Quetta August 8/16

quetta-august8

PCSF on Balochistan Tragedy
Press Release
Lahore: Monday, August 8, 2016.

The Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF) strongly condemns the target killing of President Balochistan Bar Association coupled with a suicidal attack at a hospital that has taken dozens of human lives. The PCSF consider this incident as a serious security failure of the government and all of its agencies.

The PCSF which is representative body of more 50 national level human rights and development organizations from across Pakistan, in a statement issued here on Monday stated that the innocent people are soft targets of the terrorists, and the security apparatus has failed to protect their lives, and these incidents are a serious security lapse from the side of all concerned.

The statement said that the entire civil society of Pakistan including the human rights and development organizations are angered and shocked at this brutal incident, and they console with the aggrieved families. The statement added that this particular incident that took place in a city where the security agencies are said to be always vigilant is a sad surprise for the entire nation and that has raised many questions on the performance of our agencies and implementation of so called National Action Plan, and about the short term and long term measures to eliminate terrorism, radicalization, militancy and target killings in the country.

Perhaps it is the right time to demand a clear and strong action against all sanctuaries of terrorists and their breeding ground. The statement said that now once again is the time to reformulate a clear stance to counter extremism in the country by expediting the role of law enforcement and security agencies. This is again the time for the government and security establishment to wake up and crush extremism and all those who harbor, support and promote such elements. The statement further said that the responsible should be brought to justice and those have lost their lives in this incident should be compensated in terms of ensuring security of the people of Pakistan. The PCSF also demanded:

• The government and security establishment must inform the nation about the real gains of it’s Counter-terrorism policies and hurdles

• Make public the details of enquiry report over this incident and all actions taken against those involved. Beef up security in all public places so that such incidents can be prevented in future.

Mohammad Tahseen
Convener PCSF

Contact Uddari Weblog
uddariweb@gmail.com
Facebook
UddariWeblog
Twitter
twitter.com/UddariWeblog
..

‘Canadian establishment legitimizes bigotry by coddling Khalistan supporters’ by Gurpreet Singh

April 30, 2011

There has been a hullabaloo over the endorsement of Wai Young, a Conservative candidate in Vancouver South, by Ripudaman Singh Malik, a Sikh millionaire who was acquitted in the high-profile Air India trial.

This controversy is narrowly focused on just a few individuals, whereas the Canadian establishment needs to look hard at itself for systematically pandering to Sikh separatists active in the country since early 1980s.

Ever since the federal election was announced, candidates of all major political parties in Canada—Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats—have tried to reach out one way or another to Sikh separatists.

Malik’s endorsement of Young, in particular, has generated lot of heat because there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the 1985 Air India bombings that left 331 people dead.

The crime was blamed on Sikh extremists who were seeking revenge for the ugly events of 1984—the Indian Army storming the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs in Amritsar, to flush out religious fundamentalists, as well as the anti-Sikh pogrom that followed the assassination of then-Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards.

Malik was charged along with Ajaib Singh Bagri and Inderjit Singh Reyat in the Air India conspiracy. Both Malik and Bagri were acquitted in B.C. Supreme Court in 2005, but Reyat was convicted of manslaughter. He is the only person found guilty in the Air India case.

Malik confirmed to me that his group had decided to endorse Young in Vancouver South against the Liberal incumbent, Ujjal Dosanjh, who is a vocal critic of Sikh extremists. A meeting was held at the Khalsa School that is run by the Satnam Education Trust founded by Malik, where it was resolved to support Young. Dosanjh’s campaign filed a complaint with Election Canada alleging a violation of rules.

Malik also told me that his group has resolved to support Sukh Dhaliwal, a Liberal candidate in Newton-North Delta. On being asked about the political inconsistency in supporting a Conservative in one riding and a Liberal in another, he said that parents of the students at his school were not happy with Dosanjh, who many feel is creating divisions among the Sikhs.

Notably, Dhaliwal was honoured last year by supporters of Khalistan, an imaginary Sikh homeland, at the Vaisakhi parade in Surrey. That’s because he raised the issue of the 1984 anti-Sikh violence in Parliament.

Dhaliwal went to accept the honour despite the fact that one of the organizers of parade was alleged to have uttered veiled threats against Dosanjh. As a result of this controversy, most politicians stayed away from the organizers’ main dais of the parade.

Yet Dhaliwal went to the podium to accept the honour. It is for this reason that some moderates that earlier supported Dhaliwal are now supporting Jinny Sims, his NDP opponent in Newton-North Delta. Malik, who did not speak to the English-language media, told me that he is being subjected to “unfair media trial” by the mainstream press, despite being acquitted.

But Young and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have never acknowledged that Malik is now a free bird. Rather, they tried to distance themselves from Malik and maintain that Young was not aware of his background.

This sounds implausible. The Conservatives, who ordered a full Air India public inquiry, cannot be so ignorant about characters like Malik. Even though he has been acquitted, perceptions about his alleged involvement in the Air India plot refuse to die. Air India victims’ families are particularly annoyed.

However, judging by other related developments, it would be unreasonable to target only Malik and Young. Dosanjh’s own party leader, Michael Ignatieff, gave interview to Sukhminder Singh Hansra, a Sikh journalist in Toronto, who had once allegedly tried to justify a 1985 physical attack on Dosanjh by fundamentalists.

Dosanjh himself visited the Dashmesh Darbar Sikh temple in Surrey that openly supports Khalistan after becoming the premier of B.C. in 2000.

