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Discussion on Attacks on journalists and Media Freedom


Participants:  Imtiaz Alam, Khaled Ahmed, and Sadaf Arshad

 

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Media

 

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Thank you Mr. Agha Akbar Mirza for ruining another life


To much of our surprise, the list of categories which decide the blasphemers in Pakistanis getting longer. The new entry is ‘students’ who are expected to give exams based on their understanding, knowledge and vision. The freedom to express their views should clearly be the core idea behind the examination, which does not exist anymore here. Is it a joke what I have read? No it is clearly not. A 17-year-old, not an adult, has been accused of blasphemy immediately after Controller of Examinations Agha Akbar Mirza of Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) found his answer sheet with an “expression of blasphemy”. His arrest followed by an FIR must have left the little boy bewildered and with his trust shaken which he ever had in teachers and education system. The country has lost the sacredness of education and respect for other’s views and for those matter students’ views. The board has a right to judge any student on the basis of his answers and allowed to follow the criterion of marks and grades. But the BIEK’s Controller has misunderstood and misused his powers when he sent the answer sheets to the police. It is a shame. The concept of a teacher, ustad, is universal who show the right path to every soul regardless of his/her religion, nationality, and biases. But this incident has shown how a youth has lost his future and path for good because one man in the system misused his authority and could not rise above his prejudices and notion of right and wrong. I take this opportunity to convey this to Mr. Agha Akbar Mirza that he has not done any service to Islam or the Prophet (PBUH) rather he has confirmed unfortunately what the accused cousins told him about “liberty and a happy life”.

Below is the story:
PakistanToday, April 22:

KARACHI– The police on Saturday arrested a teenage boy for allegedly writing blasphemous material on examination answer sheets. Seventeen-year-old ‘S’, a resident of Malir, was detained following a complaint by Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) Controller of Examinations Agha Akbar Mirza, police said.
The BIEK management has also sent photocopies of the answer sheets as proof of the blasphemy charges against the teenager to the police. The police added that FIR No 56/11 has been lodged against S under Sections 295-C and 109 of the Pakistan Panel Code on Mirza’s complaint.

Shahrah-e-Noor Jehan Station Investigation Officer Qudrat Sher Ali told Pakistan Today that during investigation, the boy told the police that his two Norwegian cousins, who visited the family in January 2009, had influenced him with anti-Islamic views. The statement said: “My two cousins visitedKarachifor 11 days. One day, when I returned home after offering Jumma prayer they laughed at me, saying that Islam has detained Muslims.”
“Both my cousins teased me and started convincing me that they were enjoying a happy life in Oslo while I am visiting mosques. They told me that their country was free and no one could stop them from expressing themselves. Gradually, I started thinking about the liberty they enjoyed,” the statement quoted S as saying.
The SIO said the boy was presented before Judicial Magistrate-VI Maqbool Memon, who sent the boy on a judicial remand for 14 days. Ali said the police had asked the BIEK management to provide the original answer sheets of Islamiyat and physics while the statement of board officials would also be recorded for further investigation.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Blasphemy

 

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A student accused of blasphemy: Is it our future?


The assassination of Governor Salman Taseer has left a deep scar on ailing body of moderate voices.  Only a man like Salman could dare to go sympathising with a woman like Aasia Bibi who was accused of unforgivable crime (blasphemy) which is yet to be committed by her. But the heroic treatment received by his assassin has given a boost to all those forces who were already misusing this law. But they are all now fearless and bold enough to fix their personal disputes through such allegations and more openly.

I was wondering how broad the scope is but this latest incident has answered my thoughts. It has reached to the education institutions where students are being accused of blasphemy based on their personal knowledge which they express in exams on their answer sheets. A teacher exposing answer sheets of his students has just not shaken the trust built between a student and teacher, but also has violated all norms of confidentiality. A teacher is just authorised to pass or fail a student for his knowledge but cannot file a case against him and get his student arrested. But it happened here because Pakistan and Pakistanis have shut their minds and killed their basic wisdom when any random person accuses anyone voluntarily of blasphemy.

Have we realised as a nation that what are we proud of? We have pride in a senseless craze for a version of a religion which only helps in victimising minorities now even majority; we feel pleasure in awarding death to weak so that we do not need to return borrowed money or property; and we take revenge from our minorities for all those things which we could not get even being part of the majority. This is a disease which should be treated. Sooner the better. But the delay is taking more lives and ruining the future of this country. Just a good human being knows that all the deeds done for humanity will be rewarded by the one Who has created him.

