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Express Tribune’s article on Tahir Ashrafi’s law suit against LUBP


Related post: In Pakistan, a pro-Taliban cleric files law suit against a pro-rights blog #LUBP

LUBP Editor’s note: We are cross-posting a news report published by Express Tribune on Tahir Ashrafi’s law suit against LUBP blog. While we appreciate that ET has mentioned the nature of our complaints about Tahir Ashrafi’s hate speech, we note that the report is also characterized of false neutrality. LUBP is a human rights and advocacy web site; it is a leading voice of alternative social media and citizen journalism in Pakistan. Our legitimate concerns (which resonate with Pakistan’s target killed and persecuted communities, e.g., Shia, Sunni Barelvi, Ahmadi, Christian etc) cannot be and must not be equated with the harassment campaign by known Taliban and ASWJ apologist Tahir Ashrafi Deobandi. Would ET also equate the LeJ or LeT’s concerns about the HRCP, HRW reports etc as feud between the two? Moreover, the ET report does not mention that while a plethora of anti-Shia, anti-Sunni Barelvi, anti-Ahmadi etc websites, facebook pages are active by radical Deobandi militants, Tahir Ashrafi is concerned that LUBP is inciting sectarian violence. We also note that the opinion of the technology activist and lawyer Nighat Dad cited by ET remains focused on LUBP. She doesn’t utter a single word about the documented hate speech published by Tahir Ashrafi through his Twitter account, youtube video clips and other public appearances. Readers may note that previously in 2009, known Taliban-apologist journalist Hamid Mir too tried to harass and ban LUBP on Geo TV’s Capital Talk: https://lubpak.net/archives/1593 End note.

Legal first: Twitter feud turned defamation suit
By Gibran AshrafPublished: January 22, 2013

KARACHI: A Twitter feud has turned into what could be a first for the legal and online community in Pakistan, after the head of the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC), Tahir Ashrafi, announced that he would be initiating legal proceedings against a blog for “inciting sectarian violence”, The Express Tribune has learned.

Ashrafi announced his intentions after the feud between him and the blog, Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP), raged online. “LUBP supporters are worried that they have been exposed. We will now pursue them legally,” he said.


Ashrafi accuses LUBP of spreading sectarian hatred and deepening fissures in society after the former published a blog on January 10, authored by Abdul Nishapuri, which sought to “expose” the cleric, his views on Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadis, Sunni Barelvis as well as his support for  Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) leader Malik Ishaq. They also ran a social media-based campaign urging television channels not to invite the cleric to offer his views, as well as for foreign countries to ban his entry.

“Given the blatant hate-speech … by him, we ask Pakistani media, activists, NGOs and foreign governments to ban Tahir Ashrafi from appearing in the media, speaking to sectarian harmony conferences, or visiting foreign countries.”

The blog went on to call Ashrafi a “bigoted Deobandi mullah” who “spews hate against Ahmadis, Shias, Sunni Barelvis 24/7,” and alleged that the cleric “played a key role in the murder of Pakistan’s Minority Affairs Minister, Shahbaz Bhatti”.

Subsequently, the PUC chief, who is active on Twitter, accused LUBP of being loyal to Iran, with directions to spread anarchy in Pakistan. “Irani[an] loyalists (LUBP) have been directed to spread lies to incite conflict in Pakistan,” he tweeted.

On January 13, Ashrafi tweeted a cartoon which depicted the LUBP as agents turning Shias against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shias.

A subsequent conversation between tweeter @ZainabBinte_Ali then descended into allegations and counter allegations over the cleric’s political views and allegiances and accusations of the LUBP being an arm of Iran.

Legal actions

Pakistan’s cybercrime ordinance expired in 2009. Since then, despite attempts by the government, a cybercrime bill has yet to clear the assemblies.

In the absence of specific laws, prosecution of cyber crimes is confusing.

Technology activist, lawyer and the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) executive director Nighat Dad told The Express Tribune that existing laws that cover hate speech, incitement to violence and slander also extend to websites, blogs, emails and social media, even though there are no specific laws to address them.

