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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Ironies of Aasia Bibi’s Pakistan


The Friday Times (TFT) Editorial
26 Nov, 2010

The Aasia Bibi blasphemy case has caught the world’s headlines because it is full of desperate and nasty ironies. She is a Christian mother of two children, sentenced to death in a Muslim country that is notorious for making and practicing laws that persecute its minorities even as its official state religion of Islam proclaims special protection for them; whose citizens “hate” the West even as they line up outside Western embassies for work, education and tourist visas; whose governments shamelessly clamour for financial handouts from Western aid agencies even as they roundly condemn the “begging-bowl syndrome”; whose military establishment provides “safe havens” for Al-Qaeda-Taliban terrorists in North Waziristan even as it fights them in South Waziristan and Swat; whose security posture compels its strategic US ally to look upon it as both the problem and the solution for the war in Afghanistan.

Aasia’s crime: an allegedly blasphemous and angry retort to some Muslim village women who taunted her faith and her low caste by refusing to drink water from a utensil tainted by her “unclean” infidel hands. She was imprisoned for a year during trial and sentenced to death by a magistrate quaking in fear of the mullahs. The Punjab law minister, Rana Sanaullah, says that Aasia’s conviction is a miscarriage of justice. But there is deep irony here. Mr Sanaullah’s PMLN party rules in Punjab province. He has close links with hard line religious groups. In 1992, his PMLN was in power in Islamabad and mandated the death sentence for blasphemy.

At least two judges have been assassinated in the past for acquitting victims of the blasphemy laws and thirty two persons have been “extra-judicially killed” by mobs on the spot, inside prisons or outside courtrooms. According to the National Commission for Law and Justice, from the mid 1980s, when the blasphemy laws were enlarged under the regime of General Zia ul Haq, to 2009, over 960 people have been thus charged, among them 479 Muslims, 340 Ahmedis (who are prosecuted for insisting they are Muslims), 119 Christians, 14 Hindus and various others. An overwhelming 70% of such cases are situated in the “settled” areas of Punjab province. Of the nearly 2 million Christians in Pakistan, nearly half live in seven settled districts of Punjab, namely Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Qasur, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura  and Toba Tek Singh.

The Penal Code was established by the British Raj in 1860. In 1927, the law for offenses against religion was beefed up to include all deliberate and malicious acts, by words or visible representations, aimed at outraging anyone’s religious feelings and the maximum punishment was extended from two to ten years and/or a fine. The aim was to clamp down on rising communal passions amidst Hindu demands for independence from the British and Muslim demands for separate electorates.

The real mischief came in 1982, 1984 and 1986 in Pakistan when General Zia ul Haq increasingly relied upon the religious parties for political legitimacy and decreed so-called Islamic edicts which enveloped “desecration” of the Holy Quran and use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The critical “willful intent” conditionality behind any such outrage, even by “innuendo or imputation or insinuation”, was removed and the sweeping punishment of death or life imprisonment was made a weapon in the hands of mullahs against their secular or mundane opponents. In time, these laws were exploited to settle property or personal disputes not just between Muslims and non-Muslims but also amongst Muslims themselves.

In 2000, another military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, professed “enlightened moderation” to woo the West and promised to end the embarrassing exploitation of these laws. But, like Gen Zia earlier, he too reneged on his pledge when he cemented an electoral alliance with the mullahs in 2002. In the last few years, feeble anti-blasphemy law voices in parliament and civil society have been drowned out by the self-righteous and cowardly rhetoric of the majority.

To his credit, the PPP’s President Asif Zardari is considering a mercy petition from Aasia Bibi to commute her death sentence, which he is entitled to do by law, even as a High Court is about to review her conviction. As the mullahs gather to protest any dilution of the law or punishment – which has nothing to do with Islamic theory or practice because the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) forgave all blasphemers in his time – there are two points of view in civil society: one insists that pressure should be brought to bear on the courts to acquit Aasia on the basis of due process of law and evidence, thereby institutionalizing the judiciary’s freedom from fear of the mullahs; the other wants to lean on President Zardari to send a strong signal to all and sundry at home and abroad by pardoning Aasia and pre-empting the courts.

The best course of action would be to officially protect Aasia from harm in prison, help her mount a stout legal defence in the High Court and get her acquitted, failing which the President could set her free. He could do much better by instructing his coalition partners to suitably amend an atrociously unjust and exploitative law that defames Pakistan and harms its citizens.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Blasphemy, Christians

 

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Repeal or Amendment, Death or Life??


