Few days ago I shared a news from UN website regarding forced conversion. Here is the other side of the story. Case is in Sind High Court, hopefully there will be a fair decision
by Sarfaraz Memon (Express Tribune)
SUKKUR: Faryal Shah (Rinkle Kumari) appeared before the media on Thursday and made it clear that she had not been kidnapped and had not been forced to convert to Islam and marry Naveed Shah.
Faryal said that she had converted to Islam and had married Naveed Shah of her own free will, and that nobody had pressurised her into this. Reading out the Kalma-e-Tayyaba, Faryal said she was a Muslim girl and therefore had nothing to do with her parents.
Faryal (Rinkle Kumari) and her husband Naveed Shah were produced in front of the Sindh High Court (SHC) Sukker bench on Thursday morning amid tight security.
The couple was escorted by SSP Ghotki Pir Mohammad Shah along with a heavy contingent of police. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Mian Abdul Haq of Bharchoondi Sharif, his son Mian Mohammad Aslam and a large number of their followers were also present.
The couple through their lawyer, Achar Gabole, had filed a constitutional petition stating that their lives were under threat from the relatives of the girl, who had been issuing threats of dire consequences.
Answering a question on threats to their lives, she said, “Our lives are under threat from my maternal uncle Raj Kumar”. She once again made it clear that she was a Muslim and wanted to live with her husband Naveed Shah.
Advocate Mohammad Murad Lund, who was representing Faryal’s grandfather Manohar Lal, told The Express Tribune that the single bench comprising of Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh without recording the statement of the girl had ordered SSP Ghotki to provide protection to the couple and ensure that they are produced before the SHC chief justice in Karachi on March 12.
Advocate Mohammad Murad Lund kept on insisting that, the girl was under pressure due to the presence of a large number of Bharchoondi Sharif followers. He said everything will become “crystal clear” in Karachi, as the girl would be able to record her statement in a tension free atmosphere.
Mian Mohammad Aslam of Bharchoondi Sharif said that everyone had seen that Faryal was neither under pressure and had not said a word against the Pirs. “Rather she gave a statement against her own maternal uncle who is threatening to kill her.”
He said his father, PPP MNA Mian Abdul Haq had also come to the court because the girl’s parents had requested that they wanted to meet their daughter, but they didn’t come to see her.
Aslam said when the couple had come to Dargah Bharchoondi Sharif on February 24, Faryal had spoken to her parents on his instructions and had told them that she had come there to convert to Islam and marry Naveed Shah.
“I personally requested them to come over and meet their daughter to see for themselves that she was not under pressure, but they didn’t’ come,” Mian Aslam said.
He once again said that neither Islam nor the law of the land allowed forced conversion.
This seems really pathetic. there is no room for these type of actions neither in constitution nor in Islam. forceful conversion is not allowed and directly against Quran. I think human rights organizations especially some of rich or political class hindu community member can raise the issue in high court or supreme court or even in Sharia Court as it is a direct violation of Islamic law as well. Only conversion allowed is voluntary conversion by heart. Also I believe Islamic organizations can help in this as it is a direct insult and misuse of Islam.
“Even after a year of `marriage’ I am not used to my new name. I was called Radha before,” she told IRIN on a rare occasion when she was allowed to go to the corner shop on her own to buy vegetables.
Ameena, or Radha as she still calls herself, was abducted from Karachi about 13 months ago by a group of young men who offered her ice-cream and a ride in their car. Before she knew what was happening, she was dragged into a larger van, and driven to an area she did not know.
She was then pressured into signing forms which she later found meant she was married to Ahmed Salim, 25; she was converted to a Muslim after being asked to recite some verses in front of a cleric. She was obliged to wear a veil. Seven months ago, Ameena, who has not seen her parents or three siblings since then and “misses them a lot”, moved with her new family to southern Punjab.
“The abduction and kidnapping of Hindu girls is becoming more and more common,” Amarnath Motumal, a lawyer and leader of Karachi’s Hindu community, told IRIN. “This trend has been growing over the past four or five years, and it is getting worse day by day.”
