Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunni VS Shia & Sunni VS Sunni & General Zia!

Zia's legacy: Thousands of people have been killed in Shia-Sunni violence since the 1980s across Pakistan. President Asif Ali Zardari is not the only Pakistani leader to have been beset with such problems, which most analysts agree began in 1979 when Gen Zia ul-Haq began "Islamicising" Pakistani politics to legitimise his military rule. As a result, hardline religious groups were strengthened. This coincided with a period when parts of Pakistan came to be awash with weaponry as a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979. US arms and Saudi funds allowed Gen Zia to mount a proxy war in Afghanistan with mujahideen, or holy warriors. Drawn from Pakistani as well as Afghan and Arab youths mostly educated at religious schools, the mujahideen and their patrons were to become influential actors in Pakistan. Because Sunnis form a large majority in Pakistan, most of the mujahideen were Sunni too. Radical Sunni Islamists were able to establish armed groups like Sipah-e-Sahaba. Shia fighters, too, joined the jihad, or holy war, against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, although their bands were smaller. They received help from Iran where the Islamic revolution earlier in 1979 had boosted Shia confidence. The growth of Shia militancy led to the establishment of militant groups such as Tehrik-e-Jafria who have been accused of carrying out tit-for tat attacks on Sunnis. After dozens were killed in sectarian attacks, Pakistan's then leader Gen Pervez Musharraf launched a campaign against extremism in January 2002, banning the worst-offending groups. However, that initiative, along with others launched before it, manifestly failed. Sectarian violence - like militancy in the north-west - seems to be a Pakistani problem that will not go away. REFERENCE: Pakistan's evolving sectarian schismBy Alastair Lawson BBC News 4 October 2011 Last updated at 09:41 GMT 

Shia Killings in Baluchistan - 1 (Dawn News KAB TAK - Ep 133)


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked that it was a criminal negligence to bring changes in the documents like Objectives Resolution as former president General (retd) Zia ul Haq tampered with the Constitution in 1985 however, the sitting parliament had done a good job by undoing this tampering. At one point Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that the word ‘freely’ was omitted from the Objectives Resolution in 1985 by a dictator, which was an act of criminal negligence, but the then parliament surprisingly didn’t take notice of it. He said the Constitution is a sacred document and no person can tamper with it. The chief justice said credit must go to the present parliament, which after 25 years took notice of the brazen act of removing the word relating to the minorities’ rights, and restored the word ‘freely’ in the Objectives Resolution, which had always been part of the Constitution. The chief justice further said that the court is protecting the fundamental rights of the minorities and the government after the Gojra incident has provided full protection to the minorities. “We are bound to protect their rights as a nation but there are some individual who create trouble.” - DAILY TIMES - ISLAMABAD: Heading a 17-member larger bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry termed as criminal negligence the deletion of a word about the rights of minorities from the Objectives Resolution during the regime of General Ziaul Haq in 1985. Ziaul Haq had omitted the word “freely” from the Objectives Resolution, which was made substantive part of the 1973 Constitution under the Revival of Constitutional Order No. 14. The clause of Objectives Resolution before deletion of the word ‘freely’ read, “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to ‘freely’ profess and practice their religions and develop their culture.” DAILY DAWN - ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Tuesday praised the parliament for undoing a wrong done by the legislature in 1985 (through a constitutional amendment) when it removed the word ‘freely’ from a clause of the Objectives Resolution that upheld the minorities’ right to practise their religion. The word “freely” was deleted from the Objectives Resolution when parliament passed the 8th Amendment after indemnifying all orders introduced through the President’s Order No 14 of 1985 and actions, including the July 1977 military takeover by Gen Zia-ul-Haq and extending discretion of dissolving the National Assembly, by invoking Article 58(2)b of the Constitution. After the passage of the 18th Amendment, the Objectives Resolution now reads: “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise their religions and develop their culture.” The CJ said: “Credit goes to the sitting parliament that they reinserted the word back to the Objectives Resolution.” He said that nobody realised the blunder right from 1985 till the 18th Amendment was passed, even though the Objectives Resolution was a preamble to the Constitution even at the time when RCO (Revival of Constitution Order) was promulgated. REFERENCES: CJ lauds parliament for correcting historic wrong By Nasir Iqbal Wednesday, 09 Jun, 2010  - CJP raps change in Objectives Resolution * Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry says deletion of clause on rights of minorities was ‘criminal negligence’ * Appreciates incumbent parliament for taking notice of removal of clause by Gen Zia’s govt in 1985 By Masood Rehman Wednesday, June 09, 2010\story_9-6-2010_pg1_1  CJ lauds parliament for undoing changes in Objectives Resolution Wednesday, June 09, 2010 Says minorities’ rights have to be protected; Hamid says parliament should have no role in judges’ appointment By Sohail Khan  

