I urge every reader to sign your name, begin at the beginning.
To: Government of Pakistan
President Asif Ali Zardari
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani
Senate Chairman Farooq Hamid Naek
Speaker Fehmida Mirza
Ambassador Hussain Haqqani
The May 28th massacre of Ahmadis in Lahore is a tragic reminder of the state of siege that Pakistan's persecuted sects and minorities constantly live in. Given the institutionalized discrimination and hateful rhetoric against persecuted sects and religious minorities, this latest attack should not surprise us. After all, this venomous bigotry and its prevalence at all levels of our society is precisely the reason why violence against Muslims who are not Sunni as well as non-Muslims has been so exponentially on the rise in Pakistan over the past few years.
Far from being an isolated incident, this latest attack is in fact part of a pattern of increasingly organized violence against persecuted sects and religious minorities in Pakistan that seems to be intensifying at a frightening rate. In addition to death threats, damage to homes, businesses, places of worship, the settling of scores through the use of blasphemy laws, we are also seeing increasingly organized pogroms. In September 2008, at least two Ahmadis were killed in cold blood after a popular televangelist Aamir Liaquat Hussain declared that Islam sanctioned the killing of Ahmadis for calling themselves Muslims. In July 2009, eight Christians were killed and over 50 homes burned in the town of Gojra. Recently in Rawalpindi, a woman of Christian faith was allegedly raped and her husband burned for refusing to convert to Islam. And three days after the horrific massacre of Ahmadi namazis in Lahore, a man in Narowal who swore that he would not leave any Ahmadi alive broke into the home of an Ahmadi family, stabbing the 55-year old husband and father and wounding the son.
This pattern of violence against persecuted sects and religious minorities in Pakistan is in part the result of discriminatory and shameful laws such as the Second Amendment and Article 26 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan which declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims, and the infamous Blasphemy Law [Section 295(C) of the Pakistan Penal Code]. We decry these discriminatory and unjust laws and the state's refusal to go after the perpetrators of such violence, the carte blanche given to religious groups which openly target persecuted sects and religious minorities, the media platform given to hate-mongers such as Aamir Liaquat Hussain and the silent complicity of the (Sunni) majority. Politicians are increasingly involved in such incidents of organized violence against persecuted sects and religious minorities: in the case of Gojra, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's fact-finding mission established that members of the PML(N) were involved in the demagogic rally which preceded the violence. A PML-N member of the Punjab Assembly was also a vocal participant in a recent shameful conference called by 13 religious parties in Lahore which bizarrely claimed that the horrific attack on the Ahmadi mosques on Black Friday was part of an Ahmadi conspiracy to have the laws against them repealed. All these factors have combined to creating a climate of terror for persecuted sects and religious minorities in Pakistan today, a climate in which the threat of violence is ever-present and there is no hope of redress.
THIS MUST NOT GO ON. Pakistan cannot continue to treat its Muslim citizens who are not Sunni as well as its non-Muslim citizens as subhuman. Pakistan's regime of legal discrimination against its non-Sunni and non-Muslim citizens is not only immoral, it is in direct and indirect violation of almost every article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - especially Articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 18, 19, 21, 22 - of which Pakistan is a signatory. If Pakistan is to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, it needs to take prompt and decisive action against the perpetrators of such violence and rid itself of the toxic laws and policies which enable it.
As citizens of Pakistan and people of conscience, we demand that the state of Pakistan take responsibility for extending the rights and protections of citizenship equally to all Pakistanis - REGARDLESS OF RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION. The state has no right to determine who is a legitimate Muslim and must repeal all anti-Ahmadi laws. Nor can the state cede its responsibility to provide equal protection to its non-Muslim minorities. We call for a Pakistan grounded in principles of justice and fairness which includes respect for the rights of persecuted sects and religious minorities as equal citizens of the state. All legal, administrative and social discrimination on the basis of sect or religion must end, and a separation between religion and state must be instituted immediately.
TO THIS END, WE THE UNDERSIGNED DEMAND THAT:
I. THE STATE MUST PROTECT ITS NON-SUNNI AND NON-MUSLIM POPULATIONS:
-The state ensure the rights of all persecuted sects and religious minorities, including their right to openly and freely practice their religion.