He said there were at least 15-20 forced abductions and conversions of young girls from Karachi each month, mainly from the multi-ethnic Lyari area. The fact that more and more people were moving to Karachi from the interior of Sindh Province added to the dangers, as there were now more Hindus in Karachi, he said.
“They come to search for better schooling, for work and to escape growing extremism,” said Motumal who believes Muslim religious schools are involved in the conversion business.
“Hindus are non-believers. They believe in many gods, not one, and are heretics. So they should be converted,” said Abdul Mannan, 20, a Muslim student. He said he would be willing to marry a Hindu girl, if asked to by his teachers, “because conversions brought big rewards from Allah [God]. But later I will marry a `real’ Muslim girl as my second wife,” he said.
According to local law, a Muslim man can take more than one wife, but rights activists argue that the law infringes the rights of women and needs to be altered.
Motumal says Hindu organizations are concerned only with the “forced conversion” of girls under 18. “Adult women are of course free to choose,” he said.
Sunil Sushmt, 40, who lives in a village close to the city of Mirpurkhas in central Sindh Province, said his 14-year-old daughter was “lured away” by an older neighbour and, her parents believe, forcibly converted after marriage to a Muslim. “She was a child. What choice did she have?” her father asked. He said her mother still cries for her “almost daily” a year after the event.
According to official figures, Hindus based mainly in Sindh make up 2 percent of Pakistan’s total population of 165 million. “We believe this figure could be higher,” Motumal said.
“My family has lived in Sindh for generations,” Parvati Devi, 70, told IRIN. “But now I worry for the future of my granddaughters and their children. Maybe we too should leave,” she said. “The entire family is seriously considering this.”
*not her real name
Before the concepts of agrarian and market economies, ancient societies especially the Roman Empire used to have a system based on Manorialism. In that society ruling elite comprising mostly of feudal elite and others used to control the land resources of the state through their political and military influence. The ruling elite support their finances and lifestyle by collecting obligatory contributions from the peasants and slave population under their jurisdiction. The contributions were in the form of coins, mandatory labor or even in the form of usable items and kinds. The dependent in return only used to get the right of living, earning just enough to live and a false sense of security.
The way situation in Pakistan is going, it seems we are moving very fast in backward direction of time to the point where Manorialism was at its peak and few lords used to enjoy enormous economic and ruling power. Recent debate on imposing new taxes or increasing the percentages of the old ones to serve the expenses and corruption of our ruling elite is a good example of this.
The reality of our situation is that few classes of our people are working like bonded labour to pay most of the taxes so that they can ensure their living and also serve the ruling classes of the state. The Tax to GDP ratio debate and the methods which are devised to increase it in order to bring it to so called international standards seems to be leading a common salary class person in a position where he will only be able to serve the ruling elite with his hard work and his own survival will be just enough to keep him available for work.
The problem with our country is not of low Tax to GDP ratio but the real problem is wastage of resources and money for serving the huge size of governments comprising of around hundred of federal ministers and equal positioned offices. Also in provinces the situation is no different with lots of illicit ministries and offices working just to accommodate the supporters of ruling elite and ensure a regular income through kick backs and percentages.
Major area of our budget goes into debt retirement and interest payments. With Debt to GDP ratio of over 60 percent resulting in high interest payments and no policy of reducing or controlling the expenses, we cannot expect any improvement in our current economic crisis. In fact the current tax debate is for RGST which is being imposed to fulfil the demand of IMF to get more loans.
Another area where we are suffering badly is unaccounted defense budget and useless expense on an unwanted war. The war is not only hitting some estimated 13.5 billion dollars annually but it is taking the investment and business opportunities away from the country resulting in unemployment and economic slow down. This economic slow down and unemployment is also resulting in high crime rate and low standard of living. This shows a real sorry situation and it seems we are in a self-destruction mode.
Now the question is how to come out of this mess keeping in mind our problems, limitations, resources and opportunities. The problems and limitations discussed above are obvious and only an average mind is required to understand them. The real thing is to look what resources we have and what opportunities we can produce for the economy of our country.
