The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is deeply shocked that a court in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, has sentenced a 45-year-old Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death on the charge of having committed “blasphemy”. Although illiterate, she has been accused of denying the institution of prophet-hood by citing copious examples from the key texts of Islam. We join local human rights organizations, international women’s groups and religious minorities in calling for Pakistan to urgently repeal its Blasphemy Laws. We also appeal to the authorities to guarantee the safety of Asia Bibi and her family from the rage of local extremists, as well as investigate the violent persecution of the Christian community in the Punjab.
In this Groundviews interview, the interviewer asks WLUML Council member, Chulani Kodikara, about affirmative action, and also whether for example, the entry of telegenic females sans political acumen to parliament in any way helps advocacy on stronger female representation. Pegged to this, he also questions her about substantive equality, that goes beyond, in her own words, the classical liberal notion of formal equality which assume that removing formal barriers, for example giving women the right to vote and be elected to political office, is sufficient to give women equal access to political institutions.
منظمة التضامن النسائي للتعلّم بالشراكة مع حملة مؤسسة أورات لإغاثة نساء وأطفال ومسني الوطن الأم من الفيضانات. أطلقت مؤسسة أورات، شريكة منظمة التضامن النسائي للتعلّم في باكستان، حملة إغاثة وطنية من جراء الفيضانات بهدف تلبية الإحتياجات الملحة للنساء، الأطفال والمسنين. نحن بحاجة لمساعدتكم/كن للتمكن من توفير الإمدادات الحيوية (اللوازم الحرجة) لضحايا الفيضانات الأكثر عرضة للخطر. تواجه باكستان حالياً أسوأ كارثة في تاريخها، حيث اجتاحت فيضانات ضخمة أجزاء كبيرة من البلاد وأثرت على 20 مليون شخص بصورة مباشرة. إن المعاناة البشرية الناجمة عن هذه الكارثة هائلة، حيث قتل أكثر من 2000 شخص والعدد الى تزايد كل يوم، اضافةً الى تشرد الملايين وحرمانهم من المياه النظيفة والغذاء والإمدادات الطبية. لقد تدهورت الأوضاع الصحية نتيجة هذه الكارثة وبات المرض يشكل تهديدا خطيراً، حيث يواجه 3.5 مليون طفل مشرد خطر الموت جراء أمراض مثل الكوليرا والتيفوئيد والإسهال الناتجة عن تلوث المياه ونقص العناية الصحية. أكثر من 8 مليون فدان من القمح والقطن وقصب السكر والمحاصيل الأخرى خربت (قضت عليها الفيضانات) مما أدى إلى مخاوف كبيرة من انعدام الأمن الغذائي لعدة أشهر مقبلة. (راجع صور الدمار في باكستان)
Pakistan is facing yet another emergency situation due to severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall which, according to UN reports, has directly affected fourteen million people so far. Shirkat Gah - Women’s Resource Centre (SG)*, Pakistan, is actively engaged in providing and coordinating relief to those affected across Pakistan through its partner community based organizations in synchronization with all three Shirkat Gah offices in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.
Breakthrough is an international human rights organization that uses media, education and pop culture to promote values of dignity, equality and justice in the United States and India. Mehrunissa and Tarannum are two women teachers in Lucknow. They talk about ideas of education and exposure among lower middle class Muslim societies, their own experiences, and prejudice faced by their friends and peers. They talk about their mothers and the remarkable perseverance they showed in educating their daughters.
A Small Dream is a documentary film produced and directed by WLUML networker, Gulnar Tabassum. It tells the story of a young girl (Humaira Bachal) from the Moach Goth squatter settlement, Karachi, Pakistan. The only girl in her community to go to school, Humaira decided to teach children from her community, at home, the lessons she herself learnt in class.
For the first time the Pakistani assembly has discussed the need to amend the Blasphemy Laws, and there's a constitutional review committee in the parliament. Many civil society groups are pushing for a secular basis to the constitution. On August 28, 2009, the investigation report of 48 detained accused were submitted before the Anti-Terrorism Court. All the detained accused in Korian case will be produced before court again on Sep 11, 2009.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network calls for the government of Pakistan to repeal its laws on blasphemy. The urgent need for law reform has been highlighted by the recent deadly attacks on a Christian community in Punjab, Pakistan, whose members were accused of desecrating the Qur'an. Members of a banned Islamist group, Sipah-i-Sahaba, took the law into their own hands and it is reported that policemen present did not try to control the mob and protect the citizens.
With clear evidence of political interference in Ms Mai's case it is uncertain when her case will be heard again, and her legal team are only advised in the last minute by the judiciary. Please see the letter of thanks for the support Ms Mai and her family have received:
Mukhtar Mai’s case has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 at the Supreme Court of Pakistan at Islamabad. Ms Mai was just informed by the office of her council Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan. This is an astonishing move. Since 2005, Mukhtar Mai’s case was pending before the Supreme Court without any hearings being scheduled. There continues to be political influence in this case and regular serious threats to her life and the lives of family members in an attempt to pressure her to drop the charges against her perpetrators.