It seems that this blasphemy thing has taken another precious life. This time Karachi University Dean of Islamic Studies Department was killed by some unknown gunmen.
Apparently, the issue is related to some blasphemy allegations on him for some academic opinion he gave.
According to The Express Tribune:
The tragic incident followed the killing of Dr Maulana Masood Baig, another teacher of the same faculty, who was targeted in a similar fashion in North Nazimabad a week earlier, said Gulshan-e-Iqbal Superintendent of Police, Abid Qaimkhani.
The story further says:
On November 6, 2012, Dr Auj had registered an FIR 460/12 in the Mobina Town police station, stating that a message, declaring him guilty of blasphemy, and thus liable to be killed, was circulated via a mobile phone number, 0303 273 8856.
The FIR, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, stated that the deceased professor wanted the police to take legal action against those responsible for circulating this message because the accusation of blasphemy with the explicit words ‘Dr Shakil Auj maloun ki saza, sar tan se juda [Beheading is the punishment of accursed Dr Shakeel Auj]‘ could get him killed.
Later, during police investigations, the names of four of Dr Auj’s colleagues, including a former dean of Islamic Studies Faculty, Dr Abdul Rasheed, surfaced for their alleged involvement in the circulation of these text messages.
We should strongly condemn this barbaric act in the name of some supposed blasphemy issue. Islam is against all kinds of injustices even with the enemy (let alone a respected professor):
“O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do.” [Al-maeda ,8]
Religious extremism was always there in Pakistani society but in the past decade government especially army and military dictatorship of General Musharraf exploited sectarianism and such issues to forward war agenda. People like Tahir ul Qadri, Zaid Hamid, Faisal Raza Abidi etc were promoted in the media to spread venom against other sects and school of thoughts using concepts like blasphemy or some supposed historical concepts. Few years ago, Salman Taseer (Ex-Governor Punjab) was killed by Mumtaz Qadri (a police officer) on blasphemy issue where Salman Taseer merely criticized a man made law 295-C.
Even few days ago, a media channel Geo was targeted for some alleged blasphemy where an anchor used a sectarian song on some actress’s re-enactment of wedding. This was done with the backing of ISI and army who were settling their political scores against the channel. Even many so called liberal and progressive civil society members and political figures backed this insane allegation campaign.
Allah never allowed forceful following of religion and in Quran He clearly mentions that :
“There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. “(Al-Baqarah, 256)
It’s time for us to start adopting reasoning and critical thinking in religious affairs instead of blindly following verdicts of clergy or state. I hope someday principles of justice will prevail against prejudices and hatred.
Recent events of march against drone strikes and attack on Malala Yousafzai have raised some important questions in my mind. These questions are mainly related to the timing of the event and how past events were dealt by the government and security institutions.
If Benazir Murder case is resolved then a lot can be understood about this fake war. For a start, one should ask that how was it possible that some rogue terrorists were able to delete or tempered the mobile communication record from the area? As far as I know that only ISI or some other high level intelligence organization like CIA (Like NADRA data they can surely access this data too) can do it.
These incidents like Benazir, Malala, Islamic University blast or Peshawar market blasts (denied by Talibans) happen at crucial times when anti-war protests take momentum or some crucial decisions are being made about further operations.
Another interesting event is the letter written by Afghan (Pentagon puppet) President Hamid Karzai to PTI’s Chairman, Imran Khan. For those who think that Malala issue is not related to drones and military operations or this fake war, there are few things to ponder upon (If they have the brain to do so). Why the president of a country would like to write a letter to Imran Khan and show the concerns which are shown by social-class and sectarian fascists in Pakistan and pro-imperialism media in USA? It seems Imran Khan and PTI’s march against drone strikes not only disturbed the plans of Pakistani sectarian and social-class fascists but also disturbed the pro-war scum internationally.
Another thing to understand about drone, NWA operation and Malala issue is that Imran Khan is scheduled to lead a protest in front of UN on 26th October 2012.
We need to find answers for these questions. For a start on Malala’s issue, government’s own interior minister Rehman Malik denied the involvement of TTP. Even if it is TTP then there are more than 15 (some say 30) groups working as TTP.
Some are fighting for revenge, some are being funded by international enemies of the country who want Pakistan to remain stuck in this war and some are local criminal gangs. Unless they are not identified clearly, word Taliban has no meaning. Free and Fair investigation can only be done in current scenario through Supreme Court or some investigation body working under SC. But again judiciary is being badly cornered by the government and army due to corruption and missing persons cases. That is why I say for a start we need to find the names behind Benazir murder case.