First thing to do is to reduce government expenses and for that reduction in the size of government is must. Government should limit itself in areas where it is required most or if required at all. Most of the departments and ministries like housing, women development ,defence production and many others are simply there to accommodate political allies and cronies. Also we need to see how much burden the government-owned organizations put on our economy. Not only illicit expenditures are a problem but the real problem is corruption and resulting loss of money. Not only ending corruption in these institutions is required but giving them to private sector through privatization or if no buyer is there then involving private sector through public-private partnership on merit and transparent accountability can help in reducing the expenses.
For debt retirement, not only steps like privatization based on merit, transparency and fair value can help but selling the prime commercial land which our institutions hold can help the cause. There is simply no reason to have military bases or armed forces colonies on prime commercial area such as Shahra e Faisal or Sadar. In most of the countries military bases are planned outside the cities which not only help in controlling the problem of population congestion and development of new areas but the commercial value of land can give billions of dollars which can be used for debt reduction. If we are able to reduce or eliminate our debt then instead of putting more taxes on people, our country can afford some tax relief for them.
We also need to end non productive politically motivated programs such as Benazir Income Support Program which are making people beggars. For welfare of extremely needy a community driven Zakat system can help the cause with checks and balance from the society, where it is collected from. There is a serious requirement of revising our defense and intelligence budget and for this transparency and accountability are must. We need to see where the money is going and whether it is required in the area or not. This is every taxpayers right to know that the money is spent in the right direction.
We have also invested heavily in defense technology areas including nuclear technology, military vehicles and aeronautical technology. It is right time now to open the opportunities for private sector and share the research with private sector in return of royalty or going for joint ventures with government only contributing with technology base or in rare cases land. This can help us a lot in developing a strong private sector base in automobile, aeronautical, energy and other areas of industry. Not only huge revenue can be generated but job creation without burdening the budget and taxpayers will be possible with this.
Instead of taking flood taxes, value added taxes or useless surcharges on energy which make the economy slow and increase the cost of living and business. Again a community driven Aushur system for agriculture and natural resources areas can help bring those people in contributing classes who only know how to get more out of the economy i.e. feudal-corporatist ruling elite. Also the plot and agriculture land distribution culture is needed to be ended. Currently prime residential and agricultural land is being distributed in influential sections of our society especially related to military and political elite. This culture of giving exclusive control of land based on influence is a sign of slave society discussed in the beginning.
Apart from reducing cost of business to ensure economic growth and progress of business, Rule of Law is must. Not only terrorism and government created energy crisis are making the business difficult but red-tapism, extortion money collected by mafias and political parties, illicit licensing and quotas for political corruption are making it harder for a genuine business to flourish or even start. Independent and strong judiciary, protection of human rights and freedom are must for the progress of any country.
It is wrongly assumed that government has every right or authority to get taxes out of the hard-earned money of its working classes. Government needs to justify the taxes they take and expenditure they make. Its high time for nation to see what their ruling elite is doing and whose interest they are serving. We need to decide whether we live in a free country or a medieval slave society.
Release of the diplomatic notes by WikiLeaks has given many points to think upon for our
nation and so-called leaders.
One can have opinion about the timing and selected nature of the documents. But also it needs
to be kept in mind that these were notes written by US ambassadors and foreign service employees who work with governments and officials.
For Pakistan it has added more shame to our national hall of shame. Our civil and military
rulers share there views, confidential information, policy issues and others so carelessly
with ambassadors of their masters that our status as free country comes under serious considerations.
From discussing views about political changes in Pakistan to nuclear program and AQ Khan future, Pakistani sovereignty and freedom has been compromised on every occasion by Pakistan military and civil leadership.
It’s a shame to see how our leaders were begging from American support (as reported by US ambassador to foreign office) and convincing them about their loyalty with American Administration.
We can say that the views and opinions of US ambassadors themselves, on different issues like war on terror, nuclear program or political scenario in the country , can be wrong as they represent the policies of American Administration but the conversations themselves are shameful.So far no denial or claim for these documents to be fake have not come from the US administration.
