the same year with contentment, none in my view. If I look back, 2005 has shaken us to the extent that people could not get back to normal life for months. Here comes 2010, where floods I thought would be as natural as they have always been with some casualties and deserted villages.

But I was so wrong and the previous weeks confirmed that nature was determined not to give us another chance. 20 million people in water everywhere, but not a single drop to drink and not a loaf of bread to eat. This crisis is beyond our imagination and beyond the capacity of government to control. It is said that international aid agencies have a system that can support one major disaster in a year. Bad luck for Pakistan that Haiti earthquake took a major chunk of aid and Pakistan flood victims are deprived of the same attention and aid. It could be one reason with many others like frustration of donors, lack of trust in government and image of Pakistan as a supporter and hub of terrorism. Leaving aside all reasons, I would suggest that we need to look at them as affectees and victims and just representatives of one particular country. This support from international community and people at home will help in ensuring their right to live and food.

A little while ago, I heard some noise, looked through a window and big drops of rain appeared as an alarm of a coming danger. All romance associated with rain has already died in me and now I can only think of floods in coming days in River Ravi.  Here the one- fourth of our population is struggling for life, and on other hand we are bent on taking lives of our youth. The recent incident of two young brothers lynched and then hung upside down on road has blown my mind. The video of this incident which we watch everyday, is still unbelievable. The height of barbaric attitude and that too coming from police not just people made me wonder how insane human beings have gone. It reminds me a world of jungle where all animals live many a times on each other’s flesh and blood.

It is the same world here where lawlessness has inspired people to take law into their hands and to satiate their thirst they look for some fresh blood. But it reflects a “sick mindset” and it became too obvious when I saw that mob consisting of kids, aged men and police torturing those innocent boys. Was that too much frustration or sickness which swallowed two beautiful kids? Butchers I always hated in my childhood assuming them the most insensitive people who play with blood. But now I see those butchers in new form who love human blood; sadist they are for sure.

Depressed people are for obvious reasons and reaching to a consensus that Pakistan’s time is about to be over. A world map without Pakistan is the next tragedy which we should all be prepared to see. I always knew that Pakistan is my reality, but underestimated that how much this country matters to me. All realities are cold and naked; and I loath to agree to this general consensus. But deep in my heart I am scared of the bad times, but still I want the world map with this country on it. Never for a second, I was ashamed of being what I am because I cannot disown my country. Pakistan is my identity and my religion and I do not want to be an orphan for the rest of my life.

No short cut and false hopes I have to offer, but just a belief that we need this country and cannot let it disappear. Last 60 years were not a fairytale, but we so far survived. People, one more time for the sake of your existence and identity, come out of this depressive darkness and decide to fight. If nothing else then all these things have made us strong enough to emerge as fighters. It will lead to victory one day. Hope, I need for my survival and I wish it will reach to all of you out there. This, too, shall pass….

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Posted by on August 22, 2010 in Courage


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No mercy for killers

Everyday is a new day and also full of surprises, but Pakistan is a country where pleasant surprises are no more possible. Each time, every surprise has to be more horrifying and unbelievable. The latest case of two young brothers who were lynched in Sialkot and that too in the presence of police has shocked everyone. The young innocent boys aged 18 and 16 went to play cricket after Sehri where a mob tortured them for two hours and then hanged them upside down.

The boys in their teens, fans of cricket, faced this brutal death at the time when they have just started dreaming for a bright future. They could not even in their wildest dreams imagine anything this brutal happening to them. But it happened. The presence of police at the scene is a proof that all big crimes take place with the best coordination with police. Their job was to save the boys and disperse that crazy mob but it happened otherwise. Later, the boys were accused of theft, robbery and murder but nothing can justify this barbaric treatment. No crime is big enough that it allows citizens to take law into their hands, but our law enforcement agencies allow this to happen. Now the Chief Justice of Pakistan has asked for investigation, but what will happen except those police officers will be sacked or transferred. Many suspects will be arrested, but will they ever get what they deserve?

In my view, all those who took part in this heinous crime deserve death sentence as anything less than that will never teach a lesson to those who in the name of enmity make life a joke. If the judiciary really wants to ensure justice and accountability then it has to make sure that all culprits meet the same fate, including police personnel. No mercy for killers who just look human but are worse than animals. Here it is the 21st century and I feel people are going backwards to the stone age. Insanity prevails….

Below is the story:

ISLAMABAD: Horrified by a brutal incident of vigilante justice, the Supreme Court on Friday came down hard on law-enforcement personnel and their superior officers who stood by and watched as two young brothers were tortured and then hanged by a mob in Sialkot.

It ordered Anti-Corruption Director General Justice (retd) Kazim Malik to investigate the matter. No-one would dare to take law into his own hands if police had the courage and command to eradicate such brutal and inhuman practices from the society, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry observed while heading a bench which had taken a suo motu action on the matter.

On Aug 15, dozens of people publicly beat to death two young brothers, Hafiz Mughees, 15, and Hafiz Muneeb, 19, in the presence of Sialkot District Police Officer Waqar Chauhan and eight other police officers who watched the brutal act as silent spectators. The bodies were later hanged upside down on the chowk.

Litigants and counsel were shocked and the atmosphere became tense when the gruesome video footage aired by a private TV channel was shown in the courtroom. And it was too much to bear for the grief-stricken grandfather and father of the deceased who started wailing after watching it.