Given Ashrafi’s accusations that LUBP is trying to spread hatred, Dad says laws prescribed under sections 295-A, 295-C, 298, 298-A mentioned under the Pakistan penal code may be applicable. “If we talk about hate speech particularly against religion then we have anti-blasphemy provisions which can also apply to online spaces.”

Dad added that exceptions to Article 19 of the Constitution have also been used by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to block obscene and objectionable content on the internet.

Given that the blog also attacks Ashrafi’s character and seeks to discredit his reputation, the cleric can also seek prosecution of LUBP for slander and libel. These two forms of defamation are included in the Defamation Ordinance of 2002.

Under the ordinance, Dad says, an aggrieved party can file a civil suit (not a criminal one) against the publisher of the content in which the action can be taken against the blogger, owner of the site and any organisation who owns the related website.

“However, no suit can be filed before sending a prior notice to the author of the content within two months after the publication of the defamatory matter has come to the applicant’s knowledge.”

Punitive measures for those found guilty under Section 9 of the ordinance include an order directing the defendant to tender an apology, if acceptable to the plaintiff, and publishing the apology in a similar manner and with the same prominence as the defamatory statement, as well as reasonable compensatory damages of a minimum of Rs50,000. Alternately, the defendant can serve a punishment of three months in jail.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2013.



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  • LUBP is inciting sectarian hatred?

    And the man who is alleging that is the one who played a key role in the release of Malik Ishaq Deobandi of LeJ-ASWJ.

    Good grief!

  • Abdul Nishapuri ‏@AbdulNishapuri
    We refuse to be cowed down. We will resist through all lawful means. #LUBP

    Atif S Ahmad ‏@atifahmads
    Why cant Pakistanis take criticism? You criticize someone on ground realities and receive Fatwas of being Wajib-ul-Qatl in return! #LUBP

    Atif S Ahmad ‏@atifahmads
    The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict and in Pakistan its the other way #LUBP

    7m Anthony Permal ‏@anthonypermal
    @Walie Tahir Ashrafi got ticked off with Lubp. Taking them to court. Chutia.

    17m Saqlain Imam ‏@imam1
    #LUBP was first labeled as pro-#PPP now pro-#Iranian! Legal first: Twitter feud turned defamation suit http://tribune.com.pk/story/497217/legal-first-twitter-feud-turned-defamation-suit/ … via @etribune

    24m TheRebel ‏@najia2ahmed
    so the LUBP is spreading “sectarian violence” , says Mulana Ashrafi…. look who is talking..!

    46m Hasan Mohiuddin Khan ‏@ikhanhassan
    Ashrafi announced his intentions after the feud between him and the blog, Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP), raged online.

    53m Ahad Hussain ‏@ahadhussain
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/497217/legal-first-twitter-feud-turned-defamation-suit/ … While all SSP and Jhangvi websites and twitter pages are active, Tahir Ashrafi is using his influence to Ban LUBP

    1h Dr Shahid ‏@DR_SHAHID
    #TahirAshrafi “Exposed” By #LUBP – His Views On #Shias, #Sunnis-Barelvis, #Ahmadis And Support For #LeJ & #MalikIshaq http://tribune.com.pk/story/497217/legal-first-twitter-feud-turned-defamation-suit/

    1h Hamid Sudane ‏@HamidSudane
    Legal first:Twitter feud turned defamation suit http://tribune.com.pk/story/497217/legal-first-twitter-feud-turned-defamation-suit/ … #TahirAshrafi vs #LUBP #Hate #Ahmadis #Shias #Barelvis

    1h Shaheryar Mirza ‏@mirza9
    Legal first: twitter feud turned into defamation suit – http://is.gd/ZOp8jU #LUBP #PUC I guess it was just a matter of time.