This is the same temple that organizes annual Vaisakhi parade in Surrey, where pictures of the slain Khalistani militants are displayed.

Not to be left behind, even Sims, the NDP candidate in Newton-North Delta, also visited Dashmesh Darbar. The moderates who are supporting her had no clear answer as to why she also seeks support from separatists—and in which way she is different from Dhaliwal.

Indo-Canadian politicians need to know that supporters of Khalistan—who were seeking a theocratic state—assassinated Darshan Singh Canadian, a communist leader, in 1986.

He was in the forefront of the struggle for right to vote when he lived in Canada before moving back to Punjab. It was people like him who helped get Indians the vote in Canada in 1947 and today, the Canadian parliament has nine MPs from the Indo-Canadian community.

Canadian was killed for his opposition to religious fundamentalism. By rubbing shoulders with people who subscribe to the ideology of his killers, Indo-Canadian politicians are demonstrating a particularly ungrateful attitude toward the contributions of Canadian.

Politicians can always get away with this by saying that they need ethnic votes. But how can anyone explain the presence of a Canadian Forces vehicle in the Surrey Vaisakhi parade this year or the participation of mounted RCMP officials a few years ago at the same event?

The Canadian Forces are engaged in a war against terrorism in Afghanistan that shares border with Pakistan, where Khalistani extremists were trained. By joining supporters of Khalistan, the Canadian Forces are not only sending conflicting signals, but also legitimizing their cause.

It cannot be denied that Canada and the U.S. gave Sikh separatists enough room to grow. The roots of the problem lie in the Cold War era when India and the Soviets were in one camp, while Pakistan and the U.S. were on the opposite side.

That Cold War-era mentality has changed to some degree after 9/11 and India has emerged as a big economic power. But the political system in Canada still accepts the influence of Sikh separatists. Bigotry in any form should not be encouraged. If Canadian politicians can resist pressure from white supremacists, why can’t they stand up against rogue elements of another country?

Apparently, Canadian politicians who see Quebec separatists as Untouchables have no problem courting separatists of another country.

From Georgia Straight
.
.

‘Skeena سکینہ’ a review by Sadhu Binning

The following review was delivered by BC Author Sadhu Binning at the launch of the two Punjabi (Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi) editions of ‘Skeena’ on April 9 in Surrey, British Columbia.

The original Gurumukhi version of the review will be published in the upcoming issue of Vancouver-based Punjabi magazine ‘Watan’.

View Sadhu in YouTube video

فوزیہ رفیق دا ناول سکینہ سوچ نوں ہلونا دین والا اک بے حد شکتی شالی اتے پڑھنیوگ ناول ہے۔

ایہہ ناول پہلاں ٢٠٠٧ وچ لاہور توں شاہمکھی وچ چھپیا سی تے ہن ایہہ سرے توں گورمکھی وچ اڈاری بکس ولوں تے وینکوور توں لبروز لبریٹڈ پبلشنگ ولوں انگریزی وچ چھاپیا گیا ہے۔

فوزیہ رفیق سرے کنیڈا رہ رہی پاکستانی پچھوکڑ دی لیکھکا ہے جو انگریزی اتے پنجابی دوواں زباناں وچ لکھدی اے۔ آپنے اگانھ ودھو خیالاں نوں عملی جامہ پہناؤن والی فوزیہ منکھی حقاں لئی ہون والیاں سرگرمیاں دا ہمیشہ حصہ ہندی اے۔

ناول سکینہ پڑھدیاں پاٹھک ایہہ محسوس کرنو نہیں رہ سکدا کہ ایس دی لیکھکا آپنے سماج دے لوکاں بارے ہی ڈونگھی تے ہمدردی والی جانکاری ہی نہیں رکھدی اس دے نال اوہ سماج دیاں آرتھک، سیاسی تے دھارمک ستھتیاں نوں وی وگیانک اتے الوچناتمک نظریے توں دیکھن دی گنبھیر جانکاری وی رکھدی ہے۔ تے اس دے نال ہی مہتوپورن گل ایہہ ہے کہ اوس نوں ساہتک کلا دی وی پوری سمجھ ہے۔

ناول دی ہیروئین سکینہ جاگیردار پریوار دی کڑی ہے جو انسکھاویں حالات وچ رہندی ہوئی وی اوہناں نال پوری طرحاں سمجھوتہ نہیں کردی۔ پر اوہ کوئی بہادر جاں انقلابی کڑی نہیں سگوں اک عام انسان ہے جو اک ساوی پدھری زندگی جین دی چاہوان ہے۔ اوہ بچپن وچ ڈاکٹر جاں ادھیاپکا بنن دے سپنے دیکھدی ہے۔ پر سماج دیاں قدراں قیمتاں اجہیاں ہن کہ اوس نوں آپنی من مرضی دی آرام دی زندگی حاصل نہیں ہندی۔

ناول دا پہلا حصہ جس وچ پاکستانی پنجابی سماج دے جاگیرداری ڈھانچے اندر جاگیردار تے اوس دے کارندیاں دیاں جیونیاں اتے اک دوجے نال ادان پردان نوں درسایا گیا ہے، بہت ہی روچک ہے۔ فوزیہ نے دھرم تے جاگیرو قدراں قیمتاں وچ جکڑے پنجابی سماج دی بہت صحیح تصویر پیش کیتی ہے۔ جاگیرداری سماج اندر زمیناں دے مالک اتے اوہناں دے کارندیاں دے آپسی رشتے بہت بریکی نال چترے ہن۔ ایہہ سبھ کجھ پہلاں اسیں اک ست سال دی ننھی کڑی دیاں نظراں راہیں دیکھدے ہاں۔ ناول شروع وچ ہی پاٹھک نوں پوری طرح آپنے نال تور لیندا ہے اتے اگے جانن دی کھچ اخیر تک قائم رہندی ہے۔

ناول نوں چار حصیاں وچ ونڈیا گیا ہے۔ پہلا جدوں ست سال دی سکینہ آپنی ماں اتے بھرا نال پنڈ رہندی ہے۔ پھیر لاہور، ٹورانٹو تے سرے۔ ایہناں وکھ وکھ تھاواں تے سمیاں وچ سکینہ نوں وکھریاں وکھریاں ستھتیاں وچوں گزرنا پیندہ ہے۔ اسیں پہلاں سکینہ نوں پنڈ دے حالات وچ دیکھدے ہاں، پھیر اک کالج دی ودیارتھن تے ہاکی دی کھڈارن وجوں، پھیر پنڈ گھر دی قید وچ تے پھیر ٹورانٹو اتے سرے وچ۔ اوس دی اک عام انسان وانگ جین دی خواہش نوں ہر پڑاء تے دھارمک، پروارک، سیاسی تے سماجک بندشاں روک لاؤندیاں ہن۔ سکینہ آپنی سہیلی رفو وانگ بہادر جاں انقلابی نہیں۔ پر حالتاں نال سمجھوتہ نہ کرن دی جاں کجھ حد تک ہی سمجھوتہ کرن دی کوشش اوس نوں وکھریاں وکھریاں حالتاں وچ پاؤندی ہے تے کڈھدی ہے۔ گھردیاں دی مرضی انوسار نہ جین بدلے اوس نوں لاہور توں پنڈ لجا کے گھر وچ ہی قید کر دتا جاندا ہے۔ پھیر ٹرانٹو آپنے مرد احتشام تے اوہدی ماں دا اوہ لما سماں تشدد سہندی ہے۔ اس سبھ کاسے دے باوجود اوس وچ جین دی خاہش نہیں مردی اتے اوہنوں جد وی موقع ملدا ہے اوہ آپنے آلے دوآلے لگیاں واڑاں نوں توڑنا چاہندی ہے، کجھ وکھرا کرنا چاہندی ہے۔ تے ہولی ہولی اوہ اس وچ کامیاب وی ہندی ہے۔

وگیانک جاں مارکسی نظریے انوسار ایہہ منیاں جاندا ہے کہ انسان دے جیون تے سبھ توں ودھ اثر باہرلے حالات پاؤندے ہن۔ کوئی وی انسان نہ چنگا جمدا ہے تے نہ ماڑا۔ جیون وچ انسان جو وی بندا ہے اوہ اوس دے سماج دی اپج ہندا ہے۔ جویں جمن ویلے بھاشا بول سکن دی یوگتا اوس وچ ہندی ہے نہ کہ کوئی وشیش بھاشا اتے اوہ جس وی پروار وچ جمدا ہے اوتھے بولی جاندی بولی ہی سکھدا ہے، ایسے طرح اوہ جنہاں حالتاں وچ پیدا ہندا اتے رہندا ہے اوہناں انوسار ہی اوس دا جیون ڈھلدا ہے۔ جے حالات بدل جان تاں وکاتی وچ وی بدل سکن دی سمبھاونا ہندی ہے۔ اس وگینک نظریعے نوں ایہہ ناول پوری طرح صحیح سدھ کردا ہے۔ ادہرن وجوں، گامو جہڑا جاگیرو ڈھانچے اندر آپنیاں غلامی والیاں حالتاں دا ماریا آپنی گھر والی جینو نوں ماردا کٹدا ہے تے پھیر بدلہ لین لئی ایو دا خون کر دیندا ہے، جدوں اوس نوں وکھریاں حالتاں وچ جین دا موقع ملدا ہے تاں اوہ اک ودھیا انسان بن جاندا ہے۔ ایسے طرح جینو ہے۔ اوہنوں پنڈ دے جیون توں شہر آ کے وسن دا موقع ملدا ہے اتے اوس دا جیون وی بدل جاندا ہے جے اوہ پنڈ ہی رہندی تاں اوس وچ ایہہ تبدیلی آؤن دی سمبھاونا نہیں سی۔ سکینہ اس دی وڈی مثال ہے۔ کینیڈا وچ ملدے موقعیاں کارن ہن اوہ کسے ہور دی متھاج نہیں۔ اس طرح کہانی دے انت والی سکینہ اک وکھری عورت ہے، خود کماؤن والی، آپنے پیراں تے کھڑی۔ جیہدی زندگی ہن کافی حد تک اوہدے آپنے قبضے وچ ہے۔ سکینہ نے اینیاں اوکھیاں ستھتیاں وچ وی بڑا لما چوڑا پینڈا تہہ کیتا ہے۔ ایہہ ٹھیک ہے کہ ناول دا اخیرلا کانڈ میری کوئی تاریخ نہیں وچ سکینہ آپنے گھر دی قید وچوں بھجن تے خودکشی بارے سوچ رہی جاپدی ہے۔ سنبھو ہے کہ مینوںمجھن وچ غلطی لگی ہووے، پر مینوں ناول دی کہانی دا انت اوتھے جاپدا اے جتھے اس توں پہلے کانڈ دا اخیرلا ادھا واک ہے جدوں سکینہ کہندی ہے کہ “مینوں آپدے آپ وچ زور اٹھدا جاپدا اے”۔ مینوں لگا کہ اینیاں بھیانک ستھتیاں دے باوجود سکینہ وچ جین دی خواہش تے طاقت پوری قائم ہے۔

