Monday, 24 November 2014

Asia Bibi filed final option in SC filed

Asia Bibi filed final option in SC filed
By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: Christian woman, Asia bibi, filed an appeal in the Supreme Court after being rejected from the Lahore High Court – LHC, last month. On behalf of her Saif ul Malook, attorney to Asia Bibi have filed a petition in the apex court on Monday in Lahore.
According to details, Asia Parveen known as Asia Bibi was sentenced to death on November, 2010 after the court declared that she has committed blasphemy during an argument with Muslim women over a bowl of water.
The request was filed to reconsider deficiencies in the case which include poor investigation and manipulated evidence by the local police.
Sohail Johnson, chairman Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan – SLMP said that we are providing legal assistance in this case as well as her family and hoping the early hearing of the appeal and believe that SC will review the case on the basis of fact. He requested the Christians community around the world to pray for her early hearing.  
Earlier this month, Aashiq Masih, husband of Asia Bibi asked President Mamnoon Hussian for her pardon and allows her to move to France. He also wrote an open letter which was published in the New York Times on November 17.
Blasphemy has become highly sensitive issue in the country; Salman Taseer Governor Punjab was killed by his own official security guard in the same issue. Saif ul Malook have also been to attorney in the Salman Taseer case.
Despite the fact that Pakistan has never put to death any individual for blasphemy even if court declared individual guilty but anyone convicted or even just accused, of insulting Islam, hazards the violent along with the bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.      

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Qaiser Ayub, held over blasphemy allegation sent to jail

Qaiser Ayub, held over blasphemy allegation sent to jail
By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: After a week of the burning of Christian couple to death in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab police have arrested Qaiser Ayub, 40, from Lahore over an alleged act of blasphemy. According to the sources, a Christian man, holding masters degree in computer sciences, blogger and used to run a website was booked for blasphemous remarks. Sources told that a Christian man was alleged of using derogatory language against the Holy Prophet in his blogs.
Mohammad Saeed, complained and filed an application in city Police Station against the accused and case was registered First Investigation Report – FIR no. 105/11 under section 295-C in PS. Talagan, Distt. Chakwal. The accused went in hiding after the registration of the FIR against him for couple of years. On 14 November, 2014, Chakwal police arrested him from Lahore and presented him in the court on 15 November in Talagang. According to police FIR was registered on June 9, 2011 and man was arrested after three and half years.
According to police officials, Qaiser is alleged of drawing sketches against Islam on his blogs.  
According to Sohail Johnson, chairman Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan – SLMP, family of Qaiser Ayub his wife Amina Bibi and three children 12, 5 years and third one is of 9 months old,  are in safe custody. SLMP will be taking care of his family and his case as well. The organization is arranging legal assistance for his case.
Jabbar Hussian – SP Rawalpindi range is appointed to investigate the case, sources confirmed. Qaiser Ayub is shifted to jail for his judicial investigation. Police is trying to hide the secret of the case investigation and requested the media person to keep it in low profile, sources confirmed.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Where are UNHCR and David Miliband?

Where are UNHCR and David Miliband?
By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: In Joseph Colony over 160 Christian homes were destroyed and those arrested were quickly released on bail with no further progress reported on their trail. The sole Christian charged, Sawan Masih and was given the death sentence in a rare display of speed justice. More than 300 Christian families remained in the streets for couple of months. Same number of houses was burnt in Gojra and Christian displaced families were left to wonder in nearby streets. And during the most recent inci
Displaced families of Kot Radha Kishan en-rout unknown place
dent in Kot Radha Kishan, where we have seen the horrifying case of the killing and burning of a young Christian couple left six Christian displaced families. And ten Christian families in the village Check no.59 can be targeted at any time. Many Christian displaced families of Rimsha case are still living in tents in H-9 sector Islamabad.
According to UNHCR, around 35 million uprooted people are living in a state of flight from conflict and persecution, while many other millions have been displaced by natural disasters.
An internally displaced person –IDP is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they don’t fall with the current legal definition of a refugee. IDPs are among the most vulnerable victims of conflict. Like refugees, they have fled fighting or human rights abuses but, unlike them, they have not crossed an international border. UNHCR’s original mandate does not specifically cover IDPs, but because of the agency’s expertise on displacement, it has for many years been protecting and assisting millions of them, more recently through the “cluster approach.” UNHCR has the lead role in overseeing the protection and shelter needs of IDPs as well as coordination and management of camps.  
Mr. Miliband, who is President of International Rescue Committee - IRC, which is a global humanitarian aid, relief and development NGO which offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster is on his visit to Pakistan and have been meeting with high level leadership of the country.
Going by past instances, members of minority communities are persecuted – and prosecuted in Pakistan. Thousands are forced to live in utter destitution, without adequate access to food, jobs, healthcare, and education. But we have seen that neither UNHCR nor IRC have ever since bothered to take care of these IDPs, while it has been assisting million other. Isn’t it the biased attitude of UNHCR and IRC towards Pakistani Christians?
 As citizens, they retain all of their rights and protection under both human rights and international humanitarian law. Unfortunately prosecution is on while perpetrators are set free. The administration and the judiciary are responsible for this unjust state of affairs. If the perpetrators of previous incidents of religious extremism such as Gojra, Kasur, Joseph Colony and blasphemy case against minor Rimsha have been held accountable, no one would have dared to commit such crime again. Transgressors of law do so with impunity and are further encouraged when they are evicted with any penalty. I don’t see any future for Pakistani Christians, when they are prosecuted in their own country and ignored by UN and west as well.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fire is still burning

