We Have Your words – 2

rickshaw-muhammadbootasarwar
سیکولر جمہوریت کا راستہ، پاکستان کے بچاؤ اور تعمیر کا راستہ
Photo from Muhammad Sarwar Boota’s Facebook page

Here are some more of your inspiring reasons for signing the Petition for a Secular Pakistan.

Amna Buttar
MADISON, UNITED STATES
18 days ago
‘Fanaticism and murders in the name of religion must end’

Chandni Vikram
GAYA, INDIA
20 days ago
‘Separate Religion from State. Remove Article 2 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Declare Pakistan to be a Secular Democracy.’

Nawaz Soomro
BURNABY, CANADA
27 days ago
‘History tells us that social progress can only be made when State rises abow the beleif systems. Common good demands state to be blind to individual beleifs. The only way to progress for the Land of Pure is to unsubscribe religious fundamentalists. Love.’

Sajjad Chaudhry
BISHOP’S STORTFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
about 1 month ago
‘Secular Pakistan will prosper.’

Sadia Khawar
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘I condemn the act of hatred against any sect.’

Zohaib Ansari
MARKHAM, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘It’s about time’

Imran Mirza
HAMMOND, NY
about 1 month ago
‘I love my country.’

Alexandra Garita
SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA
about 1 month ago
‘El pueblo musulmam y sus niños tienen derechos…a libertad …a la vida y a la NO AGRESION…’

Shahnaz Ahad
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘i want pakistan should be like this’

Afia Siddiqi
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘I’m signing because I do not want to be persecuted and killed in the name of Islam.’

Sareer Ara
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘The corrupt Governments, Political and Religious parties have confused the people about religion and human rights. A distorted version of Islam and democracy is being used for a few people’s vested interests. In order to put a stop to the killing of the innocents in the name of Islam and to stop violations of human rights, we need to redefine our priorities about our lives.’

Mahnaz Rahman
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘religion is our personal matter’

Khan Yasmin
IRVING, TX
about 1 month ago
‘Enough is enough. Pakistan is going down a rabbit hole because of the jahil mullas and religion..’

Javed Tariq
CALGARY, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘I believe religion can’t secure international human Rights standards. In Pakistan minorities are very unsafe.’

Jagjit Singh
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘to save Pakistan, to save the future of our children’

Hilda Saeed
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘Pakistan’s growing religious extremism and repeated contravention of human rights are beyond ‘bardasht’/are unbearable.’

Sarwat Mangrio
BRIER, WA
about 1 month ago
‘We need to progress as a nation, unless we separate religion from politics, we can never achieve our goals’

Surjeet Kalsey
BURNABY, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘In the name of Children of Peshawar stop terrorism and killing anywhere in the World..’

Sohail Pirzada
SOUTHLAKE, TX
about 1 month ago
‘That was indeed the ideology on which Pakistan was created’

Mohammad Khalid Siddiqui
AL GUARYAT NORTHERN REGION, SAUDI ARABIA
about 1 month ago
‘Because of Changazians’

Zaheer Siddiqui
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘Secular Democratic Republic of Pakistan …only and only can survive, Islamic Republic is full of chaos and is withering away in front of our eyes. Pakistan and the people should behave like other 98% of the rest of the world do.’

Lubna Baig
CALGARY, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘This will bring peace and harmony and end to religious extremism’

Talat Chaudhry
OTTAWA, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘Need a secular country, only than there will be equality for all.’

Nosheen Syed
KARACHI, SINGAPORE
about 1 month ago
‘Religion has nothing to do with the affairs of the state — it’s between man and God’

Ajmer Rode
BURNABY, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘It simply would be a wonderful thing to happen on this earth’

Mimi Khan
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
about 1 month ago
‘I believe in Secularism and I believe in Pakistan.’

Nazhath Ashraf
OTTAWA, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘This is key to our survival’

Nadine Zubair
NORWICH, UNITED KINGDOM
about 1 month ago
‘All citizens should be equal when it comes to rights and responsibilities.’

D M
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘because enough is enough.’

Shaheryar Azhar
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘Only under secularism is complete freedom of religion ensured and sectarian passions subdued.’

Halima Ahmad
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘i believe in change for good. I believe we deserve to be free of fear. I believe the world is a place for all.’

Tabish Ali
BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM
about 1 month ago
‘The Greatest Prophet of Islam (all Prophets of God /Allah, peace be upon them, were propagating Islam, Islam did not begin in Arabia), established a state with concept of secularism enshrined within it. The Quran states there is no compulsion in religion. Religion is completely personal and private matter between man and Creator. Then by what strange reasoning other than selfish arrogance are we Muslims, being the majority in Pakistan, going against the explicit directives of Quran and Prophet? Islam is not under any threat from others, we are the ones harming its image by our own egotistic selves..’

Huma Naz
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘Pakistan democracy need this thought spread out. We all should know clearly that state, religion and army all three are different from other.’

Khooban Altaf
RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘Equal rights for everyone and hoping for better future’

Fareeha Khan
WEST PALM BEACH, FL
about 1 month ago
‘I believe religion deprives you of all the happiness in life and that it shouldn’t have to be incorporated in every single thing we do every second of the day!!’

Fariha Alavi
MISSISSAUGA, CANADA
about 1 month ago
‘Pakistan needs to get out of extremism.’

Faiza Javed
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘thanks for being sensible and rational.’

Xivraiz Ayaz
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘Pakistan has fallen due to religion. It should be the state where every religion, ethnicity, frame of mind, gender, sexual orientation etc should be welcome and respected.’

Kamil Aziz Khan
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘Agreed!’

Mohsin Zia
FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘i want peace and secure future for my children, religion is my personal mater not of my state’s. I will be answerable for my deeds not my state.’