سکینہ وچ کہانی صرف پاتراں جاں اوناں دے آپسی رشتیاں دوآلے ہی نہیں گھمدی اس وچ سمیں تے ستھان دیاں گھٹناواں تے سیاست نوں وی باخوبی چتریا گیا ہے۔ اصل وچ تاں ایہہ ناول صحیح ارتھاں وچ اک سیاسی تے انقلابی ناول ہے۔ جس وچ عورت دی آپنی ہستی واسطے جدوجہد بہت ہی کلاتمک طریقے نال درسائی گئی ہے۔ پہلے حصے وچ ہند پاک دی ١٩٧١ والی لڑائی دا ذکر اس ہنر نال کیتا گیا ہے کہ پتہ ہی نہیں چلدا کہ سانوں دوناں ملکاں دی لڑائی بارے دسیا جا رہا ہے۔ ایسے طرح امریکہ وچ ہوئے نوں گیاراں دے اتوادی حملے دا ذکر وی پاتراں دے جیون دا اس طرح حصہ بنایا ہے کہ ایہہ کسے طرح وی غیر سبھاوک نہیں لگدا۔ اس سمیں اک پاسے سکینہ دے آپنے جیون وچ وڈیاں گھٹناواں واپردیاں ہن۔ اوس نوں پتہ لگدا ہے کہ اوس دا اقبال اصل وچ اوس دے پنڈ والا گامو ایں۔ تے پھیر اقبال تے مہنگا سنگھ دا قتل۔ ایہناں گھٹناواں دے نال ہی نوں گیاراں دی گھٹنا اتے سکینہ نوں وی اتوادی سمجھیا جا رہیا ہے۔ ایہہ سبھ کجھ اس ناول نوں اک بہت دلچسپ رچنا بناؤندا ہے تے نال ہی گنبھیر مسئلے ابھارن والی لکھت وی۔

ناول وچ ہور وی بہت کچھ ہے جیہڑا اس نوں اک وڈی رچنا بناؤندا ہے۔ اداہرن وجوں اس وچ پیش کیتا سملنگتا دا ملا۔ جتھے کنیڈین سماج وچ ایہہ ہن عام جانی جاندی گل ہے پر پنجابی بھائیچارے وچ اس دا روپ اتے اس ول لوکاں دا نظریہ وکھرا ہے، کافی حد تک نانہ پکھی ہے وشیش کرکے دھارمک لوکاں وچ۔ فوزیہ جی نے بہت ہی ودھیا طریقے نال پاکستانی بھائیچارے وچ اس دا روپ ساڈے ساہمنے لیاندا ہے اتے جس طریقے نال کنیڈین لزبین جوڑے جوئنی تے میگی نوں پیش کیتا ہے اوہ ساڈے مناں وچ ایہناں لئی ستکار پیدا کردا ہے اتے اس طرح ایہہ اس ول ساڈے نظریعے نوں اک ہاں پکھی نظریعے وچ بدلن دی یوگتا رکھدا ہے۔ ایہہ آپنے آپ دے وچ اک وڈی تے حوصلے والی گل اے۔

ایسے طرح اس ناول وچ دھارمک آگواں دی کوجھی اصلیت نوں وی مولوی دے پاتر راہیں اتے ہور بہت تھانویں وکھرے وکھرے روپاں وچ پیش کیتا گیا ہے۔ اجیہا کرکے فوزیہ نے سماج دے اس کوہڑ نوں ساڈے ساہمنے لیاندا ہے۔ ایہہ وی کوئی گھٹ جرأت والی گل نہیں۔

ناول دی پاتر اساری اتے اس وچ ورتی بولی بہت پربھاوشالی ہن۔ ناول دا بہتا حصہ پاتراں دے سنواد راہیں درسایا گیا ہے۔ ایہناں پاتراں دی بولی پنجابی پاٹھک نوں آپنی مٹھاس دے جادو نال کیل لیندی ہے۔ میں ایہہ ناول کجھ سال پہلاں شاہمکھی وچ پڑھیا سی۔ ہن اس گورمکھی لپی وچ پڑھن دا وکھرا سواد آیا ہے۔ پر گورمکھی والی چھاپ وچ کجھ گنبھیر سمسیاواں وی ہن۔ کجھ شبدجوڑ غلط جاپدے نیں تے لپی دے انتر کارن کجھ شبد اتے واک سمجھن وچ مشکل آؤندی ہے۔

اخیر وچ میں فوزیہ جی نوں ایہہ ناول لکھن دی تے نال ہی ہن اس نوں گورمکھی تے انگریزی وچ چھپواؤن واسطے بہت بہت ودھائی دیندا ہاں۔ سکینہ دے اس ناول نال ساڈا پنجابی ساہت ہور امیر ہویا ہے۔ میں محسوس کردا ہاں کہ پنجابی بولی تے ساہت نال ناتا رکھن والے لوکاں ولوں فوزیہ جی ہوراں دی اس رچنا لئی دھنواد کرنا چاہیدا ہے۔ ہن ایہہ رچنا انگریزی تے پنجابی دیاں دوواں لپیاں وچ اپلبدھ ہے تے امید ہے پاٹھک اس ناول نوں چاء نال پڑھن گے۔ ناول پراپت کرن لئی فوزیہ رفیق نال uddari@live.ca تے سنپرک کیتا جا سکدا ہے۔