Dear Friends,
My apologies for being silent in last two weeks. I was probably sulking and down in the mouth, but read and observed what the world had to say. Asia Bibi today emerged as a sign of injustice in the first place, but also as a woman who brought the world’s attention to some strictest and scariest blasphemy laws in practice here in Pakistan. Skipping the details here that how a sip of water turned out to be a crime, it reminds me of all those cases where people from minority groups were charged under the blasphemy law. The only difference is that Asia has been sentenced and that too to death under 295 C of Pakistan Penal Code for defaming Hole Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Human rights organisations and civil society have raised their voices sympathizing with 45-year Asia, a mother of five kids, whose crime will never be proven. This case has provoked international concern after Pope Benedict XVI on November 17 also asked for the release of Asia Bibi to the Government of Pakistan. Governor Punjab Salman Taseer’s meeting with Asia Bibi in the prison was definitely a bold and courageous step, who  promised to take the appeal for clemency forward to the President Zardari. It brought wrath of many religious organisation like Sunni Tehrik and Aalmi Tanzim Ahle Sunnat (ATAS) who in their protests denounced all Asia sympathisers. This reaction was anticipated in a country where religion is misused in most of the cases as a shield to protect their false and inhuman version of religion.

Not so contrary to what usually happens, in Asia’s case a maulvi, religious cleric, has lived up to our expectations and rushed to file a complaint against Asia. It is true that he was not present on the spot so he can be thrown out of the category of “witnesses”, but that we cannot out of sheer respect for him as a maulvi. Even the police forgets legal formalities and investigation formalities when a maulvi complains. So did it happen and later a death sentence of a woman confirmed that how strong the edifice of law is.

What I have observed in all these years that it always appears as a nexus of maulvies, police and some local people who are dealing with feuds either on land or property. Above all, it has always been a general hatred and disgusts towards those who lack freedom and rights.  But who will decide if she or for that mater anyone has committed blasphemy?

Sherry Rehman, former Minister of Information and PPP legislator has submitted a private bill to amend this blasphemy law. Bravo, a bold step which will stir a strong reaction and can put her life in danger too. I have only got the details available and the proposal of reducing death sentence to 10-year imprisonment, and recommendation of substituting life imprisonment under 295 B, PPC, with a five-year prison are the highlights of the Bill.

Despite having wished for a repeal of this law, the realistic step could just be demanding for amendments with not so high hopes. The proposal of adding a new section 203 A to the PPC, in my view, would be of great help in reducing such allegations against people with no social standing. Under this section, if ever implemented,  anyone for making false accusations under the sections of 295 A, 295 B and 295 C of the PPC shall be punished in accordance with similar punishments prescribed in the section.

The Bill proposed amendment in section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1898, by adding a new subsection containing the words, “all offences falling within section 295 A, 295 B and 295 C of PPC shall exclusively be taken cognizance by the Court of Sessions and tried by the High Court”.

Another amendment proposed in section 201 of CrPC says that if a complaint is made in writing to a magistrate under sections 295 A, 295 B and 295 C of PPC, he will not take cognizance of it and will forward it to the proper sessions court. In the case that the complaint is not made in writing, such Magistrate shall direct the complainant to the proper Sessions Court.

Among the several other amendments in schedule II of the CrPC, this one deals with the issue of authority of the police. In case of offences under 295 A, 295 B and 295 C which deal with use of derogatory remarks against a holy personage, defiling a copy of the holy book and the use of derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) respectively, the police will not arrest the accused without a warrant and such cases will be tried in High Courts only.

All these proposed amendments address the critical part of the law, but I have not found anything so far on the issue of investigation. How investigation should take place in such cases where it is hard to determine the crime. This weakness has encouraged people to settle their accounts behind this law. The world is waiting for the President to take decision on this case, and every passing day is making the decision tough. Because those who oppose any amendment in blasphemy laws are still in majority and here any crime becomes a cause of jihad when it comes on religion.

I want to keep my hopes high and extend my support to Sherry Rehman who took this bold step in the midst of danger and opposition. If Asia Bibi’s pain and misery can change this law for others, I would call it a story of success, bravery and compassion.

The PPP will always be remembered in the constitutional history of Pakistan if it succeeds in amending the blasphemy laws which cannot be a piece of cake as we all know. The party has the courage and spirit to address controversial issues and this move by one of its legislators explains a lot. It will be a great service to Pakistanis if such laws if not repealed then amended at least to bring justice in the country.

Below are the stories:

PAKISTAN, Nov 12: Outcry over death sentence for ‘blasphemy’ mother who offered farmhands water

A Pakistani court has sentenced to death a Christian mother of five for blasphemy, the first such conviction of a woman and sparking protests from rights groups. Asia Bibi, 45, was sentenced on Monday by a local court in Nankana district in Pakistan’s central province Punjab, about 75km west of the country’s cultural capital of Lahore. Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case spotlights the Muslim country’s controversial laws on the subject which rights activists say encourages Islamist extremism in a nation
wracked by Taliban attacks.

Ms Bibi’s case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a
non-Muslim, she should not touch the water bowl. A few days later the women went to a local cleric and alleged that Ms Bibi made made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. The cleric went to local police, who opened an investigation. She was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries the death penalty.

Sentencing her to hang, Judge Naveed Iqbal “totally ruled out” any chance that Ms Bibi was falsely implicated and said there were “no mitigating circumstances”, according to a copy of the verdict. Ms Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih, 51, said that he would appeal her
death sentence, which needs to be upheld by the Lahore high court, the highest court in Punjab, before it can be carried out. “The case is baseless and we will file an appeal,” he said.