Shia Killings in Baluchistan - 2 (Dawn News KAB TAK - Ep 133)


MULTAN, Jan 11: A court has jailed a prayer leader and his 20-year-old son for life on blasphemy charges in the rural heartland of the country, court officials said on Tuesday. The case follows the assassination of Punjab governor Salman Taseer by his bodyguard last week, after he called for reform of the blasphemy law under which a Christian woman was sentenced to death. Mohammad Shafi, 45, and his son Mohammad Aslam, 20, were arrested in April last year for removing a poster outside their grocery shop promoting a religious event in a nearby village. The poster allegedly carried Quranic verses. Judge Mohammad Ayub, heading an anti-terrorism court in Muzaffargarh, handed down a life sentence to the pair on Monday, his assistant Faisal Karim said by telephone. According to the prosecution, the organisers of the event marking the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said the pair had “pulled the poster down, tore it and trampled it under their feet,” Mr Karim said. “The judge sentenced them to life imprisonment on charges of blasphemy and ordered them to pay a fine of Rs200,000 each,” he said. Defence counsel Arif Gurmani vowed to challenge the verdict in the high court because “it has been given in haste” and was the result of inter-sect rivalries, he said. “Both are Muslims. The case is the result of differences between Deobandi and Barelvi sects of Sunni Muslims,” he said. “Shafi is a practising Muslim, he is the imam of a mosque and he had recently returned from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia… I am defending them because I am convinced they are not guilty of blasphemy,” he said. Nobody has been executed in Pakistan for blasphemy and those given the death penalty have so far had their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal.—AFP REFERENCE: Court jails imam and son for blasphemy From the Newspaper Yesterday

Shia Killings in Baluchistan - 3 (Dawn News KAB TAK - Ep 133)


BAHAWALPUR, June 15: A mosque Imam was killed while a religious leader sustained critical injuries in violence caused reportedly by sectarian tension between two Sunni sects in Choonawala Mandi near Hasilpur, about 90km from here, on Thursday. According to reports reaching here, the trouble started when Hafiz Qamar Javed, prayer leader at local Masjid Ahl-e-Hadith, burnt some trash near his mosque. The fire attracted neighbours, including people from the rival sect, who propagated that Javed was burning pages from Quran. Within no time a huge mob turned up at the scene and attacked Javed. When Ahl-e-Hadith’s local leader Master Muhammad Sadiq came to his rescue, he was also beaten up severely. The assailants left the scene when the two fell unconscious. Police rushed to the scene after getting information. In a hurry, a police vehicle hit and injured Muhammad Nadeem (13). The mob then damaged the van and thrashed ASI Muhammad Nawaz, who also sustained injuries. Later, the Hasilpur DSP and tehsil nazim reached Choonawala and managed to disperse the mob. The injured were rushed to the Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur, where Hafiz Qamar Javed succumbed to injuries while Master Muhammad Sadiq was in precarious condition. Following an appeal, Choonawala traders’ president, shopkeepers pulled down their shutters to protest the ‘blasphemous act’. Meanwhile, it was learnt that a case under the Blasphemy Act had been registered against deceased Hafiz Qamar Javed and injured Muhammad Sadiq while no case was registered against the assailants. DPO Arif Nawaz was not available for comments. REFERENCE: Imam lynched by mob for ‘blasphemy’ By Majeed Gill June 16, 2006 Friday Jumadi-ul-Awwal 19, 1427 

Shia Killings in Baluchistan - 4 (Dawn News KAB TAK - Ep 133)