When DPO Chauhan informed the court that the SHO concerned had been arrested, but culprits were yet to be detained, the chief justice said he (Mr Chauhan) deserved to be suspended and sent to jail straightaway. The negligence shown by police could not be ignored, the CJ observed.

“What message have you given to the world about Pakistan,” he asked the DPO and said: “Nowhere in a civilised society such an incident takes place in the presence of police.”

He said the country was already facing disasters and crisis with people dying of hunger, but police were indulging in extra-judicial killings.

The chief justice deplored the apathy of top police officers and senior federal government officials who were aware of the incident.

“Not only it was the duty of police to stop those who were beating the two brothers, but the people in the mob should also have shown moral courage by preventing the beating,” the chief justice said.

Secretary establishment Ismail Qureshi, who had been urgently summoned, informed the court that there was no dearth of good and honest officers who could probe the matter independently.

The court ordered him to ask the Punjab government to take strict disciplinary action against Superintendent Police (investigations) Mohammad Afzal and DPO Chauhan.

The Inspector General of Punjab was directed to take strict action against the police officers who were present at the crime scene but did nothing to stop it. The case will be taken up again on Sept 1.

Our Sialkot Correspondent adds: District Police Officer Sialkot Waqar Ahmad Chauhan and SP investigation were made officer on special duty on Friday by the Inspector-General of Police, Punjab.

The police, meanwhile, registered a case against 14 policemen, including the suspended SHO, in the wake of the murder of two brothers on Aug 15.

Inspector Rana Mohammad Ilyas was SHO Sadar when the mob tortured the two brothers to death suspecting them to be robbers.


Posted by on August 21, 2010 in Insanity/brutality


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Is aid only for Sunnis?

Pakistan is going through a rough patch since deadly terrible floods have hit the country creating the worst “humanitarian crisis. One third of Pakistan’s population has been affected by this horrifying natural calamity which is yet to end. Around 20 million people have seen this phase of their lives ending and the disaster has turned them into helpless refugees. Except the support and aid being generated at home, the crisis needs huge aid packages for rehabilitation of these people from international community. After the United Nations’ appeal for funds, the USA and the Britain respectively have come forward generously so far. But the pledged aid looks so small in the face of destruction. After 2005 earthquake, the floods put the whole nation in a painful and helpless situation where the generous hearts too are hesitant in offering what they could due to suspicions and lack of trust in the government.

Under these circumstances, where 20 million Pakistanis have become affectees, how can anyone think in terms of religious bias and prejudice. The reports exposing that Ahmadis are being isolated and denied aid, food and shelter among relief camps sound so unbelievable. Not in my wildest dreams, I ever thought that religious bias could be strong to this extend where in the midst of death and suffering, Ahmadis are receiving this discriminatory treatment. Families were thrown out of camps on the excuse that other people did not want to live with them at the same place. At some places, aid never reached those areas where Ahmadi families were living. Ahmadis had to spend days and nights on rooftops of their inundated houses or some left to stay with the other members of Ahmadi community. What sort of Muslims and Pakistanis are we; what made us to be proud of ourselves? Is this one of the reasons that even while fighting against the worst disaster, we never forget to express our bias and hatred for those who have different notion of religion. Till how long I will survive with this belief that humanity is the best religion and all biases and prejudices look small in front of it. This attitude of people has added more pain into what we have been suffering in form of floods. Please people we need to be united and it is the right time to rise above these prejudices. We need to have concentrated efforts with positive and constructive minds and big hearts. All the victims are affectees and above all human beings, nothing more than that. The best religion is humanity which is the core of all existing religions and the violation of this core is an insult to all religions and beliefs.

Below is the article:

An article from The Express Tribune forwarded by the Asian Human
Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Ahmedi families are denied shelter in relief camps

The government and local clerics refused to shelter around 500
flood-affected families belonging to the Ahmadiya community in South
Punjab’s relief camps. Not only that, the government also did not
send relief goods to the flood-hit areas belonging to the Ahmadiya
community, The Express Tribune has learnt during a visit to the
devastated Punjab districts of Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and

For its part, the government claims that all relief goods are being
distributed among survivors without discrimination. And that all
survivors have been sheltered in relief camps without distinction. The
flood-devastated families from the Ahmadiya community have strongly
criticised the government’s “discriminatory attitude” even at a time
when the entire country is reeling from the ravages of the worst
flooding in living memory.

Of the 500 Ahmadi families, 350 belong to DG Khan, 60 to Muzaffargarh
and 65 to Rajanpur district. According to Ahmadiya community leaders,
over 2,500 members of their community have been displaced and are now
living with their relatives while some of them have left for Rabwah,
the community’s headquarters.

Aziz Ahmad Khan, a local leader of flood victims from the Ahmadiya
community in DG Khan, told The Express Tribune that all members of his
family have complained of discrimination in DG Khan. He said 200
families from Basti Rindan and Basti Sohrani, 60 from Chah Ismaeel
Wala, three from Rakh Mor Jangi, 18 from Ghazi Ghat and 12 from Jhakar
Imam Shah of Ahmadpur. Khan alleged that 200 families, who have been
displaced from Basti Rindan and Basti Sohrani by flooding, took
shelter in a state-run school at Jhok Utra but within days the local
administration forced them to leave the school. He said the local
administration later told them that people from the surrounding areas
did not want the Ahmadis in the relief camp. And that the
administration could not allow them to stay at the camp as it could
create a law and order situation.

“So we left our cattle and other belongings in the area and took
refuge in the homes of our community members on higher grounds,” he
said, adding that some of them even migrated to Chanabnagar.