The couple have two sons and three daughters. Rights activists and minority pressure groups said it was the first time that a woman had been sentenced to hang in Pakistan for
blasphemy, although a Muslim couple were jailed for life last year. Human rights activists want the controversial legislation repealed, saying it is exploited for personal enmity and encourages Islamist extremism.

“The blasphemy law is absolutely obscene and it needs to be repealed in totality,” Human Rights Watch spokesman Ali Dayan Hasan said. “It is primarily used against vulnerable groups that face social and political discrimination. Heading that category are religious
minorities and heterodox Muslim sects,” he said. About three per cent of Pakistan’s population of 167 million is estimated to be non-Muslim.

Last July, two Christian brothers accused of writing a blasphemous pamphlet critical of the Prophet Mohammed were shot dead outside a court in Punjab. Pastor Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and his brother Sajjad, were killed as they left a court hearing in Faisalabad city, where hundreds of Muslim protesters had demanded they be sentenced to death.

The news are available at:
http://www.smh.com.au/world/outcry-over-death-sentence-for-blasphemy-mother-who-offered-farmhands-water-20101112-17pri.html

Asia Bibi likely to be pardoned by President Asif Ali Zardari

A Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan may be saved by a presidential pardon and the case – which last week drew a plea for clemency from the Pope – is expected to reignite the debate about repealing the Draconian law. Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister for Minority Affairs, said Monday he is convinced that Asia Bibi, accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed and sentenced to hang, “is innocent.” Mr. Bhatti is to submit a report to President Asif Ali Zardari on the case this week.

Ms. Bibi’s case provoked international concern and even criticism inside Pakistan, where sensitive Islamic issues rarely lead to dissension or debate. Mr. Zardari is now expected to overturn her sentence and officials indicated Monday that a pardon is likely within the next couple of weeks. While Ms. Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five, looks set to gain her freedom after languishing in jail for a year-and-a-half, it will take a huge effort to change the blasphemy law itself.

“Asia Bibi’s release will not stop the injustice. That won’t end until this heinous law is repealed,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The blasphemy law has become an instrument of coercion used to terrorize minorities.”

Pakistan is said to have among the most stringent blasphemy laws of any Muslim country. Minorities make up fewer than 5 per cent of the 180 million population of Pakistan. Christians are not the only targets of the laws. Ahmedis, a minority Islamic sect, are regularly singled out. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan there were more than 41 reported cases of blasphemy last year. The death sentence for blasphemy has never been carried out, but those convicted or put on trial spend years in jail, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

The blasphemy accusation itself is often enough for vigilantes to take matters into their own hands. Last week, a 22-year-old man was shot and killed outside his home in Lahore after being granted bail on a blasphemy charge. A poor labourer, Ms. Bibi was working in the fields with some Muslim women when a quarrel erupted in June last year. She had fetched water for them, but some refused because she, as a Christian, had touched it. In the ensuing row, she is accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed. The man who filed the complaint, a local mullah, wasn’t present when the incident happened. Immediately jailed, Ms. Bibi was convicted and sentenced to hang earlier this month.

Her family was forced by subsequent threats by locals to move to another village. Ms. Bibi’s 10-year-old daughter, Esha, who is disabled, made a tearful appeal over the weekend, telling local media, “I just want to see my mother.” Mr. Zardari’s top representative in the Punjab province, Salman Taseer, said: “The President has made it clear that she [Asia Bibi] will not be punished. He will grant her a pardon.

“This is a disgraceful case, it is a disgraceful law. It has to be repealed,” he added. Repealing it will not be easy. The blasphemy law, on the statute books since British colonial times, was turned into a potent weapon in the 1980s by the fundamentalist dictator General Zia ul Haq. He brought in the charge of insulting the Prophet Mohammed and the death penalty for blasphemy.

General Pervez Musharraf vowed to get rid of the blasphemy law when he took power in 1999, but was soon forced to back down, under threat of street protests, even with full force of the army behind him. Mr. Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party, which leads the ruling coalition in Islamabad but doesn’t command a majority in parliament, has made a commitment to abolish the blasphemy law. But it has made no concerted effort to do so since coming to office in early 2008.

The main opposition party, the mildly Islamic Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has been ambivalent, stopping well short of calling for a change in the law. “Laws made by a sovereign country should be respected,” said Sadiq ul-Farooq, a spokesman for Mr. Sharif’s party. “The law of the land should be followed but we don’t want injustices.”

Pakistan; Islamists and lawyers protest against pardon to Asia Bibi

Islamabad: November 23, 2010. (PCP) As Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, takes U-Turn on blasphemy law in a statement to news agencies that “Pakistan will not repeal blasphemy law but revise to stop misuse of this law”.

Meanwhile, the Muslims gathered outside Sheikhupura District Jail on rumors that Asia Bibi is pardoned and going to be released. The lawyers of Sheikhupura District and Nankana Districts boycotted courts today against pardon to Asia Bibi, who was handed over Death Sentence by District and Session Judge Sheikhupura on charges of 295-B and C of PPC of blasphemy.

