Phenomenal response to the CFD mass letter campaign

KARACHI, March 12: Thousands of people from all walks of life joined hands with Citizens for Democracy (CFD), by participating and signing letters in the interfaith harmony drive “Silence Means More Blood” launched by CFD on Saturday, March 12, 2011. Karachiites signed some 15,000 letters that will be sent to the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice and all the Chief Ministers.

CFD activists explain the letter to Karachi citizens. Photos: K.B. Abro

A view of CFD's day-long stall in Karachi. Photo: K.B. Abro

“The response was phenomenal,” says CFD activist and journalist Farieha Aziz. “All four of our letter boxes were full even before the end of the day. We were able to engage with our fellow citizens from all walks of life – from professionals from different fields to labourers, rikshaw drivers and rehri walas. Everyone was asked to read the letter or it was read out to them, or they were told the gist of it before they signed. The energy and commitment of CFD members was amazing. They were out on the road stopping cars, talking to passers by, even in buses when they stopped, drawing people to the camp.”

 

Sabeen Mahmud writes that her mother and the writer Attiya Dawood went to the mandir nearby. “Very politically engaged group. Brought back 20 sigs.” Also see this moving video Sabeen made of the event, set to Habib Jalib’s poetry.

The campaign is ongoing. More details, and photos, at the CFD blog

Mass letter signing campaign TODAY, Sat. March 12, 2011, 11am-7pm

Say No to Violence & to a Denial of our Civil Rights

Join CFD’s mass letter-writing campaign, for which people are gathering to add their signatures on letters addressed to the President of Pakistan, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Chief Ministers of all four provinces. “We are demanding from those in positions of power to take appropriate actions to reverse the erosion of our civil and human rights and to uphold the rule of law without fear or favour. Please join us in a mass letter campaign – we are your peaceful fellow citizens, struggling to survive with dignity, and yet trying to preserve our inalienable democratic rights. The purpose of this campaign is to allow all citizens to speak out in support of inter-faith harmony and to resist a growing climate of religious intolerance in Pakistan,” says a press release.

Support Citizens for Democracy, 11 am to 7pm  TODAY (Saturday, March 12, 2011) at Jahangir Kothari Parade (opposite Park Towers), Clifton, Karachi. Bring postage stamps and friends


Protest: Shahbaz Bhatti murder, vigilante action, incitements to violence

Open letter to The President, Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Chief Justice, and heads of all political parties, Pakistan

Protest & demand for action regarding Shahbaz Bhatti murder, vigilantism, and incitements to violence in Pakistan – signature campaign initiated by Citizens for Democracy. Deadline for endorsements: Monday March 7, midnight Pakistan time, after which signatures will be compiled and sent to the recipients and to media. Endorsements can be made at the CFD blog, or via email to cfd.pak@gmail.com. Please share with friends. If anyone wants to translate it and circulate, please feel free. Thanks.
Blog: citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com | Twitter @cfdpk | Text also posted below Continue reading

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.

Shadow boxing with imaginary blasphemers in a ‘republic of fear’

Shadow boxing with imaginary blasphemers in a ‘republic of fear’:

An analysis and chronology of recent moves to amend the controversial, man-made ‘blasphemy laws’ of Pakistan – Nasim Zehra in Citizens for Democracy blog

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