-The state provide protection to all its citizens, and the perpetrators of violence against persecuted sects and minorities be brought to justice speedily and transparently.
II. THE STATE MUST SEPARATE ITSELF FROM RELIGIOUS CONCERNS:
-The 2nd Amendment and all other anti-Ahmadi laws be removed from the Constitution.
-All Blasphemy laws be repealed.
-Religious identity be removed from National ID Cards and Passports.
-Eligibility criteria for the offices of President and Prime Minister make no reference to religion.
-Pakistan's official name be changed back to 'The Republic of Pakistan'.
ACTION FOR A PROGRESSIVE PAKISTAN
Signed. "Someone needs to explain why Tamil feels like it needs to purify itself from Sanskrit and/or English" tamils feel that north desis dont respect their literature, and that their lit is overshadowed by sanskrit, and that some think tamil lit comes from sanskrit lit as opposed to being a seperate tradition. they also think europeans didnt have respect for their lit; in the section for india in a world poetry anthology from the 1930s, i read something along the lines of 'there are claims of a poetic tradition from the darker peoples of the south; however this is unlikely.' ""May your virtuous rule last for many years!... Never shall I forget the sight of your war elephant advancing in the midst of the Tamil legions which had destroyed the assembled armies of Konkanars, Kalinjars, cruel Karunatars, Bengalars, Gangars, Kattiyars, and Aryans from the north. Never shall we forget the courgae you showed when, with the pious purpose of bringing your mother to bathe in the furious waters of the Ganges in flood, you fought alone against several thousand Aryans, so fiercely that the god of Death was stunned, and stood as motionless as a stone. No one can stop you if you choose to impose Tamil rule over the whole sea-encircled world. Send your message to the northern countries: ' The great king advances toward the north to brng back a Himalayan stone in which the image of a god is to be carved.' Let the message bear your own baked-clay seal on which are shown the bow, the fish, the tiger-head, all royal emblems of the Tamil kings, and be dispatched to all northern monarchs. ...drums were sounded at the city gates to warn all the kings of the world that the time had come to bow down before the Tamil power. Two sons of Bala-Kumara...together with some other inconsequent northern princes princes who talk more than they should, made during a banquet some disparaging remarks about the Tamil kings, forgetting our great deeds. Our mighty army, embodiment of death, shall carry its fury to the north. ...prepare a large fleet of barges and boats so that the army may cross the holy Ganges without delay. The brave Aryan soldiers, whose chariots had had the reputation of invincibility, were massacred. Their bodies soon piled up on the battlefield. Their chariots were smashed. Their dead elephants and horses were heaped together by the Chera's order. The king wore his shining armlet, and with great ceremony placed on his own head a high crown and a wreath of diospyros flowers interwiend with palms. On the field of battle he appeared to the Aryan kings like a new god of Death riding his buffalo and devouring all the living in the span of a day. Those ablest of lancers... their fearful lances in their hands, together with fifty-two chariot-leaders who had dared seak ill of Tamil kings, were the victims of the anger of King Shenguttuvan... [The Aryans] ran away in ever direction, trembling with fear. [For seven hours] he had taken the place of the cruel god of Death, devouring all the Aryan kings who had not acknowledged the supremacy of the proud southern Tamils. He then allowed... the Aryan kings to return to their prosperous countries. You were able to see, in your battle with the Aryan kings who had insulted the courageous Tamils, thar Fortune cannot be trusted by any man who lives on generous earth. [but the Tamils have the support of the gods, so it's ok to die] From The Tale of the Ankle Bracelet, circa. 3rd cent (trans. Alain Danileou) back in the day, i think Gandhi tried appealing to tamils by saying he hoped to read their 'holy book' (the kural) [it is] "one of the highest and purest expressions of human thought" - gandhi i noticed my ex-girlfriend's dad [a tamil] was particularly touchy and proud when it came to tamil culture all this aside, 'purifying' a language is nonsense. i sympathise with tamils wanted more recognition for their culture, but i cant stand ethnocentrism. it kind of reminds me of people thinking urdu and hindi are two seprate languages
Sepoy Sahib, Bravo!....I think that sums it up...btw, would it be appropriate for a non-Pakistani to sign the petition?