The Pakistani print media also highlighted statements of Muslim religious organizations not to pardon Asia Bibi and threatened government of Pakistan on any blasphemy law repeal or revision.

The insiders in Pakistan Government to PCP that some ally partners in government have opposed any move to repeal blasphemy law or to Pardon Asia Bibi. The Jamiat Ulma Islam JUI(F) which is ally of PPP led government have informed President Asif Zardari that pardon of Asia Bibi will spark unrest in Pakistan and it will not support government on this issue. The Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan JI is also against pardon to Asia Bibi.

The government also used Shahbaz Bhatti, one of selected Christian minister in government to issue this statement ““(Repeal) is not being considered though we are considering changing it so that misuse of the law should be stopped, Bhatti told Reuters”.

There were reports of meetings of Islamist organizations in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and other cities of Punjab province of Pakistan to launch protest against government if Asia Bibi is pardoned. It is feared that Muslims in these cities will take out protest processions after Friday Prayers.

Blasphemy Laws being Misused: Asma Jahangir

ISLAMABAD: President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir has said that the blasphemy laws are being misused in the country. Her remarks come at a time when the Lahore High Court has sentenced the Christian mother of five, Aasia Bibi to death for blasphemy, under the controversial section 295-C of Pakistan’s Penal Code.

Talking to media in London she said that the death penalty should be abolished from the country. She also said that such cases should be heard by the High Court. Asma Jahangir further said that changes should be made in the rules of death penalties. She expressed her discontent with the performance of the government and said that the Army Chief should not have been given extension.

Petition

Holland: November 22, 2010. (PC) Parvez Iqbal, President, Pakistan Christian Congress Holland chapter files a petition to the Secretary General EU to grant Asylum to Asia Bibi, her husband and five children immediately as life of Asia Bibi is on high risk in jail and police custody. After mentioning the facts about Asia Bibi case and few previous examples, Mr. Iqbal has appealed to EU as under:-Mr. Iqbal has also asked for an appointment to meet personally to secretary EU to submit more details with regard to his contentions and copy of this appeal.

” As mentioned above due to lack of our trust on Government and Police of Islamic Republic of Pakistan with few above noted live examples we are fearing death of Asia Bibi and keeping in mind the greatest life risk of Asia Bibi both in and out side police custody, this is humble appeal to take immediate administrative actions on humanitarian grounds and on Women rights Universal rules to pull out Asia Bibi, her husband and 5 children out of Pakistan and grant asylum before any more lines written in history of Pakistan and list of deaths of Blasphemy Laws added with name of Asia Bibi.”

H.E. Welle Klaus.

The EU Secretary General.

Your Excellency,

Asia Bibi an innocent Christian woman arrested under the blasphemy on June 19, 2009, the unjust and unequal society of Pakistan has been awarded death sentence (by hanging till death) by the Additional Sessions Judge, Sheikupura Pakistan on November, 08 2010. The malevolent Blasphemy Law of Pakistan is live threat to minorities living in Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The Christian NGO,s, Human and women Right organizations, and many more shouted against injustice and historic judgment by the Additional Sessions Court of Sheikupura when first time in history Pakistan under Blasphemy Laws, an innocent Christian women mother of 5 children have been ordered to hanged till death.

On Monday, November 15, her husband filed appeal in Lahore High Court which is still not yet judged.

Pope Benedict XVI on November 17, 2010, also asked for the release of Asia Bibi to the Government of Pakistan and stated that I feel close to Asia Bibi and her family and I ask she be release as soon as possible. The Pontiff also prayed for other minorities who are in similar condition of Asia Bibi.

Pakistan Christian Congress along with Christian nation in Pakistan, as well as out side Pakistan don’t trust Pakistan Peoples Party (ruling party of Pakistani Government) and also lack in trust on detention and jail system in Pakistani. Because there are chain of incidents where innocent male and female Christian victims were killed in police detention and jail. Only few of them are mentioned here under for ready reference.

Bantu Masih, a victim of blasphemy was killed in a Police Station in Lahore, Naimat Ahmar was killed by poisoning in Lahore District Jail Lahore, Manzoor Masih was gunned down when appearing in Lahore High Court during hearing of blasphemy sentence, Justice Iqbal Bhatti of Lahore High Court was shot dead who acquitted blasphemy victims, Pastor Emmanuel and Rashid were gunned down when appearing in District Courts Faisalabad and Robert Danish was killed in Jail.

In a very recent incidents two Young brothers of 30 and 32 gunned down in police custody in court premises while they were brought to court for hearing and young boy killed after release on bail last week. This is not only but there are many young boys and girls who were taken into custody under blasphemy Laws and were transferred to unknown places and nobody knows if they are alive or no more. Their families are doing their last to approach concerned officials to know where about of their love ones but no one to answer them. For example Asghar Masih Gill of Sialkot was taken to custody and now no body knows where he is. Ashee Maryam of Faisalabad District is also in same situation under blasphemy laws. This line contains many other references but considering your time I pushed full stop button here.

There are hundreds of youth and elder Christian male and female escaped from their home land leaving behind everything only to save their lives.