Muhammad Iqbal Sohrani, a member of the Ahmadiya community told The
Express Tribune that around 40 Ahmadi families who took shelter in a
state-run school at Jhakar Imam Shah near Sumandri, some 40 kilometres
from DG Khan, have not received any relief either from philanthropists
or from the government. He alleged that relief packages were being
distributed through local lawmakers who have been told by the district
administration that the Ahmadis are not eligible for any support.

Saleem Chandia, another Ahmadiya community member, said that he along
with 40 other community members rented a house but after two days
their landlord was forced by local clerics to evict them. Chandia said
they were offered help by their own community members after wandering
for several days in search of shelter.

Mansoor Ahmad, a resident of Muzaffargarh, told The Express Tribune
that over 800 members of the Ahmadiya community were displaced from
Bait Nasirabad, Masroornagar, Hussainwala and Shahjamal. At least 100
members of the community, from Hussainwala and Masroorabad, were
trapped at Shahjamal. He claimed that they had asked the district
police officer (DPO) and the district coordination officer (DCO) to
provide them a boat or to rescue the trapped people but they did not
take notice.

Ahmad claimed that the trapped Ahmadis were rescued by their fellows
on a broken boat. He said local clerics have issued an edict that the
Ahmadis should not be provided help.

Naseem Ahmad, from Rajanpur, told The Express Tribune that their 500
community members from the areas of Basti Lashari, Basti Allahdad
Dareeshak and from Basti Azizabad were displaced. Their houses were
washed away and the government and local clerics ignored them. He said
that they were not allowed to stay in state-run schools or in camps,
therefore the majority of them were living on the rooftops of their
inundated houses.

“The Ahmadiya community itself rescued trapped people and delivered
relief to them,” community spokesperson Saleem-ul-Din told The
Express Tribune by phone.

He said that the community did not want any relief package from the
government for its members. However, the government should protect the
property and livestock of the Ahmadis.

Hassan Iqbal, Commissioner DG Khan, told The Express Tribune that he
would check the situation. He asked the Ahmadis to directly approach
him if they face discrimination anywhere in the district. However, DCO
Muzaffargarh Farasat Iqbal said that the Ahmadis have not contacted

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Posted by on August 19, 2010 in Ahmadis, Tragedy/Crisis/Disaster


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PAKISTAN: Flood unleashes wave of human trafficking

An article from Epoch Times forwarded by the Asian Human Rights

Article by Nicholas Trainor

Flooding in Pakistan has already created a humanitarian crisis of
extreme proportions, but looming over the region is the threat of an
associated disaster – human trafficking.

As the scale of the crisis worsens with an estimated 15 million
people already affected and two million homes destroyed, the threat of
trafficking is growing.

According to human rights expert, Dr Tahmina Rashid, human
trafficking was already a very real threat before the flooding and
now, as the monsoonal rains threaten further south, more people stand
to be affected by trafficking. She noted Pakistan’s southern
province of Sindh, saying it was particularly bad.

There are predators in this world who can take advantage of these
terrible disasters and the chaos that ensues.

“Sindh is a hub for human trafficking at the best of times,” Dr
Rashid told The Epoch Times, adding, “Anytime there is a natural
disaster and human mobility, it will happen,”

The lack of government infrastructure and resources in Pakistan will
only make it harder for the appropriate government departments to
assure the welfare of the affected population, warns Dr Rashid.

The people at most risk are the women and children of Pakistan who
lack empowerment to make their own decisions, and who are most
susceptible to kidnapping and exploitation, she said.

According to a report by the human rights group End Child
Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual
Purposes, around 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide for
sexual exploitation as well as to be used as cheap labour.

“Natural disasters such as earthquakes, flood or famine crises may
disrupt entire families and communities, leaving children without
necessary protection,” says the report.

Isolation plus the slow response from aid agencies and the
government’s admission that it lacks the resources to deal with the
crisis, do not bode well for the immediate future of the displaced

To halt the threat of human trafficking aid agencies such as World
Vision are trying to establish infrastructure, such as “child and
women friendly centres” to allow families to re-establish, and get
over the shock of the disaster.

“There are predators in this world who can take advantage of these
terrible disasters and the chaos that ensues,” said World Vision’s
Connie Lenneberg on ABC Radio. “All agencies will work together to
identify what children are unaccompanied and assure they are looked
after while they are without supervision from their direct family

In the aftermath of past natural disasters, such as the Haitian
earthquake, human trafficking has flourished, despite the best efforts
from aid agencies and governments. According to trafficking experts
such as Dr Rashid, the situation in Pakistan will mirror these past

Abolitionist and human rights expert, Amanda Kloer, believes human
trafficking usually takes place in the months after a natural disaster
has occurred. If this pattern continues the next period of the relief
effort is crucial to stop one disaster producing another.

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Posted by on August 18, 2010 in Tragedy/Crisis/Disaster


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“International Burn a Quran Day”: Raise your voice

This post is just to strengthen what i earlier wrote in context of what would be the consequences if the Church in Florida implements its decision of observing “International Burn a Quran Day”. This gesture was condemned by many in USA and even the CNN anchor expressed a strong body language and argument in condemnation of this act.


As September is approaching fast, a lot of pressure has started building up against the move and demands President Obama to intervene if nothing else works out. As a true expression of hate speech, it will make life impossible for those who represent Christianity in the countries where Muslims are in the majority. In Pakistan the reaction will make minorities suffer further who are already being killed and persecuted.

