Don’t snuff out the lights

The horrific murder of a journalism student lynched on a university campus in Mardan on April 13 after being accused of ‘blasphemy’, 2017 has revived the urgency of coming together on a joint platform with a minimum common agenda to uphold humanitarian values. Nothing will bring back Mashal Khan, a poet, self-declared humanist and “voice of the voiceless”, but we can at least try to ensure that no other mother loses her Mashal (light) to such barbaric ignorance and orchestrated violence.

We drafted this statement a few months after the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar, signed by over a hundred activists, teachers, lawyers and other professionals as well as students in March 2015: Pakistanis against terrorism: Minimum common agenda against violence in the name of religion – below. Does it need to be amended or updated? 

Pakistanis against terrorism: Minimum common agenda against  violence in the name of religion

The organisations and individuals represented here are part of a global movement of concerned Pakistanis opposed to violent extremism in the name of religion. We stand by the victims of such violence and aim to provide them with moral and other forms of support to alleviate their suffering. We envision a Pakistan free of hatred and oppression, where all Pakistanis can coexist peacefully and where diversity in religious thought and belief is accepted and respected. We agree on the following minimum agenda:

  1. We stand for human rights and equal citizenship rights for all Pakistanis
  2. We oppose Takfir (declaring anyone a non-Muslim/Kafir) and subjecting anyone to persecution on that basis. We demand that takfir be treated and tried as hate-speech.
  3. We demand that the Government of Pakistan take immediate action against all forms of hate speech which may be defined as words, spoken or written, that incite violence and hatred against any community based on their religious affiliations.
  4. We demand that the Government of Pakistan act against any extra-judicial killings or violence in the name of religion and false accusations of “blasphemy”. We demand the reform of Pakistan’s laws specifically related to the “blasphemy laws”.
  5. We support the rule of law and due process. We demand that the Government enhance the capacity of law enforcing agencies to deal with crime and violence at the local level. Such crimes feed violent extremist groups at other levels.
  6. We demand that educational curriculum at all levels should include teachings that promote compassion, tolerance and respect for human rights. Text books should be revised to expunge any material that incites or preaches hatred and/or violence against any community or section of society.
  7. We demand that the Government of Pakistan act against banned outfits and individuals operating in the name of religion. The Government must also publicize the list of banned outfits engaged in sectarian and religious violence and proceed legally against them.
  8. We demand that Pakistani electronic media cease giving airtime to those who engage in hate speech and who openly incite violence in the name of religion.
  9. We demand that the Government immediately freeze assets of banned outfits and of those who are associated with them and take all measures to permanently cut off their sources of domestic and international financing. The Government should impose sanctions, including travel restrictions, on such outfits and individuals.

Endorsed (alphabetical order):