NEED TO CHECK MISUSE OF BLASPHEMY LAW BY QAZI FAEZ ISA - "As it was the unanimous demand of the Ulema, Mashaikh and the people, therefore, I have decided to do away with the procedural change in registration of FIR under the blasphemy law" (General Musharraf, Dawn 17.5.2000). How was public opinion determined? No one asked me! Is the reference to ulema and mashaikh to the self-proclaimed ones or men and women of Islamic learning? And did populism prevail over Islam? Why was no attempt made to enter into a debate, or at least a learned Islamic discourse? What was the role of the two ministers (religious affairs and law) who are primarily concerned with this issue? One does not recollect any valuable contribution from these two sources. The sad fact is that deterioration has set in every aspect of national life. The most acute realization of this is felt whenever there is any interaction with the government. There is no substitute for learning and debate, and we are managing to do without either and consequently suffer. The government seems to have decided for all of us that in Pakistan 2000 our exposure to Islam is to be funnelled through the myopic, self-styled 'guides', whose principal contribution has been spreading hatred and attacking the foundations of the state. No attention is being paid to the true learned men and women of Islam, because unlike the camp which propagates violence in achieving their goals, these true Muslims do not make even a feeble attempt to be heard.

Pampering this group does not serve the cause of Islam, is contrary to shariat and departs from the methodology adopted by Jinnah and those who devotedly worked for attaining this homeland. There is no substitute for knowledge, dialogue and niyat (intention). Let us learn a lesson from history. My father, Qazi Muhammad Isa, who was principally responsible for bringing Balochistan into the fold of Pakistan, was a member of the Balochistan Law Reform Commission. The other members included Balochistan's governor, Amir-ul-Mulk Mengal, and Mr Fazle Ghani Khan.These gentlemen informed me how my father had handled a potentially explosive situation. The Balochistan Law Reform Commission made visits to a number of different places to gather public opinion. On a visit to a traditional-conservative Pathan area they were accosted by the elders and ulema who demanded the enforcement of shariat and objected to the work of the Commission, which was perceived by them to be anti-shariat. It transpired that the local Pathans had taken strong exception to recording the names of their womenfolk on the recently introduced national identity cards. This according to them was un-Islamic and therefore unacceptable. My father inquired whether the delegation would be kind enough to enlighten him about the names of Islam's first convert and wife of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Prophet's daughter married to Hazrat Ali.Hazrat Khadija and Hazrat Fatima was the prompt answer. Upon hearing this, my father inquired whether the names of these distinguished ladies could be taken if Islam was against this practice. The delegation fell silent and abandoned their objection to the name insertion in the identity cards.

They then said "zhumz shariat ghoaru" ('we want shariat') and not "Angrezi qanoon" (English law). My father responded that the Commission could report this desire and wanted the delegation to help them. He suggested that this could be done if the delegation was prepared to abandon certain prevailing but un-Islamic practices. He advised that they should waive accumulated usury which was due to them (Pathans being notorious and usurious moneylenders), stop the cultivation and trade in intoxicants (opium and hashish) and recognize the shares of mothers, widows and daughters in inheritance. (Men divide the ladies' shares among themselves and the revenue records of these and many rural areas of the country, reveal the virtual absence of a female population). The delegation immediately backtracked saying that this was not possible because these were their established tribal practices and had been validated by jirga. On being asked whether they wanted the endorsement of jirga practices contrary to shariat, the delegation beat a hasty retreat never to be seen or heard of again.

Knowledge and reason were subsequently to prevail upon superstition and exploitation. The light of enlightenment vanquished the darkness of ignorance. Men of peace achieved this, men who adhered to Quaid's ideals and men who did not command armies. In contrast, an all-powerful government, having been granted by the Supreme Court the power to amend the Constitution, failed to effect, what from a legal perspective was an insignificant amendment in the law. The amendment which the government wanted to bring about was that any report of an offence of blasphemy should in the future be made to the district magistrate and not at the police station. A practice of settling personal vendettas by lodging false reports of offence of blasphemy (Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code) against a person or persons intended to be harmed has developed. The fact that in Pakistan lodging of such FIRs has become matter of frequent occurrence confirms the misuse of this provision of the law. Needless to stress that in a predominantly Muslim country any derogatory or disrespectful remark about the Prophet (PBUH) is unthinkable. Only one bereft of any reason or sense could risk inviting society's wrath and possibly worse by indulging in any such sacrilegious utterances.