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
February 1, 2011
PAKISTAN: Education officials of Karachi must be prosecuted for
filing a blasphemy case against a student

A case of blasphemy has been registered against 17-year-old Syed
Samiullah, an intermediate student and resident of Mujtaba Colony
Malir Halt. The charge was registered in the Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan
Police Station, Karachi, Sindh province.

The incident was reported to the police by Professor Agha Akbar, the
controller of examinations of the Intermediate Board of Education,
Karachi, who attached copies of Samiullah’s answers sheets as evidence
of his alleged blasphemy. The professor charged that Samiullah wrote
derogatory remarks in his answer sheets (Urdu, Islamiat and Physics)
against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him).

He was arrested on January 28, 2011 on the complaint of the chief
controller (Intermediate Board).

The Judicial Magistrate, Central, Ehsan A Malik ordered Samiullah to
be sent to the juvenile prison after the Shahrae Noor Jehan police
produced him in court and requested judicial custody. In an
application to the judicial magistrate, Samiullah submitted that he
had confessed to committing the ‘unpardonable sin’. He apologised and
promised that he would never commit ‘such a sin’ again. An FIR (First
Information Report) (56/11) was registered against him under 295-C of
the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) at Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan police station.

In Pakistan militant Muslim organisations are using the blasphemy law
as the best way to keep the society under their influence and
conservative doctrines. Due to the continuous indifference of the
government and the authorities towards militant expression of power by
the Muslim fundamentalists the malicious use of the blasphemy law has
swiftly seeped in to the educational institutions.

The appeasement policy of the state towards the Muslim
fundamentalists has now reached an alarming stage in that the opinion
of the students can be judged using blasphemy as the rule. It is
condemnable that the institutions which are aimed at providing
education free of bias are obstructing the freedom of expression of
the students. It is a very dangerous sign for the positive growth of
the society that the teachers are also using the blasphemy law to
pressurize the students and suppress their opinions.

This is also a clear demonstration of intimidation aimed at the
student community in regard of their freedom of choice to answer
examination papers through their own understanding of the subject. The
student, Samiullah, and his family, were pressurised by the malicious
intent by the Board of Education, Karachi to confess that he had
committed blasphemy. Samiullah had no other choice other than to
confess after seeing the murder of a governor due to the fake charges
of blasphemy and the glorification of his murderer by the religious
organisations.

Examiners only have the right to pass or fail students based on the
answers they give to the exam papers. They have not right what-so-ever
to grade, fail or take action on exam papers which they feel are
contrary to their religious ideals. Neither do they have the right to
instigate criminal action against students based on these papers or
against the student’s point of view or opinions.

In this instance, the Board of Education is using the blasphemy law
to intimidate and threaten a student for daring to form his own
opinions. By filing a criminal case the officials of the Education
Board are trying to control the mentality of the society and push the
students towards the Militant Muslim organisations. They are utilising
the people to think in this way, that if someone commits such a crime,
he should be killed.

In a country where the literacy rate is below 40 percent (that
includes those persons who can read or write their names and make
signatures) the filing of fake cases of blasphemy against students to
stop them from expressing their own views is nothing less than a
criminal offence on the part of those who are supposed to be providing
education to the society.

It is also an established fact that the examination copy on which a
student answers the questions on a particular subject based on his
personal knowledge, is confidential and no one has the right to make
it public or use it to file a case. In a very explicit manner the
Board of Education has breached the bond of trust and confidentiality
between the students and examiners.

The government must take serious note of the actions of the Board of
Education, Karachi, and prosecute the responsible officials for
misusing the blasphemy laws against a student on a issue which was
totally a matter of opinion on the subject which he understood
according to his knowledge. The case of blasphemy against the student
should be withdrawn immediately and he should be released from the
custody of the juvenile jail so that he can continue his education in
an environment free of intimidation and threats. In any case it is the
responsibility of the government to provide an environment conducive
to education free of religious and sectarian bias.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Blasphemy

 

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Living between fear and courage


Moni Mohsin: Moni Mohsin's latest novel is Tender Hooks (Random House). She lives between Lahore and London. She had known Salman Taseer since she was a teenager. "Gutted by his murder and nauseated by the public reaction to it," she mourns the death of a proud liberal.

