Targeting of religious minorities in Pakistan is still a painful point. Since Pew Research Center report named Pakistan, which is 96 percent Muslim, is one of the most unsympathetic states for religious minorities. Pakistan is one of the top five overall for margins on religion, for most commonly due to its blasphemy laws. Pakistani judiciary habitually use blasphemy laws to give fatality or life in prison penalties to minorities charged of offending Islam.All religious minorities in Pakistan – and not just Christians, faces biased regulations, enforced conversions of religious faiths, bombs and shootings meant at minority sections of Muslims, such as Shiites and Ahmadis. Pakistan began a 10-year process of “Islamization” under general Zia-ul-Haq in 1978. He forced to renovate material laws into religious ones, establishin Sharia judiciary. School textbooks in Pakistan frequently demonize minorities and highlight the nation’s Islamic roots over assistances from inhabitants of other faiths. Religious minorities are time and again stuck on the inferior stage of the market, often working as servants, sweepers and day laborers. Even they are considered eligible for just such jobs. Regardless of this miserable presentation, there are accounts of minority assent. A host of interfaith activist movements is rising, approaching for multi-faith edification and less hostility. Minority leaders are now vocalizing worldwide in the media and throughout religious and human rights associations. They work for a more liberal Pakistan with less tolerance for terrorists. Among 183 million Pakistanis, religious minorities total just nine million. The biggest faiths among are Christians and Hindus, each of which accounts for less than two percent of the total population. Other faiths include Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Baha’is, Jews and Ahmadi Muslims. Shiite Muslims formulate up to about a quarter of Pakistanis, but they, too, find themselves gradually more victimized by leading Sunni Muslims. Despite the fact that Pakistan’s constitution gives assurance for freedom of religion. Reports of enforced conversions to Islam, abducting of non-Muslims, job inequity, and blasphemy imprisonments and demolishing of minority worship places have become every day’s news. - See more at: http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/targeting-of-religious-minorities-forgetting-pakistans-constitution/#sthash.4ffCmtZS.dpuf
Monday, February 17, 2014
http://www.christiansinpakistan.com/President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC, Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti, articulated severe distress on not endowing enough safety to protect Akmal Bhatti, Sikander Bhatti and other key witnesses in Shahbaz Bhatti assassination case who got life threatening letters from forbidden outfits and similar arrived to office of Interior Minister of Government of Pakistan Choudhry Nisar Ali arguing for security to make sure justice is prevailed.
Offices of two private TV channels located near Guru Mandir and Mazar-e-Quaid came under grenade attacks on Monday evening, however, no casualties resulted in the separate incidents. According to sources, unknown assailants lobbed a hand grenade at the office of Aaj TV, which damaged its entrance without causing any casualties. Ball bearings were also recovered from the site of the blast. In a similar incident, a cracker was hurled at the office of Waqt News near Mazar-e-Quaid which failed to go off. Police rushed to the spot and collected the evidence. The attacks on the offices of media outlets drew strong condemnation from various political parties, journalists’ organizations and others.
Iran's interior minister has warned it may send forces into Pakistan if it does not act to free five Iranian border guards seized 10 days ago. The men are thought to have been taken into Pakistan after being captured in Iran's Sistan Baluchistan region. Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli demanded that Islamabad treat the case "strongly and seriously" and "take the necessary measures" to secure their release. The Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl has said it was behind their capture. The group has posted what it said were photographs of the guards, bound and being held in an unknown location. A video broadcast by al-Arabiya TV on Friday purportedly showed one of the men, Sgt Jamshyd Danaifard, saying they were "safe and sound". He added that Jaish al-Adl wanted the Iranian authorities to exchange 300 Sunni prisoners in Iran and its close ally Syria for the guards. 'New security sphere' The day after the capture of the guards on 8 February, the Iranian foreign ministry reportedly summoned Pakistan's charge d'affaires to demand that Islamabad "act firmly against the leaders and members of the terrorist group who have fled into Pakistan". On Monday, Mr Rahmani-Fazli told state TV that Iran had "asked Pakistan to deal with the issue strongly and seriously". Otherwise, he said, Pakistan must "allow Iran to maintain the security of the region deep on Afghanistan and Pakistan soil". "We are expecting a proper and precise answer. Otherwise we do consider it our own right to intervene and create a new security sphere for our safety." The Isna news agency reported separately that an Iranian delegation had travelled to Pakistan on Monday to try to secure the guards' release. The deputy chief-of-staff of Iran's armed forces meanwhile told the Fars news agency that "political and military measures are under way to set them free". Sistan Baluchistan, which borders both Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been the scene of frequent clashes in recent years between Iranian security forces and drug smugglers and Sunni rebel groups. In October, Jaish al-Adl said it was behind the killing of 14 Iranian border guards and the capture of three others in Sistan Baluchistan. The authorities in the provincial capital, Zahedan, responded by hanging 16 people they claimed were "linked to groups hostile to the regime". In November, Jaish al-Adl shot dead a local prosecutor and his driver. The next month, a bomb blast killed three Revolutionary Guards.
