Archive for January, 2013

blasphemy-law-faraz-aamer-Dawn (Picture by Faraz Aamir/Dawn Newspaper)

Five young boys of Chandio community namely Ayaz s/o Saleem Chandio, Shakeel Ahmed s/o Mohummad Malook, Fayaz Ali s/o Sabu alias Sabir Chandio, Mushtaq s/o Allah Ditto, Akram s/o Pyaro Chandio have been booked under blasphemy law on complaint filed by a member of religious organization on 23 January 2013 for an incident happened on the same date. FIR was lodged at Bhitai Nagar police station which has arrested three accused and is raiding homes of the rest. According to complainant, above named accused were burning the effigy of Hazrat Umer Farooq (R.A) on 23 January, 2013 at 3:15 at Chandio Village Qasimabad, near Happy Homes.
Families of the accused told the RightsNow Pakistan that this is a fake and fabricated story designed by the complainant who has animosity with the accused. Families of the accused have made appeal to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for giving them justice. They have also contacted the local police chief for fair and impartial inquiry of the matter and justice to their children.
RightsNow Pakistan is closely monitoring and tracking developments in the case and has called for an independent and impartial inquiry of the case by an honest police officer. RightsNow Pakistan has also flagged a concern that there are precedents when this law was misused by some actors against other people particularly religious minorities to settle their scores. Therefore, there is need of fair and impartial inquiry.

Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan:
Following several sections in Pakistan Criminal Code apply on blasphemous acts:
Section 295 of Pakistan Criminal Code forbids damaging or defiling a place of workshop or a sacred object.
Section 295-A forbids outraging religious feelings.
Section 295- B forbids defiling the Quran.
Section 295-C forbids defaming the Islamic Prophet Mohummad (Peace Be Upon Him).
Except for § 295-C, the provisions of § 295 require that an offence be a consequence of the accused’s intent. Defiling the Quran merits imprisonment for life. Defaming Muhammad merits death with or without a fine. (See below Sharia.) If a charge is laid under § 295-C, the trial must take place in a Court of Session with a Muslim judge presiding.
Section 298
Section 298 states, “Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.”
Section 298-A prohibits the use of any derogatory remark or representation in respect of Muslim holy personages.
Section 298-B and Section 298-C prohibit the Ahmadiyya from behaving as Muslims behave, calling themselves Muslims, proselytising, or “in any manner whatsoever” outraging the religious feelings of Muslims. Violation of any part of section 298 makes the violator liable to imprisonment for up to three years and liable also to a fine.
Between 1986 and 2007, Pakistani authorities charged 647 people with blasphemy offences. Fifty percent of these were non-Muslims, who represent only 3% of the national population. No judicial execution for blasphemy has ever occurred in Pakistan but 20 of those charged were murdered. By 2010, the total number of people charged under these laws had grown to about 1274.

Law counters misuse of the Blasphemy law
Section 153 A (a) PPC, may be useful in countering misuse of the Blasphemy law.
According to it, whoever “by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or incites, or attempts to promote or incite, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities” shall be fined and punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to five years.

Constitution of Pakistan
By its Constitution, Islam is the state religion. By the constitution’s Article 31, it is the country’s duty to foster the Islamic way of life. The official name of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan whose more than 96% population equal to 167 million (2008) is Muslims. Among countries with a Muslim majority, Pakistan has the strict anti-blasphemy laws. The main purpose of the law is to protect Islamic authority. However, the same constitution in its article 33, recognize the duty of the State to discourage parochial, racial, tribal, sectarian, and provincial prejudices among the citizens. Its article 25 talks about the equality of all citizens before the law and equality of all citizens before the law.

What do religious minorities think about this law?
Leaders of religious minority groups say this law is being used to persecute people of other religions and religious Muslim minorities like Shi’as. Pakistan’s “Blasphemy Law” has driven the country’s religious minorities – Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis, a dissenting Islamic group – into “a state of fear and terror”, said by World Council of Churches (WCC).
A hindu business said: “We always feel insecure because anyone can misuse this law against us.”
Being a Shia, I am vulnerable to fall prey to this law. Because Police investigate accusation under pressure and Judiciary is also feel reluctance to grant bail to those accused of blasphemy. Lawyers also do not want to take risk of their lives and mostly refuse to represent accused in the courts.
World Christian Council is of the opinion that this law was vaguely formulated and is being arbitrarily enforced by the police and judiciary in a way which amounts to harassment and persecution. According to them, this law has led to false imprisonment, mob killings and forced conversion to Islam. They pointed the case of fourteen years old, Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, who was accused of committing crime of blasphemy who was later aquited by the Supreme Court, the highest court of country.
What do moderate Muslims think about blasphemy law?
Muslim generally think that such law should be there for baring insults to Islam, prophet, and caliphates but there should be strong check on such laws preventing their misuse. There are evidences when this law was used to settle personal scores and vendetta, said a journalist.
When people are accused of blasphemy, they are deprived of all legal, social and community protections. This law has also become a source of harassment by evil actors.
No one can speak against the law or repealing it because it is perceived very popular in ordinary Pakistanis. In January 2011, the powerful governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer was killed by his own bodyguard for publicly urging reform of the blasphemy law.

The Peace Revolution Fellowship in Thailand offers 14 days intensive training program providing participants with deeper insight in the relationship between inner peace and sustainable world peace and enhancing their ability to create peace within their family, professional and social environment.