– سادھو بننگ
اپریل ٩، ٢٠١١؛ سرے، بی سی

Converted from Gurumukhi by Sajid Nadeem Choudhry

Sadhu Binning

Sadhu, a bilingual author, has lived in the Vancouver area since migrating to Canada in 1967. He has published more than fifteen books of poetry, fiction, plays, translations and research. His works have been included in more than thirty-five anthologies both in Punjabi and English. He edited a literary Punjabi monthly ‘Watno Dur’, and now co-edits a quarterly, ‘Watan’.
He is a founding member of Vancouver Sath, a theatre collective, Ankur and various other literary and cultural organizations. He sat on the BC Arts Board from 1993 to 1995. He is a central figure in the Punjabi arts community and was named one of the top 100 South Asians making a difference in BC.
Twenty years ago, he founded Punjabi Language Education Association and has been actively promoting Punjabi language in educational
institutions in BC. ( sadhu.binning@gmail.com )

More reviews and updates at Skeena Blog

Buy Skeena online in English, Gurumukhi or Shahmukhi

.

.

Repeal the Blasphemy Laws! Candlelight Vigil, Vancouver March 15/11

Protect Human Rights of Minorities in Pakistan!
Repeal the Blasphemy Laws!
Candlelight Vigil to Commemorate the Lives of all Victims of Blasphemy Laws
March 15th, 6pm
Outside the Pakistani Consulate, 510 W. Hastings Street

(corner of W. Hastings and Richards, across from SFU Harbour Centre)

As you may know, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti was recently assassinated for speaking out against the Blasphemy Laws and the resulting ongoing persecution of religious minorities. This was preceded by the assassination of the Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer who had taken up the cause of Aasia Bibi, a poor Christian labourer who is currently imprisoned awaiting death by hanging under the Blasphemy Laws. Countless other Pakistanis continue to be persecuted because of these heinous legal relics of the Zia dictatorship in conjunction with a dangerous and unconscionable appropriation of Islam, deliberately distorted for the sole purpose of political or economic gain.

We believe that it is the Blasphemy Laws themselves and the resulting persecution and violence that are un-Islamic and contrary to both the tenets of Islam and the founding principles of the nation. We stand in solidarity with the struggles taking place in Pakistan to ensure equality for ALL Pakistanis and feel that we must speak out strongly where other voices are being threatened into silence through harassment and direct death calls.

Through this vigil, we want to begin building alliances with sister organizations and supportive individuals for effective lobbying to put pressure on the Government of Pakistan, the Chief of the Army Staff, and the leaders of all political parties to repeal the Blasphemy Laws, and to abolish religious extremism and vigilantism. We believe, the Blasphemy Laws must be repealed in order to protect Muslim and non-Muslim lives, minority rights, freedom of speech and democracy.

Please stand with us. This issue requires your urgent support.

Protect Human Rights of Minorities in Pakistan!
Repeal the Blasphemy Laws!
Candlelight Vigil to Commemorate the Lives of all Victims of Blasphemy Laws
March 15th, 6pm
Outside the Pakistani Consulate, 510 W. Hastings Street

(corner of W. Hastings and Richards, across from SFU Harbour Centre)

Please join us in a candlelight vigil to
– Protest the persecution of all minorities within Pakistan
– Push for the repeal
of the blasphemy laws and all laws that discriminate against all minorities
– Honour all lives
lost to extremist violence including the recent assassinations of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti
– Support the release
of Aasia Bibi and all those now being victimized by discriminatory laws

For more info
repealthelaws@gmail.com
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=150985018294095

Organized by
Ad Hoc Group For the Repeal of Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan
Vancouver, BC
.
.

Light a candle to say ‘NO’ to extremism this Sunday

In remembrance of Salman Taseer and thousands of others who died due to religious intolerance.

And to honor those who were victims of hideous religion-based persecution in Pakistan.

Light a candle to say ‘NO’ to all kinds of extremism

Live and let live!

Please join in for a Candle light vigil for peace, social justice and equal rights for all religious and ethnic communities in Pakistan.

Date: Sunday, 30th January 2011
Time: 4.00 pm (sharp)
Venue: Holland Park, (King George Blvd & Old Yale Rd), Surrey, BC

Candles will be supplied. Just bring in match box/lighter, your family, friends and yourself.

For more info please contact
Dr. Saif Khalid at 778-987-0813
OR
Amal Rana at 604-764-6257

Organized by
Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC), Vancouver chapter.

Please Join us for peace this Sunday.
In solidarity,
Shahzad Nazir Khan

Download PDF Poster
.
.

‘Aahr 2011’ a Punjabi poem by Fauzia Rafique

TussaN maulviaN nooN
naraaz nahiN kerna
maulviaN fer ve tuhanooN
peyar nahiN kerna

Maut de dur tooN
peelay
ya hon hakoomti
heelay
kusko bhavaiN na kusko
ehnaN fer ve tuhanooN
nahiN jerna

Khho khhseet
de vailay
zulm de sauRay
ghairay
apnay ee kam aunay naiN
ehnaN maulviaN tuhada
aahr nahiN kerna

01-11-2011

View in Punjabi Shahmukhi

Please sign the following petitions:
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAG-001-2011
.

