Curiouser and curiouser… First Mansoor Ijaz, now Shafqatullah Sohail…

Chief Justice of Pakistan: over-enthusiastic about some issues?

Today’s headline and report in Express Tribune ‎”Citizen’s letter prompts notices to president, ISI chief”  prompts advocate Asad Jamal in Lahore to ask, rightly, who is this “Canada-based Pakistani” Shafqatullah Sohail ‘who has written such a passionate letter that the CJP immediately converted it into a petition? Continue reading

Sherry Rehman’s Proposed Bill to amend Offences Relating to Religion

Please read advocate Asad Jamal’s article ‘Some called-for changes‘, published in The News on Sunday, Dec 12, 2010, commenting on Sherry Rehman’s bill seeking amendments to blasphemy laws Pakistan. Below, his summary of the proposed bill in tabular form making it easier to understand:

Proposed amendments to punishments under Pakistan Penal Code (PPC)

Section Offence Existing punishment Proposed punishment
295-A Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of holy personage— punishable with Imprisonment of either description up to ten years or with fine or with both Imprisonment of either description up to two years or with fine or with both
295-B Difiling of copy of Holy Quran Imprisonment for life Imprisonment of either description for 5 years or fine or both
295-C Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the Holy Prophet Death or life imprisonment[1] and fine Imprisonment of either description for 10 years, or with fine, or both

Proposed addition of words to blasphemy provisions in PPC. Continue reading

Support Diep; Massacre in Lahore, some thoughts & responses

Posted to my yahoogroup yesterday, with a very heavy heart:

WE MOURN. A man weeps at the death of a relative killed in the Friday attack, after a funeral in Rabwa, May 29, 2010

I signed this Petition to Stop Constant Harassment and Mental Torture of Diep Saeeda Indo Pak Peace Activist – pls read and sign also. I hope they’re going to take it to the authorities and stop this harassment of one of our most courageous, spirited and committed activists.

Meanwhile, we are reeling with the massacre of some 100 Ahmedis at two Friday congregations in Lahore. This was not an isolated incident but cold-blooded murder, conducted by trained gunmen with suicide vests. (Only one was caught alive – wonder how much he’ll be allowed to reveal).

The incidents brought together various strains that have been tearing apart Pakistan in the bloodiest way. Several recent incidents are part of this continuum, all of which claimed many innocent lives: Continue reading

Hope for young Ateeq, a real life ‘Ramchand Pakistani’

Below, a report I wrote on Feb 23, published in The News aman ki asha page of Feb 24 (see accompanying report ‘Prisoners of archaic laws‘ by Rabia Ali), shortly before 12-year old Ateeq’s hearing in Amritsar on Feb 26 – which Asma Jahangir and I.A. Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan managed to attend.

12-year old Ateeq from Lahore, currently in the Juvenile Jail in Hoshiarpur, India

Here is an update from Asad Jamal in Lahore on Feb 26:
Release orders were passed for the 12 years old Pakistani boy in Indian Juvenile (Hoshiarpur) Prison after Asma Jahangir appeared in the Juvenile Court in Amritsar today. Now the Pakistan authorities have to complete procedural matters and bring the boy back home. Asma Jahangir met the boy in Amritsar and found him traumatised. She had taken video film of the boy’s father as well some clothes for him. Local lawyers/activists arranged and distributed sweets after the court order. Continue reading

Pervez Hoodbhoy strikes back; More on the NRO ruling

More on the NRO ruling below – but this response by Pervez Hoodbhoy to the scurrilous attack on him by an expat professor deserves mention (he doesn’t usually respond to personal attacks),  published originally in Counterpunch on Dec 14 (later on Chowk on Dec 18) and is worth a read: “Is The Cheque In The Mail? – The Confessions of a Pakistani Native Orientalist”

Below, more about the NRO short order and its implications, including the emphasis on morality and acceptance of the “Islamic provisions” of the Constitution:

1. Two comments on Dec 19 by Asma Jahangir on the NRO ruling, one in a BBC Urdu interview, and “Another aspect of the judgment” oped in DawnExtract: “Witch-hunts, rather than the impartial administration of justice, will keep the public amused. The norms of justice will be judged by the level of humiliation meted out to the wrongdoers, rather than strengthening institutions capable of protecting the rights of the people.”

2. Aasim Sajjad Akhtar argues against simplifying the NRO ruling in ‘After the verdict’ (The News on Sunday, Dec 20): “…the structures that produce one bad apple after another need to be interrogated and eventually replaced. There can be no shortcut to justice, and the ‘rule of law’ brigade would do well to bear this in mind.”

3. ‘Legal, moral, political‘ – in this oped (Dawn, Dec 20) Asha’ar Rehman points out some inherent ironies and contradictions, eg “If the legal, political and moral must mingle, how can a lawyer, hailed as the author of the constitution, allow himself to defend a dictator who held the document in abeyance, and also defend his referendum — and then, a few years later, contest an ordinance fashioned by the same dictator?”

4. Letter to Chief Justice Ifitkhar Chaudhury from Bilal Qureshi at Foreign Policy Blogs, December 18, 2009, in which he calls upon the CJ to:

Continue reading

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