By – Shamim Masih
During the candle vigil

ISLAMABAD: On November 04, a Christian married couple, who tried to get released from their bondage labor agreement at a brick kiln was beaten, stripped and tossed them into the burning kiln oven.  At a factual level, there was a protest against a Christian couple in different cities of the country. Due to some reasons, I went there after a week and found that fire was still burning at the place where Christian couple was burnt alive. When the Christian couple wanted to get rid of the labor bondage, the owner demanded an insoluble amount for their release. There were around fifty families living and working at Yousaf Gujjar Bricks Company in Chack no. 59. Five of them were Christian, Shahzad (his real name is Sijjad) and his three brothers and one other family. Late evening on November 13, 4 Christian families came there to take their belongings and went in search of better livings.

Iqbal Masih, Shahbaz Masih and Saleem Masih, three brothers of deceased couple are now displaced from the place where their brother and sister in law were burnt alive. Around 30 members of four families are displaced recently. Sohail Johnson, chairman Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan – SLMP said that this is not the end, not only these Christian families are displaced there are ten Christian families living in the same village are under extreme threats. He said we are planning to provide shelter to directly affected families in this incident.   

displaced families taking their belongings

Although Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited the family of the deceased Christian couple and announced a compensation of Rs. 5 million and 10 acres of land for the family. But I didn’t see, anything done in practical from the either side. Mr. Sharif, please don’t tag the death with money, try to improve law and order and give protection to minorities of the country. A sordid, disgusting and hate filled tragedy incited by a mullah. Should there not be laws forbidding mullahs to sermon such demagogic language from mosques? Their relative, Javed Shahzad have been taking caring of these families since the incident happened but for how long he will do as middle class member of the society.

Even if we believe that Islam is peaceful religion, how can we forget the fact that Muslims are persecuting and butchering minorities especially Christians left and right in the Muslim dominated countries?  Most recently, the atrocities of the ISIS terrorists committed against the ever decreasing Christian minority in the area they control in Iraq and Syria. The situation is not different in Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan. We have observed that Pakistan has given ample and repeated proof of its inability to protect minorities.

with three brothers of deceased Christian couple

In this situation, President Barak Obama, while heading Christian State, is reportedly making Muslimsresettlement in Christian majority country to a dangerous proposition for his vested interests. He is allowing Muslims with an Islamic supremacist mentality to America. Not only this Australia and England have been reportedly settling thousands of Muslims families including Afghan and Shia Hazara community. While Christians in Pakistan experienced abuse of murder, rape, forced conversions, church burnings and more. But Christian majority countries in EU, UK and American are strict to grant even a visit visa to any Pakistani Christians. Most recently National Cathedral, a landmark Christian church in the US capitalwas opened for Muslims to say Friday prayer. On the other hand, way to Makah & Medina is out of bound for Non-Muslims.