Pakistan conflicted over targeting rising extremists in its heartland But on a recent day at the Lahore Zoo, several people interviewed said they agreed with the mullahs. "They have no right to live here. They are followers of the devil," shopkeeper Mohammed Nadeem, 26, said of the Ahmadis, as he watched swans with his wife and toddler. The attacks, he said, "were good."Link: washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/21/AR2010062104625.html
Hasan, I think we cannot make much of what people say in the zoo. I doubt if most people have deep beliefs about ideology and politics. Most people, in Pakistan, in India, in America, wherever, are mindlessly repeating what they have been taught and they cannot even repeat too much of the catechism. We are not dumb, we just know more about things that really matter to us (and that is rarely politics, even when we talk about it a lot) and mindlessly repeat shortcuts about everything else. I am not saying we are ineherently evil or good or whatever. I am saying our so-called beliefs are mostly superficial bullshit. It doesnt take much to convince most people that X or Y people are evil and deserve to die or are heroic victims who deserve 6 billion a year in subsidies. In countries where liberal education has spent years and years trying to make them think otherwise, its barely better than in countries like Pakistan where the official ideology is full of hate and is almost terminally stupid to boot. But the other side of this depressing coin is that in a few years the bullshitters in charge can convince the same zoo visitors that Ahmedis deserve full protection against gangsters. "The people", to quote Islamist Omar Qureshi (btw, does anyone know where that Univ of Chicago grad is these days?) are over-rated. And no, I am not saying I am the superior thinker class and THEY are the ignorant people. I am saying we are all pretty messed up. Society is organized so that these beliefs travel from opinion-maker to zoo-visitor, not too much in the other direction. Hence, I blame the public intellectuals, not the zoo visitors. Oh well, you probably didnt mean to "blame" the zoo visitors either. I guess I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but really, that is how I feel today.
Signed. Thank you for this.
Dear Sepoy, I do not fully agree with your proposition. I agree that what happened in Lahore was deplorable, however, i do not agree with the demand to remove the declaration of Ahmadis as non muslims from the constitution. Reason being that a Christian or Hindu would always call himself a Christian or Hindu but an Ahmadi would call himself a Muslim. Please appreciate the fact that they are as much a sect of Muslims as Buddhism is of a Judaism.
"Reason being that a Christian or Hindu would always call himself a Christian or Hindu but an Ahmadi would call himself a Muslim. Please appreciate the fact that they are as much a sect of Muslims as Buddhism is of a Judaism." What's wrong with Ahmadis calling themselves Muslims? Let's say someone believes in God. As this involves religion, isn't that between an individual and God? It's not the place of the state to define what Islam means.
there's this verse of Bulleh Shah which resonates well with the current Ahmadi situation in Pakistan Bulleh-a aashiq hoyiyon Rabb da, Hoai Malamat Lakh Tenon Kafir Kafir aakhdey, toon aaho aaho aakh Bulleh lover of God, a million blames occur Your title is apostate, answer yes, yes, so it is.
The embrace of insanity - Sherry Rehman MNA http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=247575
Yes Signed ! Thanks
hello dears. i must say we shall respect each and every belief, sect, religion and law. Now as far as petition is concerned, it is somewhat baseless as in the targeted sects or groups were definitely a minority and whether or not you remove any laws against them, there will always be some cruel people who will rise against such minorities without any true motive. This is the rule of thumb. We all like to show our power, if we have any, sometimes. Changing Pakistan's name and making president and PM office have equal eyes for all religions is only going to fire up this hatred among us and it shall never be discussed in public again. Otherwise spread love and a man is known by his deeds and attitude not by his religion. So to all brothers...chill. Nothing stays forever!
Thank you for this petition. I endorse it 100%. Signed and have spread the word
Signed a million times over!
There must be no dicrimination in any society
Signed. Thanks for raising the voice of sanity!