Pakistan

A British couple have been murdered in Pakistan in a suspected "honour killing" after calling off their daughter's marriage. A man and his wife from the Alum Rock area of Birmingham, named locally as taxi driver Gul Wazir and wife Bagum, had reportedly visited the country to resolve a dispute over a wedding. 

"The first film I make when I go back to my village will be about unequal wages women peasants get compared to their male counterparts," says Haseena Mallah, an unlettered farmhand in her 40s. A mother of five, Mallah is one of nine women who attended a two-week filmmaking workshop from Jul. 14–26 in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, some 143 kilometres from her village near Hyderabad. And at the premiere of the engaging 10-minute film they made, entitled ‘Half Face’, these women showed that one does not always have to be technologically savvy – or even literate – to make a documentary. 

A couple have been sentenced to be stoned to death for alleged adultery by a tribal court in north-west Pakistan, with the woman's life now considered in danger. The man involved, Zarkat Khan, has run away while the woman is in the custody of the court, according to residents in Kala Dhaka, a remote area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The death sentence, handed down in Manjakot village last month, will be carried out once the man is found, a member of the tribal court said. The woman, whose name is being withheld at the request of human rights groups, is being held in a nearby village, according to campaigners. She is married and believed to have three children.

Suicide bombers devastated one of Pakistan's most famous Sufi shrines last night, marking another vicious strike by violent extremists against the moderate form of Islam practised by most Pakistanis. At least 42 people were killed and 175 injured when two bombers ripped through the Data Ganj Baksh shrine in central Lahore where thousands of people had gathered to pray, dance and listen to devotional music. The toll is expected to rise.

An abortion hotline which has been set up in Pakistan is facing violent opposition. Islamic groups and political parties have condemned the hotline, which was launched yesterday, as "anti-Islamic" and "colonial", even though it will save the lives of thousands of women who die each year in backstreet abortion clinics. They have warned the organisers that they are at risk of reprisals.

The picture shows Aqila, aged 18, celebrating her marriage in front of relatives and friends. At the time she dreamt of coming to England for a happy, long life with her new husband and his family. Two years later, the young bride is stranded in her village in Pakistan after, a court has heard, being drugged and forcibly taken back by her husband and father-in-law without her newborn baby. Aqila, 20, was dumped outside her parents' house in March without her passport and British visa, leaving her stranded with little hope of return, the High Court was told last week.

شن مسلحون يعتقد انهم ينتمون لحركة طالبان باكستان يحملون بنادق وقنابل يدوية هجوماً دموياً على مسجدين يعودان للطائفة الأحمدية التي تشكل إحدى الأقليات في باكستان، بالتزامن مع توقيت صلاة الجمعة، وذلك في مدينة لاهور شرقي البلاد. وقالت وسائل إعلام باكستانية إن الهجومين أسفرا عن سقوط عشرات القتلى والجرحى فضلا عن احتجاز رهائن داخل من بين أفراد الطائفة الذين سبق أن تعرضوا لمضايقات من قبل الحركات السنية المتشددة في البلاد، دون أن يصل الأمر إلى حد التعرض لهجمات كبيرة من هذا النوع.

We cannot possibly claim, as a country, that we value freedom of speech above all else. If we did so, we would choke on the magnitude of our hypocrisy. When, in human history, has the oppression of a country’s own citizens paid dividends to either the oppressed or the oppressors? In recent times, we as Pakistanis have developed not an immunity, but a resistance to the mental strain of terrorism. This is a tragedy of the times, and a triumph of our spirit. Recently, however, we encountered a new horror, one that I hope we shall never inure ourselves to: shame.

A freebee giveaway Harkatul Ansar clock : hands are a Kalshnikov, four of the five pillars of Islam mark the quarter hour points. The fifth pillar, Tauheed, replaced by Jehad. There was a front page photograph the day after the Lahore massacres, of an elderly Ahmedi with a cap and small white beard, hands ‘clasped together in a prayer of sorts’ as Dawn captioned it. ‘Of sorts’. Even Dawn did not want to risk calling it prayer. The photo reminded me of the iconic picture taken during the Gujarat carnage in India, 2002, in which a Muslim man, hands clasped, pleads for his life.

Shirkat Gah staff and network members participated in protests against killing of 95 innocent Pakistani who lost their lives in attacks on two mosques of the Ahmedi community on Friday, May 28th. These demonstrations took place on Monday, 31 May, 2010 and included a candle light Vigil at the Liberty Roundabout in Lahore and a protest by WAF and JAC members at the Press Club Karachi.

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