22 January 2018
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  • » 01/02/2018, 15.19

    PAKISTAN

    Activists applaud acquittal of Lahore intellectuals

    Kamran Chaudhry

    The families of former suspects consider the possibility of asking for compensation. The hate campaign "orchestrated by people involved in abductions". Donald Trump's tweet against financing terrorism. The blasphemy laws "continue to be abused".

    Lahore (AsiaNews) - Pakistan activists have expressed satisfaction over the acquittal from blasphemy charges of five intellectuals and bloggers who were abducted and later reappeared last year. The High Court of Islamabad rejected all charges and established that there is no clear evidence against them.

    Speaking to AsiaNews Saeeda Diep of the Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, says the families of five bloggers are now planning to go to court and file cases against false charges filed against the activists. “Compensation is their right. The bloggers only criticized military (for violating human rights) and the whole campaign was orchestrated by those who abducted them. The affected families were forced to send their sons abroad for fear of death in mob violence as tv channels started targeting daily in their shows.”

    Diep continues “We have been protesting against the inhuman blasphemy laws since they were created by a late military dictator General Zia-ul- Haq. We are only criticizing the man-made laws, they are not divine. Both Saudi Arab and Iran are now passing pro women laws and hopefully it will impact our society.”

    She says her hopes continue especially after recent statement by Donald Trump in which the US President lashed out at Islamabad with threats to cut aid. Trump yesterday tweeted that the United States had “foolishly” handed Pakistan more than bn in aid in the last 15 years and had been rewarded with “nothing but lies and deceit. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” “The international pressure will only increase. The authorities would ultimately have to de-radicalize the society even if it’s out of compulsion.”

    Kashif Nawab, a Christian activist and director Social Action Transformation of Humanity (SATH) Pakistan, who has been running a whats app group for minorities for three years says online activism requires strict scrutiny. “Last year, a woman journalist started accusing our members of being anti-country and anti-religion after a heated argument on whats app. I had to expel her from the group. Being Christian, we are always fearful of backlash and we weigh every word spoken or shared with public”.

    Nawab adds: “Now that FIA [Federal Investigatio Agency] has cleared the bloggers, nobody is saying a single word about injustice. Blasphemy laws continue to be misused. People are using them over property disputes or settle personal scores. I have even seen cases where Muslims blackmale Christian women over blasphemy allegation to keep their relations.”

    He concludes: “It is common to see clerics pressurizing police authorities once a person is accused of blasphemy. Police must be trained to diffuse religiously charged mobs. The government must introduce a strict verification process involving police and religious leaders before registering such cases.”

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    See also

    02/01/2018 10:35:00 PAKISTAN
    Islamabad, abducted intellectuals acquitted of blasphemy

    Bloggers and activists have all fled abroad. Public pressure favours their acquittal. One activist spoke of torture. Demands for an investigation against those who spread "false propaganda".



    19/01/2017 13:20:00 PAKISTAN
    Pakistan, Christians and Muslims call for the release of the disappeared activists and intellectuals (Photos)

    The Commission on Human Rights organizes a seminar. Relatives of the abducted intellectuals reject the accusations of blasphemy, brought forward by Islamic radicals. "It's just a move to lock them up behind bars after their eventual release."

     



    01/02/2017 13:15:00 PAKISTAN
    Missing intellectuals and activists risk death penalty, charged with "blasphemy on social networks."

    The only one to have reappeared is Professor Salman Haider; the other four bloggers are missing for nearly a month. The complaint lodged by Shuhada Foundation. Even if they are acquitted, "their lives will still be miserable."

     



    15/03/2017 14:44:00 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Catholics: Social media ban "is not the solution" to online blasphemy

    Yesterday, the National Assembly has ordered the closure of websites that contain insults against the prophet. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised to bring the perpetrators to justice. The announcement could also affect Radio Veritas. Secretary of the Commission for the Conference of Social Communication of the Bishops: "The mistake of a few should not compromise the good of many."



    03/01/2018 18:01:00 PAKISTAN
    Blasphemy charges against acquitted bloggers are a political tool for partisan interests

    Last year Muslim radicals instigated a trial for blasphemy on social media. For the government, using false cases is a “dangerous game”. Some changes to the Penal Code are proposed.





    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – LEBANON
    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

    Fady Noun

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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