Mr. Nazir S. Bhatti, President Pakistan Christian Congress, had already appealed Government of Pakistan to adopt necessary measures for safety and security of Asia Bibi in Jail and police custody. Mr. Bhatti in his appeal on media requested EU and us for her safety and asylum.

Your Excellency,

As mentioned above due to lack of our trust on Government and Police of Islamic Republic of Pakistan with few above noted live examples we are fearing death of Asia Bibi. Keeping in mind the greatest life risk of Asia Bibi both in and out side police custody, this is my humble appeal to take immediate administrative actions on humanitarian grounds and on Women rights Universal rules to pull out Asia Bibi, her husband and 5 children out of Pakistan and grant asylum before any more lines written in history of Pakistan and list of Blasphemy addeed with name of Asia Bibi.

Your Excellency, in the end I express my deep thanks for your precious time. kind attention and our hopes are strong for your sympathetic consideration please.

Yours sincerely,

Parvez Iqbal,

President,

PCC Holland Chapter



 
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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Blasphemy

 

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Sign petition against gang rape of a woman for 50 days by police


Many people put this question before me that why I am trying to give this image of Pakistan to the world that minorities are suffering here. My answer to them is just one that those who watch their countries as watchdogs are true patriots because they value their countries and want protection, respect and security from their systems. So that is what I do; demanding protection, security and respect for all Pakistani citizens from this country.

A woman, Mrs. Ruby Masih, was gang raped for 50 days by policemen and police informers including Muslims and Christians both. She was put in a private police detention house and was later thrown on a railway line in Karachi. The details of this case are available in Asian Human Rights Commission’s appeal below. In nutshell, the dispute was over a possession of a house she bought and the police later illegally occupied it. In protest, she filed a case with police which led to gang rape, threats and an unending misery.

Her husband was put behind bars too and the case is still pending due to confusion created by alleged policemen regarding the police jurisdiction. Her medical report was not received even after one month. So many questions arise in regard to how arbitrary powers have been given to the police here.

Under which law such private detention centers exist and under what circumstances such detention centers are supposed to be used? Who will investigate the corruption in the police force and also if the jurisdiction is changed then does it mean no one ever can fix this matter?

Lust for power, wealth, and property can lead to this heinous crime against a woman and her family is beyond one’s imagination in today’s world. People are right when they choose not to go to police for security because here policemen are rapists, thieves and criminals. Now who will ensure justice?

In such cases we definitely need our Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo moto action against those policemen to set an example. Here the problem lies with the systems where corruption and red tapism are deep rooted.

I request you all to sign this petition in solidarity with the victim. Let’s raise our voice against injustice.

APPEAL

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a woman, who received a stay order from court over a dispute on ownership of her house, was picked up by policemen and their informers and taken to a private detention centre where she was gang raped for more than 50 days. The rape victim’s cases against the accused policemen and their henchmen were withdrawn due to the controversy of the geographical jurisdiction of the police. The medical report of the rape was not issued even after one month following the medical examination. The victim and her family are in hiding because of continuous police threats to withdraw the case. The deputy inspector generals (DIGs) of the two districts of Karachi metropolitan city refused to entertain the complaints of the victim on the grounds of jurisdiction.

The alleged story comes from a country, which claims to be an Islamic Republic and proudly announces that it is protecting the women’s rights. This case is one of the worst examples of how the police protect their own on the pretext of jurisdictions.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mrs. Ruby Masih, aged 32 years, wife of Mr. Aijaz Masih, resident of N-37, street number 50, Sector 50, Mohammad Khan Goth (village) Korangi number 3-1/2, Karachi, Sindh province, was raped in a private detention center of the police for more than 50 days (from August 10 to September 30, 2010) by police constable Ishaque Masih of Mehmoodabad police station and plain clothed policemen known as informers.

Ruby purchased a house in April 2004, where she was living as tenant since 2000, from Mr. Iqbal Masih, son of Mr. Inayat Masih, a police informer of Mehmoodabad police station. She paid off the whole price of the house except Rs. 40,000 (USD 471) as per condition that it would be paid after possession of all papers regarding the ownership of the house. In the meanwhile, Constable Ishaque allegedly forged the papers and declared the property in the name of one Mrs. Marium Bibi. Ruby challenged the issue in a civil court vide case number 578/2010 against Marium Bibi, Constable Ishaque and Iqbal Masih, a police informer.

On 31 May, the court passed a stay order in favour of Ruby. On the
same night in late hours, Police Constable Ishaque, Police Constable
Shahid and others broke into the Ruby’s house and threw away all the belongings of her family and occupied it. She and her family shifted to another house on rent as the police refused them entry to their own premises.

On 7 June, Mr. Aijaz Masih, Ruby’s husband, a carpenter by profession, lodged a case of illegal occupation of his house and theft
of gold ornaments with the Zaman Town police station against
constables and their henchmen. The Zaman Town police did not take any action against the alleged perpetrators. Instead, the police filed a case against the complainant Mr. Aijaz, his uncle and his cousin for trespassing the house, assault or criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, damaging property and other offence.

On 10 August when Ruby went to attend the court hearing of her case, Constable Ishaq Masih of Mehmoodabad police station, Karachi with the help of constable Shahid and police informers, Shahbaz Masih, Iqbal Masih and Ms. Marium Masih abducted her from outside the court premises in a car. Ruby was taken to Qaidabad, 30 kilometers away from the city court premises, at gun point. She was asked to withdraw the case against police men for occupying her house illegally. On her refusal she was dumped into a house, an illegal detention center used for torture, and was forced to drink a coloured water. She fainted and when she came to she found herself lying naked on a cot. Then constable Ishaque and Marium again asked her to withdraw the case against them. On her refusal constable Shahid, Constable Ishaque, police informers Iqbal Masih, Kamran and Munir allegedly raped her during her illegal detention of 52 days.

On 30 September, she was thrown onto the railway line at Cantonment Railway Station from where she was taken away by an ambulance and admitted in the Jinnah Hospital. She informed her husband and then she was shifted to Civil Hospital on instructions of doctors. Before her release from illegal detention, her husband, Aijaz, has filed an application before the Court of District and Session Magistrate on 19 September, pleading that his wife has been abducted by police constables and their henchmen and police refusing to file case against police officials. On the orders of the court the Korangi Industrial police station lodged an FIR (First Information Report) against the accused police officials and their henchmen for abducting Ruby and keeping her incommunicado. On the same night police officials threw her in the jurisdiction of another police station, the Risala police station so that the FIR at Korangi police station should become ineffective.

On 1 October when her husband, was coming back after recording Ruby’s statement regarding her illegal detention and rape, he was arrested by Mehmoodabad police on the charges of theft and stealing. He was then sent to prison where he was kept 15 days and on 19 October he was released on bail. The Korangi Industrial police arrested constable Ishaque and Shahid on the strength of Ruby’s statement but within four days they were released on the pretext of jurisdiction as Ruby was found to be from Risala Police station so the case could not be applied against the perpetrators. In the meantime Station Investigation Officer (SIO), Mr. Sohail Khan, of Korangi Industrial police station started bargaining with Ruby’s husband to settle the issue as he could not expect a result and would only have problems with the police as they have ‘long hands’.

The case of abduction and rape came for investigation before Dr.
Ameer Shaikh, the deputy inspector general of East, who later on
finding police information told the victims that the case did not come under his jurisdiction and they should contact DIG south. The victims then contacted DIG south who also refuse to investigate the case. On 4 October Mr. Momin Ali Mirani, the assistan sub inspector at Korangi police station took Ruby to a civil hospital for a medical examination of her rape. However, after one month the report has not been collected.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write the letters to authorities for conducting an inquiry in
to the case of running a private detention and gang rape of a woman by policemen and misuse of power to provide impunity to perpetrators. Please urge upon them to prosecute all the police officials for their negligence to stop the rape and providing protection to perpetrators. Also urge them to provide government protection and medical treatment to the victim including compensation to the family for the ordeal suffered from the misuse of police power.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to UN Special Rapporteurs on Violence against Women and Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment calling for their interventions into this case.

To support this appeal, please click here:
<http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-171-2010>

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

PAKISTAN: A woman was gang raped and kept for 50 days in a private detention center of police

Names of victims:

1. Mrs Ruby Masih, 32, wife of Aijaz Masih

2. Mr. Aijaz Masih, husband of Ruby Masih

Both are originally the owner of a house at N-37, street number 50,
Sector 50, Mohammad Khan Goth (village) Korangi number 3-1/2, Karachi, Sindh province. Currently residing at Sector 6/C, Mehran Town, Korangi Industrial Area, Karachi, Sindh

Names of alleged perpetrators:

1. Mr. Ishaque Masih

2. Mr. Shahid

Both are Police Constable, attached to the Mehmoodabad Police
station, Karachi, Sindh

3. Mr. Iqbal Masih, son of Inayat Masih, Informer of Mehmoodabad
police station, an ally of former owner of a house at N-37, street
number 50, sector 50, Mohammad Khan Goth (village) Korangi number 3-1/2, Karachi, Sindh province

4. Mrs. Marium Bibi, wife of Manzoor Masih, informer of Mehmoodabad police station, former owner of a house at N-37, street number 50, sector 50, Mohammad Khan Goth (village) Korangi number 3-1/2, Karachi, Sindh province

5. Mr. Sohail Khan, Sub Inspector of police and Station Investigation Officer, attached to the Korangi Industrial police station, Karachi, Sindh

6. Mr. Momin Ali Mirani, Assistant Sub Inspector, attached to the
Korangi Industrial police station, Karachi, Sindh

7. Dr. Amir Shaikh, Deputy Inspector General of Police, East,
Karachi, Sindh

8. Deputy Inspector General of Police, South, Karachi, Sindh

Date of incident: August 10, 2010

Place of incident: Korangi Industrial area and Qaidabad, Landhi,
Karachi

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the gang rape of a
woman and detained for 50 days in private detention center of police on the dispute of house.

