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Religious parties demand removal of Shahbaz Bhatti

Religious parties are demanding removal of the Federal Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti because he demanded amendment in  blasphemy laws. Previously , Shahbaz Bhatti received threat from Aalmi Majil-e-Tahfuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat (AMTKN) for his critical comments on blasphemy law.

Tribune

Blasphemy Case : Minister to submit report to President today

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti will submit a report about Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy, to President Asif Zardari on Tuesday.

“The minister (Bhatti) has been asked to dig out facts in the case,” presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar told The Express Tribune on Saturday. He added that there were conflicting media reports with some suggesting that Aasia was implicated in a blasphemy case to settle some other dispute.

Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who visited Aasia on Saturday, reportedly claimed that the woman has appealed for clemency to the president. He said she had steadfastly denied any instance of blasphemy and declared that she was being wrongly accused of the crime, besides being dragged in streets and gang-raped. Taseer said he would personally carry her clemency request to the president.

However, the presidential spokesperson said it would be premature to say if the president would accept any such plea. He added that the presidency has not received any clemency application so far. He added that under the law such pleas come to the president only through the ministry of interior.

In most cases people convicted in lower courts on charges such as that of blasphemy are exonerated during the process of appeals in the higher courts. The presidential pardon is considered as a last option.

According to estimates, between the year 1988 and 2005 some 647 people were charged under the blasphemy law, which was enforced by General Ziaul Haq. Fifty per cent of the people charged were non-Muslim. Twenty of those charged were murdered soon after their sentences.

Aasia, a 45-year-old Christian woman, was sentenced to death by additional district and sessions court in Sheikhupura last week for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Aasia, mother of five children, has denied the charge of blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted for her faith

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Humza Ikram

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  • mullah only understand the language of bullet..it is foolish to try to make ur veiwpoint understand by means of logic and debate..they just need stalins concentration camps or hitlers gas chambers…

  • i think stalins style is much more suitable..here in pakistan keeping the mentality of mullah…on one hand we will make huge projects..on other hand mullahism would be cured with great success…believe me,,,if anybody has difference plz come farward with a logical discussion…

  • Blasphemy laws being misused: Asma Jahangir
    ISLAMABAD: President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir has said that the blasphemy laws are being misused in the country.
    Her remarks come at a time when the Lahore High Court has sentenced the Christian mother of five, Aasia Bibi to death for blasphemy, under the controversial section 295-C of Pakistan’s Penal Code.
    Talking to media in London she said that the death penalty should be abolished from the country. She also said that such cases should be heard by the High Court. Asma Jahangir further said that changes should be made in the rules of death penalties.
    She expressed her discontent with the performance of the government and said that the Army Chief should not have been given extension.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/79782/blasphemy-laws-being-misused-asma-jahangir/

  • Union of the Devils:

    Blasphemy case : Zardari warned not to grant pardon

    Aasia Bibi’s fate hangs in the balance. PHOTO: FILE
    ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented move, top Deobandi and Barelvi clerics joined hands to warn President Asif Ali Zardari against granting a discretionary pardon to a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, saying that the decision may trigger adverse reaction.
    “I advise him (Zardari) not to take a hasty decision under foreign pressure,” Qari Hanif Jallundari, who represents the Deobandi school of thought, told The Express Tribune by phone from Lahore. “Such a decision will lead to untoward repercussions,” he added.
    Hanif’s Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia (WMA) is an umbrella organisation which leads more than 12,000 seminaries across Pakistan, mostly in Punjab, where many people accused of blasphemy have usually lost lives at the hands of religious zealots. An organisation which wields control over Barelvi seminaries has also joined the Deobandis in a bid to change the president’s decision which, they think, he has already taken. The two sects have a long history of sharply differing with each other on almost every issue.
    Sahibzada Fazl Karim, a representative of Barelvi seminaries, said his organisation would stage demonstrations across the country if someone involved in a “crime like blasphemy is granted pardon”.
    “It would be too much if the woman is set free. Death is the only punishment for a person who commits blasphemy,” Sahibzada Karim told reporters in Karachi on Sunday evening.
    At the heart of the controversy is a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi who was sentenced to death by a sessions court in Sheikhupura district for blasphemy – a charge vehemently denied by the woman. The November 8 judgment revived a debate on whether such ‘controversial’ laws should continue or be reviewed.
    Liberals, although a minority, believe such laws were enacted by former military ruler General Ziaul Haq in the 1980s to please the religious right, should be revoked to stop their misuse.
    Both Qari Hanif and Sahibzada said they had a different perspective.
    “Our point of view is…clear. Misuse is insufficient a justification for abolishing any law. Many laws are misused, even the country’s constitution, which is the mother of them all. Does this mean we will have to abolish all of these laws?” Jallundari said.
    He advised Zardari to let the case reach him through proper channels – to the high court, then to the Supreme Court and then to the president. “Otherwise, it will be premature… and tantamount to putting (undue) pressure on the judiciary,” Qari said.
    More pressure on Zardari for clemency
    Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti on Monday ratcheted up the pressure on President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon Aasia Bibi, the Christian mother of five who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy.
    The case began in June 2009 when Bibi was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. Women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim, she should not touch the water bowl.
    Bibi was later arrested by police and prosecuted after women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
    “According to my own investigation, it was a personal dispute and she did not commit blasphemy; she is innocent and her case is baseless,” stated Shahbaz Bhatti.
    He stated that President Zardari had commissioned him to investigate the case. “I will hopefully submit my report to the president on Wednesday and recommend to him to grant pardon to Aasia Bibi.”
    Also, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer on Sunday became the first senior government official to appeal to Zardari for clemency after visiting Bibi in prison.
    “We have forwarded her petition to President Asif Ali Zardari and it is with him,” Taseer said. “She is poor and belongs to a minority community and should be pardoned.”
    The presidency, however, informed AFP on Monday that it had received no such petition.
    Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI last week also called for Bibi’s release. Human rights activists have expressed concern over the matter.
    Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2010.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/80604/blasphemy-case-zardari-warned-not-to-grant-pardon/

  • Pakistan: religious fanatics issue death sentence for Minorities Minister
    The religious terrorist organization “Lashkar-e-Taiba”, one of the largest in Southern Asia, and other Taliban groups have launched a “fatwa” (an official proclamation) against the Pakistani Minister for Religious Minorities, Shabhaz Bhatti – who happens to be a Catholic. Reliable sources in Pakistan confirmed that the minister is now being targeted by militants. He has become a “legitimate objective” and “may be killed for being an accomplice to the blasphemy.” The proclamation is motivated by Bhatti’s commitment to the revision of the Islamic blasphemy law. An international furor was unleashed when Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman, was condemned to death by an Islamic court for alleged blasphemy under Muslim religious law. Appeals from Pope Benedict XVI and various governments have yet to be heeded.

    The Minister had already received warnings and threats. The radical organization “Majlis Ahrar-e-Islam”, in recent days had told him to “keep your mouth shut and do not criticize the blasphemy law.” Months ago, the religious leader Ahmed Mian Hammadi had accused him of blasphemy and threatened him with “decapitation”. The position of the Minister in the case of Asia Bibi and his real effort to carry through a draft revision of the law have generated, in a growing climate of intolerance, the new “fatwa” by Taliban terrorist groups.

    Mehdi Hasan, President of the “Commission for Human Rights in Pakistan” commented, “We condemn these irresponsible claims by extremist groups and express solidarity with Minister Bhatti. We are in a situation of increasing polarization and intolerance. But some political parties are trying to exploit the support of Islamic militant groups. It is the government’s responsibility to stop terrorists, but even the government is under pressure.”

    “The social situation is taking a turn for the worse and tension is growing. Pressure from fundamentalist groups becomes stronger and manifestations follow one after another. We are concerned about possible violence on Christian leaders and places of worship,” says a source in the Christian community.

    Radical Islamic groups protested yesterday in Quetta and Lahore, asking for “namuus-e-risalaat” (respect for the Prophet). Preacher Yousaf Qureshi, from the Masjid Mohabaat Khan Mosque in Peshawar, has offered a prize of 500 thousand rupees for the scalp of Asia Bibi, defying the Government to make any move to amend the blasphemy laws. Tomorrow, December 5, another demonstration will take place in Islamabad to put pressure on the political and judicial institutions. On 6 December, the Lahore High Court should rule on the petition that would prevent the President from granting a pardon, and announce the date of the first hearing for the appeal process of Asia Bibi.

    Meanwhile, work on selection proceeds for the Commission, that, appointed by President Zardari and under the leadership of Minister Bhatti, will study appropriate amendments to the blasphemy law. The Commission will include political leaders, Muslim clerics and scholars, and representatives of civil society and will draft a proposal for revisions in order to prevent abuses.
    Source: FIDES