Salmaan Taseer: The political context of a ‘religious’ assassination

My recent article for Viewpoint Online, published Jan 7, 2012:

Salmaan Taseer: The political context of a ‘religious’ assassination

Enforce rule of law, expose hypocrisy of the Taliban mentality

Just over a year ago, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated in the most cowardly manner by a government-assigned security guard. Mumtaz Qadri, a member of the Punjab Elite Force assigned to protect the Governor, pumped 27 bullets into his victim’s back as he headed to his car on the afternoon of January 4, 2011.

The sensational murder was no spontaneous act by an enraged fanatic. It was a well-thought out, cold-blooded plan. Was the executor acting alone, motivated only by ‘religious fervour’ as projected, or is there more to the issue than meets the eye? And even if his act was purely altruistic, should the law of the land not be applied to punish him? Continue reading

Salmaan Taseer: The man who shook a nation awake

Salmaan Taseer: The man who shook a nation awake. Pakistan is awake again. And we have only one man to thank for this. One man who woke us all up in his life and in his death.  Lovely post by Anthony Permal.

Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

Investigative journalist Saleem Shehzad

Below is the original, unabridged version of the article published in The News, Jun 9, 2011, with the somewhat misleading heading Pakistan’s secular martyrs (not all those killed for defending the values discussed in the article were ‘secular’).

'Waja': Prof. Saba Dashtiary, Balochistan University

Pakistan’s ‘enlightenment’ martyrs

Beena Sarwar

The murder of professor Saba Dashtiyari in Quetta last week, coming on the heels the killing of investigative journalist Saleem Shehzad, is yet another sign of an ongoing ‘genocide’ of progressive Pakistani intellectuals and activists. ‘Genocide’ generally means the deliberate destruction of an ethnic group or tribe. In this context, it applies to the tribe of Pakistanis who have publicly proclaimed or implicitly practiced the enlightenment agenda of freedom of conscience. They may have very different, even opposing, political views but they are people who are engaged knowingly or unknowingly with spreading ‘enlightenment’ values. Continue reading

Campaign against the genocide of progressive Pakistanis

Prof. Nazima Talib of Balochistan University

Prof Saba Dashtiyara 'Waja' of Balochistan University

Prof. Saba Dashtiary of Balochistan University

Modified from a post just sent to my yahoogroup: We need a campaign against the genocide of progressive Pakistani intellectuals and activists at the hands of those who have been distorting religion for political purposes, criminal and ethnic mafias. One or other of these elements is responsible for the murders of Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Naeem Sabir (HRCP coordinator in Khuzdar, Balochistan), former senator Habib Jalib of Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal),  Saleem Shehzad and Prof. Dashtiyari. Baloch journalists killed include: Rehmatullah Shaeen, Ejaz Raisani, Lala Hameed Hayatan, Ilyas Nazar, Mohammad Khan Sasoil and Siddiq Eido and Abdus Rind. Also the fisherfolk leaders Haji Ghani and Abu Bakar spearheading a movement against the land mafia; Nisar Baloch who was fighting against the land mafia in Karachi; Latifullah Khan, the Communist Party member from Dir, and Nazima Talib, the professor of Balochistan University shot dead a year ago, and so many others. Continue reading

The real Pakistan: report on CFD’s inspiring signature campaign

CFD volunteers engaged with the public and got a great response. Photo: Shuja Qureshi

Posted to the Citizens for Democracy blog:

“Without exaggeration, the exercise was a phenomenal success. Not only because a total of 15,000 signatures were collected… but also because it showed that ordinary people… overwhelmingly agreed with the cause…”

The real Pakistan | By Farieha Aziz Continue reading

Update: Salmaan Taseer case hearing

UPDATE from CFD, Feb 6, 2011: The state prosecutor appointed to prosecute Mumtaz Qadri has been provided adequate security by the government and has agreed to conduct the trial, which will not benefit from any reaction or controversy that our letters might cause. We look forward to the trial commencing, and justice being done.

Note: On Feb 14, the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) is likely to formally charge-sheet Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who murdered Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

Withdrawal of public prosecutor in Salmaan Taseer murder hearing

Please endorse Citizens for Democracy letters to President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and Bar Associations of Pakistan seeking justice for assassinated Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer – yesterday the public prosecutor refused to appear in court, reportedly because he was not given adequate protection. He must be provided security and those threatening him dealt with according to law.  “This is an utterly unacceptable situation. It is indeed a sad day when a victim cannot find legal representation but many lawyers offer to represent a murderer, gratis.We demand that the assassinated Punjab Governor be provided appropriate legal representation by the State. We demand that both the Punjab and Federal governments immediately provide the prosecutor the requisite protection to enable him to appear in court and discharge his legal duties…”

Expecting justice to be done and the rule of law to be followed…

PERSONAL POLITICAL: Manufacturing a ‘hero’

Article published Jan 30, 2011 in The News on Sunday – and in Hardnews, India (‘Blood upon the altar‘)

PERSONAL POLITICAL
Manufacturing a ‘hero’
By Beena Sarwar

The assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer has been termed a ‘watershed moment’ for Pakistan — not just because a sitting governor of the country’s wealthiest and most populous province was murdered in broad daylight by one of his own security guards. Perhaps the greater shock was how the murderer, Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, was allowed to commit this crime and how many hailed him as a hero for having killed someone perceived (falsely) as being guilty of ‘blasphemy’. Continue reading

Activism continues

ACTIVISM: The struggle for a democratic Pakistan continues – See Citizens for Democracy blog - some events below:
* Jan 15, 02:30 pm, Islamabad: Rally for a Tolerant Pakistan – In front of National Press Club, opposite Mr.Books, F-6, Islamabad.

* Jan 15, 5.30 pm, Lahore: Liberty Roundabout – Candlelight vigil against justification of violence in society. Pls join, bring candles & placards, invite others.

* Jan 16,Sunday, 2.00 pm, Hyderabad Press Club. Peace Forum is organizing a conference on AMAN and RAWADARI.

* Jan 18, 5.00 pm, Karachi: Reference for Salmaan Taseer, Arts Council.

All this is part of the ongoing struggle for democracy and democratic spaces in Pakistan.

Statement on assassination of Salmaan Taseer

Copy of a pamphlet including contact details of those threatening Sherry Rehman and anyone else who supports amendments to the 'blasphemy laws', distributed today in Karachi after Friday prayers

Citizens for Democracy, Pakistan:

Position and Press Statement on assassination of Salmaan Taseer

Karachi: Citizens for Democracy (CFD), a nation-wide umbrella group of political parties, trade unions, professional organisations, NGOs and individuals, strongly condemns the cold-blooded and cowardly murder of Salmaan Taseer.

The unarmed Governor of Punjab was shot in the back in the most cowardly manner by one of his own bodyguards on Jan 4, 2011, following a concerted propaganda campaign that falsely accused him of having been disrespectful to the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon on Him). This campaign was conducted in the media and through the mosques. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 457 other followers

%d bloggers like this: