Pak man shot dead after being acquitted of blasphemy

Another blasphemy killing in the Punjab. Sajjad Hussain’s murderers surrendered to the police, but will they be tried and punished for their crime?

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Lahore: A Pakistani man who was acquitted of a blasphemy charge has been shot dead by two men in Punjab province, police officials said Saturday.

Sajjad Hussain, a resident of Khan Muslim village in Gujranwala district, 80 km from Lahore, was gunned down yesterday.

He had been arrested in February 2011 after Sath Sanaullah, a resident of his neighbourhood, accused him of committing blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed during a private conversation.

Hussain was booked under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, the harsh blasphemy law.

Hussain’s family held a demonstration and demanded that the two men be punished.

PTI

http://zeenews.india.com/news/south-asia/pak-man-shot-dead-after-being-acquitted-of-blasphemy_806642.html

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U.S. official killed in Libya protest over anti-Islam film – CBC

CBC.ca
Sept 11, 2012

Protesters angered over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad fired gunshots and burned down the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing one American official, witnesses and the State Department said. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.

It was the first such assaults on U.S. diplomatic facilities in either country, at a time when both Libya and Egypt are struggling to overcome the turmoil following the ouster of their longtime leaders, Moammar Gadhafi and Hosni Mubarak in uprisings last year.

The protests in both countries were sparked by outrage over a film ridiculing Muhammad produced by an American in California and being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian campaigner in the United States. Excerpts from the film dubbed into Arabic were posted on YouTube.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed that one State Department officer had been killed in the protest at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. She strongly condemned the attack and said she had called Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif “to co-ordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya.”

Continued…
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/09/11/cairo-embassy-protest.html?cmp=rss
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Shaheed Bibi Ghazala Javed: Peshawar Pakistan – June 18/12

Shaheed Bibi Ghazala Javed was a renowned singer and a brave woman, who despite being in an extreme conservative social environment, was continuing to follow her glorious career that had earlier required for her to escape Taliban by moving from one area to another. As well, she was demanding a divorce from her influential and polygmous husband.

Pushto singer Ghazala Javed shot dead

PESHAWAR: A popular Pakistani singer who fled the Taliban to pursue her music career away from their repressive dictats was shot dead in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said Tuesday.

Ghazala Javed, 24, was shot six times by gunmen as she left a beauty salon, although police do not believe the Taliban was responsible for her murder and said her ex-husband was a suspect in the case.

Her father, who was with her, was also killed, police said. “Two men on a motorbike sprayed bullets and fled leaving them in a pool of blood,” senior police officer Dilawar Bangash told AFP. She was shot six times and her father once in the head, Bangash said.

“We have registered a case and launched an investigation. The murder seems to be result of some internal dispute,” he added. Police official Imtiaz Khan said the ex-husband was suspected of involvement in the murders.

The singer had fled to Peshawar in 2009 to escape the then Taliban-dominated northwestern district of Swat as the army launched a sweeping offensive.

From 2007 to 2009, Taliban fighters controlled by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah effectively seized control of the district, terrorising people with murders, beheadings, attacks on girls’ schools and music shops. Singers and dancers were singled out in particular until the army reasserted control in July 2009, winning praise from the United States for eliminating an Islamist threat 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital Islamabad.

Javed sung in her native Pashto language and released more than two dozen albums that were popular among Pashto speakers in the northwest. She married businessman Jahangir Khan in 2010, but demanded a divorce after finding out he had another wife and because he tried to ban her from singing, the family said. It is rare for women in the deeply conservative northwest to solicit a divorce and under Islamic law men can have up to four wives at once.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-54932-Pushto-singer-Ghazala-Javed-shot-dead

Information pointed to by Ismat Shahjehan
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Killer of blasphemy accused gets death

FAISALABAD, April 18: An anti-terrorism court on Monday sentenced to death a man who had gunned down two Christian brothers accused of blasphemy. The court also imposed a fine of Rs4 million.