It is just selfish to follow your heart which insists on celebration of freedom of expression at the cost of millions of lives. It would not be wise to insult one religion and bring tension between two big religions–Islam and Christianity. If the world has the courage to criticise Muslims for their intolerance whenever it is shown, then the same world is determined to condemn such acts by Christians. It would be in the best interests of world’s peace if we all raise our voice to stop this event just like the one mentioned below.

Read the story:
Pakistan Christian Post

New Delhi, August 8, 2010: Indian Christian human rights activists have sent a protest letter to the United States ambassador to India in New Delhi condemning a plan by an American evangelical church to burn copies of the Quran. The statement described the American pastor’s proposal as an activity of fringe lunatics and a violation of religious freedom and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“We strongly condemn the provocation of Pastors Terry and Sylvia Jones and urge the president of the United States of America Barrack Obama to take legal measures against such hate speech” two Christian human rights activists J. G. Anthony and RL Francis said in a statement released here today in the capital. The two Christian human rights activists also appealed to the US government to immediately intervene to halt the plan, which they said, could trigger religious conflict around the world.

Such insult to any religious holy book in the name of Jesus is insult to the Christianity, such people cannot be called “true Christians”, and Muslim brothers must ignore such fanatic statement in the larger interest as this does not represent popular Christian feeling, Stated Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) president RL Francis.

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Posted by on August 18, 2010 in Christians, Hate Speech


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Did Mr Cameron say anything to President Zardari about his country’s blasphemy laws?

By William Oddie, 16 August

President Asif Ali Zardari is still being heavily criticised in Pakistan for preferring to stay here for over a week after the floods devastated his country, among other things to have a chat with David Cameron at Chequers. I hope their conversations were worthwhile, and that Mr Cameron in particular said what needed to be said. I assume he promised aid for flood relief; and I trust that he stood by his absolutely valid criticism of Pakistan’s ambiguity over Islamist terrorism.

There is, however, one thing a British Prime Minister would at one time have said which I rather doubt that Mr Cameron even mentioned. I cannot imagine Mr Gladstone (if you can perform the considerable feat of the imagination needed to transport the G.O.M. to Chequers in August 2010) failing to protest vigorously at the rampant persecution of Christianity in Pakistan.

He would have gone into some detail. He would undoubtedly have mentioned the failure of the public authorities (a failure amounting to complicity) to protect the burning alive of eight people, including two children, in what Aid to the Church in Need describe as “one of the bloodiest attacks against Christians in the country’s history”. They died in August last year, when nearly 3,000 people rampaged through the Christian quarter of Gojra city in the Punjab province.

President Zardari is not likely to do much for the Christians, however. The 1.6 per cent of Christians are among the poorest in even that poor country: Mr Zardari is thought to be among the five richest men in Pakistan, with an estimated net worth of US$1.8 billion. Furthermore, the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his late wife’s father, was one of those began the process of transforming Pakistan by the introduction of ever more stringently Islamic laws. The blasphemy laws, in particular, are used to make it almost impossible for Christians  to express themselves in public without appearing un-Islamic, a legal offence with the most deadly consequences. Did Mr Cameron, as Prime Minister of a Christian country, say anything (as Mr Gladstone would certainly have done) about the blasphemy laws?

Those “rampaging mobs” who a year ago were burning Catholics alive may well be among the unfortunates who have lost everything in the floods. That will certainly not have stopped Christians from responding generously to their needs now: we are to “love our enemies” even through gritted teeth. What needs to be explained, though, is the generally grossly inadequate reaction of the international community to the vast needs of the flood victims.

One reason has to be what can only be described as the dysfunctional nature of the Pakistani state (of which its failure to protect minorities is one symptom). Quite simply, nobody believes the money will get to those who need it. After the earthquakes five years ago, the chairman of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) was accused of embezzlement, as were many ERRA officials and army officers of demanding bribes for compensation funds to be handed over to survivors.

In this increasingly Islamist society, corruption is unbridled, the public authorities grossly incompetent, and persecution of all religious minorities rampant and vicious. This non-existence of a decent, tolerant and properly functioning state bodes ill for the flood victims. I wonder if Mr Cameron said anything to Mr Zardari about his ideas for a Big Society; on reflection, perhaps he might just have thought it a little tactless.

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Posted by on August 17, 2010 in Christians


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Quaid’s view of minorities

By I.A. Rehman
Saturday, 14 Aug, 2010

Quite a few groups and individuals wish to resurrect what they describe as Jinnah’s Pakistan. The argument in support of the effort is that decades of disregard for the Quaid-i-Azam’s vision of Pakistan has landed the country into one crisis after another and its future cannot be guaranteed without a return to its foundational premises.

Although the Quaid’s views on Pakistan’s ideal (he usually avoided the expression ‘ideology’) have not escaped controversy, there is substantial agreement among historians and analysts that he stood for a constitution framed by none else than the representatives of the people, a system of government that he described as people’s democracy, and full citizenship rights for the minorities.

These conclusions are mostly derived from the Quaid’s Aug 11, 1947 address to the Constituent Assembly after he had been elected its president. While conscious and democratically-minded citizens have always held that in this speech the Quaid defined the essential and unalterable features of Pakistan’s polity, a few elements have tried to minimise its importance.