By Kahar Zalmay Bhutto was a symbol of modernity; Zia represented darkness and made Pakistan an entity of hatred where only Muslims of a certain school of thought could live, and where the more illogical one is, the more acceptance and appreciation one receives.Seeing young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spearheading the two-weeks long Sindh Festival is refreshing but is this effort enough to revive a Sindhi culture that historically has promoted peace, harmony and diversity among the residents of Sindh, irrespective of differences in faith? In his promotional video speech, Bilawal Bhutto said that the culture was in danger and expeditious acts were needed to protect it. “The Sindh Festival will make us aware of our existence. The heritage was under threat and the festival is an effort to protect it,” he said. However, it is not just Sindhi culture that is in danger; Pashtun, Baloch and Punjabi cultures are in danger too after Zia’s tyrannical 11-year-rule. There is little doubt that after the demise of General Zia, Pakistan remains clearly divided between two distinct blocks, one associating itself with Bhutto, the other linked with Zia. The block representing Zia is gradually taking hold of Pakistan while the space for Bhutto’s mindset is shrinking. The recent threat from the Taliban to the peaceful Kalash community in Chitral to convert to Islam or prepare for elimination, or their stopping students in Peshawar University from celebrating Valentine’s Day instead of haya (modesty) day, are manifestations of that disturbing reality. The incessant attacks on Shias, Hindus and Ahmedis in Pakistan indicate that people belonging to Zia’s block hold the strings of our lives in their hands and that the militancy and religious extremism nurtured by Zia are making it impossible for people of other faiths or free thinkers (like me) to live in Pakistan. It seems that the sunlight is receding and the shadows are increasing in this God forsaken country. The words ‘liberal’ and ‘secular’ have become gaalis (insults) in Pakistan. A good example of the dominance of Zia’s followers is the weakness of Bhutto’s own party on the small matter of unblocking access to the popular video sharing website YouTube, where it could not take on the radical elements belonging to Zia’s block. Who could foresee in the time of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that one day his own liberal party, after forming the government, would feel so weak and powerless against the forces of darkness that it would dither in its decision to unblock the website? The PPP also failed to stand up for Salmaan Taseer when he was singled out by the media and religious forces for defending a woman accused of blasphemy. The constant media coverage awarded to Maulana Abdul Aziz, the man responsible for the killing of dozens of innocent people in the Red Mosque incident, is another reminder that Zia’s forces are dominating the mainstream discourse. Bhutto was a symbol of modernity; Zia represented darkness and made Pakistan an entity of hatred where only Muslims of a certain school of thought could live, and where the more illogical one is, the more acceptance and appreciation they receive. He turned Pakistan into a laboratory of Islam, the kind that religious forces dreamed of: a laboratory that is under the control of militant groups and their sympathisers, who silence any voice remotely connected with modernity and liberalism. What crime did hundreds of Hazara Shias commit that they were killed by the scores in Quetta? What crime did Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti and others commit that they were killed? Meanwhile, Salmaan Taseer’s killer was garlanded with flowers, not by people in the tribal belt, but by people in Rawalpindi, in the heart of Pakistan. The armed groups — the Sipahs and Lashkars — are so numerous that at times it feels like we have outsourced security matters to them. When I see campaigns and banners demanding Jinnah’s Pakistan, I ask myself: is today’s Pakistan not, in fact, Jinnah’s Pakistan, despite the confusion and disorientation of the founding leadership? The leadership lacked a clear vision of what kind of Pakistan it wanted: a theocratic state or a liberal democratic state, of the kind Jinnah advocated in his speech just before the birth of Pakistan. Unfortunately, his decision to declare Urdu the national language gave the oppressors a tool that set the ground for alienation and separation. The language was later used by the Punjabi dominated ruling elite — led by Pakistan’s military — against the smaller ethnicities like the Pashtuns and Baloch. What could be more ironic than the fact that the millions who were uprooted from their villages, cities, their hearths and homes, their friends and dreams, the people who actually steered the Pakistan movement, are, to this day, called Mohajir and more derogatively Biharis? Because of the poor vision and shortsightedness of our founding fathers, in our first constitutional document, the Objectives Resolution set the foundations of a state that would later embrace a particular group of oppressors like Zia who left no stone unturned in their quest to shrink the space for people belonging to other sects and religions, and free thinkers. Bhutto can never be more relevant than today. When I say Bhutto I do not refer to the person of Bhutto or his party but the philosophy of modernity, liberalism and secular beliefs that existed in pre-Zia Pakistan. With the arrival of Zia, shadows descended on Pakistan. If change is the only constant in nature, then the time for change has come. What the shrinking majority of Pakistan wants is the Pakistan of Bhutto, clear in its direction and outlook, a modern, democratic and secular Pakistan that is, unfortunately, losing its ground to the onslaught of Zia’s followers and sympathisers.