Pakistan (the State) has been witnessing a rising tide of moral policing in recent times with vigilante group of both the left and right and the majority taking upon themselves the job of policing neighborhoods, harassing minorities and running campaigns of calumny against chosen targets. It will continue until you stop the mullahs. The maulivis used the mosque loudspeakers to fan the winds of hatred. They do and keep on doing because there is no one to stop them. It will not stop until Christian started to teach them the virtues not of passive but active resistance as MQM did in the past. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Rise up for “A Cause”

By – Shamim Masih
Sijjad & Saima
ISLAMABAD: On November 04, 2014, it was bright sunny day in Pakistan, and Shia Muslims were mourning over the incident happened hundreds years ago in Karbala. Due to 10th Muharram event, mobile service was off in the major cities of the country and thus internet was not working as well in our surroundings. In the morning, my friend Sohail Johnson told me on the phone that a mob attacked on a Christian couple and burnt their bodies at a brick kiln where they worked. Due to the distortion in the line, I could not hear it clearly but I perceived that the poor Christian couple met a terrible end. Later I got the detailed story, according to details, a Christian married couple, Sijjad Masih (the name mentioned in the FIR) and his wife Saima Bibi (nick name Shama) were beaten to within an inch of their lives and then burnt alive in an oven of brick kiln. Think of it, all is done in the name of Islam. A false charge of blasphemy was leveled against the couple in what was really a money dispute. Muslim owner of brick kiln exact revenge on non-Muslim by leveling false charges, and the punishments are savage.
To me it is not a new story, it has been happening with Christians for the many years. And it reminds us, the Gojra incident. The laws of Sharia are used to exact revenge against religious minorities. We don’t as yet know, in the absence of any judicial process, if they were guilty of any offence at all. We do know that blasphemy laws in the country have been frequently misused. It is the same practice, they did in 2009 in Gojra, and seven family members were burnt alive. It is systematic approach to wipe out the minorities from the Islamic State of Pakistan. First they accuse them for blasphemy by accusing them of desecrates Quranic and then killing them. This has been their long time approach and the World still watches.    
The controversial blasphemy laws were formulated in the 1980s during General Zia-ul-Haq’s martial law regime. A conviction or merely an accusation of blasphemy can put one’s life in danger. Even if one is acquitted the fear of death at the hands of vigilantes remains. Even the courts and legislators think twice before dwelling into the sensitivities of these issues.
Around 1300 people have been charged under the stringent blasphemy laws of Pakistan between 1986 until 2014. And according to sources, more than 50people accused of blasphemy were killed before their respective trails were over. There are 14 people, who were sentenced to death and are waiting on a death row and 19 were granted life sentence. However, the death sentence has never been implemented. Prior to 1986, only 14 cases pertaining to blasphemy were reported.
Blasphemy is a very sensitive subject in the country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence. Anyone convicted, or even just accused of, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes. In the recent outrageous act in Check No. 59, Sohail Johnson Chairman Sharing Life Ministry – SLMP, reached on the spot at once with his team and had done his job, arguing with the officials in registering first investigating report – FIR, collecting ash and body parts of the deceased. He helped to take them and buried them in their parent village Clarkabad. Few Christian’s political figures were seen there as well.
Tahir Naveed Chaudhry chairman Pakistan Minority Alliance – PMA reached there and staged a protest rally on second day of the incident.
Albert David chairman Pakistan United Christian Movement – PUCM denounced the increasing victimization of religious minorities. He demanded to take strict and immediate action against the people involved in the killing of a Christian couple. He warns the government if the victimization continues people will consider other options.
Sajid Ishaq demanded the government to punish the people who misuse this law. He said the State should made substantial efforts to protect minorities from being victimization by the miscreants. Chief of Pakistani Interfaith League – PIL declared this incident another example of biased behavior and prejudiced mind sets.
Basharat Khokhar, a human right activist declared this brutal killing an inhuman action. He demanded the authority to punish the culprits to set an example for others. There is not rule of law and minorities especially Christians are targeted time to time, he added.
Some other Christian activists in and outside the country have showed their deep concern about the recent incident. Few political and religious figures were also seen in few pictures. All of these people are doing their job but much require to be done. I think, correctly said Albert David that somehow we are increasingly becoming vulnerable to the discriminatory laws and mob violence. And nobody knows who will be the next victim of this law. The sward is hanging on. We need to step forward and take action against this brutality. Enough is enough; all Christian leadership outside the government, should demand the Christian parliamentarians to stand with the community and demand the government to re-visit this law. I tell you if you have not taken solid step to stop them, tomorrow will be your turn. Look, Salman Taseer, Ex-Governor Punjab and Shahbaz Bhatti were ruthlessly murdered in the capital. And the murderer of Salman Taseer lives comfortably in a special cell at Rawalpindi’s Adiayla Jail.
Christians of the country should demand the government to bring amendments in this law and until then should stop its application. U.SCommission on International Religious Freedom has already demanded to stop implementation of blasphemy laws until reforms.