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…

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