I am shocked to know that Mrs Ruby 32, resident of Katchi abadi of
Karachi was abducted by police constables and police informers of
Mehmoodabad police station to withdraw her claim from a house which was legally purchased by her. During her abduction she was gang raped for 50 days in a private detention center of police running illegally even by high police officers. She was tortured and abused and kept many days naked.

That this has happened in a country which claims to be an Islamic
republic is especially shameful. The country is run by elected
representatives where the rule of law is just vanished and women have to the rape for want of justice.

The details of the case are as follows: Mrs. Ruby Masih, 32, wife of
Aijaz Masih, resident of N-37, street number 50, sector 50, Mohammad Khan Goth (village) Korangi number 3-1/2, Karachi, Sindh province, was raped in a private detention center of the police for 50 days (from 10 August to 30 September, 2010) by police constable Ishaque Masih of Mehmoodabad police station and plain clothe policemen known as informers.

Ruby purchased a house in April 2004, where she was living as tenant since 2000, from Iqbal Masih son of Inayat Masih, a police informer of Mehmoodabad police station. She paid all amounts due accept Rs. 40,000 as that would be paid after possession of all papers of the house. In the meanwhile contable Ishaque allegedly forged the papers and declared the property in the name of one Marium Bibi. Ruby challenged this in civil court vide case number 578/2010 against Marium Bibi, Constable Ishaque and Iqbal Masih, a police informer.

On 31 May, court ordered stay order in favour of victim but at the
same night in late hours, constable Ishaque, constable Shahid and
others attacked the house and threw away all the belongings of her
family and occupied it. She and her family shifted to other house on
rent as the police has blocked her return to her home. On 7 June, Mr. Aijaz Masih, husband of Ruby, lodged a case of illegal occupation of his house and theft of gold ornaments in Zaman Town police station against constables and their henchmen. The Zaman town police did not take any action against the perpetrators, instead, police filed a case against complainant Aijaz, his uncle and his cousin for trespassing the house, assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, damaging property and other offence.

On 10 August when Ruby went to attend the court hearing of her case, Constable Ishaq Masih of Mehmoodabad police station, Karachi with the help of constable Shahid and police informers, Shahbaz Masih, Iqbal Masih and Ms. Marium Masih abducted her from out side the court premises in a car. She was taken to Qaidabad, 30 kilometers away from city court premises at gun point. She was asked to withdraw the case against police men for occupying her house illegally. On her refusal she was dumped in to a house, an illegal detention center used for torture, and was forced to drink a coloured water. She was fainted and when she came to she found herself with out her dress and lying naked on a cot. Constable Ishaque and Marium again asked her to withdraw case against them. On her refusal constable Shahid, Constable Ishaque,
police informers Iqbal Masih, Kamran and Munir allegedly raped her during her illegal detention of 52 days.

On 30 September, she was thrown on the railway line at Cant railway station from where she was taken away in ambulance admitted in Jinnah Hospital. She informed her husband and then she was shifted to civil hospital on instructions of doctors. Before her release from illegal detention, her husband, Aijaz, has filed an application before the court of district and session magistrate on 19 September, pleading that his wife has been abducted by police constables and their henchmen and the police were refusing to file a case against police officials. On the orders of the court Korangi Industrial police station lodged a FIR against accused police officials and their henchmen for abducting Ruby and keeping her incommunicado On the same night police officials threw her in the jurisdiction of another police station, the Risala police station so that the FIR at Korangi police station should become ineffective.

On 1 October when her husband was coming back recording the statement of Ruby about her illegal detention and rape, he was arrested by Mehmoodabad police on the charges of theft and stealing. He was then sent to prison where he was kept 15 days and on 19 October he was released on bail. The Korangi Industrial police arrested constable Ishaque and Shahid on the strength of Ruby’s statement but within four days they were released on the pretext of jurisdiction as Ruby was found from Risala Police station so case can not be applied against perpetrators. In the meantime station investigation officer (SIO), Mr. Sohail Khan, of Korangi Industrial police station has started bargaining with Ruby’s husband to settle the issue as he would never get a result but rather always have problems as the police have long hands.

The case of abduction and rape came for investigation before Dr.
Ameer Shaikh, the deputy inspector general of East, who later on
finding police information told the victims that the case did not come under his jurisdiction and to contact DIG south. The victims then contacted DIG south who also refuse to investigate the case. Mr. Momin Ali Mirani, the assistant sub inspector at Korangi police station has taken her on 4 October to civil hospital for medical examination of her rape but even now the reported has not been collected.

I am appalled that how police, as an institution, protect their
officials who are involved in crime on the pretext of jurisdiction, a
heinous kind of crime, that usurps the whole rule of law.

I urge that you immediately conduct an inquiry into the matter of
gang rape of a woman in private detention center for 50 days by police officials. Please also prosecute all the police officers who were
involved in providing protection to the culprits and making false
cases against her and her husband. Also provide protection to victim and her family and provide best medical treatment with compensation to family.