Maqsood alias Soodi had been convicted of killing Sajid and his brother Rashid and injuring police inspector Mohammad Hussain on July 7 last year.

The convict was also sentenced to 10-year imprisonment each under Section 7-C of the ATA and 324 of the PPC and a fine of Rs200,000. Under Section 337-D, he will pay Rs500,000 Arsh (compensation) to the injured inspector and serve a 10-year term.

In July last year, the Civil Lines police had registered a blasphemy case against the two brothers on charges of distributing handwritten blasphemous pamphlets and arrested them.

Maqsood had killed the brothers near the City Police Office when a police team was taking them to the Civil Lines police station after producing them in a court.

By Our Staff Correspondent | From the Newspaper
Dawn.com
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Bin Laden sets alarm bells ringing

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

ISLAMABAD – After a prolonged lull, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has launched a series of covert operations in the rugged Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan following strong tip-offs that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been criss-crossing the area in the past few weeks for high-profile meetings in militant redoubts.

The US has been on Bin Laden’s trail ever since he fled Afghanistan when the US invaded the country in 2001 to oust the Taliban, but the 54-year-old with a US$50 million reward on his head has always remained several steps in front.

Asia Times Online has learned that decision-makers have put a lot of weight on the information on Bin Laden’s movements as it
has come from multiple intelligence agencies, in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. For at least two years, little credible news has emerged of Bin Laden’s movements and motives. Now, intelligence officials believe they have top-grade accounts as they come from the inner circles of militant camps.

Officials are said to be “stunned” by the visibility of Bin Laden’s movements, and their frequency, in a matter of a few weeks in the outlawed terrain of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the most unprecedented reports about him since he evaded the US in the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan in 2001.

The development has fueled speculation in intelligence circles that al-Qaeda could be planning another major attack along the lines of the September 11, 2001, assault on New York and Washington, and the July 2007 foiled bomb attack in London.

However, extensive investigations by Asia Times Online, including exchanges within al-Qaeda’s camps, point in another direction: given the nature of Bin Laden’s meetings, this appears to be the beginning of a new era for a broader struggle in which al-Qaeda, through its Laskhar al-Zil (Shadow Army), will try to capitalize on the Arab revolts and the Palestinian struggle and also revitalize and redefine its role in Afghanistan.

A meeting in Bajaur
Several weeks ago, Bin Laden is reported to have met with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the legendary Afghan mujahid and founder and leader of the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) political party and paramilitary group, in a militant camp in thick jungle on the fringes of Kunar and Bajaur provinces in Afghanistan. The encounter was publicized by leaks from the HIA’s inner circle and the news was circulated within militant camps in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area via top-level Pakistani militant commanders in Bajaur.

Despite him being an ally in the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban led by Mullah Omar have always been skeptical about Hekmatyar’s intentions, while Bin Laden and some other al-Qaeda leaders view him differently. Hekmatyar’s representatives of the HIA have been in direct active negotiations with the Americans and have also brokered limited ceasefire agreements with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden fought alongside Hekmatyar in the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and they remained in contact during Bin Laden’s days in Sudan, where he had settled in 1992. When Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, he stayed in regions that were controlled by warlords loyal to Hekmatyar.

Intelligence sources privy to the meeting in Bajaur said Bin Laden could not afford to meet Hekmatyar simply for a dinner party, which was hosted by a Pakistani militant commander of Salafi tendencies and who was a member of the HIA during the Soviet jihad.

“The talks appeared to discuss some grand strategy and Osama bin Laden aims to take Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on board, especially as Hekmatyar’s commanders have brokered ceasefire agreements with NATO forces in Afghanistan and Hekmatyar’s representatives have been negotiating a truce with the Americans,” an intelligence source told Asia Times Online.

Beyond terror operations
Adding to the view of the importance of Bin Laden’s meeting with Hekmatyar is that it took place when the interest of the CIA and its special forces had already been piqued by reports of the al-Qaeda leader’s movements in Kunar and Nuristan for meetings with various militant commanders and al-Qaeda bigwigs. Bin Laden would have been aware of the dangers and was obviously prepared to take the risk.

