Murders most foul

Salute to Naeem Sabir and Shahbaz Bhatti: dedicated human rights workers, paid with their lives for speaking out for the truth and for justice.

Yesterday we heard the tragic news about the cold-blooded murder of human rights activist Naeem Sabir, HRCP coordinator in Khuzdar, Balochistan. We had yet to recover from that blow when assassins gunned down Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was the only Christian member of the cabinet.

There is outrage and anger at these cowardly acts that have deprived Pakistan of two dedicated human rights activists just when we needed them most. It is heartening that citizens in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad assembled at very short notice to protest, however small in numbers they may have been.

Here’s my response to an email quoting the famous saying “They came for the Socialists and I didn’t speak…”:

People are speaking out. Protests were held today, convened by Citizens for Democracy, in front of Karachi Press Club 5.30 pm, Lahore Press Club 3.00 pm and then on Mall Road, Islamabad opposite Mr Books at 6.30 pm. Another protest in Islamabad is scheduled on March 3 at 5.00 pm at the same venue.

Also tomorrow Mar 3rd, 2011, 11 am – protest at Miran Muhammad Shah Road near Hyderabad Press Club, via Movement for Peace and Tolerance (MPT) and Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC)

But it’s not enough. Also, our fight is not on the streets in competition with the mullahs who can bring thousands of brain washed youth from their captive audience madrassahs and ‘religious parties’. We have to fight through Parliament, rule of law, ideas and public positions eg statements at CFD blog – http://citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com – pamphlets in local languages etc.

Unfortunately, our ideas don’t get much space in the mainstream television channels, that are in general more interested in talk shows that fan conflict (get more ratings) rather than in propagating responsible ideas that make people think…

I also want to share this note from Kamran Shafi: “You and I and other friends can protest until we are blue in the face, it will make no difference as long as the Deep State goes on supporting these extremist obscurantists. It is time we picketed the Establishment itself if we are to save this country from its nosedive into the shadows of hate and intolerance. We need slogans like: ‘Murderers cannot be this country’s “STRATEGIC ASSETS”‘! WE ARE!’”

Please also see posts at Citizens for Democracy, Gawaahi.com and this excellent post by Kalsoom Lakhani at  Changing Up Pakistan, (CHUP), which includes a video of Shahbaz Bhatti.

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