India Today
Fifteen years ago when I married a London-based Pakistani, my brother-in-law Najam Sethi said laughingly to my mother, “Moni will be the only one of your children to survive the coming storm.” He was only half-joking. As a progressive journalist who has received more death threats from the religious right than I care to count, he has personal experience of the danger to secular liberals from an increasingly intolerant Pakistani polity. He knows that anyone who takes issue with the mullahs or speaks for the rights of our marginalised minorities or even objects to the cynical use of religion in politics, runs the risk of being killed. As the murder of the Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer, showed last week, no liberal is safe in Pakistan.

In London, on the other hand, I have enjoyed a life of safety, stability and the rule of law. But I have also tasted the bitterness of separation from my homeland and of my increasing irrelevance to it. I have tried to mitigate the pain by keeping alive my contact with my country. I contribute regularly to its publications, sit on charitable trusts and maintain property there. I also take my children back frequently so they can grow up feeling at home in what a huge part of me still considers home.

Moni Mohsin’s latest novel is Tender Hooks (Random House). She lives between Lahore and London. She had known Salman Taseer since she was a teenager. “Gutted by his murder and nauseated by the public reaction to it,” she mourns the death of a proud liberal.

On January 4, my husband, children and I boarded a plane back for London. As always, we had spent our Christmas holidays in Pakistan. Though grateful to have spent time with my parents and siblings, I was unhappy with my visit. In the time I had spent in Pakistan, I had witnessed yet again, from close quarters, the depressing spectacle of a fracturing society and collapsing State. In my three short weeks there, I heard from all quarters of kidnappings, shootings, hold-ups and burglaries. No one reported any of the crimes for they knew there would be no action.

Every time the phone rings at an odd hour, my heart leaps into my mouth. I don’t want to be the only member of my family to survive the storm.

During a bitterly cold winter, there was little gas and less electricity; flood victims were pouring into cities; inflation was rampant; people were sullen; and in the background, a cowering, feeble government was anxiously assuring fulminating mullahs of its undying support for the blasphemy law. On New Year’s Eve, religious parties called a countrywide strike to support the blasphemy law. Either out of fear or sympathy, everyone obeyed. So much, I thought to myself, for Jinnah’s dream of a tolerant homeland for Muslims.

As my plane took off from Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport, a couple of hundred miles to the north outside Islamabad’s Kohsar Market, yet another blow was being dealt to Jinnah’s dream. Airborne by the time it happened, I did not find out till we landed in Heathrow. As I switched on my phone, a text from my brother-in-law flashed across the screen: Tragedy: Salman Taseer murdered by his own security guard.

I’d known Salman since I was a teenager. His eldest daughter and I are close friends. Our daughters in turn have been buddies from the cradle. So I’d had the opportunity to observe Salman from close quarters for over 25 years. If I were to use one word to describe him, it would be “uncompromising. He was uncompromising in both his political and personal life. Unlike some sermonising politicians who preach Islamic values in Pakistan and party with A-listers in London, Salman scorned hypocrisy. He was a proud liberal in everything and everywhere. He was also a man of wit, charm and above all, courage.

I am gutted by his murder and nauseated by the public reaction to it. Some of it I had expected. I had expected the religious parties to crow. Having already witnessed his own party’s moral cowardice, I had known that all mainstream parties would run for cover. I also knew that some fanatics would issue public threats-of course completely unchecked by the State-to Salman’s supporters. I knew that TV “analysts”, who’d probably envied Salman’s flamboyance all along, would smugly hold forth on his “insensitivity” towards “our people’s delicate religious sensibilities”. I was nauseated but not surprised by any of that.

But what I had not expected was that over 200 lawyers, who until last week were championing democracy and freedom of speech, would shower his murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, with rose petals. I had not expected Pakistanis like myself, who live in the West and enjoy every one of its hard-won liberties, to set up Facebook pages lauding Salman’s murderer as a hero. I had not expected the blogs of ordinary middle-class kids, who salivate over Angelina Jolie and dream of a green card, to condone the murder of “an immoral Westernised liberal”. I had not expected novelist Hanif Mohammed to do a random poll in Karachi and discover that most people he spoke to on the street outside his office did not condemn Salman’s murder.