People like Kiyani,Shuja Pasha,Zardari,Gillani etc should be made accountable for their acts of selling the country and its interests. But in Pakistani circumstances it almost looks impossible.
Also it is said that these documents are released as a result of internal conflict of interests within American Administration but one thing is for sure, they should make the so-called leadership careful about their future conversations especially when they are selling their country for greed and lust of power.
No matter what the real intention of leaking the documents was but it has at least exposed some areas which were not under normal radar.
Rise as the time calls for it and help your brothers in these hard moments. Recent floods are one of the worst disasters in the history. UN has said that the magnitude of damage by recent floods in Pakistan is equivalent to combine effect of 2004 Tsunami, 2005 South Asia Earthquake and 2010 Haiti Earthquake.
Help people in need in whatever way you can. This Ramadan and Indepnedence Day of Pakistan can make us united and strong if we stand in front of this challenge with courage and honor. Its time for us to rise as a nation and build our character without relying much on foreign aid.
The items which can be sent in the areas considering the conditions there are Dry Fruits, Milk, Water, Biscuits, Medicine, Blankets, Tents, Juices and other items which can easily be consumed and disposed off.
PAKISTAN: Top 10 natural disasters since 1935 – IRIN
Source : http://infocrats.org/mag/2010/08/economy/pakistan-top-10-natural-disasters-since-1935-irin/ , IRIN (Humanitarian News and Analysis) – A Project of UN Office
LAHORE, 10 August 2010 (IRIN) – According to the National Disaster Management Authority, the current floods in Pakistan constitute the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. The 10 worst natural disasters in Pakistan in the last 75 years are:
1935 Quetta earthquake: A 7.7 Richter scale earthquake virtually levelled the city of Quetta in the eastern province of Balochistan, then part of British India. Some 60,000 people were killed in one of the deadliest earthquakes to hit South Asia. The epicentre was 4km southwest of the town of Ali Jaan, some 153km from Quetta.
1945 Balochistan earthquake: A 7.8 Richter Scale earthquake hit southwestern Balochistan on 28 November 1945. The epicentre was 98km southwest of the town of Pasni. Apart from massive damage to property, the quake led to a 40-foot tsunami causing the deaths of over 4,000 people.
1950 floods: Monsoon rain in 1950 killed an estimated 2,900 people across the country. Punjab Province, including the city of Lahore, was among the worst hit when the River Ravi flooded. Flooding also affected parts of the southern province of Sindh. Over 100,000 homes were destroyed, leaving around 900,000 people homeless.
1970 East Pakistan cyclone: The Bhola tropical cyclone struck the territory of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on 12 November 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded and is rated as one of the worst natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 lost their lives, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. The cyclone also gave rise to unrest which contributed to a civil war and the formation in 1971 of the independent state of Bangladesh.
1974 Kohistan (also known as Hunza) earthquake: A 6.2 Richter Scale quake hit Kohistan and surrounding areas including parts of Swat, Hunza and Kashmir in northern Pakistan and also the Hazara and Swat districts of the then North West Frontier Province on 28 December 1974. About 5,300 people were killed, 17,000 injured and 97,000 affected. Landslides and rockfalls contributed to the damage. Most of the destruction was centred around the village of Pattan, around 160km north of Islamabad, and in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
2000 drought: At least 1.2 million people in Balochistan were affected by drought, and over 100 died, mostly because of dehydration, according to the government. Millions of animals perished. One of the worst-affected areas was the town of Nushki, close to the border with Afghanistan. The drought lasted over 10 months.
2005 Kashmir quake: A 7.6-Richter scale quake struck the Kashmir region on the India-Pakistan border and parts of northwestern Pakistan on 8 October 2005. According to official figures, at least 73,000 people were killed and more than 3.3 million made homeless. The worst affected areas included Neelum Valley and Bagh District in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Mansehra Division. A massive international relief effort was launched. Work continues today to rebuild damaged infrastructure.
2007 Cyclone Yemyin: At least 380 people were killed in Balochistan, 250 in Sindh and 100 in NWFP as a result of flash floods triggered by Cyclone Yemyin, which struck coastal areas in early July 2007. Some 350,000 people were displaced, 1.5 million affected and more than two million livestock perished.