To check false allegations of blasphemy from being made and Islam wrongly exploited for vendetta or for settling personal scores, which is anathema to a (true) Muslim, it was essential that the power of the police to entertain an FIR be curtailed. In advocating such a change General Musharraf was not acting against the interest of Islam. Undoubtedly, he was well intentioned but perhaps did not have the requisite support from his team to counteract the agitators. Occupying ministerial positions but bereft of vision and knowledge they could only advise an expedient retreat. The action could only encourage the tendency to use religion to harass and persecute one's enemies and rivals. The insistence on retaining the jurisdiction of the police in preference to that of the district magistrate, who is a more senior member of the administration, is incomprehensible. Unless those agitating against the proposed amendment were doing so because they considered police stations more malleable and amenable to pressure and inducement and, therefore, were ideally suited to their questionable purpose and interests. Is our government so out of touch that it does not realize that the poor, the rich, the Muslim, the Christian, the literate, the illiterate, citizens of Pakistan, if they are united in a view, it is that Pakistani police stations are dens of inequity, and not citadels which best preserve Islamic values. The maximum punishment for blasphemy in Pakistan is death, or imprisonment for life, and also fine. There is no discretion for imposing a lesser sentence. The process which may result in the passing of this sentence commences upon the lodging of an FIR in a police station, often on payment of a bribe, and in many cases without a shred of evidence, except the word of a self-described alim. There is no punishment prescribed for lodging a false report.

Eminent ulema have over the centuries written copiously on the subject. They have deliberated on whether blasphemy (insulting the Holy Prophet, sabb al-Rasool) without an element of apostasy (repudiation of Islam, sabb Allah, riddah) is an offence in Islam. They have considered the significance of the Prophet (PBUH) not acting against those who renounced Islam and vilified and defamed him. Included among these were Abd Allah b. Abi Sarh, Ikramah b. Abi Jahl, Safwan b. Umayyah, and Hinda, the wife of Abu Sufyan. A writer on the subject states that, "some Jews also addressed the Prophet with the words, 'death be upon you, (al-sam alaykum), but, in none of the reports did the Prophet order any punishment." They have thus determined that the offence is not hadd (ordained by God) but tazir. Imam Abu Hanifah maintained that a dhimmi (non-Muslim) is not liable to the death punishment for the offence of blasphemy. Islam is a religion which stands for peace and insists on justice. God almighty advised the Holy Prophet and early believers to develop their inner resources through patience and resilience. "Quite a number of the people of the Book wish they could turn you back to infidelity after ye have believed - from (their) selfish envy, after the Truth hath become manifest unto them, but forgive and overlook" (surah Al-Baqarah, verse 109). A commentator on this verse says: "It teaches that the success of Islam had naturally made the un-believers insecure and envious, and that under such circumstances a punitive approach would not produce the desired result". "And ye shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship partners besides Allah. But if ye persevere patiently, and guard against evil - then that indeed is a matter of great resolution (the best course with which to determine your affairs)" (surah Al-Imran, verse 186). It is noteworthy that the law in its present form does not consider the question of repentance. Is this Islamic? "The Hanafis and the majority of the Shafis consider blasphemy to be in the same category as apostasy and have ruled that repentance is admissible in both cases. Thus, the blasphemer, like the apostate, is to be asked for repentance on three consecutive days, which will be counted from the time of conviction" (Freedom of Expression in Islam by Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali). REFERENCE: NEED TO CHECK MISUSE OF BLASPHEMY LAW BY QAZI FAEZ ISA "As it was the unanimous demand of the Ulema, Mashaikh and the people, therefore, I have decided to do away with the procedural change in registration of FIR under the blasphemy law" (General Musharraf, Dawn 17.5.2000).

Barelvi Mullah says Every Pakistani is KAFIR.