I had not expected all this because it has long been my sustaining belief that though we are ruled by a venal army and morally corrupt politicians and though we are terrorised by a small but murderous fringe of hardliners, the ordinary person on the street is a decent moderate who yearns for stability and the rule of law. After all, I reassure myself, religious parties have always been humiliated at the ballot box. That belief is why, despite all the kidnappings and the gunnings and the fatwas and suicide bombs, I keep taking my children back. That is the reason why, after 15 years abroad, I am still mentally, emotionally and financially invested in Pakistan.

Of course, I would be lying if I said that no one spoke up for Salman in Pakistan.

As usual it was left to the same small group of embattled progressives to pick up the baton. A few brave journalists condemned Salman’s murder on tv. English language newspapers wrote editorials against mounting intolerance in Pakistan. Human rights groups vociferously registered their protest. Candle-lit vigils outside the fallen Governor’s residence in Lahore and at Kohsar Market in Islamabad, were attended by housewives and schoolchildren and office workers. But compared to the thousands who expressed support for Qadri, a few hundred attended the vigils. Where were all the concerned citizens I meet in Lahore and Karachi every time I visit, who sit in their homes bemoaning the lack of security, the mounting disorder, the brutalisation of society?

The answer is simple: they were still in their homes. As soon as the murder was announced on TV, most people fled to the safety of their homes to barricade themselves in. Streets emptied and shops closed within minutes of the announcement. Most people have experienced enough violence to be truly fearful of it. I sympathise with them. I also fear for my family, as I do for every liberal left standing in Pakistan. Every time the phone rings at an odd hour, my heart leaps into my mouth. I don’t want to be the only member of my family to survive the storm. And I feel guilty that I am not there to struggle alongside them.

If I could have my selfish way, I would immediately spirit each member of my family and every single friend out of there. But I also know that if I did so, all would be lost. And I know that we must continue trying to reach out to the people-still the majority, in my view, despite the depredations in their ranks-who want peace and freedom but are too frightened to ask. We must encourage them to stand up and demand it. So I live every day hovering between hope and dread, fear and courage. May my hope and my friends’ and family’s courage be vindicated in my lifetime.

 

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‘Disabled people not allowed to pray in congregation’


 

 

There are some others too who fail to let their voices heard despite all their efforts. But some have ears to hear them like the one who did this story on disabled people. This blog is for all those who are considered minority for any possible reason. But I, when mention minority, refer to their strengths and abilities. Highlighting their problems here show that how much we need them in the society as an integral part. It also shows how much we believe in their capabilities in contributing to this society in a productive way.

Let’s take our first step towards embracing those who hesitate in coming to us because of any handicap–physical, mental or social.

Below is the story:

Express Tribune by Sher Ali

KARACHI: There is a ban on wheelchairs inside mosques and disabled people are not allowed to pray in congregation, pointed out the Association of Physically Handicapped Adults (APHA) on World Disability Day.

“The mullahs, who shut their mosques to us, have no idea about religion,” said the association’s SM Nishat at a news conference on Friday.

According to APHA statistics, 10 per cent of the people in Pakistan are disabled in one way or the other. Out of these, 40 per cent of people are physically challenged and can barely live on the benefits offered by the state.

“We do not want pity or sympathetic looks from people. We are talented educated professionals,” said Dr Maimoona Bari, who runs her own clinic in North Nazimabad and is a member of the association’s executive committee. “We just want to be awarded our rights.”

“The two-per cent employment quota for the disabled is being given to [non-disabled] individuals and that is unfair,” complained APHA president Shariful Muzaffer. “Before they used to tell us that we aren’t educated enough but now when we prove our qualifications, they still offer the jobs to others.”

The Express Tribune contacted Sindh Minister for Social Welfare Nargis N D Khan for a confirmation but she insisted that the “quota is being fulfilled”. “We are hiring in all positions, such as coordinators and computer technicians, depending on the applicant’s ability and education,” she said.

Khan refused, however, to give an exact number of disabled people who have been hired during her tenure. “I don’t know the exact figure but we have issued advertisements and will be hiring soon,” she said.

The government also offers a 50-per cent discount to disabled people on airfare and railway tickets but members of the association claimed that the discount is either useless or not offered at all.

Syed Javed Qadeer of the APHA narrated his experience with the national airline, whose agent quoted an airfare higher than the regular, economy-class ticket. The agent said that the airline offers all its discounts on the business-class ticket.