While intelligence agencies might be involved in a guessing game about Bin Laden’s plans and a possible grand al-Qaeda operation, his movements can be read in the perspective of recent discourse in al-Qaeda circles and a major shift in its policies.

International Islamic militancy that had its roots in the decade-long war against the Soviets in the 1980s was broadly divided into two main schools of thought; both considered themselves righteous despite embodying contradictory themes. These were doctrines of armed struggle espoused by Palestinian Sunni Islamic scholar and theologian Dr Abdullah Azzam, and Egyptian ideologue and Bin Laden’s deputy, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Azzam preached in favor of defensive jihad by Muslims to help the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviets. He firmly believed in a broader Muslim bloc including Muslim ruling establishments and never supported revolt against Muslim regimes. Despite being Palestinian with Jordanian nationality and a background in the Muslim Brotherhood, Azzam kept himself aloof from the Palestinian revolt against the Jordanian monarchy in September 1970 (called Black September).

Azzam was very close to the Saudi Arabian royal family and considered it essential to lobby it for support of Islamic armed movements like the Afghan resistance against the Soviets and the Palestinian resistance against Israel. He struggled to achieve unity among Muslim rulers and Islamists to resist Western hegemony. He was less dogmatic than others in his strategic purview.

After Azzam’s assassination in Pakistan in 1989, Zawahiri emerged as the main ideologue of Islamic armed opposition. Coming from the same ideological background of the Muslim Brotherhood as Azzam, Zawahiri faced an entirely different world after the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s when, under American instructions, Muslim regimes were intolerant of Islamic militancy.

Zawahiri therefore promoted the idea of ideological divides within the Muslim world, and encouraged revolts and terrorism to polarize societies to such a point of chaos that they would be unmanageable and amenable to Western intervention. It was believed that such intervention would open the gates for a battle between the West and the Muslim world.

Like Azzam, Zawahiri is not too dogmatic, but he encouraged narrow ideological views in resistance movements as a strategy to boost revolts against Muslim-majority states.

Of the two schools of thought, Azzam’s has never been criticized and is respected by all while Zawahiri’s has come under heavy fire from mainstream Muslim scholars and intelligentsia. Zawahiri’s adherents had no argument in his defense other than him operating under the law of necessity.

A recent ideological discourse within al-Qaeda’s ranks shot down Zawahiri’s arguments. This was sparked by key al-Qaeda ideologues and commanders such as Sulaiman Abu al-Gaith (see Broadside fired at al-Qaeda leaders Asia Times Online, December 10, 2010) and Saif al-Adel.

Adel emphasized that while polarization within the Muslim world was essential after 9/11 to gather strength behind al-Qaeda, nowadays, especially in light of the great Arab revolt, there was a need to switch to Azzam’s viewpoint that sees no need for polarization within Muslim-majority states viz-a-viz the Muslim world’s confrontation against Western hegemony.

After this, al-Qaeda began a new phase with the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian groups to revive its old contacts and establish a new nexus for a joint struggle against Western interests in the Muslim world.

Bin Laden’s meeting with Hekmatyar and other militant commanders in the Hindu Kush can be seen as a part of this new war in which al-Qaeda aims to involve the whole Muslim nation.

Hekmatyar’s HIA has been a part of al-Qaeda’s Laskhar al-Zil, which comprises elite guerrillas. Possibly, al-Qaeda aims to revitalize its operations in Afghanistan, and throughout the world, along with mainstream resistance groups (sons of the soil or Ibnul Balad) and in addition to Islamic political parties.

While fears attached to Bin Laden’s unprecedented visibility and movement for a grand al-Qaeda operation cannot completely be dismissed, it is more possible that al-Qaeda will undertake both worldwide terror operations and join forces with mainstream Muslim groups.