Yours sincerely,

—————-

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari

President of Pakistan

President’s Secretariat

Islamabad

PAKISTAN

Tel: +92 51 9204801/9214171

Fax: +92 51 9207458

Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani

Prime Minister of Pakistan

Prime Minister House

Islamabad

PAKISTAN

Fax: + 92 51 9221596

E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

3. Syed Qaim Ali Shah

Chief Minister

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 920 2000

E-mail: pppsindh@yahoo.com

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

PAKISTAN

Fax: +9251-9204108

Email: sarfaraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

5. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Soomro

Minister for Law, Parliamantry Affairs & Criminal Prosecution Service

Sindh Assembly Building,

Court road, Karachi, Sindh province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9211982

E-mail: secy.law@sindh.gov.pk

6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court

High Court Building

Saddar, Karachi

Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9213220

E-mail: info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

7. Ms. Nadia Gabol

Minister for Human Rights

Government of Sindh,

Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9207044

Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043

E-mail: lukshmil@yahoo.com

8. Dr. Faqir Hussain

Registrar

Supreme Court of Pakistan

Constitution Avenue, Islamabad

PAKISTAN

Fax: + 92 51 9213452

E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

9. Inspector General of Police

Police Head office, I. I. Chundrigar road

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9212051

E-mail: ppo.sindh@sindhpolice.gov.pk

Thank you.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Christians, Petitions, Rape

 

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Even death is not easy if you are an Ahmadi…


I look forward to the day when I have something pleasant and positive to share with you. But today again something very depressing, ugly, and unfair forced me to express what I feel, but with a heavy heart. I am proud of being a Pakistani because I value this independence and freedom we have as citizens of this country. What could have been our lives in Hindustan If we still share a country with those who deny us our rights and freedoms on the basis of religion?  This thought makes me shudder and I can say with much confidence that it happens with many of us. Then how people of a country who have fought for their rights being a minority can give the same treatment to their minorities?

In my view, it is sheer hypocrisy and the recent incident is an insult to humanity. The police in Sargodha district of Punjab province has forced a family to to exhume the body of one of their family members, Shehzad Waraich, because he is an Ahmadi and has no right to be buried in a Muslim graveyard. Apparently, the police was asked by some religious clerics to do so and the police did it as a preventive measure to control the law and order situation.

1984 will always be remembered as a black spot on Pakistan’s history because it divided our society further. Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims and restricted from following many religious practices. Since then an unending chain of violations, prejudice, hatred and torture has been continuing. Since 84 almost 30 cases of humiliating dead from Ahmadi community have been registered.

I always preferred to assume that we still respect dead ones at least regardless of their religion, but such incidents take that assumption away from me. No, we are all strong defenders and protectors of “our religion” that we exhume the dead and ask the relatives to bury him somewhere else because he is not “one of us”. What religion such people actually follow which preaches to humiliate those who are no more the part of this world is beyond my understanding? The influence of religious clerics cannot be and should not be  that strong to manipulate police job unless the police also believes in this division and humiliation.

This is not an ordinary incident which can go unnoticed and I expect a strong reaction from all those who believe in humanity. And I am hoping to see some strong action against those police officials and the religious clerics who are at the forefront to defame Islam and humanity. We badly need to change our perspective and mindset and only a healthy mind can ensure a healthy society. We are stinking and the stench is strong enough to hide.

Below is the story:
BBC

Pakistan Ahmadi man forcibly exhumed

Police in Pakistan have forced a family of the Ahmadi sect to exhume the body of a relative because it was buried in a Muslim graveyard.

Officials in the Sargodha district of Punjab province say they took the unusual move after anti-Ahmadi Muslim groups threatened peace in the area.

Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims but a 1984 law barred them from identifying themselves as followers of the faith.

The law also put restrictions on their religious practices.

‘Law and order situation’

Shehzad Waraich, a farmer in the Bhalwal area of Sargodha district, died on 30 October and was buried in a shared graveyard designated by the government.

“The police approached the relatives of Mr Waraich on 31 October and asked them to remove the body from the Muslim graveyard as this could lead to a law and order situation,” Salimuddin, an Ahmadi community spokesman, told the BBC.

“The family complied with the request and exhumed the body. They have now buried it in a different graveyard reserved for the Ahmadis several miles away from the village.”

The police said the family was asked to exhume the body because the burial was “illegal”.

“They buried Mr Waraich in a Muslim graveyard, which is against the law,” Javed Islam, the Sargodha district police chief, told the BBC.

“Members of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat organisation and some local people approached the police and conveyed their objection to the burial. The objection was within the ambit of the law, so we acted accordingly,” he said.

Khatm-e-Nabuwat is an anti-Ahmadi religious organisation that acts as a watchdog on their activities.

Mr Islam said that he was not concerned about the moral aspect of the exhumation of Mr Waraich’s body – his job was to enforce the law.

Ahmadis in Pakistan are often mobbed and lynched by extremist elements who critics say are encouraged by favourable laws.

The Ahmadi spokesman, Salimuddin, said it was the 30th incident since 1984 in which an Ahmadi body has been forcefully exhumed by the administration to satisfy the opponents of the community. “The administration always sides with our opponents, and has a convenient argument that they are trying to maintain peace,” he said.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2010 in Ahmadis

 

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