The blasphemy laws were legislated and subsequently made more strict to ensure protection to the minorities. But some recent incidents have shown that even the Muslims were victimized under the present blasphemy law on the complaint of other fellow Muslims. The most recent example is provided by gory murder of Yusuf Kizab in the Kot Lakhpat Jail by an activist of the banned Sipahe-i-Sahaba. Yusuf had been sentenced to death sentence under the blasphemy laws. The worst example was the suicide of Father John Joseph some four years ago. On the eve of May 6, 1998 Dr Joseph, the Bishop of Faisalabad, committed suicide in front of the Sessions Court, Sahiwal to protest against the death sentence of a Christian Ayub Masih, pronounced by the court under the blasphemy law. The minority communities were never satisfied with the blasphemy law. They have been opposing it since its promulgation. Their protest against it became louder when a mandatory death punishment was incorporated in the Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code in 1991. The blasphemy law was enacted by the British to protect the religious sentiments of the Muslim minorities in the subcontinent against the Hindu majority. After the creation of Pakistan as the Muslims were no more a minority, the law should have been abolished. But it was made more stringent: Section 295-A was enacted in 1927 (Pakistan Penal Code). In 1980, Section 298-A was inserted. In 1982, Section 295-B was introduced. In 1986, Section 295-C was legislated. In 1991, life imprisonment was replaced with the mandatory death penalty in the Section 295-C. When the blasphemy laws were not harsh and the Muslims were tolerant towards the non-Muslim minorities, the latter remained mindful of the religious feelings of the former. As they grew intolerant towards the minorities and the capital punishment was incorporated in the law, the cases of blasphemy started occurring more frequently. From 1948-1979, 11 cases of blasphemy were registered. Only three were reported from 1979-1986. Forty-four cases were filed from 1987-1999. In 2000, 52 cases were registered - 43 against the Muslims and nine against the Non-Muslims. This shows, the law is being ‘abused’ more blatantly by the Muslims against the Muslims to settle their scores. ‘Blasphemy’ has been made an offence against the state. Anybody can go to a police station and register a case under Section 295-C against any person. The police would immediately register a case and arrest the accused without checking the veracity of the facts. A mohrrar (constable) is academically not competent to judge whether or not the circumstances constitute an act of blasphemy. The greater irony is, the death sentence under S. 295-C to a non-Muslim. This can be challenged in the Supreme Court. Ibne Tamia in his book Asare Mal Maslool has referred to a note of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa who says that a non-Muslim cannot be sentenced to death for blasphemy because such a penalty falls in the category of hadd (a sort of maximum punishment). When a Muslim blasphemes against the Holy Prophet, he becomes a murtid (a person who repudiates Islam after embracing it) whose punishment is death. A non-Muslim cannot be a murtid because he is already a kafir (non-Muslim). Therefore, the ‘hadd’ punishments are not applicable to the non-Muslims. They could be punished only under tazir (non-hadd punishments). The semi-literate mullas argue in the support of the death sentence saying that there is an ijma (consensus) on this issue by the founders of the four Fiqhs. If this plea is correct, then why Imam Abu Hanifa (the great Muslim scholar and the founder of the Hanafi school of thought) holds a contrary opinion? After Jinnah's death, the ruling elite embraced the Machiavellian politics of the colonial rulers and divided the nation on religious, sectarian and linguistic bases. The blasphemy law is an integral part of this baleful politics that has made Pakistan a deeply divided society. History is full of incidents that remind us of the great love, amity, unity, and affinity between the Muslims and the non-Muslims. A Pakistani author Ahmad Salim relates one such incident in his book, Pakistan aur Aqaliyatein. He writes that Ahmadabad was in the grip of Hindu-Muslim riots in 1969. During those days, a small locality, Mimobai that consisted of around 145 houses - 35 belonged to the Muslims and the rest were of the Hindus - had been reduced to ashes. A Sikh namely Kalyan Singh, one of the eye witnesses to this gory event, told the aid workers that an armed mob of furious Hindus came to the non-Muslim elders and asked them to identify the houses of the Muslims so that their (non-Muslims) property is not harmed. But they refused to do that. The mob threatened to set all the houses on fire. Even this could not intimidate them and the frenzied Hindus torched all the houses. Kalyan Singh said: “The Muslims and the non-Muslims had been living together for centuries in Mimobai. They shared each other's happiness and grief. How could we face Bhagwan if we had saved our houses while letting the mob torch the houses of our Muslim brothers, sisters, mothers, uncles!!”



Pakistan’s Sectarian Violence: Between the “Arabist Shift” and Indo-Persian Culture BY SUROOSH IRFANI 

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