  1. Aaliya Naqvi-Hai, Finance and Nonprofit professional, San Francisco
  2. Abdul Qadeer, Software Engineer, Frankfurt, Germany
  3. Abdur Rehman, Teacher, Lahore
  4. Adam Malik, Forum for Secular Pakistan, Karachi
  5. Ahsan Butt, self-employed (freelance English to Urdu translator), Lahore
  6. Ahmer Shaheen, Journalist / Editorial Advisor Geo and Jang Group, Pakistan
  7. Ali Abbas Sikander, Banker, Karachi
  8. Ali Alam. Architect. Karachi, Pakistan
  9. Ali Ashtar Naqvi, Lawyer, Lahore/Boston
  10. Ali Kazmi, Activist, Lahore
  11. Ali Naqvi, Investment Manager, New York City
  12. Anis Haroon, former Chair, Pakistan Womens Commission
  13. Anjum Mansoori, Peace Activist, VR1 – Alliance against Terrorism, Lahore
  14. Aquila Ismail, Author, Karachi
  15. Arafat Mazhar, Activist at Engage, Lahore
  16. Asif Alam, Financial Services, New York
  17. Asifa Tirmizi, Architect, New York City
  18. Asma Jahangir, advocate, Supreme Court Pakistan, ex-Chair Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
  19. Asma Maladwala, Educationist, Student, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
  20. Atif Mian, Economist/Professor, Princeton
  21. Ayesha Ahmed, Teacher, Camp Hill Pennsylvania/Islamabad
  22. Ayesha Ijaz Khan, Lawyer/Writer, London
  23. Beena Sarwar, journalist, Boston/Karachi
  24. Dr. Eric Rahim, honorary lecturer in economics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
  25. Faisal Sherjan, media specialist, Lahore/Karachi
  26. Farhana Shakeel. Religious Scholar. Edison, New Jersey.
  27. Farahnaz Ispahani, Politician and Human Rights advocate. Karachi/Washington,DC
  28. Fawzia Naqvi, Economic Development, New York City
  29. Fayeza Khan, Scientist, Perth
  30. Fereshteh Feri Rawanian, Textile Buyers Agent, Karachi, Pakistan
  31. Ghayur Naqvi, PhD student, Santiago de Chile
  32. Dr. Habiba Hasan, Paediatrician and human rights activist. Karachi. Pakistan
  33. Hassan Raza – Student – Soical Activist – Islamabad
  34. Huma Ahmar, Educationist, Activist & Writer, Karachi Pakistan
  35. Huma M. Thaver, Educationist and Activist, Karachi, Pakistan
  36. Husna Zafar, Life Long Educationist, Los Angeles
  37. Ibrahim S. Malick, Technologist/Writer, New York, NY
  38. Ilmana Fasih, Dr., Gynecologist, health activist, Mississauga, Canada/Karachi
  39. Iqbal Alavi, Forum for Secular Pakistan, Karachi
  40. Javed Qazi, advocate, Forum for Secular Pakistan, Karachi
  41. Junaid Zuberi, Financal Advisor, Toronto ON Canada
  42. Kamila Nasiruddeen Mazari, Educationalist, Singapore
  43. Kashif Haqqi, Healthcare, Boston MA
  44. Lubna Sami, Lead Interior Stylist & Business Owner, Mississauga Canada
  45. Madeeha Channah, health worker, Boston/Karachi
  46. Madiha Waris Qureshi, development writer/editor, Washington, D.C.
  47. Malik Omaid, writer/activist. work for Pakteahouse blog
  48. Masood Akhtar, Social activist and working for 1947partitionarchive, Rawalpindi Pakistan
  49. Mehnaz Rokerya, Entrepreneur/Businesswoman, Chino Hill, California
  50. Moaaz Al’ Hasan Khan, Film-Maker/Director/Cinematographer, Karachi Pakistan
  51. Mohammad Jibran Nasir, Lawyer, Pakistan For All
  52. Mohsin Sayeed, Writer/Social Commentator, Citizens For Democracy, Karachi
  53. Mona Kazim Shah Journalist/Human Rights Activist/Physician Dallas TX
  54. Muhammad Hasan, banker, Houston/Toronto/Karachi
  55. Muhammad Arif Khan, student and social activist Mardan
  56. Muhammad Mehdi, Student and Activist, Karachi, Pakistan
  57. Muneer Memon, Forum for Secular Pakistan, Karachi
  58. Mustafa Kamil Kidwai, Technology Consultant, London
  59. Mustafa Menai, Urdu-Hindi Faculty, University of Pennsylvania
  60. Nadia Naviwala, independent researcher, writer, Islamabad
  61. Nadra Huma Ahmar, Educationist, Activist and Writer, Karachi Pakistan
  62. Nafisa Haji, Writer, Turkey
  63. Naheed Moini, Candle Maker, Karachi Pakistan
  64. Najma Siddiqi, Social Activist, Technical Adviser Leadership and Governance at the World Bank – Washington DC
  65. Nasir Shafiq, Solicitor, London.