From http://www.atimes.com/

Information provided by
Ijaz Syed
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Candle Light Vigil: Call for the repeal of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws

Tuesday, March 15th
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Approximately 35-40 people gathered this evening in front of the Pakistani Consulate in downtown Vancouver for a silent, candlelight vigil to call for the repeal of the Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan and to demand equality for all minorities. Pakistanis from a variety of backgrounds, including members of the Christian, Ismaili, Ahmedi, Sunni and other communities stood side by side in solidarity along with allies from the Filipino, Iranian, Sri Lankan, Palestinian, Sikh communities as well as others. A number of young Pakistanis were also in attendance. Those in attendance lit candles, wore black arm bands and held a Pakistani flag draped in black to signify that they were in mourning for the lives, rights and freedom lost because of religious intolerance. Many creative signs were held up for passers by to look at, including ones that said “My Islam Does Not Equal Blasphemy Laws”, “Justice for Asia Bibi”, “Say No to Religious Intolerance” and “No Justice from Unjust Laws”. Messages of support also came in from Pakistan and other places from a number of groups and people including a Christian youth group based in Pakistan and members of the local Jewish community as well as interfaith and progressive Muslim groups.

The vigil was organized by a grassroots, Ad Hoc group of progressive Pakistanis who came together specifically as individuals united around the common principle of repealing the Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan. This vigil signifies the start of what is hoped will be a sustained campaign. There are other events being planned.

Any queries can be directed to repealthelaws@gmail.com
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Shock and Awe 2: US, France and Britain Pound Libya

France fired the first shots in the new war with Libya, but the Obama Administration was close behind, with US warships firing upwards of 120 Tomahawk missiles at targets inside Libya. The strikes came largely overnight, and exactly what they hit is largely unknown.

The reports however, suggest that at least some of the missiles hit civilian areas, and initial reports are that the attacks have killed at least 48 civilians and wounded 150 others.

Obama termed the attacks a “limited military action” officially, but the massive series of strikes suggests the administration is already going far beyond the “no-fly zone” mandate and is well on its way to demanding Iraq-style regime change.

Even Obama’s comments came with additional comments calling for Gadhafi to leave office, though he so far seems not to be explicitly linking to two. It seems incredible that, only days ago the administration was non-committal on the notion of a no-fly zone, and now is on board for full scale war.

The Gadhafi regime, for its part, appears to be preparing a defensive effort in Tripoli, with reports of thousands of civilians forming human shields around the Gadhafi compound in the capital. Officials have also suggested they intend to arm the West Libyan populace to resist any possible ground invasion.

Indeed, the footage on the evening of March 19, 2011 was eerily similar to the footage of March 19, 2003, when US forces were launching massive air strikes against targets inside Iraq as part of its “shock and awe strategy.”

Most unsettlingly, while praising the war in his appearance on CNN, retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (best known for his daring conquest of New Orleans in 2005) described the attacks in the same glowing terms pundits did that evening eight years ago, insisting that the show of overwhelming force would prove to Gadhafi that resistance was futile.

Posted: 19 Mar 2011 06:05 PM PDT
At: news.antiwar.com
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Pakistanis being beaten/killed in Bahrain‏

I urge you all to focus on whats going on in Bahrain – there is naturally a huge pro-govt and Anti-Govt riots going on but in the midst of the fray Pakistanis are being targeted and beaten and killed. In researching this issue online I heard both sides of the argument and was even at a time being blamed for taking sides but in the end I boiled down to to simply focusing on Human Rights abuses on Pakistanis.

I share two links here – One is an open letter of appeal from a Pakistani Journalist based in Bahrain Azizuddin Khattak who pleads for attention on this issue

Letter from a Pakistani Journalist in Bahrain appealing for Help

Second is an email from an anonymous doctor in a medical hospital in Bahrain, take the contents with a pinch of salt as it may seem fabricated, but my telephonic conversations with a few Pakistanis in Bahrain say that such similar incidents are happening and this is along the same lines
Shocking Attack on a Pakistani in a Hospital in Bahrain

The reason why such a situation is happening in Bahrain is that traditionally the Bahrain police recruits a large contingent of Pakistani / Punjabi / Bangladeshi officers enrolled, and since the past few days the government has taken a strong stance on the protestors, the protestors have reverted to going on a rampage targetting police as well as civilian Pakistanis based in Bahrain going house to house and brutally killing Pakistanis in an act of bloody revenge mixed with sectarian riots