People say that these tribes and terrorists are ideologically connected. Ideologically connected is also a vague term. People with same customs, cultures or grievances or may be some other common points can be termed as ideologically connected. With this logic most Indians can be termed as RSS, most USA can be connected to Bund or KKK, all Irish people can be termed as IRA, all British people can blamed for the crimes of East India Company, most Israelis can be linked with Stern gang, most Germans can be linked with Nazis etc. Without addressing the root causes, one cannot solve this issue and waging a war against populations after some isolated incidents doesn’t look very intelligent especially after a decade of destruction.
When are we going to learn the lessons from past mistakes? Or Pakistan army and government are committed to repeat another 1971?
I am really sick of these pathetic occupied armed forces who just know how to control power, kill their own people, suppress their own people and serve their foreign masters and thier greed.
Likewise, the BU students were warned of expulsion in case they participated in protests or expressed solidarity with the outspoken professor. The BU main gate was closed to stop the students from going out. Nevertheless, the bravos not only showed up in a reasonable strength but also resolved to do so again on Tuesday when the sacked professors would deliver lectures on the roadside on the issue of leadership. The BU Rector, vice admiral (retd) Haroon, has meanwhile left for Hong Kong on vacation, as the situation grew tense in the university. Registrar of the university, retired commodore Mumtaz Raza, was called several times, messages were dropped, requesting for his version on the conflicting situation but he did not return the calls.
Dr Shafqat who earned doctorate in management sciences is only 32 years old but has authored three books and 50 research articles in international journals. He returned to Pakistan last year with a passion to serve his country after teaching in reputed UK universities for eight years where he was inducted into the academic staff at the age of 23 after earning distinctions in post-graduation.
Dr. Shafqat, who heads the department of Management Sciences, was expecting this showdown for a long time as he confronted the university administration on a number of occasions. Now when the administration decided to sack Professor Qamar Riaz, the termination letter was to be served through him. And he refused.
Instead, he asked for a proper inquiry to establish Qamar Riaz’s guilt. It was not done and the professor was roughed up and later sacked. It followed the termination of Dr. Shafqat. Interestingly, the sacked professors are regular employees and no notice was served nor any inquiry ordered into their conduct.
As Dr Shafqat had to attend the protest rally on Monday, he was passing through the F-8 Markaz for some business and was surrounded by two cars. “Do you know who we are?” said the sleuths as they came out of the cars, Dr. Shafqat told The News. “I got the point that they were 7-9 persons of Naval Intelligence.” They had him locked in there until the protest was over.
Dr. Shafqat has been at unease with the university’s administration since he joined it. First, he refused to keep three children of Navy officers in MBA classes, as they did not fulfil the admission criteria. Dr Shafqat had refused to take them notwithstanding the fact they were already granted admission by the registrar’s office, he told The News.
“The Registrar said we have to enrol the scions of Navy officers. I said, OK but you will have to devise a policy. Then that was never done but the pressure always keeps mounting.”
Likewise, Dr. Shafqat refused to take into the faculty a female teacher, the daughter of a serving rear admiral, and he was then put on warning: “You will face the consequences.” He also faced the wrath of the administration when he bluntly refused to comply with a wish list also including a Naval officer who desired to be inducted into the faculty when he was already taking classes at the same department. Dr. Shafqat said that he had also taken up the issue of the harassment of female students by some officials of the administration. The female students submitted a written application, naming the officers who harassed them. “As I took up the issue, the administration reprimanded me for doing this”, Dr Shafqat said.
Students protest as investigation ordered
By Umar Cheema
ISLAMABAD: A retired brigadier, the registrar of the Army-run National University of Modern Languages (NUML), on Thursday assaulted his respected professor colleague when the latter questioned the role of General Musharraf in brokering a deal with the PPP through the NRO.
The staff room discussion on President Asif Zardari’s alleged corruption and Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s role in granting a clean chit through the NRO, infuriated Brig (retd) Obaidullah Ranjha to an extent that he started hitting Prof Tahir Malik like a punching bag, leaving the latter virtually unconscious.
The incident triggered protests by the university students, who blocked the road and chanted slogans supporting the victim professor, Tahir Malik, and demanding the removal of the brigade of brigadiers, led by Rector Brig (retd) Aziz Ahmad, and assisted by the brutal Brigadier Ranjha and Brigadier Saulat Raza.
Tension gripped the university premises with all gates closed and cellphones switched off. Brig (retd) Ranjha, instead of regretting his act, said he wouldn’t care in case an FIR was lodged and defended the use of muscle power, saying: “If somebody disgraces the Army and its institution, what should I have done?” and asked the media to write whatever they wanted, adding: “I’m not answerable to you.”
The NUML administration reacts so loudly against the people questioning the Army’s role that it has taught a lesson to two civilian teachers in the short span of two weeks. The university’s journalism department, headed by Brig (retd) Saulat Raza, an ISPR veteran, recently sacked a journalist, Azaz Syed, who was in the department’s visiting faculty, after he did stories for his newspaper critical to the Army and the ISI.
