Showing posts from August, 2012

Something worth fighting for

“There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country and we will support them.” Chilling but true words. There are indeed many more Mumtaz Qadris in Pakistan who are willing to kill anyone and everyone who has merely been accused of committing blasphemy and/or supporting an alleged blasphemer. These threatening words were spoken by none other than a lawyer representing those who have accused Rimsha Masih, a minor Christian girl with Down’s syndrome, of committing blasphemy. Who in their right mind would accuse a minor girl with a disability of committing a crime? As the lawyer reminded us, there is no dearth of fanatics in our country.

For a change, Pakistan’s Islamic leaders have come out in support of a blasphemy accused. “The chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council warned that the ‘law of the jungle’ was gripping Pakistan, with police routinely pressured by baying mobs to register blasphemy charges … Among the other unlikely Islamist groups rallying round Rimsha is Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, w…

Another wake-up call?

PAF Minhas airbase at Kamra, one of Pakistan’s most important military airbases, was attacked by terrorists around 2am yesterday. After almost five hours of fierce fighting, the military commandos were able to kill all nine terrorists. One Pakistani soldier was martyred and many others injured. It is beyond comprehension how these terrorists – armed with suicide vests, grenades and automatic weapons were able to enter a high security zone with such ease despite intelligence reports suggesting that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was planning an attack on s PAF base before Eid. According to a report published in The Express Tribune on August 10: “TTP is planning attacks on the Pakistan Air Force Base and other military and security establishments in Lahore before Eid…Another [report] stated that a team[…]was also planning terrorist attacks towards the end of Ramzan. Their main target was likely to be the PAF base, or other security establishments like the offices of the Inter-Servi…

Our suffocating airwaves

In its annual report on international religious freedom, the US State Department painted a bleak – but true – picture of how religious freedom in Pakistan is deteriorating. The report says: “Violence against religious minorities and between Muslim sects continued. While a small number of persons were involved in violent attacks, discriminatory laws and lack of reform of these laws, the teaching of religious intolerance, and the lack of police protection of minorities and prosecution of perpetrators created a permissive environment for such attacks … Forced and coerced conversions of religious minorities to Islam occurred at the hands of societal actors. Media, particularly the vernacular press, published derogatory reports of minorities.”

The intolerant role played by both the Pakistani state and society is indeed shameful. Add to it the media’s race for ratings and it becomes a combustible mix. Recently, a private television channel (ARY Digital) aired a Ramazan transmission where a …