2010 Hunza Lake disaster: A landslide in January 2010 in Attabad village in Hunza-nagar District in the far north of the country killed 20 people and led to around 40 houses sliding into the Hunza river. Debris from the landslide caused the river to dam, leading to the formation of a large lake which threatened to flood downstream areas. Some 20,000 were forced to leave their homes by June.
2010 floods: The toll so far: 1,600 deaths; over six million affected. Pakistan has sought international help to cope with the catastrophe. Despite mass evacuations, there are fears the death toll will rise as flooding reaches the southern province of Sindh and the risk of water-borne disease outbreaks increases in many areas.
The month of August is here with Independence Day of Pakistan being one of the main highlight of it. This year we are going to celebrate the 63rd year of Independence from centuries old British Rule.
Independence day is probably the most confusing day I consider as compared to rest of the days in our national calendar.
Though like many years it has come when we are going through “National Crises” and like always our nation will try to regain its “National Confidence” and “Nationalism” through national songs and flag hoisting ceremonies.But honestly telling these displays of pseudo-patriotism are now losing their meanings in front of me.
For me independence is not merely having a state with the right to have an identity card as citizen.But its about having the right to use your potential and getting results from it.Independence is about taking your own Economic and Political decisions yourself. Independence is about living with dignity and self respect.
On one hand we are busy in fighting a foreign war which is destroying our social fabric and on the other hand we are so Economically and Politically weak that we cannot take decision in our favor about it.
Even after suffering so much in the so called “War on Terror”, we are still blamed for exporting terror by our key allies like Britain. This shame wasn’t enough for our leaders that they decided to give a pleasure visit to the country which didn’t even give slightest of regards to thousands of life we gave for their war. This visit, even after so much humiliation, was so important for our President and our government that they even didn’t give small consideration about the losses our nation is suffering due to recent devastating floods.
If we become a bit more honest and bold about judging our situation then I am afraid we will not be able to find ourselves eligible of celebrating the independence day.
Our ancestors fought for freedom so that they can have a country where principles of justice and equality will prevail. If we look at our present condition it doesn’t show promise in that regard as well.
Our national agenda are hijacked by dictators,feudal and corrupt corporatist who enjoy total dominance and totalitarian control over the resources of our country. People are made enemies of each other by exploiting sectarian, ethnic and social class
diversity we have in our society and converting it into a clash. Legislation in made in such way that criminals, plunderers and incompetent people not only can reach to the highest forum of national policy making i.e. parliament but now they are given the right to select the judiciary.
Judicial institution is probably the first and in many ways also the last institution which gives a weak and poor citizen the chance to protect himself being victimized by the elite and powerful. Without an independent and powerful system of justice no citizen can think of freedom and no nation can reap the fruits of independence.
Though some promising situation is shown by media, some sections of civil society and higher judiciary but overall our situation is not improving and in fact getting worse day by day. Apart from leadership I will also blame our nation for this as their personal prejudices, short term greed and narrow vision has brought us to this level.
We are the ones who don’t find much moral courage to criticize and stop wrong and support the right cause as our own petty issues and prejudices come in our way. This approach of prejudice, greed and narrow mindedness has also become part of our national policy making which is evident in this so called “War on Terror”.
The situation is so bad now that the nation which, despite all its weaknesses, used to help each other in hour of crisis and need is now killing each other from Karachi to Khyber even during the worst disaster of our national history.
It is now a high time for us to reconsider our national agenda and come out of this pathetic hypocritical approach. We need to sincerely judge ourselves and our problems and fix them one by one in our collective and personal lives. For once we need to think like a real honest, just and freedom loving nation.
Delay in UN report and Fatima Bhutto waiting for justice.–>Does PPP respect Bhutto legacy or they just cash it?
We have seen PPP as a feudal party always cahsing the emotions of people by playing democracy and shaheed cards. Both the cards are played over the legacy left by Bhutto family starting from Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Recent elections were another occasion where they cashed the Bhutto shaheed card but this time it was Benazir Bhutto’s murder which gave them votes and paved way for Zardari and team to takeover the country.
Benazir murder never got importance in PPP government and proper FIR wasn’t registered after a long time. A UN commission without any mendate to pin point anyone was set for fact finding.
Now when the commission was about to deliver the final report it was stopped by government of Pakistan to do so, Why and Who they are trying to protect?
On the other hand another Bhutto (Fatima) is demanding justice for the murder of her father Murtaza bhutto and it doesn’t look possible in the presence of current PPP government founded by the father of Murtaza Bhutto.
‘My father’s killers leading nation’
KARACHI – Fatima Bhutto, daughter of late Mir Murtaza Bhutto, has said those, who orchestrated the crime of assassination of her father, are currently leading the nation.
She was addressing the launching ceremony of her book ‘Songs of Blood and Sword’, held at Clifton Gardens here on Tuesday.
Political leaders, diplomats, writers and people from all walks of life attended the function.
Mir Murtaza Bhutto’s widow and Chairperson of PPP-Shaheed Bhutto, Ghinwa Bhutto, welcomed the guests, while Fatima’s younger brother Zulfikar Bhutto Junior and her cousin (Shahanwaz Bhutto’s daughter) Sassi Bhutto also accompanied her.
Fatima, wearing green dress, revealed the story of her father’s assassination which took place 14 years ago near her house, 70 Clifton, saying that her father was shot several times and the bullet that had killed him was fired at point-blank range.
Giving details about the tragic incident, she said 14 years ago seven men were murdered near her house.
“The streetlights went off and roads leading to 70 Clifton were blocked by heavy contingents of police who were waiting to kill my father,” she added.
Without taking name of President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s most outspoken political commentator and granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Fatima Bhutto said the man, who orchestrated the crime of killing her father, is presently leading the nation.
However, the police officers and other people who were charged in my father’s murder have been released due to the flaws in the system, and won national medals, she said.
Howard Zinn, a historian and an anti-war activist who raised his voice against the unjust cause of wars when many were reluctant and confused.
Zinn died at the age of 87.
I hope there are more saner voices like him.
The Nation: Goodbye Howard Zinn
by Peter Rothberg
Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and the author of the seminal A People’s History of the United States, died yesterday at the age of 87 of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California. He was in a swimming pool doing laps and was spotted immediately by lifeguards but died instantly.
Zinn’s brand of history put common citizens at the center of the story and inspired generations of young activists and academics to remember that change is possible. As he wrote in his autobiography, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (1994), “From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than ‘objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.”
By Zahid Gishkori
ISLAMABAD – The big guns of Pakistan got their over Rs 193.403 billion bank loans written off on the decisions taken by the financial teams of various governments from 1997 to 2009.
This shocking revelation was made in a report of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) submitted before the Supreme Court. The report mentioned the names of those individuals and organisations who had got billion of rupees waived off causing a massive loss to the public exchequer and facilitating the privileged of the previous governments.
According to the list consisting bank-wise summary of written-off loans of 37 banks, that is also available with TheNation, the loans of around 19,711 individuals were written off within the period of last 12 years.
A three-member bench of SCP headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard a suo moto case of Rs 54 billion written off loans case that has been pending in the apex court since November 2007.
“Over Rs 300 billion have been waived off by influential persons in the state as the arguments were being presented by the lawyers before the apex court,” the bench observed.
The SC started proceedings of the case on the request of a few citizens for public interest here on Tuesday. Chief Justice in his remarks said, “How will the looted money be recovered from the big guns of the country? Through which device can the public wealth be returned from the babus?” he questioned.
Criticising the government on failure of recovery from defaulters, he said the list of loans must be prepared at provincial levels so that cases of waiving off the loans in each province could be listed. He said court is ready to take on any resistance.
The court has directed the Governor SBP to sort out recovery mechanism of the loans waived off. It directed to hold conference with the presidents of other 37 banks to inquire about the loans written off during 1971 till date.
Dr Ishratul Hussain would be summoned to guide the court while taking u