The NUML is fast gaining notoriety as the recent audit report exposed rampant corruption with the auditor caught the rector and the university’s senior staffers committing different irregularities, obliging their near and dear ones, and fleecing money in the name of watchmen. The tension between the academic staff with civilian background and military background is growing by the day, making the situation worse.
As far the unfortunate thrashing incident is concerned, it occurred in the International Relations Department where Brig (retd) Ranjha was invited to attend a reception ceremony of the students where a discussion on the political situation started. As Ranjha criticised President Asif Zardari and lamented the country was being run by incompetent politicians, Professor Tahir Malik intervened, questioning why Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf brokered the deal with the PPP.
Tahir Malik, who is the son of the rector of the Islamic International University, said the politicians were always hounded and one should respect the mandate the public gave to them.
Brig (retd) Ranjha, whose appointment has also been criticised and declared illegal in the recent audit report, had also to face criticism on this count. “You have been appointed registrar without any advertisement. You don’t qualify for the position for not having the required academic experience of 15 years. You should set your house in order before pointing fingers towards the politicians. One should preach what one practices,” Tahir bluntly said, addressing Brig (retd) Ranjha.
Facing humiliation of his person and the criticism of the military’s top brass role in political bickering, in the presence of a TV journalist, sank Ranjha into chair, his shoulders drooped. But he took no time to stand up and leave the place, only to return within 45 minutes. As Ranjha arrived again, he took Tahir Malik along, saying some urgent business was to be discussed. As they walked away from the staff room, Ranjha started hurling abuses, hitting Malik on the face, kicking him on the upper part of the legs. But doing all this could not alleviate his anger. He then struck in his chest with head like a goat. Malik, who is a heart patient, fell on the ground.
In the meantime, the staff and students of the IR Department rushed to the spot, liberating Malik from the clutches of Brig (retd) Ranjha, eyewitnesses said. Dr Sohail Ahmad, head of the IR Department, who was an eyewitness, told The News he had witnessed this unfortunate incident. “Tahir is my faculty member and he was a clear victim,” he said. “We’ve demanded justice as the matter is now in the hands of the rector.”
The rector, when contacted, appeared to be very calm. Instead of going into the details of the incident and who the aggressor or victim was, he said an investigation into the incident is under way.
As far as the sacking of a journalist teaching in the NUML’s Journalism Department is concerned, it is yet another case in point of how the Army-run institution demonstrated intolerance towards freedom of expression. Azaz Syed, an investigative journalist, first had his house attacked on January 19, a week after a premier intelligence agency warned him against writing about its chief. Some days after this incident, Brig (retd) Saulat conveyed to the journalist not to come to the university for he had annoyed the institution of the Army, Azaz told The News.
Later, he was asked through the clerical staff of the department not to come till further orders. The students protested on the sacking of Azaz. Brig (retd) Saulat told the students that he could not bring him back because his own job would be in danger in that case, a student who gave audience to Saulat, later told The News. However, Saulat, when contacted for his version, denied anything like this had happened.
The U.S. and NATO should withdraw from Afghanistan.
Dear President Obama,
Your extraordinary ascent to the U.S. Presidency is, to a large part, a reflection of your remarkable ability to mobilize society, particularly the youth, with the message of “change.” Indeed, change is what the world is yearning for after eight long and almost endless years of carnage let loose by a group of neo-cons that occupied the White House.
Understandably, your overarching policy focus would be the security and welfare of all U.S. citizens and so it should be. Similarly, our first and foremost concern is the protection of Pakistani lives and the prosperity of our society. We may have different social and cultural values, but we share the fundamental values of peace, harmony, justice and equality before law.
No people desire change more than the people of Pakistan, as we have suffered the most since 9/11, despite the fact that none of the perpetrators of the acts of terrorism unleashed on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, were Pakistani. Our entire social, political and economic fabric is in a state of meltdown. Our sovereignty, dignity and self-respect have been trampled upon. The previous U.S. administration invested in dictators and corrupt politicians by providing them power crutches in return for total compliance to pursue its misconceived war on terror.
There are many threats confronting our society today, including the threat of extremism. In a society where the majority is without fundamental rights, without education, without economic opportunities, without health care, the use of sheer force and loss of innocent lives continues to expand the extremist fringe and contract the space for the moderate majority.
Without peace and internal security, the notion of investing in development in the war zones is a pipe dream, as the anticipated benefits would never reach the people. So the first and foremost policy objective should be to restore the peace. This can only be achieved through a serious and sustained dialogue with the militants and mitigation of their genuine grievances under the ambit of our constitution and law. Since Pakistan’s founding leader signed a treaty in 1948 with the people of the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and withdrew Pakistani troops, they had remained the most peaceful and trouble-free part of Pakistan up until the post-9/11 situation, when we were asked to deploy our troops in FATA.