Saleha Rauf
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘I want a secular Pakistan!’

Pervez Akhtar
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
about 1 month ago
‘A real democracy in pakistan could be achieved,’

Khurshid Qureshi
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO
about 1 month ago
‘I love Pakistan’

Amber Hussain
LEICESTER, UNITED KINGDOM
about 1 month ago
‘I think Islam is not violent’

Many thanks for your thoughts and words.

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Secular Pakistan Petition at Change.org

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We Have Your Words – 1

lahoreagainsttaliban-irfanmufti

Lahore, January 16, 2015. Photo from Irfan Mufti

Since we published our first installment of ‘We have your Words‘ last week containing the first 30 comments on the Secular Pakistan Petition, there were strong demonstrations of solidarity by Pakistanis around the World with Peshawar, Charlie Hebdo, and against all religious/sectarian violence. The slogans such as ‘Pakistan Against Terrorism’, ‘Lahore Against Taliban’ and ‘Silence is Criminal’ were raised. Many of us stood against the establishment of Military Courts in Pakistan as not being a solution to the fight against Taliban. We know, the causes lie elsewhere.

Here, your words tell us why. View the next 32 comments on the Petition for a Secular Pakistan.

Talat Afroze
TORONTO, CANADA
29 days ago
‘After several generations of Pakistan’s citizens having suffered from Obscurantism, it is high time that the State stops dictating what religious beliefs Pakistani citizens should nurture ! Leave every Pakistani’s religion alone and give us good governance instead!’

Feroze Jamall
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘The only way forward…’

Anita Kanitz
STUTTGART, GERMANY
29 days ago
“A small change can make a big difference. You are the only one who can make our world a better place to inhabit. So, don’t be afraid to take a stand.” ― Ankita Singhal

Husnain Baig
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘enough is enough’

Kamran Noorani
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I truly believe this is THE solution’

Babar Ayaz
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘Because I strongly believe Pakistan has to be re-imagined as a Secular Democratic Republic to treat its genetic defect’

Sanjar Mirza
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘God created all human beings equal. HE did not create them Muslims, Hindus, Christians. Children adopt the religion of their parents. Islam taught us tolerence, peace and not genocide and murder’

Aref Deen
HYDERABAD, INDIA
29 days ago
‘It’s time to do it.’

Masood K NEEDHAM
MA
29 days ago
‘I believe that a secular state will give full religious rights to all persons of whatever faith or Aqenda they may have. In fact public life is not supposed to interfere in another persons faith which remains a matter of his personal choice and the choice of his co-religionists, as long they are not forcing this choice on others and as long as the State protects this right of religious freedom.’

Anwer Jafri
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘Hi! I just signed the petition “The Government, The Judiciary and the Army of Pakistan: Separate Religion from State, Declare Pakistan to be a Secular Democracy” on Change.org.
‘It’s important. Will you sign it too? Here’s the link:
Change.org
‘Thanks! Anwer’

Aaryan Ramzan
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘Name a successful theocratic state? Name any successful state which is not secular? Enough! Looking at the results and wanting more of the same is simply insanity.’

Faiza Khan
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I support the idea that all citizens of Pakistan be treated equally.’

Wendell Rodricks
COLVALE GOA, INDIA
29 days ago
‘We want our neighbours to have peace and no religious terror’

Tariq Mahmood
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I honestly believe this is the only way to start solving our problems’

Naushervan Beg
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘To save my country’

Salman Kham
MISSISSAUGA, CANADA
29 days ago
‘I’m signing becaus that’s the only way to save Pakistan from perpetual destruction.’

Kausar Bashir
BUENA PARK, CA
29 days ago
‘to declare pakistan a secular state and the word Islamic republic be removed from constitution.’

Abdulrahman Rafiq
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘This is the only way forward. As a nation Pakistan must reacquaint itself with Jinnah Sahab’s vision.’

Sasha Ali
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
29 days ago
‘I believe in the supermacy of human rights and rational thinking.’

Adnan Shah
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘State Religion is the root cause of Patronizing, Promotion, Preach & Practice of “Religionization/ Talibanization” mindset in state as well as non state organizations. in other words “Division, Conflict & discrimination based on religious identity is the logical outcome of state religion.” So Separate Religion from state. No To State Religion’

Farhana Shakir
DUBLIN, IRELAND
29 days ago
‘We want diversity, we want peace for everyone regardless of any religon, faith or NO faith.’

Bilal Farooqi
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘Separation of religion from the State is not only essential for Pakistan’s progress, but for its very existence!’

Arjumand Rahim
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I dream to live in a secular Pakistan that respects and protects every Pakistani irrespective of caste or creed. We are all equal human beings.’

Sheema Kermani
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I think the only way forward for Pakistan is this!’

Wajahat Masood
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I believe that a nation state can only be a secular state.’

Shafi Edwardian
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘It’s high time we separated religion from the state as was done in Europe lately. But better be late than never.’

Noreen Zehra
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘Nobody’s business (religion) is my business!’