    Schazad Bangash ‏@schazad
    @SenRehmanMalik stop dancing to da tunes of mullahs by banning #LUBP. Plz don’t kill free speech

    pejamistri ‏@pejamistri
    @AbdulNishapuri I hope it is not worrying ,#LUBP is the leader in social journalism in Pakistan, and no 2-penny mullah can threaten it…

    ehsan shah ‏@ehsanshah4
    Everyone resolve here if we r banned from using LUBP we’ll not vote for PPP.Only this pressure can force Zardari not to follow their diktats

    Saroor Ijaz ‏@SaroorIjaz
    LUBP Blog banned. Democracy has again delivered. Protest Vigil

    Husain Haqqani ‏@husainhaqqani
    @AbdulNishapuri There is no justification for govt ban on blog. Even those who don’t agree w/ LUBP must support its right to write & be read

    Punjabi Baba ‏@5abiBaba
    جہادی اور دہشت گرد تنیظیم چندے، صدقہ وغیرہ اکھٹا کرتی ہیں اور نفرت سے بھرے پملفٹ ، اخبارات اور رسائل شائع کرتی ہیں لیکن پابندی #LUBP پر

    Darvesh ‏@Darveshh
    @AbdulNishapuri It would be sad if LUBP is banned, just like youtube is banned and previously @ShiaKilling was also banned.

    Punjabi Baba ‏@5abiBaba
    Please all Raise your voice in support of #LUBP RT @Chipmaze: I raise my voice in support of the LUBP blog. #LUBP

    Abdul Nishapuri ‏@AbdulNishapuri
    LUBP defended her from Zaid Hamid. She attacked LUBP along with Tahir Ashrafi. See the irony! http://criticalppp.com/archives/56426

    Maq ‏@MAQWAQ
    @RANA168 @abdulnishapuri LUBP always raises the voice for cruelty against Ahmadis and others, no doubt about it.

    Zalaan ‏@Zalaan1
    @AbdulNishapuri طاہر اشرفی جیسے فرقہ پرست اور نفرت پھیلانے والے مولوی لبرلز میں گھس کر انکے منہ بند کر رہے ہیں

  • any idea why are liberals quiet?

    where is raza rumi?
    where is abbas nasir?
    where is omar qureshi?
    where is cyril?
    where is everybody?

    are they not mainstreaming tahir ashrafi?

  • I am quite sure that some of these liberals are with Tahir Ashrafi. Marvi Sirmed just abused LUBP yesterday even after LUBP defended her when she was being harassed by Zaid Hamid. Trust me everyone, these fake liberals including the ones mentioned by Rashid are standing with Tahir Ashrafi. They are standing with LeJ.

  • Its really sad that liberals abandon you when times get tough or when you use your freedom of speech for shias. Bad times tell who is trustworthy and who isnt. I think all liberal shias should come back to their religious base.

  • Guys, forgive Marvi and concentrate on Takfiri “moderate” who is another front man (Ludhianvi, Farooqi etc.) of the illiterate Jehadis. WWW is not ‘Waqf’ of any Daral-Aloom Haqania. We will keep on greeting them here and there.

  • Abdul Nishapuri ‏@AbdulNishapuri

    Backhanded ifsy butsy support to #LUBP in view of blatant hate speech by Tahir Ashrafi Deobandi is politely rejected. #FalseNeutrality

    One can’t begin to support #LUBP without rejecting false allegations levelled against us by pro-Taliban hate cleric Tahir Ashrafi.

    Your support is meaningless if you find faults with the aggreived but remain silent on the abuser. Blaming the victim mindset. #LUBP

    Example of a liberal thug blaming the victim: “The slippery slope #LUBP was treading has landed them in trouble.” No mention of Ashrafi!

    Those who are providing backhanded tribute and support to #LUBP, with ifs and buts, are hypocrites. We don’t need their support.

    You can’t support #LUBP unless you explicitly recognize and condemn that the one harassing us is a sponsor of Takfiri terrorists.

    Tahir Ashrafi is a symbol for all Takfiri terrorists who kill innocent Pakistanis. Marvi Sirmed is a symbol for all thugs who obfuscate.

    Those who are not with #LUBP today should know two things: 1. #LUBP will survive, Inshallah. 2. Your credibility will not.

    Today it should become clear to all Shia, Ahmadi, Barelvi & other activists which “liberals” can NEVER be trusted on human rights. #LUBP

    RIGHT NOW when #LUBP is being attacked by Ashrafi-ASWJ, a liberal lady is claiming that LUBP is establishment’s blog. Shame is a small word!