And…
http://citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/
.

PAKISTAN: Appeal to amend the Blasphemy Laws‏

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-183-2010

To support this appeal, please click here:
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-183-2010

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the introduction of a private member’s bill to the National Assembly Secretariat that would end the death penalty for blasphemy, curtail abuse of the blasphemy laws for the purpose of harassing and victimising religious minorities and take steps to ensure equal protection for all religions under the law. The bill was introduced by People’s Party member of the National Assembly Ms. Sherry Rehman, former federal minister, who said, “The bill amends both the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC), the two main sources of criminal law. The aim is to amend the codes to ensure protection of Pakistan’s minorities and vulnerable citizens, who routinely face judgments and verdicts in the lower courts where mob pressure is often mobilised to obtain a conviction.”

CASE NARRATIVE
Following the Asia Bibi case, in which a Christian woman was sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws, Ms. Rehman has introduced an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The amendment would end the death penalty for blasphemy and take steps toward ensuring equal protections for religious minorities under the law in Pakistan.

Currently, extreme militant Muslim organisations may use blasphemy laws as a way to pressure and oppress religious minority groups. So far, the government has failed to protect the lives and property of the minority community. Although there is formal protection in place for religious minorities in the Constitution and although the blasphemy law has made it compulsory that no police officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police can investigate the charges, these statutes are rarely respected.

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

The deliberate institutionalisation of Islam’s status as protected and predominant promoted the perpetuation of religious intolerance by Islamic fundamentalists. According to data collected through different sources at least 1030 persons were charged under these anti-blasphemy clauses from 1986 to August 2009, while over 30 persons were killed extra-judicially by angry mobs or individuals.

Militant Muslim organisations are using blasphemy as a tool as the best way to keep religious minority groups under pressure and even forcibly take land. The State is failing to protect the lives and property of the minority community.

In August 2009 after the attack on the Christian population in Gojra, Punjab province, in which seven Christians were burnt to death, the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani again announced plans to review “laws detrimental to religious harmony” in a committee comprising of constitutional experts, the minister for minorities, the religious affairs minister and other representatives, but the government has again hesitated to initiate change due to their unwillingness to antagonize fundamentalist groups.

To support this appeal, please click here:
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-183-2010

Recent cases in Pakistan suggest a criminal collaboration among government authorities, police, and fundamentalist organisations, in which the Muslim clergy, on receiving bribes from land-grabbers in the National and Provincial Assemblies, colluded with local police to expropriate land owned by minorities by bringing allegations of blasphemy against them. The situation is especially worrying in Punjab province after the formation of the PML-N government, which has a record of intolerant policies against Christians and Ahmadis in particular.

SUGGESTED ACTION
The introduction of an amendment in the National Assembly that would limit the abuse of blasphemy laws is a major development in Pakistan and must be supported strongly. Please write letters to legislators, officials, and civil society leaders urging them to support and lobby for this law.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of religious minorities calling for his intervention into the misuse of blasphemy law.

To support this appeal, please click here:
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-183-2010

Contact Uddari
uddariweblog@gmail.com
Facebook
facebook.com/UddariWeblog
Twitter
twitter.com/UddariWeblog
..

‘Pakistan Today: A Travelogue’ by Hassan Gardezi

Periods of national unrest have not been uncommon or unfamiliar occurrences in the history of Pakistan. But the political and economic turbulence the country is facing today is bound to come as a shock to any visitor who has been away from the country for even a couple of years. It is as if all the contradictions that were being nurtured within the institutional structure of the state since the creation of the country have suddenly come to a head, threatening to spell the collapse of the entire edifice.

“How does Pakistan look to you today?” was the question most frequently asked, with some variation, everywhere I went this time, whether it was a meeting with old students, colleagues and political comrades in Lahore, a chat at the “tea” before or after a talk I was invited to give somewhere, a social meeting in Islamabad, or a gathering of close relatives in Multan.

Pakistan’s existential situation of course does not look very good today and everyone in the country knows this. The question being asked was perhaps more of an expression of common anxiety about what is happening in the country, a subterfuge rather than a real question.

The problems behind Pakistan’s latest crisis are not really new. But the one that is being most palpably felt is that of religious extremism accompanied by unprecedented acts of terrorism. Bombs planted or carried on the person of suicidal individuals went off almost every day in some part of the country when I was there, killing and maiming their hapless victims. The biggest carnage took place in the heart of Peshawar on Dec. 5 when a powerful bomb went off in the Qisa Khwani bazar crowded with Eid shoppers, killing scores of women and children and lighting up a huge fire. It was intended to destroy a shia imambara. These acts of terror are being committed by Islamic extremists, gnerally known as Pakistani Taliban, who are most active in the seven agencies of the Federally Administered Areas (FATA) and also control a substantial part of the northerly settled districts of NWFP province, renamed Pakhtunkhwa.

The leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP) which heads the provincial government and their relatives are the latest individual targets of terrorist killings (ostensibly for hobnobbing with Afghanistan’s president, Karzai). The national chairman of the party, Isfandyar Wali, survived a murderous attack on October 2, which killed four of his companions. Peshawar, the seat of provincial government, is virtually a war zone. Neither the once formidable Frontier Corps nor the Pakistan army seem to be able to establish the writ of the government over vast northerly tracts of the province. It has also become impossible for the Pakistani truck convoys to carry supplies for the NATO troops in Afghanistan from the Karachi port through the Peshawar terminals.