  66. Nasser Ahmad, Investor, New York City
  67. Naveed Lotia, Banker, Mississauga/Karachi.
  68. Naziha Syed Ali, journalist, Citizens For Democracy, Karachi
  69. Neelum Amin, Chicago
  70. Noman Quadri, Citizens for Democracy (CFD), Karachi
  71. Nuscie Jamil, activist, Lahore
  72. Rahat Saeed Social, Cultural, Literary and Peace Activist, Karachi
  73. Raza Rumi, journalist, Washington DC/Lahore
  74. Raza Ali, Software Developer, Cambridge, UK
  75. Rubab Mehdi Rizvi, human rights activist, London, UK
  76. Saadia Ahmed, activist/blogger, Lahore/Dubai
  77. Sabiha Shaheen, Executive Director, Bargad Organization for Youth Development, Gujranwala
  78. Sabreena Khalid, Law Student, Boston
  79. Saeeda Diep, peace activist, Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, Lahore Pakistan
  80. Sahar Naqvi, Student, New York City/Montreal
  81. Saima S. Hussain, Writer, Toronto
  82. Saima Qadir, sustainable infrastructure finance, Washington DC/Lahore
  83. Sajjad Anwar Mansoori, Communications Strategist, Sufism for Peace And Co-Existence (SPACE), Lahore
  84. Salma Basravi, Realtor, Glendale CA USA
  85. Salma Mahmud / Teacher / Toronto & Karachi
  86. Saleem Ahmad, Banker, London/Lahore
  87. Seema Jaffer, Communications, Karachi,
  88. Saiyid Ali Naqvi, Author, New York City /Karachi
  89. Sehr Salman Sarwar, Public Affairs Consultant, London/Dubai
  90. Sehyr Mirza, Freelance Journalist, Lahore
  91. Seemi Andrabi, Physician, Washington DC
  92. Shaan Taseer, Chartered Accountant, Lahore
  93. Shaila Andrabi, Community Activist, Claremont, California
  94. Shaheen Pirzada, Cambridge MA
  95. Shabih Haider, Assistant Prof. (Retired), Teaching, Karachi,
  96. Shahid Mustafa, Banker, Karachi
  97. Shoaib Taimur, Blogger/Entrepreneur, Karachi
  98. Shumail Zaidi, Trainer Countering Violence Extremism, Pakistan Youth Alliance, Activist, Karachi
  99. Sibtain Naqvi, Blogger and Educationist
  100. Sophie Ali, Media, New York City
  101. Sumbla Pervaiz, Teacher/Trainer, Boca Raton, Florida
  102. Subuhi Asheer, Policy Research, Princeton
  103. Syed Shams Haider, Ex-Parliamentarian/Politician, Lahore
  104. Syed Hussein El-Edroos, Trainer & Consultant, Islamabad
  105. Syed Shehroz Hussain, Engineering student, Worcester, MA / Peshawar, Pakistan.
  106. Syeda Sara, Economist, Detroit/Toronto
  107. Tahira Dosani, Investor, Washington DC
  108. Tahir Andrabi, CEO CERP, Economist/Professor, Pomona College, California
  109. Talal Ahmed, Graduate Student at Brandeis University, Boston, USA
  110. Dr. Taskeen Humayun, pediatrician, Rawalpindi,Pakistan
  111. Tehmina Khan, Physician, Los Angeles ,USA
  112. Tuba Syed, Auditor and concerned Pakistani, San Francisco/Bay Area and Karachi
  113. Umaima Ghori, Student and Blogger, Toronto/Karachi
  114. Waqas Ali Zaheer, Vice Chairman Democratic Students Federation, Karachi
  115. Wasif Rashid, Islamabad
  116. Yamna Rehman, Researcher, Engineer, Islamabad.
  117. Zaineb Majoka, Data Analyst/Development worker, Washington D.C
  118. Zahid Ali Akbar, Barrister and Director ZaakbarLaw Limited. London
  119. Zahid F. Ebrahim, Lawyer, Karachi
  120. Zakia Sarwar, teacher trainer and ESL specialist, Karachi

5 Responses

  1. Let’s not make India & Pakistan as Banana Republic, Let Democracy prevail.. Let Rationalism prevail within the Religion, show Ourselves a mirror…Lets practice and not just preach an Islam… Allah Rahim Allah Karim


  2. I am totally with you Beena Sarwar. Living here in Australia, as a Pakistani and just a humanist, my heart goes out to Mashalla Khan and his family.


  3. Uphold august cause


  4. Its a shame our country is moving in… scary times are ahead of something is not done. Justice needs to b instated for all rich or poor..when justice prevails then things will get better… cause we have nust witnesses education is of no use untill ppl are scared ofcthe consequences of their action..may allah protect us and our young one


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