They have argued that the Quaid’s Aug 11 speech was not in harmony with the ideas he had consistently advanced. The Quaid-i-Azam had himself pointed out that he could not make “any well-considered pronouncement at this stage” and had said “a few things as they occur to me”. Through these observations he defined the priority tasks for the government: maintenance of law and order, “so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state”; elimination of the poison of bribery and corruption; eradication of black-marketing; and suppression of the evil of nepotism and jobbery.

These views had not been expressed by the Quaid for the first time. They had inspired his frequent attacks on the colonial administration in the course of his long and illustrious career as a parliamentarian. What followed his observations on governance was new because he was speaking about the state of Pakistan that was to come into being three days later. And what he said was this:

“Now if we want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor … If you change your past and work together in a spirit that every one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.”

These words and his reference to the Muslims’ ceasing to be Muslims and the Hindus’ ceasing to be Hindus in the same speech, constituted the Quaid’s solution to the issue of religious minorities that had undermined the struggle for the subcontinent’s freedom for many decades.

Although communal differences had been accentuated during the 1857 uprising, the minority question acquired a new shape when Muslim leaders, Sir Syed in particular, gave vent to their fears of rule by elected representatives. For several decades they sought safeguards to which they were entitled as a minority. The failure of these attempts led the Muslim League to abandon the status of a minority and claim the rank of nationhood.

However, the formulation of the demand for a new nation-state called Pakistan did not end the minority issue. The authors of the Lahore Resolution of 1940 had themselves realised this when, after asking for the creation of independent states in Muslim-majority areas, they said:

“That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units (provinces) and in the regions (i.e. the Muslim zones) for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them; and in other parts of India where the Musalmans are in a minority, adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for them and other minorities, for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them.”Soon after the Lahore Resolution was adopted questions about the fate of non-Muslims in the Muslim-majority provinces (zones) began to be raised. A group of Sikh representatives met the Quaid, and what did he tell them? Besides assuring the Sikhs of all the protection a religious minority was entitled to in a civilised state he offered them the status of an autonomous region within Punjab and told them that they would be better off in Pakistan than in India.

Those who argue that the Quaid’s defence of the non-Muslims’ right to equal status with Muslims in his Aug 11 speech was not a well-considered formulation may read the account of his press conference in Delhi a month earlier.
Asked to make a brief statement on the problem of minorities as Pakistan’s governor-general-designate, he said: “I shall not depart from what I have said repeatedly with regard to the minorities. Every time I spoke about the minorities, I meant what I said and what I said I meant. The minorities, to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion or their faith or belief will be protected in every way possible. Their life and property will be secure.

“There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life, their property and their culture. They will be in all respects treated as citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste, colour, religion or creed. They will have all their rights and privileges and also the obligations of citizenship. Therefore, the minorities have their responsibilities also and they will play their part in the affairs of the state. As long as the minorities are loyal to the state and owe true allegiance to it and as long as I have any power, they need have no apprehension of any kind.”

When pressed further on specific issues, such as separate electorates, he said: “I cannot go into these details. The actual provisions with regard to protection and safeguards can only be discussed in the two constituent assemblies in which the minorities are represented.”

The Quaid was asked to comment on the recent statements and the speeches by certain Congress leaders to the effect that if the Hindus in Pakistan are treated badly, they will treat Muslims in Hindustan worse. The answer was:

“I hope they will get over this madness and follow the line I am suggesting. It is no use picking up the statements of this man here or that man there. You must remember that in every society there are crooks, cranks and what I call mad people in every part of the world, and this is hardly the place where we can say, ‘what about this man’s statement and what about that man’s statement’.”

It was at this press conference that the Quaid-i-Azam was asked: “Will Pakistan be a secular or a theocratic state?” His reply was: “You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.”

A correspondent suggested that a theocratic state meant a state where only people of a particular religion, for example Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslim would not be full citizens.

The Quaid said: “Then it seems to me that what I have already stated is like throwing water on a duck’s back. For goodness sake, get out of your head the nonsense that is being talked about. What this theocratic state means I do not understand.”

Another correspondent suggested that the questioner meant a state run by maulanas. The Quaid replied: “What about the government run by pandits in Hindustan?” When you talk of democracy I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learnt democracy 13 centuries ago.”

It should not be difficult for any independent observer to conclude that even before Aug 11, 1947 the founder of Pakistan had a clear thesis on the rights of the minorities. The core elements of this thesis were:

— The Lahore Resolution called for mandatory safeguards drawn up in consultation with them.

— In July 1947 the Quaid made a pledge to the effect that the Constituent Assembly, in which the minorities are represented, will lay down safeguards in the constitution.

— Democracy is not incompatible with Islam, hence belief cannot be invoked to curtail the rights of the minorities.

In his Aug 11 speech the Quaid-i-Azam took a radical step beyond unexplained safeguards and called for excluding religion from the affairs of the state and offered the non-Muslim citizens complete equality with their Muslim compatriots. This may well have been the result of his reflection on what had happened between July 13 and Aug 11, 1947, especially the madness of communal slaughter and the exchange of population between the Indian and Pakistani Punjabs, a course he had ruled out in July.

The greatest irony about this address of historic importance is that it is generally believed to have addressed only the minorities’ rights. This is only partly true. The Quaid’s words were directed at all citizens of Pakistan; the progress of the entire population depended on burying the past (communal politics). What he clearly meant was that discrimination against the minorities would impede Pakistan’s progress. Thus, in Jinnah’s Pakistan the rights and interests of the minorities will be protected by the constitution and the law not only as something due to them but also as an insurance of the state’s integrity.

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Posted by on August 15, 2010 in Uncategorized


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An Uncertain Peace Gojra—One Year On

When i decided to join HRCP’s fact finding mission to Gojra, the only thing I had in my mind that it will give me a chance to observe things closely. Later I got the opportunity to write a report on Gojra findings for HRCP which will give the readers an idea how things have been in last one year for Christians after Gojra massacre. I tried to capture many things during my visit and I hope these pictures will help in understanding the situation.

Below is the report:

An Uncertain Peace
Gojra—One Year On

(Report of an HRCP Fact-Finding Mission)

July 2010
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan


A fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had visited Gojra on August 2, 2009, a day after a violent mob had torched nearly 50 houses in Christian Colony, an almost exclusively Christian neighbourhood there. Eight Christians had been killed as a result of those attacks.

Almost a year later, HRCP decided to send a follow-up fact-finding mission to Gojra to investigate three issues:

  • Whether the affected families have been adequately compensated?
  • Have the culprits been brought to justice, or are they being properly tried?
  • What is the state of inter-communal relations in the area?

The HRCP team found that most of the torched houses and a destroyed church had been reconstructed by the provincial government and the standard of construction appeared to be satisfactory. However, the partially destroyed houses had not been rebuilt. Only one-third of the compensation promised to families of the completely destroyed houses had been given and no timeframe had been given for payment of the balance. The federal and Punjab governments had each given 500,000 rupees in compensation to the family of each person killed in the Gojra attacks.

The house where five people including kids and women were burnt alive..

The other family members decided to keep this house locked and in same condition

Police claim to have submitted Challan (case file) for trial, but there is no indication of when proceeding would begin. The Christian community feels it is being pressurised to reach a compromise and withdraw the case against the accused. The witnesses in the case are under greater pressure and may not appear in court if the trial is delayed for much longer or if their security is not guaranteed. The Christian population of the area apprehends that conviction of the accused might lead to a backlash against them.

There has been a general outpouring of support and sympathy among the Muslim population for the Christian community after last year’s attacks. The local administration, businessmen, clerics and other representatives of the two communities have worked hard to cultivate peace and harmony and these efforts seem to be yielding fruit. The presence of a strong police contingent in Gojra has contributed significantly to peace in the area. However, extremist elements have tried to inflame emotions and perceptions of impunity for excesses against members of religious minorities have not helped the matter. Ways need to be found to secure inter-faith harmony on sincere and durable basis.


On August 1, 2009, extremists belonging to the majority community attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Gojra, a tehsil (sub-division) of Toba Tek Singh district in Punjab. The attackers looted Christians’ houses, before setting them on fire. Three churches and 47 houses were torched and seven people were burnt alive when the houses were set ablaze. One of the injured later on died in hospital.

The Gojra attacks occurred two days after members of the Christian community had been brutally attacked by a Muslim mob and 57 houses torched in Korianwala, a village in the same tehsil, on allegations of desecration of the Holy Quran, leveled against a Christian villager.

The violent attacks of August 1 were followed by official announcements of compensation for the victims and their families and initiation of a judicial inquiry into the attacks.

An HRCP team that visited Gojra on August 2, 2009 to ascertain the facts had concluded that the August 1 attacks on the Christian community were preplanned and that the administration had been informed about the extremists’ plan in advance but it failed to prevent the bloodshed. (Detailed report of that fact-finding effort is available at HRCP website:

A week before the anniversary of the 2009 attacks, HRCP decided to send a follow-up fact-finding mission to Gojra to assess the situation and developments since the attacks last year.

On July 24, 2010, the HRCP team, including Mr. Mehboob Ahmad Khan, Mr. Waqar Gilani, Mr. Arshad Javed, Dr. Benjamin Barkat, Mr. Ayub Anjum, Ms Nadia Batool and Ms. Sadaf Arshad, met the affected families, journalists, religious leaders and members of the local administration to find out if the promises of compensation and prosecution made by the government soon after the attack had materialized. The decision regarding the follow up fact-finding mission was based on the need to assess the overall situation, with a particular focus to determine the status and adequacy of compensation to the affected families; the status of prosecution of the accused; and the state of inter-communal relations in the area.

The fact-finding team believes that while some progress has been registered on each of the three issues framed by HRCP, mush still needs to be done to satisfy the victims of last year’s grisly riots, and lay the foundations of inter-communal harmony.

Profile of Gojra

Gojra is a sub-division of Toba Tek Singh district in the Punjab province. Gojra town was established in 1896 when colonisation of Lyallpur district (now Faisalabad) began. It is located 32 kilometers from Toba Tek Singh, 50 kilometers from Faisalabad and 157 kilometers from Vehari. Gojra got the status of tehsil in the newly established district of Toba Tek Singh on July 1, 1982.

The Christian population in Gojra city is approximately 30,000, while in Gojra tehsil there are around 100,000 Christians. Chak No. 424-JB, with a population of around 18,000, is the only village in the whole district where the entire population is Christian. There is only one Christian lawyer in Gojra. Though some members of the community work as teachers in government and private schools, most work as domestic help, sanitary workers and agriculture labour. Some are self-employed, mainly running shops and services in Christian neighborhoods, while some are engaged in agriculture on their own land. There are two main Christian churches in Gojra, one for Catholics and the other for Protestants, and two missionary schools, where most of the students are Muslims.


Journalists at Toba Tek Singh Press Club:

Toba Tek Singh press club

The team interacted with a group of journalists at the Toba Tek Singh Press Club including the press club president, Manzoor Naz, and general secretary, Tariq Saeed. Regarding the involvement of Muslim extremist groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the journalists said that the two main Muslim sects in the area—Barelvis and Deobandis—had both joined a rally against the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Gojra on July 31, 2009. While Barelvis had ended their protest peacefully on that day, the Deobandis led the rally to the Christian Colony where rioters later torched 47 houses. After the first information report (FIR) was lodged with the police regarding the Gojra attacks, 59 people were arrested. Fifty-three were later released on bail. The other six are detained in Toba Tek Singh Jail, and the trial of accused is yet to commence.

Meeting with journalists

The journalists said that a week before the HRCP team’s visit to Gojra on July 24, 2010, police had arrested six accused in the Korianwala attack case, ostensibly because their pre-arrest bail had not been confirmed, but the arrests had come amid concerns of recurring violence against Christians ahead of the anniversary of the Gojra attacks on August 1 and that there were apprehensions that the arrested men could undermine peace in the area.

The journalists said that there is general apprehension in the area of a backlash against the Christian community if the Muslim accused are convicted. They said that a crackdown was recently launched against extremists after new curbs were announced on proscribed militant groups. They believed that if the administration did not take effective measures, the chances of unrest in the area would increase.

Since August 2009, there has been a rise in sympathy towards Christians. Even some extremist elements and Muslim clerics in the area have called the attack on Christians and the subsequent killings unjustifiable.

The report of the judicial inquiry tribunal, consisting of Lahore High Court judge Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, has held police responsible for the events of August 1. It said police should have deployed personnel in adequate numbers to prevent violence against the Christian community. The judge also observed that if a charge of blasphemy is not proven then the complainant should be penalised.

The provincial government has reconstructed a destroyed church and 41 of the 47 houses torched in the Christian Colony. The Punjab government had promised 300,000 rupees to each family in compensation, but only cheques of 100,000 rupees have been given to the affected families so far. The federal and Punjab governments had each given 500,000 rupees in compensation for each person killed.

Khalid Malik, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Gojra, has been posted in the area for the last eight months. He cited his efforts over this period to alleviate tensions and improve relations between Christians and Muslims. He conceded that mosque loudspeakers had been used to incite violence against the Christians the previous year, but now the law on misuse of loudspeakers was being strictly implemented. He said that there had been some instances of use of loudspeakers for purposes other than Aza’an (call to prayer) over the past year, but such use was not against any sect or religion. The DSP also said that clerics had been warned that they would face the full wrath of the law if they incited communal hatred through Friday sermons.

Meeting with DSP

After last year’s Gojra attacks, a Peace Committee was formed in the city comprising 40 members, including clerics from all Muslim sects, Christian representatives and local businessmen and lawyers. The Christians community formed another body called the 13-Member Committee. The committee has been authorized by the community to stay in touch with the local administration around the clock in case of any emergency or threats to communal harmony.

The DSP said that the Challan (case file) for trial had been submitted to the court, but the trial was yet to start. He said in addition to the tribunal’s inquiry, Punjab Police had conducted a departmental inquiry and those who had neglected their duty had been penalized. However, he added that he lacked details of penalties awarded to policemen as a result of the departmental inquiry.

As many as 400 police personnel, led by three DSPs, have been deputed in Gojra to ensure that the anniversary of the Gojra attacks passes without incident.

In their meetings with the administration, both the Christian and Muslim communities reiterated their desire to promote communal harmony and increase efforts to understand each other’s concerns, the DSP said.

Christians arranged Iftar (evening meal that marks the end of the daily fast) in churches during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and Muslims offered prayers in churches. Christians also went to mosques during the fasting month and shared Iftar with Muslims. A number of religious leaders played an important role in promoting communal harmony.

Meeting with the Christian community

The HRCP team also met members of the Christian community, including several women, at a meeting. The participants included Mr. William Prakash, a member of the 13-Member Committee.

Meeting with Christian community

Shaheen Nasir, a schoolteacher, complained of discrimination at the workplace on the basis of religion. He said that he was the only Christian teacher on the 21-member faculty of a private school in Gojra and the majority of the students are also Muslim. He said other teachers try to manipulate the minds of his students by telling them not to be taught by a Christian teacher. However, he said he faced no discrimination on account of his belief from his landlord, who is also a Muslim.

Sameer Samuel, also a schoolteacher, said that construction of half a dozen houses that were destroyed is yet to be completed, but the families had signed forms testifying that the houses had been completed after the contractors beseeched them to do so.

Members of the Christian community complained of receiving only 100,000 rupees out of 300,000 rupees promised as compensation by the Punjab government for each house destroyed. They also said that no compensation had been given for the loss of valuables, and furniture, in the torched houses. One participant complained that three families resided in their house but only one cheque of Rs 100,000 had been given to them.

All participants at the meeting said that they had felt a positive change in the attitude of Muslims since last year’s attacks, and Muslims had repeatedly expressed the desire to attend the anniversary of the Gojra killings along with their clerics. They said that after the murder of two Christian brothers accused of blasphemy in Faisalabad on July 19, 2010, many Muslims had commiserated with Christians. Even members of the administration had condoled with the Christians.

Members of the Christian community said that the situation was peaceful for now but were not certain if that peace would endure. Citing reasons for their apprehension, one participant said, “There are many elements in Gojra which are trying to derail peace and harmony. Mischief makers try to provoke Muslim clerics in the Peace Committee against Christians. One had commented ‘you have fallen to the feet of Christians. See how we shot two dead in Faisalabad’.”