Even a cursory knowledge of Pushtun history shows that for reasons of religious, cultural and social affinity, the Pushtuns on both sides of the Durand Line (which marks the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan) cannot remain indifferent to the suffering of their brethren on either side. The Pushtuns are proud of their history of resisting every invader from Alexander onwards, to the Persians, Moghuls, British and the Russians (all superpowers of their times) who were all bogged down in the Pushtun quagmire. So, no government, Pakistani or foreign, will ever be able to stop Pushtuns crossing over the 1,500-kilometer border to support their brethren in distress on either side, even if it means fighting the modern-day superpower in Afghanistan. Recent history shows how the mighty Soviet Union had to retreat from Afghanistan with its army defeated even though it had killed over a million Afghans.
To an average Pushtun, notwithstanding the U.N. Security Council sanction, the U.S. is an occupying power in Afghanistan that must be resisted. It is as simple as that. Therefore, the greatest challenge confronting U.S. policy in Afghanistan is how to change its status from an occupier to a partner. The new U.S. administration should have no doubt that there is no military solution in Afghanistan. As more innocent Pushtuns are killed, more space is created for new Taliban and even Al-Qaida recruits–revenge being an integral part of the Pushtun character. So, as with Iraq, the U.S. should give a time table for withdrawal from Afghanistan and replace NATO and U.S. forces with U.N. troops during the interim period.
The Pushtuns then should be involved in a dialogue process where they should be given a stake in the peace. As the majority’s stake in peace grows, proportionately the breeding ground for extremists shrinks.
The crucial lesson the U.S. needs to learn–and learn quickly–is that you can only win against terrorists if the majority in a community considers them terrorists. Once they become freedom fighters and heroes amongst their people, history tells us that the battle is lost.
Terrorism worldwide is an age-old phenomenon and cannot be eliminated by rampaging armies, no matter how powerful. It can only be contained by a strategy of building democratic societies and addressing the root causes of political conflicts. The democratization part of this strategy demands a strategic partnership between the West and the people of the Islamic world, who are basically demanding dignity, self-respect and the same fundamental rights as the ordinary citizen in the West enjoys. However, this partnership can only be forged if the U.S. and its close Western allies are prepared to accept and coexist with credible democratic governments in the Islamic world that may not support all U.S. policies as wholeheartedly as dictators and discredited politicians do in order to remain in power.
The roots of terror and violence lie in politics–and so does the solution. We urge the new administration to conduct a major strategic review of the U.S.-led war on terror, including the nature and kind of support that should realistically be expected of Pakistan keeping in mind its internal security interests. Linking economic assistance to sealing of its western frontier will only force the hand of a shaky and unstable government in Pakistan to use more indiscriminate force in FATA, a perfect recipe for disaster.
The stability of the region hinges on a stable Pakistan. Any assistance to improve governance and social indicators must not be conditional. For the simple reason that any improvement in the overall quality of life of ordinary citizens and more effective writ of the state would only make mainstream society less susceptible to extremism. However, if the new U.S. administration continues the Bush administration’s mantra of “do more,” to which our inept leadership is likely to respond to by using more force, Pakistan could become even more accessible to forces of extremism leading to further instability that would spread across the region, especially into India, which already faces problems of extremism and secessionist movements. Such a scenario would benefit no one–certainly not Pakistan and certainly not the U.S. That is why your message of meaningful change, Mr. President, must guide your policies in this region also.
Imran Khan is chairman and founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice), and served as an elected member of Pakistan’s parliament from 2002-08. The captain of the Pakistan team that won the cricket World Cup in 1992, he founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center, the biggest charitable institution in Pakistan. He is chancellor of the University of Bradford, in the U.K.
In a meeting of the People’s Resistance today (6th April) at Aurat Foundation it was decided that the members of the civil society seriously condemn the recent incident where the Pakistan Rangers posted at the Karachi University brutality beat up a University Professor on 31st March, leaving him battered and bruised
To show their support and concern the Peoples Resistance along with other NGO’s, Civil Society groups and CMKP would join the Teachers and Students of Karachi University in a Dharna outside the Silver Jubilee gate of Karachi University on Tuesday 8th April 2008 at 12:30 PM to condemn mistreatment of Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmed by the Pakistan Rangers a few days earlier. The Dharna would also demand an immediate withdrawal of all military & para-military personnel from the Karachi University campus.
LOCATION : Silver Jubilee Gate, Karachi University
DATE : 8th April 2008 (Tuesday)
TIME : 12:30 PM
A call is being issued to all concerned citizens of Karachi to join us in this protest and show their support for a respectable teacher & professor of the University while at the same time say NO to the presence of military forces in these educational institutes.
Awab Alvi 0302-8273493