International

Pakistan group fights hate mongering

In a bid to take on the “religious” right wing emboldened by the assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and the lionisation of his assassin, Citizens For Democracy (CFD) on Saturday demanded legal action against those indulging in hate mongering.

Condemning the cold-blooded and “cowardly” manner in which Taseer was shot in the back by one of his own bodyguards, the CFD said he was a victim of a concerted propaganda campaign conducted in the media and through the mosques which falsely accused him of being disrespectful of the Prophet.

Referring to the specific case of Aasia Bibi, whom Taseer visited in jail and offered to forward her mercy petition to President Asif Ali Zardari, the CFD said there was no proof of blasphemy against the slain Governor. “Even in the case of Aasia Bibi — the Christian woman sentenced by a sessions court for alleged blasphemy — the sentence has yet to be confirmed by the High Court and then by the Supreme Court before she can be considered guilty and executed.”

The statement also raised a number of questions regarding Taseer's assassination. These include why other guards in Taseer's security detail did not open fire on the assassin and why in the first place he was assigned to the elite force deployed for guarding VVIPs when he had earlier been removed from the Special Branch on being perceived as a security threat.

According to the CFD, the questions arising from this assassination indicate the involvement of retrogressive forces in Pakistan that have over the past couple of decades made inroads into all sections of society and institutions of the state. Of equal concern is the support extended to the assassin by the Rawalpindi District Bar Association which has offered to represent him in court free-of-cost.

Reiterating that no one has the right to take the law into their own hands, CFD has demanded a detailed enquiry into the assassination and legal action against the guards on duty. As per reports, the assassin had told them of his plan and had asked them not to open fire as he would surrender.

The CFD has also called for legal action against a Peshawar-based cleric who has offered reward money to anyone who kills Aasia Bibi if her death sentence is not confirmed by the High Court. Similar legal action has also been called for against Khatm-e-Naboohat for distributing threatening pamphlets against Pakistan People's Party-legislator Sherry Rehman who has tabled a Private Member's Bill in the National Assembly to amend the blasphemy laws.

The CFD is an umbrella group of political parties, trade unions and NGOs that was formed less than a month ago to campaign against the misuse/abuse of the blasphemy laws and of religion in politics. Over 60 organisations have endorsed the latest CFD statement on Taseer's assassination.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 7:57:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Pakistan-group-fights-hate-mongering/article15511702.ece

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