    We thank all those who have extended their support via email, DM etc or in public forums. Much appreciated.

    We thank our Ahmadiyya Muslim friends for their principled support to #LUBP. @atifahmads @ijattala and others.

    We thank our moderate Sunni Muslim friends for their principled support to #LUBP. @Zalaan1 @pejamistri @sindhyar and others

    We thank our Shia Muslim friends for their principled support to #LUBP @ahadhussain @AliAbbasTaj and others

    We thank all leaders, scholars and activits who have assured us of their support. #LUBP

    It’s not possible to mention and thank all of you, however, support in this time of need means a lot to us. Much appreciated. #LUBP

    To those who are silent or neutral on #LUBP’s harassment by Tahir Ashrafi, we only say this: Hottest place… http://twitpic.com/bxbgm7

    Not a single post will be removed agnst Tahir Ashrafi, Marvi Sirmed etc. They must learn to tolerate freespeech #LUBP rejects their pressure


    We have evidence of conversations between Marvi Sirmed & Mullah Tahir Ashrafi. They are planning violence against bloggers. #LUBP

    If you read Marvi Sirmed’s tweets, she really wants #LUBP team members to be killed by Tahir Ashrafi’s LeJ goons. She has tagged him too.

    Warning: If anyone of our bloggers is harmed, we will file a case against Tahir Ashrafi Deobandi and Marvi Sirmed. #LUBP

    Those who are posing as neutral while Marvi Sirmed is inviting Tahir Ashrafi to kill #LUBP bloggers should reconsider their stance.


    #LUBP requests all friends and commentators to refrain from abusive or indecent remarks against Tahir Ashrafi and Marvi Sirmed.

    The difference between Tahir Ashrafi, Marvi Sirmed types & us is that we don’t indulge in abusive comments & incitement to violence. #LUBP

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  • A call for transnational jihad: A comment – Abdul Nishapuri https://lubpak.net/archives/319616

    Hamas, an ally of Al Nusra – by Abdul Nishapuri

    Ashura of Muharram, a burden on Pakistani economy? – by Abdul Nishapuri https://lubpak.net/archives/325990

    #‎YemenUnderAttack‬: Pakistanis condemn Saudi Arabia’s illegal attack on Yemen – Abdul Nishapuri

    The discourse of Shia genocide in Pakistan and the role of Abdul Nishapuri and social media: A brief historical account

    Shia Genocide Database: A detailed account of Shia killings in Pakistan from 1963 to 31 May 2015 – by Abdul Nishapuri https://lubpak.net/archives/132675

    Sunni Sufi genocide: Database of Sunni killings in Pakistan by Deobandi terrorists – by Abdul Nishapuri https://lubpak.net/archives/323499

    The discourse of Shia genocide in Pakistan and the role of Abdul Nishapuri and social media: A brief historical account https://lubpak.net/archives/333622

    ANP’s discourse on Pashtun genocide – by Abdul Nishapuri https://lubpak.net/archives/315869

    Sabeen Mahmud’s murder by Deobandi ASWJ terrorists and the ISI-bashing elitist liberals – by Abdul Nishapuri https://lubpak.net/archives/336727

    Conversation: Why are Pashtun nationalists mute on Deobandi ideology and identity of TTP-ASWJ terrorists? https://lubpak.net/archives/306125

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  • Express Tribune’s article on Tahir Ashrafi’s law suit against LUBP

    Witch-hunt and incitement to murder of a Pakistani blogger by Tahir Ashrafi and Marvi Sirmed http://wp.me/p1joLZ-aCW

    A collection of comments in appreciation and criticism of Abdul Nishapuri and LUBP http://wp.me/p379wF-d

    Evidence of systematic harassment of critical bloggers by fake liberal promoters of Takfiri Deobandis http://wp.me/p379wF-1p

    Critical bloggers reject bullying by fake liberals http://wp.me/p379wF-29

    سنی شیعہ تصفیہ اور اتحاد کے لئے چند تجاویز – Some proposals for Sunni Shia unity – by Abdul Nishapuri http://wp.me/p379wF-2W

    Abdul Nishapuri’s resignation from LUBP https://lubpak.net/archives/240095