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Editorials

Rishman: Another Victim of Unjust Laws and Communal Hatered

It seems that those who claim to police the sanctity of the majority religion in Pakistan are on a constant and unending witch hunt. Their victims, or targets, mostly always happen to be poor and destitute women from the Christian minority that already lives a perilous existence in our increasingly intolerant country. A few years ago we witnessed the case of Asia Bibi who was charged under the blasphemy laws and in the wake two courageous opponents of the law were killed by the so-called protectors of the faith.

The victim this time is a poor, unlettered minor named Rishman. Those who have accused her of blasphemy assert that amongst the papers that she collected in the street to use as fuel for a cooking fire were some pages of the Qur’an. And thus having burned those pages, she has, somehow, blasphemed. Needless to say that our first concern should be to speak about the nature of this life: why does a child have to gather fuel in the streets to cook food in the so-called Islamic republic of Pakistan.

A board of seven physicians have attested that Rishman is a minor and does not even have the IQ commensurate with her age. No one saw her burning the so-called pages and, most importantly, being unlettered, she would have not even known what she was burning. Neither the intention nor the act can be proven. So, how is it that this case is even on trial and that she awaits her fate in jail without a recourse to due process or even a bail.

Is this what we have become as a nation: a bunch of ghundas who pry on the weak in the name of religion. Is this how Islamic jurisprudence works? Does Islam permit arresting and jailing children for committing offenses even when they might not even had the metal capacity to discern right from wrong. My reading of the Sharia tells me that the justice system in Islam cannot be arbitrary and that the rules of evidence are extremely strict to protect people from false accusations.Which Qur’an are these mullahs and their followers reading?

It is time we stood up against these messengers of hate: we need to declare once for all that Pakistan does not only belong to Muslims. That all those who live and abide by the laws of the country are its citizens and are inherently equal. Let us stop our mullahs and their followers from dictating as to what kind of nation we ought to be.

Let us stop blaming and arresting children in the name of religion: it defies the basic dictates of human dignity, cheapens the value of law, and darkens our future.

Yes, no more of these witch hunts. No more public or legal prosecution of minorities. No more injustice in the name of religion.

We have had enough of your  bigotry!

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Commentaries Editorials

Some Good Pakistani Blogs

Now that we have started aggregating content from selected Pakistan-related blogs, we have found a rich array of blogs dealing with various aspects of Pakistani life. I thought I should take a few moments to introduce some of these blogs. My account of these blogs, of course, is in no way exhaustive. So, please feel free to suggest your favorite Pakistani blogs in the comments and we will include them in our Pakblogs section for our readers.

Art Ka Pakistan: Maintained by Nadia Hussain, this is a personal blog that provides ideas, thoughts, and commentaries of an artist and could be very useful to all those interested in art and artistic pursuits. Nadia describes her blog as follows:

Wannabe artist (except they’re called visual artists now), corrupter of young Pakistani minds, do gooder (and badder), lover, not a fighter and a general procrastinator. And Murree Brewery rocks.

Citizens for Democracy: I strongly endorse CFD’s effort who describe their mission in the following words:

Citizens for Democracy (CFD) was formed on Dec 19, 2010, as a coalition of professional groups, NGOs, trade unions, student unions, political parties and individuals outraged by the consistent misuse and abuse of the ‘blasphemy laws’ and religion in politics.  We came together at a meeting at Karachi Press Club, convened by Professional Organisations Mazdoor Federations & Hari Joint Committee (POJAC).

CFD calls upon all professional groups, NGOs, trade unions, student unions, political parties and individuals to join hands for its one-point agenda, to work against the misuse and abuse of the ‘blasphemy laws’ and religion in politics. CFD chapters have subsequently been formed in Lahore and Islamabad. Please see CFD stand and endorsing organisations at this blog. Email: cfd.pak@gmail.com Twitter: @cfdpk.

Desi Flavors: Maintained by Rafia Shujaat, Desi Flavors is a wonderful blog that provides quite a few traditional, some fusion, and some very innovative recipes. I could not recommend this wonderful resource enough.

[We have removed “Hope for Pakistan” as it was mirroring the Pakistani Spectator]

Journeys to Democracy: Maintained by Beena Sarwar, a renowned Pakistani journalist, this blog needs no introduction. If you ever need to find some incisive, thought-provoking analysis of Pakistani current affairs, this is the place to go.

Middle Ground: Defines itself in the following words:

Middle Ground is my place on web where I put together my thoughts. Middle Ground falls in the middle of extremism and liberalism. It shows the picture of tolerance, which is much needed in our country these days, than before.

It is a place on web where I write what ever interests me. Subjects may vary but they will always be something related to my country, Pakistan. I am trying to play my part by contributing in some way to the progressive Pakistan.

Mustafa Qadri: Maintained by Mustafa Qadri, one of our contributing authors and an active journalist and humanitarian, this is the kind of journalistic writing all the bloggers should aspire to and emulate.

Pak Tea House: This is one of the most established blogs of Pakistan and a place to visit for astute political and cultural commentary.

Secular Pakistan: This courageous blog declares its mission thusly:

We are here to advocate the dream of a state where a citizen is recognized because of his/her existence as a human being rather than cast, creed, sect or religion. Contributions, feedback and death threats are all welcome.

The Pakistani Spectator: The spectator is not just a blog; it is rather a newspaper-like multiauthor blog filled with interested commentaries and stories about all things Pakistan.

United for Justice: This is another good blog that aims to fight all kinds of discrimination in Pakistan.

Well, this completes my first round-up of good Pakistani blogs. I am certain that I have missed some very good and important blogs and would love to include them in the next such round-up. feel free to use the comment section below to suggest any blogs that you deem should be included in our next roundup and also in our Pakblogs section.