Press Statement: No one has the right to term someone else a ‘blasphemer’
Feb 2, 2011: Citizens for Democracy (CFD), an umbrella group of professional groups, NGOs, trade unions, student unions, political parties and individuals, expresses alarm at the growing trend to accuse individuals of ‘blasphemy’ – an accusation that in this current climate has become an incitement to violence and even murder.
The assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, and the orchestrated glorification of his murderer, has created an atmosphere of great insecurity in the country.
Those who have glorified the assassin as a ‘ghazi’ or hero are now using violence and threats of violence against those who term the slain Punjab Governor a ‘shaheed’ or martyr.
We demand that the murderer be tried according to law, and that those threatening violence also be dealt with according to law.
We believe that each citizen has the right to view or term anyone as a ‘ghazi’ or a ‘shaheed’ without fear of reprisals.
No one has the right to term anyone else a blasphemer or ‘gustakh’ – especially publicly – as such accusations have become an incitement to violence and murder.
Those who support such accusations are equally guilty of inciting violence and murder – whether they be senators, newspapers, television anchors and so-called ‘religious personalities’.
We urge all political parties, parliamentarians and senators to take a clear stand on this issue: No citizen has the right to cast aspersions at the faith and beliefs of any other citizen of Pakistan or to term someone else a ‘blasphemer’.
All such allegations will be viewed as incitements to violence and murder and may be proceeded against in a court of law.
From: Citizens for Democracy – a coalition of professional organisations, trade unions, political parties, non-government organisations and individuals including: Professional Organisations Mazdoor Federations & Hari Joint Committee (POJAC), an umbrella organisation including: 1. Sindh High Court Bar Association; 2. Pakistan Medical Association (PMA); 3. All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC); 4. Mutahida Labour Federation; 5. Karachi Union of Journalists; 6. Pakistan Workers Federation; 7. All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF); 8. All Pakistan Clerk Association; 9. Democratic Labour Union State Bank of Pakistan; 10. UBL Workmen Union (CBA); 11. National Bank Trade Union Federation; 12. Karachi Bar Association; 13. Pakistan Nursing Federation; 14. National Trade Union Federation; 15. Sindh Hari Committee; 16. Govt. Sec. Teachers Association; 17. Pakistan Hotel And Restaurant Workers Federation; 18. Mehran Mazdoor Federation; 19. All Sindh Primary Teachers Association; 20. Sindh Professor Lecturer Association; 21. Malir Bar Association, Karachi; 22. Pakistan Trade Union Federation (PTUF); 23. Railway Workers Union Open Line (cba) Workshop; 24. Mehran Railway Employees Welfare Association; 25. All Pakistan Trade Unions Organisations; besides other CFD members and endorsing organisations: 26. Awami Party; 27. Labour Party Pakistan (LPP); 28. Progressive Youth Front (PYF); 29. Communist Party Pakistan (CPP); 30. Peace and Solidarity Council; 31. Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education & Research (Piler); 32. Action Committee for Human Rights; 33. Dalit Front; 34. National NCommission for Justice and Peace (CJP); 35. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP); 36. Caritas; 37. Aurat Foundation; 38. Women¹s Action Forum (WAF); 39. People¹s Resistance; 40. Sindh Awami Sangat; 41. National Organisation of Working Committees; 42. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF); 43. Child and Labour Rights Welfare Organisation; 44. Progressive Writers Association (PWA); 45. Port Workers Federation; 46. Shirkat Gah; 47. Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC); 48. Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA); 49. Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust (SNPET); 50. Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN); 51. Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF); 52. SAP-Pakistan; 53. AwazCDS-Pakistan; 54. GCAP-Pakistan; 55. Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF); 56. Labour Education Foundation (LEF); 57. Progressive Youth Forum; 58. National Students¹ Federation (NSF); 59. The Researchers; 60. Tehrik-e-Niswan; 61. Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD); 62. Crises Support Group of Residents for Defence and Clifton, Karachi; 63. Baaghi: A blog for secular Pakistan; 64. Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP); 65. Ansar Burney Trust International; 66. Viewpoint International; 67. Pakistan Youth Alliance