Our focus as Pakistanis should be the safety of our Pakistani brethren as a priority, the local political issue is far more complicated then what meets the eye. Please appeal to your organizations & associated media outlets to cover this issue – Spread the word

If need be I can help furnish contact details of some Pakistanis who can be contacted in Bahrain to comment on this issue

Awab Alvi
Blog: http://teeth.com.pk/blog
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Shahbaz Bhatti murder: Churches announce 3-day mourning

Shahbaz Bhatti murder: NCJP update
March 2, 2011
by Citizens for Democracy

Churches announce three-day mourning: all missionary schools closed. Sunday March 6 to be observed as a day of prayer and fasting.

March 3: demonstration in Faisalabad , 11 am, starting from Catholic Church Railway Road to Press Club.

The Mirror Update (from the National Commission for Justice and Peace)

Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti (1968-2011), Federal Minister for Minority Affairs

Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti Federal Minister for Minority Affairs was assassinated by unknown assailants on March 2, 2011, near his residence in I/8 Sector, Islamabad. He received 30 bullets fired by two gunmen with automatic rifle(s). He was rushed to a Hospital by his driver, and pronounced dead by the doctors.

While the Taliban claimed the responsibility, the attack was widely condemned at national and international level. President, Prime minister of Pakistan, Chief Minister Punjab, Muthida Qaumi Movement, Minister for Foreign Affairs Germany, Pakistan Muslim League N, Civil Society of Pakistan and Christian leadership has strongly condemned the assassination of Mr. Bhatti. His funeral is expected to take place on March 4, with the burial in Khushpur, his native village near Faisalabad.

The backdrop of the assassination is the need and demand to bring about changes in the blasphemy laws of Pakistan with their known abuse and discrimination.

After the assassination of Governor Salman Taseer who expressed sympathy for Aasia Bibi a Christian convicted under the blasphemy law, this is another attack on the freedom of expression and conscience of the people of Pakistan and sovereignty of the state. The extremist forces want to silent all enlightened and moderate voices. The country has lost a patriot, and a progressive voice.

Public reaction

* Demonstrations were held in Islamabad, Lahore Karachi, Multan, Quetta and other cities of Pakistan condemning the incident.

* The Churches have announced the closure of Christian schools, etc. throughout the country for three days mourning, while the Sunday (6th March, 2011) will be observed as a day of prayer and fasting.

* There will be a demonstration in Faisalabad on 3rd March, 11 am, starting from Catholic Church Railway Road to Press Club.

NCJP Team
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Pakistani Christian woman falls victim to blasphemy laws

London
February 24, 2011
(PCP)

A Christian woman in Faisalabad has been accused of blasphemy following a dispute over land. According to our colleagues in Pakistan, Agnes Bibi has been arrested and detained by the police. It is believed she was in competition for a valuable piece of land with local Muslims and that they accused her of blaspheming against Islam when they failed to take hold of it.

Her arrest has spread a fresh wave of fear among Christians in Faisalabad, who like Christians across Pakistan remain tense after a judge sentenced mother-of-five Asia Bibi to death for blasphemy last November. Asia remains in jail where she is awaiting the start of an appeal hearing at the Lahore High Court, which has been delayed due to threats being made against the judges.

Faisalabad is also the city in which two Christian brothers were shot dead by Islamic militants outside a courthouse where they had just attended a hearing on the blasphemy charges against them. Their killers are still at large.

CLAAS UK Coordinator Nasir Saeed said: “We are greatly concerned for the welfare of Agnes Bibi as we have already seen the extremes to which blasphemy charges can go with the case of Asia Bibi. She is fighting a desperate battle to have her death sentence overturned and extremists are offering rewards for anyone who takes her life if she is released. This is the reality facing victims of the blasphemy law. We ask that the charges be dropped and that Agnes be released from prison immediately.”

www.pakistanchristianpost.com
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