G. M. Lakho
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘”Separate Religion from State!” Yes, but the point is how? The “Secular Pakistan” must come up with clear words by saying “NO TO THE STATE RELIGION” of Pakistan. It must demand repeal of the State Religion from the Constitution of Pakistan. What is the “root cause” of Peshawar tragedy? Our Pak (mis)-rulers have no answer of this question or they have the answer but do not like to share it with public. The Pak Media is not in a mood to discuss the “root cause”. Yet, they are saying parrot-like non-stop that anyone who is not ready to condemn Peshawar tragedy is mentally sick or ally of enemy but “we can’t ignore the root cause of this tragedy”. Thank you for admitting that you can’t ignore the “root cause” of this tragedy. But it is not enough. You should do more. Stop raising dust in the air. The demand of your good faith is to identify this “root cause”. The demand of your honesty is call the “root cause” with its correct name. You must admit in clear words free from the fetters of ifs and buts that the “root cause” of this tragedy is rooted in the Article 2 of the Constitution of Pakistan and that its name is “State Religion”. If you are sincere in saying that you can’t ignore the “root cause” of this tragedy; then, please take first step and “root” it out from paper, i.e., erase State Religion from the Pak Constitution. How much common sense do you need for saying that the “root cause” of Peshawar tragedy is the State Religion of Pakistan? Just imagine a moment when all good and honest citizens will start to walk on roads with this badge: “SAY NO TO STATE RELIGION”.’ (Earlier published as ‘But the point is how?’ By Ghulam Mustafa Lakho)

Tanvir Khan
NEEDHAM, UNITED STATES
29 days ago
‘This is what I believe.’

Samina Geti
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘There is no religion of state.’

Abdul Hameed Nayyar
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I believe the quest for establishing a religious state in Pakistan has hurt it immensely, and the salvation of the society lies in a secular set up.’

Naveed Butt
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
29 days ago
‘I signed the petition, however there was no reason to address Judiciary and Army. These institutions do not have any role in policy making (or maybe should not have, in Pakistan’s case)’

Thank you.

Please share with personal messages
Secular Pakistan Petition at Change.org

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Contact Us
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We Have Your Words

Yes, we have your reasons for signing the Secular Pakistan Petition at Change.org.

The Petition was started as one of the things we needed to do after the so-called blasphemy related burning-alive murders of Shaheed Bibi Shama Masih and Shaheed Shahzad Masih in November, and than the school massacre of 132 children in Peshawar by Taliban in December. And now, the murders in Paris of 12 people (I’m Charlie) for ‘offending’ the same groups of religious fanatics.

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We want to share with our readers some of your words and thoughts because they so very well express our common desire to have a secular society with equal rights for all where extreme religious factions do not find a home.

Here, we begin with 30 comments. The first comment was posted 23 days ago by Nasir Khan from Manchester UK, and you will find it right at the bottom of this post.

Shoaib Mir
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
20 days ago
‘Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, said that religion has nothing to do with the affairs of State. Period.’

Saeed Ahmed
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
20 days ago
‘Because i think that the true democracy cannot be achieved without secularism and that means the right to exercise religion must be an act of an individual and the religion must be separated from state….’

Raheel Naseem Naseem
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
21 days ago
‘its the only way to prosper!’

Wasim Ashraf Rasa
HYDERABAD SINDH, PAKISTAN
21 days ago
‘The country cannot walk on the path of glory without separating both religion and state.’

Pilar Roldan
MAIRENA DEL ALJARAFE, SPAIN
21 days ago
‘Religion is not the way to lead a Country’

Qureshi Manzoor
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
21 days ago
‘I agree to it’

Suhas Khale
LONDION, UNITED KINGDOM
21 days ago
‘I think it is the right thing to do’

Muhammad Hashim
QUETTA, PAKISTAN
22 days ago
‘I believe in secular democracy’

Abdul Azeez
KARACHI, PAKISTAN
22 days ago
‘I consider it essential for Pakistan’

Neelam Farid
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN
22 days ago
‘i completely agree with this petition’

Rashid Khatri
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
22 days ago
‘Like to see a soceity without hate…!!!’

Asim Shah
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
22 days ago
‘This the only way to end religious fanaticism and have a peaceful and prosper Pakistan.’

Maha Khan
AUSTRALIA
22 days ago
‘this needs to be DONE ASAP…’

Annem Chaudhry
AUSTRALIA
22 days ago
‘i believe Pakistan can rise beyond the limits of religion’

Hamid Ali Hussain
FRANFURT, GERMANY
22 days ago
‘The jinnah´s vision was a Secular Democracy…’

Hamid Ali Hussain
FRANFURT, GERMANY
22 days ago
‘State is always a nuetral body with equal rights to every citizen..’

Tyra Moin L
ONGBEACH, UNITED STATES
22 days ago
‘that is my watan we r talking about!!’

Christine Hyatt
SURREY, B.C., CANADA
22 days ago
‘I don’t want children to be murdered’

Nabeela Kiani
LOUISVILLE, KY
22 days ago
‘a must to do’

Kausar Jamal
RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN
22 days ago
‘It is as important for the future of Pakistan as oxygen for human existence’

Ashiq Jaffri
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
22 days ago
‘I agree with contents of petition’

Sandy London
AUSTRALIA
22 days ago
‘Pakistan’s estimated population is over 188 million, some of that population needs to be recognised as equal citizens, despite not being Muslims. Any time a state attempts to define and impose religious orthodoxy, basic human rights get shredded. Pakistan is generally perceived to be a nation populated with rather a lot of religious lunatics, and I do not mean just your average culturally religious individual, but rather people who embrace the medieval idea that murdering those of a different belief is a really good idea, so much so that they act upon that thought. While it is true that such individuals do indeed reside there

‘in Pakistan, the real truth is that like everywhere else, most Pakistanis are not that fanatical at all. The Pakistani parliament has no business attempting to define who a Muslim is or who is not. Islam is not compatible with secularism and for this very reason Pakistan needs to change. The separation of church and state is a key foundation of any society and constitution. Terrorism in Pakistan has become a major and highly destructive phenomenon in recent years. The Pakistani government seems to have learnt no lessons. An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has granted bail to Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi. The court cited the reason that the prosecution has been unable to provide evidence against him. Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi was responsible for the Mumbai attacks in 2008 which killed 166 people and injured over 600. What a message to the terrorists after the Peshawar massacre of innocent children and teachers. Instead of reigning in these monsters you are setting more of them free. How many more innocent lives need to be lost? For Christ’s sake Pakistan, wake up. The world is watching, the Peshawar massacre has shook the world.’