“This made no sense to me because we can barely afford the economy ticket and now we have to pay more than the regular fare,” said Qadeer, who called the ticketing centre and received a confirmation that the 50-percent discount for disabled people and the 25-per cent discount for the attendant flying with them is only offered on the higher classes of both economy and business.

Another member of the executive committee, Shazia Yousaf, who has been working at NADRA for the past 10 years, complained that she receives pitiful looks every time she rides a bus but she doesn’t let it get to her. “What I do need is some help and for others to realise that they need to do their part as well,” she said.

“We need ramps for easy access into buildings, railings for support to climb stairs, lower footpaths to climb onto without help and buses friendly for handicapped people. This is not charity we are asking for, this is our right.”

Rally outside KPC

The Disabled Welfare Association organised a rally on Friday and walked from Karachi Press Club towards the Arts Council roundabout. The participants demanded more land for a training workshop for the disabled as the present 40-yard space was not enough.

The association’s president, Javaid Raees, said that the chief minister has been making promises for the past two years. Raees held negotiations with special advisers to the chief minister, M Waqar Mehdi and Rashid Rabbani, who were later joined by Pakistan Peoples Party Karachi chapter president Najmi Alam. Alam promised 25 government jobs for the disabled as well as a larger plot of land.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2010.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Very Very Special people

 

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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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Attacking Church: Let’s not empower intolerance


The attack on a Pentecostal Church in Karachi by some extremist Muslims came as a shock to many of us and that too when the even of “Burning Quran Day” was canceled. A group looted the Church, burnt nine Bibles, three hymn books and three wooden crosses along with furniture in Shah Latif Town, which is home to about 120 Christian families. The pretext of “Quran Burning Day”, as it looks, still being used to target Christians but here we seldom look for excuses when it comes on persecution of minorities. During all this time while fighting for the sanctity of our religious book-Quran- what we forgot was to give the same amount of respect to other religious books.

I mentioned earlier too that the events like “Quran Burning Day” can be a world reaction to what we do to people of their religions. Almost the whole USA including President Obama outrageously condemned such intolerant acts which pose threat to world peace and religious harmony. And despite the fact that all this happened in our support, we attacked a church and burnt their holy book.

With every passing day, we are becoming more intolerant as a nation. But on other side, I can still see some hope when I meet and talk to so many people whoo believe in co- existence of all religions. Those who are not poisoned with one-religion obsession. Let’s not empower intolerance. Let’s build a country which embrace everyone irrespective of race, religion and nationality. With this approach we will soon be able to defeat those extremist forces who loathe the idea of peace and stability in this country.

Below is the story:

“There are no imminent threats, but there is still fear evident among the Christian community. In Pakistan, we Christians are in a precarious condition: we do not know what may happen in the next five minutes,” according to Fr. Diego Saleh, President of the “Justice and Peace Commission” of the Catholic Diocese of Karachi, following the news of an attack, which occurred on the evening of September 18, at a Pentecostal Christian church in the District of Shah Latif Town, in Karachi.

The church was attacked and looted by a group of Islamic extremists who burned furniture and Bibles. According to local sources, the attack is linked to the “Koran Burning Day,” which has not yet sounded its last echo and is still being used by some extremist Muslim leaders to fuel anti-Christian hatred.

Fr. Saleh Diego added: “We condemn the attack, asking for the protection of the Government and, as the Christian community in Pakistan, the opportunity to live peacefully and freely in our country. We demand respect for all holy places and holy books of any religion.”

The priest, who is also Chancellor of the Diocese of Karachi, reported “I just spoke with the Archbishop Evarist Pinto, who expressed his concern: we want to avoid, as has happened in the past months, violence against Christian places or districts that could spread to other parts of the city. ”

Of course, observes Fr. Diego, we cannot neglect the “reckless actions” of some Protestant Christian denominations, which have a highly intolerant attitude towards Muslims. The church that was attacked was opened two or three years ago in the middle of a Muslim neighborhood. It had no Pastor and very few Christians attended it. It was an easy target for extremists,” he says.

In this situation, the Catholic Church in Karachi has been active in dialogue with other religious communities and other institutions, to defuse tensions. “We are establishing, as citizens, a special ‘Committee for Peace’ which will bring together Christian leaders from different denominations, and involve Muslim leaders and civil leaders. We continue to work for social and religious harmony, a valuable asset to be protected in our city.”

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2010 in Christians

 

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