In addition to the intense meditation practice, participants will gain knowledge of various theoretical approaches that include:

Conflict resolution and the role of the basic human self-disciplines
The role of our habits in our daily life and how to improve; the 5 Rooms of life
The factors that determine our perception to think, act and speak; relation between body and mind
Leadership: Eight pillars for a stable peaceful society
The deadline to apply for the Youth Fellowship to be held from 16-29 June 2013 is 15 March 2013. Further detail visit:http://p.feedblitz.com/t2.asp?/487291/24212820/4531521/www.fundsforngos.org/trainings/training-opportunity-peace-revolution-fellowship-thailand/

UNESCO and the University of Connecticut are organizing the 9th Annual ‘International Leadership Training Programme: A Global Intergenerational Forum’ from August 9-18, 2013 at the University of Connecticut, USA.

The International Leadership Training Programme, organized as a forum, is premised on a three-fold understanding of the vital role leaders play in society. The first is that every new generation of human rights leaders builds on the work of those who came before it. The second is that in today’s increasingly interdependent global world, where actions or events in any part of the global system have impact on people in other regions of the world, there is a need to build a network of solidarity and to nurture a new cadre of human rights leaders who can educate others and provide enlightened leadership to meet the complex and multifaceted challenges of the new millennium. And the third is that young people are a force to be reckoned with and that the future belongs to them. In order, to ensure that they are effective leaders for a better future, today’s leaders have a duty to impart their knowledge to the younger generation of leaders and to alert it of the pitfalls of the past.
Application deadline is March 8, 2013.
For further detail visit: http://p.feedblitz.com/t2.asp?/487291/24212820/4531521/www.fundsforngos.org/trainings/unesco-9th-annual-international-leadership-training-programme/

Dr_Asim
RightsNow Pakistan condemns attack on young orthopaedic Dr. Asim Niaz Channa by three armed men while he was returning from his clinic in his car in Qasimabad. This incident happened near the home of the doctor. Dr. Asim Niaz Channa, son of prominent doctor and social activist Dr. Niaz Channa was injured in the attack. Two of three attackers have been identified and FIR has been lodged against three of them by Ahsan Niaz Channa, brother of the victim Dr. Asim Niaz. According to reports, shot gun has been used in the weapon as empties recovered from the scene reveal. Dr. Asim Niaz Channa’s clini is an old clinic in Qasimabad established since the inception of Qasimabad, a house area, more than two decades ago.
Doctors, journalist, NGO workers, Businessmen, lawyers, women, minorities are not secured in Pakistan. Their level of security has decreased due to impunity to gangsters. Police is unable to protect citizens for political interference, corruption and lack of will. Qasimabad has become a notorious area for extortion, theft, robberies and other criminal activities. Nationalist political parties enjoy strong hold in Qasimabad but failed to provide security and maintain peace in the area.
This is not the first time that any doctor is attacked. In past, a senior doctor was kidnapped and killed. In many other incidents, doctors were kidnapped and released after paying huge ransom. Seems Qasimabad has become an area where police is unable and unwilling to act against the culprits. Writ of state is limited and people, businessmen and other citizens have become client of security. They pay money and buy their security from gangsters.
Many Sindhi families have left this area due to insecurity and extortion. If this trend continues, Qasimabad will lose its economic, business importance and will gained a notorious image and peaceful, professional people and business community of Qasimabad will leave or start living at the terms and conditions of gangsters. Dr. Asim Channa and his family has many offers from abroad for jobs and settlement but they reject them due to their love for land and urge for serving their own community. If such attacks continue, the might consider to change their decision and leave this country.
We urge DIG police, SSP Hyderabad to take stern action against the culprits involved in the incident, provide protection to victim, his family, and witnesses and ensure the fair investigation is done in the matter.
Apart from this, general performance of police, should be improved and beefed up to meet the security needs of citizens of Qasimabad and to uphold the rule of law.

Columbia University is pleased to welcome applications for the 2013 Fellowship for Historical Dialogue and Accountability. We encourage interested parties from around the world and from a wide range of professional sectors—including, but not limited to, human rights practitioners, journalists, academics, educators, filmmakers, artists
 The deadline to submit applications is 1 March 2013.

For more information, visit this link:http://www.hrcolumbia.org/ahda/fellowship

SAWF is pleased to announce the launch of its Legal Fellowship Programme. The call is open to women lawyers, women human rights defenders with para-legal training  working in small towns at the primary/lower court level in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and have at least two year’s experience of working on women’s rights issues through a feminist legal praxis. The last date for receiving applications is 31st January 2013. Please note that SAWF will receive applications in English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Nepali and Sinhala. Click here to read more about the programme and application process.http://www.sawf.info/

Please go through the broucher for details.

Interested participants should apply by: 8th January 2013 and e.mail:rightsnowpak@gmail.com for confirmation.

For any query contact:
Ms. Ain Syed,
Training coordinator RNP,
Cell No: 0341-2982725

Applications are invited for appointment to the post of Civil Judge & JUdicial Magisterate (BPS 18) by Honorable High Court of Sindh.
 
Salary: 100,869,
 
Age Limit: 21 to 30 years
 
Last date of application:  31-01-13
 
For more details, visit: www.sindhhighcourt.gov.pk