They said that Christians have a strong desire for peaceful co-existence and harmony with Muslims.

They said that they have constantly been reminded that peace is contingent on Christians’ inclination to reach a compromise with the accused named in the police case. “‘There will be consequences if Christians do not agree to reconciliation’, we are often told,” said one participant. “Even Peer Bahar Shah [a Muslim member of Peace Committee acknowledged to be a positive and pacifist influence, even by Christians] has said similar things in an intimidating tone,” he added.

The participants said that many Christians could not join the proceedings before the inquiry tribunal for a number of reasons—some because they were scared that giving statements and recording evidence would invite further attacks; around 35 others could not participate because by the time they finally worked up the courage to appear before the tribunal they were informed that the inquiry had ended. The inquiry lasted from August 5, 2009 until September 5, 2009.

Even those Christians who had joined the inquiry expressed ignorance about its outcome. Not a single member of the Christian community, including church leaders, that the team talked to was aware of the findings of the inquiry tribunal. Most of them did not even know that the inquiry had culminated in a report. Naturally, none of the Christians the team talked to knew what the findings of the report were. The HRCP team offered to share a copy of the inquiry tribunal report with members of the Christian community, but they said that they could not read the report as it was in English.

Many Christian women who had been working as housemaids said that their Muslim employers had fired them after the Gojra attacks, accusing them of ‘defiling the Quran’. However, they said that some of those women were later given their old jobs back.

Another participant, Nasir Masih, who used to work in a steel cupboard manufacturing factory, said the Muslim factory owner fired him after the Gojra incident because he was a Christian.

Bishop John Samuel of Church of Pakistan, Gojra, said the situation in the city was apparently calm. He said that some Muslims members of another local peace committee were really apologetic over the Christians’ loss of life last year, but some others consistently used a very aggressive language. He hoped that similar attacks would not occur again and added that heightened emotions and lack of efforts to verify unsubstantiated charges of defiling of the scriptures had led to the tragic events of August 1 last year.

meeting with Bishop John Samuel

He said that Christians were being pressured to reach a compromise with Muslims and withdraw the cases against those involved in attacks in Korianwala village and in Gojra. “The Christian community wants justice and harmony, nothing more and nothing less. We have left it to the courts to do justice,” he added.

He said that reconstruction of destroyed houses and compensation for the affected families had also provoked jealousy and criticism by some Muslims, who had made sarcastic comments saying that Christians now had better houses and that they had become more resourceful.

He cited continued abuse of blasphemy law was a serious concern and said that the mere charge exposed the accused to mortal danger.

He said that the family which lost five members in the Gojra attacks had moved to Thailand.

He said that eight houses in Korianwala village and six in Christian Colony Gojra had been partially destroyed by the mobs on July 30 and August 1, 2009, respectively. He said that the government had promised to rebuild them in the second phase of reconstruction but that had not happened so far.

He said that he had come to know that the inquiry tribunal had issued a report but he could not manage to get it.

Father Yaqoub Yousaf of Catholic Church, Gojra, apprehended more attacks against Christians if the men charged with the Gojra attacks were convicted. “Such a decision would not bring security or stability for the Christian community. The Muslim population would certainly react.”

Meeting with Father

He said that witnesses were under constant fear and pressure. He said that Christians in Pakistan were “such a weak minority that they cannot even think of committing such senseless acts as blasphemy”.

He said that Christian workers had been threatened with sacking for expressing their opinions in a peaceful manner. He gave the example of a Christian man working on the farm of a Muslim landlord in Suringiya village. The landlord threatened to fire the Christian man if he participated in protests in Gojra after the August 1 attacks last year.


1: Most of the Christians directly affected by the Gojra attacks remain ignorant about the existence or findings of the inquiry tribunal’s report.

2: Many members of the Christian community feel that the time allowed to them to record their statements was very short, and that lack of information and continued threats of violence soon after the August 1 attacks had prevented them from joining the inquiry.

3: The Christians feel that they are being pressurised to reconcile with those accused of the Gojra attacks and intimidated and warned of consequences if they do not comply.

4: Almost a year after the August 1 attacks, the trial of the accused has not yet commenced and there is no indication when it would start. Witnesses feel insecure and intimidated in the circumstances and in case of further delay in the initiation of trial and in absence of arrangements for their safety many may not want to expose themselves to danger by recording their statements in court.

5: Following the attacks, an atmosphere of inter-communal harmony has emerged to a large extent, mainly through efforts of members of both community, including traders, and a positive role played by religious leaders from both sides. Efforts by the local administration to ensure security and communal harmony in the area also seem to be yielding results.

6: The Christians generally fear that conviction of the accused might lead to a backlash for the community

7: The Punjab government has not fulfilled its promise of giving 300,000 rupees to each affected family. Only 100,000 rupees have been given to each family so far and they do not know when or if they would receive the remaining amount. The federal and Punjab governments have each given 500,000 rupees in compensation for each person killed in the Gojra attacks.

8: Peace in Gojra is largely due to the presence of a strong police contingent and the obvious realization by the Muslim community that disruption of order in the present situation will have a bad effect on the fate of those facing trial. Neither of these two factors is permanent. Ways will have to be found to secure the parties’ sincere conversion to inter-faith harmony.

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Posted by on August 14, 2010 in Christians


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