Salma Minhas
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
22 days ago
‘I am signing it because I think the survival of our country depends on it.’

Chanda Bokhari
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
22 days ago
‘This law has to go’

Inayat Abdali
GILGIT, PAKISTAN
23 days ago
‘i want to see pakistan secular sate.’

Rafiq Durrani
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN
23 days ago
‘We cannot suffer anymore’

Diep Syeda
LAHORE, PAKISTAN
23 days ago
‘A secular state’

Abid Hussain
FREIBURG, GERMANY
23 days ago
‘Because states don’t have religion. People do.’

Soban Khalid
TORONTO, CANADA
23 days ago
‘Because states don’t have religion. People do.’

Nasir Khan
MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM
23 days ago
‘I care deeply about future of Pakistan and believe that religious fanaticism mixed with politics is root cause of many violent crimes in Pakistan.’

Thank you.

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‘But the point is how?’ By Ghulam Mustafa Lakho

The following is Ghulam Mustafa Lakho’s comment on the petition for a secular Pakistan.

lakho

”Separate Religion from State!’ Yes, but the point is how? The ‘Secular Pakistan’ must come up with clear words by saying ‘NO TO THE STATE RELIGION’ of Pakistan. It must demand repeal of the State Religion from the Constitution of Pakistan.

‘What is the ‘root cause’ of Peshawar tragedy? Our Pak (mis)-rulers have no answer to this question or they have the answer but do not like to share it with public. The Pak Media is not in a mood to discuss the ‘root cause’. Yet, they are saying parrot-like non-stop that anyone who is not ready to condemn Peshawar tragedy is mentally sick or ally of enemy but ‘we can’t ignore the root cause of this tragedy’. Thank you for admitting that you can’t ignore the ‘root cause’ of this tragedy. But it is not enough. You should do more. Stop raising dust in the air. The demand of your good faith is to identify this ‘root cause’. The demand of your honesty is call the ‘root cause’ with its correct name. You must admit in clear words free from the fetters of ifs and buts that the ‘root cause’ of this tragedy is rooted in the Article 2 of the Constitution of Pakistan and that its name is ‘State Religion’. If you are sincere in saying that you can’t ignore the ‘root cause’ of this tragedy; then, please take first step and ‘root’ it out from paper, i.e., erase State Religion from the Pak Constitution.

‘How much common sense do you need for saying that the ‘root cause’ of Peshawar tragedy is the State Religion of Pakistan? Just imagine a moment when all good and honest citizens will start to walk on roads with this badge: ‘SAY NO TO STATE RELIGION’. So, please care to sign and share this petition in solidarity with non-Muslim and non-believer victims of the State Religion: the-secretary-general-united-nations-recognize-the-international-day-against-state-religion.

‘Thanks and regards.’

We have added this sentence to the petition for a secular Pakistan: ‘Remove Article 2 of the Constitution of Pakistan’.

Many thanks to Ghulam Mustafa Lakho for his thoughts, and for carrying the petition for the recognition of an International Day Against State Religion.

This is our first post to bring forward the comments or ‘reasons for signing’ the petition for a secular Pakistan by its Supporters. Find them at the bottom of the Petition page.

Contact Secular Pakistan at secularpakistan11@gmail.com
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Separate Religion from State. Declare Pakistan to be Secular – Petition

Petitioning
The Government
The Judiciary and
The Army of Pakistan!

candle-lights

To assure that incidents such as the tragedy of Peshawar and ongoing violence against minority populations do not continue to happen, and that the Taliban and other violent religious formations do not flourish in Pakistan, please acknowledge one of the root causes of it.

Separate Religion from State!

Declare Pakistan to be a Secular Democracy.

Secular Pakistan
With 82 Supporters

Help Us Reach 100,000 Signatures
Sign and Share
change.org
Photo from Noor Mir
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‘Deliberate distortion of the reality lived by Muslim women’ by Haroon Siddiqui

By:  Columnist, The Star. 

The two most cited reasons in support of Quebec’s anti-niqab bill are that the veil is an imposed oppression since no woman would ever voluntarily wear it and, second, that the province’s proposal to deny public services to niqabi women is far less punitive than the strictures imposed on non-Muslims in some Muslim countries.

The first proposition is conjecture. The second is misguided moral equivalency.

We can’t, and don’t, run Canada by the rules of theocracies. Ours is a secular democracy, in which all citizens are equal and must be treated as such – not as a favour to them but as a duty to our Constitution.

This is so obvious a point as to be moot. But it is not with those who argue, quite seriously, that since Iran discriminates against Baha’is and Jews, and Saudi Arabia does not allow non-Muslims to even hold public religious services, Canadian Muslims shouldn’t complain if their rights are trampled.

Controversies are the lifeblood of democracy but they also provide insights into public prejudices.

It is commonly assumed that Muslim women the world over are oppressed, so they must be in Canada as well. Even intelligent people, including some academics, routinely parrot that line, with zero proof.

Muslim women are oppressed all right. But are they any more so than others?

Take violence against women. Studies show that the phenomenon cuts across class, race, culture and religion. A World Health Organization survey found violence against women by spouses/partners to be “a common experience worldwide.” In Europe, “domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for women aged 16 to 44, and accounts for more death and ill-health than cancer or traffic accidents,” according to Amnesty International. A quarter of American women are physically or sexually assaulted by a partner or a date, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Take women in leadership roles. The three most populous Muslim nations – Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh – have had women leaders. So has Turkey. Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto and Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia served two terms each. Compare that to Kim Campbell, who was prime minister for 4 1/2 months.