The operations of Pakistan army in trying to restore governmental control in FATA and adjoining settled districts of Pakhtunkhwa are neither effective nor hold much credibility in the eyes of the people, despite heavy casualties suffered by soldiers in fighting with the Islamic militants. Many questions are being raised regarding the involvement of the armed forces on the northwestern front. Are they serious in eradicating the menace of Islamic terrorists inside Pakistan? Is the army rank and file willing to kill their Muslim brothers while for decades they have been regimented to fight “Hindu India?” What role did the army and its intelligence services play in creating and nurturing the Islamic insurgents or jihadis as a foreign policy tool in the first place? Whose “war on terror” is the Pakistan army fighting any way? Is it serving the imperial interests of the United States on the northwestern front? and so on go the questions.

In October 2008 the newly elected government decided to hold an in-camera session of the national parliament under tight security to get “everyone on board” on the rationale of fighting the menace of “extremism, militancy and terrorism.” After two weeks of deliberations and extensive briefings on the situation provided by the army High Command, the parliament passed a resolution hailed as representing the consensus of its members. Somewhere in this resolution it was written down that the “nation stands united to combat this growing menace” by addressing its “root causes.”

It appeared that addressing the root causes of extremism and terrorism in Pakistan would be a great opportunity for the elected representatives of the people to face the truth and make a beginning to move towards establishing a new political culture of peace and tolerance. But when I reached Pakistan in November, everyone was talking about the menace of terrorism and religious extremism but there was no sign anywhere of addressing its root causes.

I brought this issue to the first of the talks I was invited to give at the Lahore School of Economics. Any honest attempt to trace the roots of religious extremism and associated terrorism would inevitably lead to two interrelated fundamentals of state policy that have been pursued by every Pakistani government, which has ruled the country since independence, I said. One of these fundamentals is the Islamisation of Pakistani state and society while the other is catering to the global strategic interests of the Unites States of America.

Moves to Islamise the state of Pakistan began as the first order of business for the founding fathers of Pakistan (the worthy exception being Muhammad Ali Jinnah) whatever their political motives, and they were certainly not spiritual. Assembled in the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, these men came up with a document known as the Objectives Resolution in 1949, which declared that “Sovereignty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the state of Pakistan . . .” It further proclaimed that “Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.” With these beginnings, all subsequent rulers of Pakistan made their own contributions to inject Islam into the affairs of the state, thereby empowering a parasitic and rabidly patriarchal class of mullahs. It was however left to General Zia-ul-Haq to effectively demonstrate what it meant for the Muslims of Pakistan to order their lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam after his coup d’etat in 1977.

Islamisation of the Pakistani state and political culture was also a useful asset for the United States to exploit in its aim to keep the country tied to its Cold War military alliances against Soviet communism. Ultimately, with Zia the most ardently Islamist dictator in power, the United States was able to mobilize Pakistan army, intelligence services and Islamist parties to launch its proxy war, designed as Jihad, to overthrow the infant Marxist government of Afghanistan backed by the Soviet Union. This was the critical event which, through various political turns and twists unfolded into today’s global terrorism with Pakistan as its epicentre.

Thus it is reasonable to conclude that the mess that Pakistan is currently in is of its own making, with the opportunistic backing of the United States, I said in my submission to the small professorial circle that had gathered to hear me in the brightly lit library of Lahore School of Economics. How to get out of this mess? The only logical course that I could see was the reversal by the state of its Islamisation, and Americanisation policies.

On the sunny morning of November 21, I was sitting among a hall full of students at the campus of the newly established University of Gujarat. I was invited to speak on the current political and economic crisis, but my mind was picturing the young men and women siting in front of me as little playful toddlers when Gen. Zia had let lose an orgy of public floggings to implement his primitive sharia laws taken from the books of Jamat-e-Islami, his new found political ally. Do these young people remember all that? I was wondering. Was there anything in their history and Pakistan Studies textbooks about a military dictator who had installed himself as the Islamic ruler, Amir-ul-Momineen, of the wretchedly poor people of Pakistan? Do they know who created and fostered the present day Islamic extremists terrorizing the people, killing them in their mosques, imambaras, and bazars while taking over the northern areas of Pakistan?

Once I got up to speak I pretty much repeated to my young audience what I had said at the Lahore School of Economics about the roots of Islamic extremism and terrorism in today’s Pakistan. Injecting the beliefs and rituals of a particular religion in the affairs of a modern, pluralistic, state is like playing with fire, I said. And the proof is all around us today as the country’s mosques, imambaras, bazars and hotels burn, set on fire by the bombs and explosives of religious zealots. It is time for the people of Pakistan to make it very clear that most of them are Muslims, they were born Muslims, they have learned their faith from their elders, and neither the state mullah nor any jihadi has the right to tell them how to practice their faith.

But is it realistic to suggest that Pakistan dismantle its Islamisation project and break its ties with the only superpower on earth? Yes it is, if the government is a democracy run by the consent of the majority. The majority of the people of Pakistan have never endorsed Islamic rule as they have rejected the Islamist parties in every election held in Pakistan which was not rigged. Religious fervour that is observed today in Pakistan is largely confined to the small middle class, always ready to compromise to protect its precarious existence. The people in general are fed up with the mayhem created by the Islamic militants. Several recent public opinion poles have also confirmed that an overwhelming majority of the adult population does not want the United States to interfere in the affairs of Pakistan.