In Pakistan’s National Assembly, 76 of 342 members are women – 22.2 per cent, compared with Canada’s 22.1 per cent in the Commons. Counting all elected women at the federal, provincial and municipal level, Pakistan ranks well ahead of Canada, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Take post-secondary education. Several Muslim nations, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, are showing the same trend as in the West, where a majority of students are women.

Contrast all this to the relentlessly negative portrayal of Muslim women in our popular culture. And when this image is grafted onto Muslim women in the West, the picture gets further distorted.

A Gallup survey shows that Muslim American women are among the most highly educated female religious groups, second only to Jewish American women. They are more likely than American Muslim men to have college and postgraduate degrees and to earn as much. “As a group, Muslim Americans have the highest degree of economic gender parity at the high and low ends of the spectrum.”

I can’t find comparable figures for Canada but there is little reason to think it is much different.

A separate Gallup poll shows majorities of Muslim women around the world believe that women should have the same legal rights as men. They may not equate the bikini with liberation but their aspirations are not much different than those of women elsewhere. This is even more so for Muslim women living in the West.

Also, the general values of Muslims living in Europe and North America, both men and women, are the same as those of other citizens.

None of this is to deny the many horrors inflicted daily on Muslim women or that some Canadian women may be forced to wear a veil. It is only to say that the opposite assumption – that all or nearly all are oppressed – is stupid and dishonest.

As Pankaj Mishra, noted Indian essayist and novelist and a Hindu familiar with the plight of women of all faiths, writes:

“Almost every day, the media berate Islam, often couching their prejudice in the highly moral language of women’s rights: It is not due to oversight that Indian women murdered for failing to bring sufficient dowry, a staggering 6,787 in 2005 (and since reported at 8,093 in 2007), occupy a fraction of the print acreage devoted to the tiny minority of veiled women.”

Haroon Siddiqui is the Star’s editorial page editor emeritus. His column appears Thursday and Sunday.

hsiddiqui@thestar.ca

Originally Published at The Star.Com on Thu Apr 08 2010.

Petition to Stop Aggrandizing Ku Klux Klan in Selma City Alabama

Petitioning Selma City Council
Selma City Council: No More Monuments to KKK Hate!

Sign this Petition

by Malika Fortier with GrassrootsDemocracy.net
Signed
with 315,949 supporters
184,051 NEEDED

People know Selma, Alabama as a city where Dr. King fought for civil rights. Selma was the launching point for pivotal protests that hurtled the voting rights movement into the national spotlight. It is also a city of tragedy: thousands of students, religious leaders, and families fighting for civil rights in Selma were arrested, injured, or brutally killed.

I grew up in Selma. Now, as a community organizer, I think often about the sacrifices of the people who lived here before me. I was outraged and ashamed to learn that Selma’s city council is sitting idly by as a local neo-Confederate group expands a public monument to a founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Monuments celebrating violent racism and intolerance have no place in this country, let alone in a city like Selma, where the families of those attacked by the Klan still live.

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate military leader, a founding member of the KKK, and the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. He wasn’t even from Selma — why should Selma be honoring his shameful legacy of racial segregation and terrorism?

If Selma wants be viewed by the rest of the country as forward-thinking, we cannot give in to those who pine for the “good ole days” of the 1860s. This monument has blighted our town for far too long. Please join me in calling on the Selma city council to remove the monument celebrating Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Petition Letter

Dear Selma City Council,

I am writing to strongly urge you to stop the current plans to expand a monument celebrating Nathan Bedford Forrest.

People know Selma, Alabama as the city where Dr. King fought for civil rights. Selma was the launching point for historical protests that hurtled the civil rights movement into the national spotlight. It is also a city of tragedy: thousands of students, religious leaders, and families fighting for civil rights in Selma were arrested, injured, or brutally killed.

It was shocking to learn that Selma would ever choose to celebrate the legacy of a Ku Klux Klan founder and Grand Wizard by allowing a monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest to stand on city property. For the council to allow this monument to be expanded would simply be beyond the pale.

If Selma wants be viewed by the rest of the country as forward-thinking, we cannot give in to those who pine for the “good ole days” of the 1860s. The Selma city council has no business allowing the the city’s history and the memory of those who fought for civil rights to be smeared in this way. I demand that you stop the expansion of the Nathan Bedford Forrest monument and remove it from public property.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

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Make UN Recognize ‘The International Day Against State Religion’ – Sign This Petition

This petition, asking United Nations to recognize a day in the year as The International Day Against State Religion, will help us around the world to root out religious sentiment, and concepts such as blasphemy, from legal and social systems. It will help us move away from incidents like the sectarian murders of 19 Shia Muslims, and the blasphemy arrest of minor Rimsha Masih.

The initiative has been taken by Ghulam Mustafa Lakho, and we need to take it forward by siging this petition, sharing the links, and inviting our friends and colleagues to do the same.

Sign the Petition

Petition for recognizing “The International Day Against State Religion” by the United Nations in solidarity with victims of the State Religion, namely, non-Muslims and non-believers of Pakistan.

To,
The Secretary-General,
United Nations,
UN Headquarters,
New York.

Please take active, effective and meaningful steps for recognizing “The International Day Against State Religion” by the United Nations in solidarity with victims of the State Religion, namely, non-Muslims and non-believers of Pakistan.

The life of non-Muslims and non-believers of Pakistan is as good as hell thanks to the “State Religion” of Pakistan. Thus, the need of the time is to declare that the “State Religion” is hit by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The eleven (11) words of Mr. M.A. Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, are on the record: religion has nothing to do with the business of the State. Thus, he spoke on August 11, 1947 in his 1st Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan against the “State Religion”.

None of the members of the Parliament of Pakistan has cared to pay respect to the eleven (11) words of Mr. M.A. Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan since August 11, 1947. The proof is the “State Religion” in the Constitution of Pakistan.

None of the Parliamentarians of Pakistan is ready and willing to heed the ideas of the Founder of Pakistan on the relation of Religion and State.

Under these facts and circumstances, it may be the humane duty of United Nations to recognize and celebrate the 11th day of August, 1947 as the INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST STATE RELIGION in the name of the Universal Human Rights in solidarity with non-Muslims and non-believers of Pakistan.

Let the United Nations come for the help of the victims of the “State Religion” in Pakistan as well as around the globe. And, let the 11th day of August, 1947 be recognized as the INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST STATE RELIGION.

Sign the Petion
http://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/the-secretary-general-united-nations-recognize-the-international-day-against-state-religion-5

Sincerely,
Ghulam Mustafa Lakho
Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan

Contact Ghulam Mustafa Lakho
Blog: http://saynotothestatereligion.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gmlakho

Official Facebook Page
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-International-Day-Against-State-Religion/106460822743085

Also, if you haven’t yet,
Please sign the petition to help release Rimsha Masih
http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/freerimshamasih

A poem for the 19 murdered Shia Muslims, and the arrest of Rimsha Masih
Holier Than Life by Fauzia Rafique

From Uddari Weblog
Make UN Recognize 'The International Day Against State Religion' – Sign This Petition.

Support Free Internet – Sign This Petition

Stop the Internet Blacklist!

The US Congress is considering a bill ‘Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act’ (COICA) that can seriously injure the freedom of the internet. View it here:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-3804

Sign This Petition Protect Our Freedoms

More about it:

‘COICA creates two blacklists of Internet domain names. Courts could add sites to the first list; the Attorney General would have control over the second. Internet service providers and others (everyone from Comcast to PayPal to Google AdSense) would be required to block any domains on the first list. They would also receive immunity (and presumably the good favor of the government) if they block domains on the second list.

‘The lists are for sites “dedicated to infringing activity,” but that’s defined very broadly — any domain name where counterfeit goods or copyrighted material are “central to the activity of the Internet site” could be blocked.

‘One example of what this means in practice: sites like YouTube could be censored in the US. Copyright holders like Viacom often argue copyrighted material is central to the activity of YouTube, but under current US law, YouTube is perfectly legal as long as they take down copyrighted material when they’re informed about it — which is why Viacom lost to YouTube in court.

‘But if COICA passes, Viacom wouldn’t even need to prove YouTube is doing anything illegal to get it shut down — as long as they can persuade the courts that enough other people are using it for copyright infringement, the whole site could be censored.

‘Perhaps even more disturbing: Even if Viacom couldn’t get a court to compel censorship of a YouTube or a similar site, the DOJ could put it on the second blacklist and encourage ISPs to block it even without a court order. (ISPs have ample reason to abide the will of the powerful DOJ, even if the law doesn’t formally require them to do so.)

‘COICA’s passage would be a tremendous blow to free speech on the Internet — and likely a first step towards much broader online censorship. Please help us fight back: The first step is signing our petition. We’ll give you the tools to share it with your friends and call your Senator.’

From David Segal and Aaron Swartz
Read it here

Sign the Petition
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Urgent Appeal: Release Sarabjit Singh from Pakistani Jail

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-154-2011
7 September 2011

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PAKISTAN: Release Sarabjit Singh who has now spent 21 years in a death cell due to an unfair trial in a case of mistaken identity
ISSUES: Death sentence; fair trial; miscarriage of justice; right to life; torture

Dear friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that an Indian citizen has just completed his 21st year in a death cell in Lahore. He was the victim of the India centric policies of the government of Pakistan and was denied proper justice by the courts. From the very beginning his case was mislead by the prosecution, Intelligence agencies and the courts with a peculiar mindset that the accused person was an Indian citizen. His appeal of clemency has been pending before the president for three years and because of the pressure from Muslim religious groups and anti-India lobby the government is hesitant to pardon his death sentence. The Supreme Court in haste upheld the decision of the lower courts for his execution through an ex-parte decision, without listening to the applicant.

The case of Sarbajit Singh is an example of a miscarriage of justice where mistaken identity was made as the sole evidence of his punishment. The victim’s name was Sarabjit Singh but he was sentenced to death in the name of Manjeet Singh. The sole eye witness of the case told different television channels that he was forced through coercion and intimidation to give evidence against the victim by the officials of the intelligence agency, the ISI.

It is said that government has shown its willingness to release him but is waiting for the exchange of Pakistani prisoners from Indian side through the successful diplomatic dialogues between both the countries.

Mr. Awais Sheikh, the victim’s lawyer, has compiled a book on the details of the legal flaws and the absence of proper investigation in the case of Sarabjit Singh under the title: ”A case of mistaken identity of Sarabjit Singh”. It is being published in London and is due for release within the next couple of months.