After a brief stay at the beautifully laid out campus of the University of Gujrat, which incidentally is headed by a noteworthy academic and not a retired military heavy-weight, I was driven to Islamabad.

Islamabad, as the capital of Pakistan has many reasons to be visited, but lately I have been going there to spend a few restful days with a friend, sheltered by the Marghala hills, and to browse through the stores selling used and new books in the F/6 and F/7 markets. But it looks like what used to be the the most calm and cloistered capital city in the world is now wide open to scarification by a new breed of militant Islamists. Last time I was there a large area of the city was fenced off where once was a mosque called Lal Masjid. This time my friend drove me by an enormous pile of debris which once was the imposing structure of Merriot Hotel surrounded by the shinny cars of its clients. It was indeed a grim reminder of the deadly power weilded by the men of God in today’s Pakistan.

Next I took a bus to Multan and was hardly in that city of the saints for long when the news broke out of November 26 terrorist attacks on Mumbai hotels. The irate Indian prime minister immediately called up his Pakistani counterpart, naming not only the rabidly anti-Indian jihadist outfit, the Laskar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), as the perpetrator but also accusing Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence agency (ISI) as having directed the atrocity. The Pakistani prime minister, a fellow Multani not known for much political astuteness, denied all accusations and even offered to send the director of the ISI to help in finding out the culprits. However, the poor fellow had to retract his offer soon thereafter and went into the denial mode.

Within the next few days all signs of official or unofficial contrition vanished from Pakistan’s media coverage, washed away by a tide of national jingoism. Indian admonitions that Pakistan rein in its Islamic militants were met by a chorus of patriotic war cries vouching to defend Pakistan from its perennial enemy, India. If on the one hand spokespersons of the venerable Lawyer’s Movement were issuing patriotic statements, on the other hand there were the villainous terrorists, the likes of Baitullah Mehsud and Mangal Bagh, voicing eagerness to march their lashkers to the Indian border to defend Pakistan. The rest of this drama is still to unfold.

I had yet to go to Karachi to participate in a discussion panel on Dada Amir Haider Khan’s book of memoirs, ‘Chains to Lose’, which I was finally able to get published last year. But Karachi was once again in the grip of riots. This time the riots were sparked by MQM’s fears that Pakhtun refugees from Waziristan and the districts of Pakhtunkhwa, displaced by Pakistan army’s anti-terrorist operations and constant missile attacks launched from the US predatory drones, were flocking to Karachi and taking control of local markets.

In any case I was able to make it to the Karachi event, thanks to an interlude of peace in the city in preparation for the Eid holidays. The book discussion was organized by Dr. Jaffer Ahmed, the able and tireless director of Karachi University’s Pakistan Studies Centre, the publisher of the ‘Chains to Lose’. Some half a dozen people, journalists, writers, political activists, presented their very well informed and perceptive reviews. Zahida Hina was one of them whose presentation in Urdu caught the general sense of the house. She said:
‘Dada’s memoir is a great historical document if one seeks to understand a glorious 20th century movement in South Asia for freedom from world colonialism and imperialism.’

If our generation has no idea of who Dada Amir Haider Khan is, it cannot be blamed. This generation has never been told anything about our great compatriots. We make giants out of dwarfs and treat our persons of great stature like lowly creatures. . . .
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan shoved Dada behind bars, locked him in solitary confinements, kept him in the torture chambers of the Lahore Fort, and finally banished him to the far-flung Pothohar village where he was born . . . He was a dangerous man indeed because he talked about people’s rule, he was a leader whose politics was above race and language, religion and sect. We can well imagine what a terrorist he was. In our books, only the commanders of lashkars and extremist organizations are considered honourable and trustworthy.

Feeling happy that Dada’s contributions, a committed communist, to make Pakistan, South Asia and the world a better place for humanity are becoming known, I returned to Lahore on December 6. Next evening there was a sitting with some like-minded comrades arranged by Awami Jamhori Forum. It turned out to be a free-wheeling discussion of the present global economic crisis, war on terror and the rise of Islamic terrorism in Pakistan, terrorist attacks on Mumbai hotels, the US elections and the victory of Obama.

Perhaps the most serious concern was the position and the role of the socialist left in all this. I maintained that the greatest asset of the socialist left is its set of values. These values of freedom, peace, opposition to all wars, human rights, respect for nature and all life, economic, racial and gender equality, religious and ethnic tolerance, are together a powerful antidote to the present global crisis. There is every chance for the socialist left to succeed in its own right if it stops wasting its resources to support the lesser evil in political contests. I gave the example of very active and resourceful anti-war and anti-poverty groups in the United States who squandered their assets by supporting Barack Obama as the lesser evil in the contest between the two mainstream bourgeois parties. There is no sush thing as more or less evil, I said. All war is evil whether it is more or less, all poverty and all inequality is evil whether it is more or less. A similar mistake was made in the last elections in Pakistan when parties calling themselves “communist” rushed to suppoert the PPP.

I better end here. My apologies if I have bored you with my long story. If you do have any questions and comments I will be glad to receive them. I wish you a very happy new year.

Hassan
gardezihassan@hotmail.com

POLITICAL ECON INTERNATIONAL LABOUR MIGR

Contact Uddari
uddariweblog@gmail.com
Facebook
facebook.com/UddariWeblog
Twitter
twitter.com/UddariWeblog
..