CASE NARRATIVE
Sarabjit Singh, the son of Sulakhan Singh, a farmer by profession, was a resident of Bhikhiwind village, five miles from the Pakistani border and forty kilometers from Amritsar, Punjab, India. He had illegally crossed the Indian border at Qasoor, the border city of Punjab, Pakistan, in the late hours of August 29 and 30, 1990, in a drunken condition. In those days there was no barbed wire barrier between the Indian and Pakistani borders, however, there were check posts all around and there was also a no man’s land between the borders themselves. At that time he was 28 years of age. He was arrested at the Pakistani check post by the officials of Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and kept in their custody for nine days before being produced in court. He was eventually produced before the judicial magistrate in one First Information Report (FIR), a police case, in the name of Manjeet Singh son of Mohanga Singh for conducting four bomb blasts in the three cities of Punjab province namely, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad on July 29, 1990, killing 14 persons. Before his production in court, Sarabjit was told by the ISI personnel that he would be charged for illegally entering Pakistan. He was allegedly implicated in the bomb blast which occurred one month before he crossed the Indian border and entered in to Pakistani area. His statement under section 342 of Pakistan Penal Code was taken where he denied the charges and recorded that he is not the Manjeet Singh whose name was mentioned in the FIR. In his confessional statement he refused all allegations mentioned in the FIR and said that the real accused person, Mnajeet Singh, was arrested by the agencies and was released and allowed to run away but that he was falsely implicated in the case.

He was tried in a Special Court on terrorism charges. During the trial he informed the court that he was not the Manjeet Singh mentioned in the FIR and that his name was Sarabjit Singh, the son of Sulakhan Singh. However, he was told by the magistrate that his name is mentioned as Manjeet Singh alias Sarabjit Singh son of Mohanga Singh. He also informed the court that his father’s name is Salukhan Singh but this was not given any weight by the court. The trial court awarded him the death sentence under section of 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of Pakistan Penal Code and section 3 of explosive substance on August 15, 1991, a significant day as it is the day of independence of India.

The sole eye witness of the bomb blasts in Lahore, Mr. Saleem Shoukat, said in an interview with Indian television channels in September 2005, that he was tortured to give evidence against the Sarabjit leading to his conviction. He was told by the prosecution lawyer that he should identify Sarabjit as the main accused in the serial blasts and he had to do that. He admitted that he had not seen the accused as he had fainted during the blasts.

Sarabjit Singh, according to the petition of reconsideration filed in the Supreme Court on March 2011, strongly agitated that he has been substituted as Manjit Singh with mala-fide intention. He has been made a victim of false identification.

Sarabjit says that when he was given the death sentence by the trial court on the Independence Day of his country his hands were bound and he was blindfolded. Furthermore, when he was sent to jail after sentencing the inmates beat him as a gesture of welcoming his sentence.

According to the Hindustan Times, an Indian daily newspaper with a large circulation, in a article dated December 7, 2010, Sarbjit Singh commented about his trial in a letter written in Hindi in which he states: “However, with the help of deceit and lies finally I was made Manjeet Singh by Pakistan and was convicted in the bomb blast case”.

During the trial he could not have a lawyer because he did not have any money with him and his family did not know where he was. Also, the court totally ignored the basic requirement of justice and failed to provide with a lawyer.

His appeal against the decision of the trial court was turned down by the Lahore high court on December 10, 2001. The Supreme Court also quashed his appeal in September 2005, saying that the review petition was not filed within the time period as mentioned in the Law. Another review petition was filed in the Supreme Court which was dismissed in haste by the court in 2009. The two member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Fayyaz Ahmed, issued notice for the hearing on June 10, 2009 and when the lawyer was not there the next date was fixed for June 26. As the lawyer was busy in another court the bench dismissed the appeal and the decision was made ex-parte. Rana Abdul Hamid, the lawyer who was representing Sarabjit, told media persons after the verdict, “I could not be present in the court as I am a government lawyer. Another lawyer, who was to represent him, was in some other court and before he could have reached there the petition was dismissed.”

Again, the lawyer filed a ‘reconsideration appeal’ before the Supreme Court but the registrar of the court refused to entertain the application as it was not maintainable.

During those days a new development occurred when an Indian citizen, Kashmir Singh, was released after 20 years of his imprisonment in Pakistani jails by the efforts of a prominent human rights activist, Mr. Ansar Burney, former federal minister of human rights in the cabinet of General Musharraf. When Kashmir Singh went to India he declared that he was an Indian agent in Pakistan and was sent by the Indian intelligence agency, the RAW.

Kashmir Singh’s revelation completely destroyed Sarabjit Singh’s case and there was a move from religious and anti-India parties to hang him immediately and not to commute his death sentence. General Musharraf’s government fixed his execution for April 30, 2008 and issued the black warrant. However, because of pressure from human rights bodies, India and other international organizations, General Musharraf deferred his execution for a further 30 days. This was done so that the Pakistan People’s Party-led government, which had just assumed power at the time, could review his case following India’s appeal for clemency. Since that time the government of Zardari-Gilani has stopped the execution in general for indefinite period.

To date his mercy petition is lying before the president of Pakistan and he currently lives in a four by six feet room known as a death cell. He had been there since 1991 and wears ankle chains and at all times. He is allowed a period of one hour for exercise daily and this is the only time he sees the outside world. His health has deteriorated and at present his eye sight is weak and he cannot walk properly due to infections in both legs.

Mr. Awais Sheikh, a human rights lawyer and chairperson of Peace Initiative between India and Pakistan, has taken his case after the rejection of the mercy appeal from the Supreme Court in 2008. He visited the village of Sarabjit Singh in Amritsar, India, and collected information about him and Manjit Singh, allegedly the culprit of bomb blasts of 1990. He has been able to arrange two meetings in Pakistan with family members including his sister, wife and children.

Mr. Sheikh filed first mercy petition to the president of Pakistan on behalf of Sarabjit Singh in July 2009, the second one on February 14, 2010 and third and last on April 4, 2011 when the alleged culprit, Manjeet Singh was arrested in India on charges of cheating. Mr. Sheikh went to India and collected more information about Manjit Singh including his regular visits to Pakistan during the bomb blasts in 1990, his identification by ration card and his arrest in Canada after bomb blasts. He submitted all this information in the third and last mercy petition before the president of Pakistan.

No reply or acknowledgement from president house he has received yet.

He also filed a new application in the Supreme Court for reopening the case on March 6, 2011 after taking all evidences of involvement of Manjit Singh whose name was mentioned in the original FIR. This information also forwarded to President Zardari but, once again, no action has been yet taken to investigate the case.

Mr. Awais Sheikh was also persecuted by the media and the anti-India lobby as a traitor and anti- Pakistan for helping Sarabjit Singh. He was asked to vacate his office by his landlord under pressure from the anti-India lobby and once his office was ransacked.

More than 100,000 persons from India including, prominent Muslim leaders, intellectuals, high profile personalities from the film industry, lawyers and activists of civil society, signed a petition for the release of Surabjit. The signatures were sent to president of Pakistan.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
When Sarabjit was arrested on entering Pakistan illegally by crossing the Indian border, during those days Pakistan was under pressure from the international community to wind up its policy for the establishment of Khalistan, a Sikh based independent state in India. In the late 1980’s during the period of military dictator, General Zia ul Haq, Pakistan was accused of running training camps for Sikh militants in Pakistan and establishing a Sikh state inside the India. With the change of the governments in Pakistan the policies were also changed in context to India and Sikhs, like Sarabjit, were arrested in Pakistan on various charges including on spying and terrorism.

In the early 90s there was high tension and threats of war between India and Pakistan after winding up the policy for creating Khalistan. There was suddenly an increase in the terrorist attacks witnessed in Indian held Kashmir by Jihadi groups from Pakistan and India accused Pakistan of involvement. Meanwhile, after this policy was also adopted in India hundreds of Pakistanis, with their family members, were arrested as Pakistani agents. It is largely because of this that the decision of the trial court to award the death sentence to Sarabjit Singh was generally welcomed in Pakistan and no one took the notice of unfair trial.

CONCERNING MANJIT SINGH
Manjit Singh operates under many aliases and was arrested in London and Canada for cheating, fraud and murder. His name was mentioned in the first information report (FIR) of four bomb blasts in three districts of Punjab province but after the arrest of Sarabjit Singh his name was amended in FIR with Manjit Singh alias Sarabjit Singh son of Mohanga Singh. According to the National Post of Canada, he is known as Manjit Singh Ratu, Manjit Singh aka (alias) Mumtaz Sharif Ratu, aka Mohammad Ratu, an Indian national and Punjabi journalist. He faced charges of fraud, terrorism, assassination and espionage.

Punjab Newsline, India, reported on December 17, 2010 that: “…….Manjit Singh Rattu infamous journalist who is wanted in many countries was arrested by Haryana police in a case of fraud registered against him in Panchkula. He lives under different names and is suspected of bomb blasts in Pakistan. The Sarbajit Singh of Bhikiwind was convicted in the name of Manjit Singh. Paper says Manjit Singh Rattu, he is also known a number of names – Manjit Singh M. Singh, A. Mann Mumtaz Sharif Rattu, Dr. A. S. Sandhu, Dr. M. S. Rattu, Mohammed Sharif Rattu, was some time back arrested near Toranto on two counts of fraud involving over US$ 10,000 by Peel regional police of Canada.”

After his arrest he confessed before the court in India that he had gone to Pakistan in 1983.

It is claimed by the his lawyer and family members that the actual man who did the blasts had visited Pakistan during the case proceedings in the trial court and had married with a Pakistani woman who was the daughter of an government officer and the then chief minister of Pakistan Punjab province had also attended his marriage but because of his marriage with the government officer’s daughter the authorities overlooked the identity of the groom.

The lawyer of Sarabjit Singh, Mr. Sheikh, informed the Supreme Court through his application for reconsideration of death sentence on March 6, 2011 that Manjeet Singh is an international swindler and is a member of an criminal syndicate. He is the real culprit behind the blasts in Pakistan. In 1990 when the bomb blasts took place the Manjeet Singh was present in Pakistan. The lawyer has attached evidence about proof of presence of Manjit Singh in Pakistan at the time of the blasts, his involvement in fraud and murder cases, his mysterious/suspicious activities in Pakistan and the affidavit of Syed Islam Shah (retired) deputy controller of Radio Pakistan confirming his meeting with Manjit Singh in 1990 with his application for reconsideration of the case.

The lawyer also attached the report Canadian police officer confirming his arrest on charges of murder and fraud cases in Canada and record of record published in international media.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The federal cabinet decided on July 2, 2008 to commute the death sentence. However, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan has also announced that death sentences will be commuted in his first press conference after taking the oath of president ship. The prime minister also announced on June 21, 2008, that death sentences will be commuted to life imprisonment but he has failed to issue the notification.

In Pakistan more than 7,500 persons have been on death row for many years, among them are 42 women and two children. The former prime minister and founder of ruling party, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also commuted the death sentence during his government but was nevertheless hanged by the then military rulers. The wife of the president Asif Zardari and former Prime Minister, Ms. Benazir Bhutto has pledged several times to abolish the death sentences.

Please see the attachment of evidences
Criminal Review Petition:
http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/pdf/review petition.pdf

News clippings about Manjit Singh:
http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/pdf/Sarabjit-news-1.pdf
http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/pdf/Sarabjit-news-2.pdf

Affidavit from Muhammad Islam Shah, former Deputy Controller, Radio Pakistan:
http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/pdf/affidavit.pdf

SUGGESTED ACTION
Please write the letters to authorities to commute the death sentence of Sarabjit Singh who was sentenced to death on mistaken identity and served 21 years in the death cell. Please urge that he should be released immediately and prosecute all responsible persons who involved him in the bomb blasts. He must be provided medical treatment and compensation for the loss of 21 years of his life.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the concerned UN agencies for their intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:
Send Appeal letter
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