Pakistan

For Fazeelat Bibi, 21, the last few days of 2009 have brought her some retribution, if not cheer. "Justice has been delivered," said the young woman, her voice void of any feelings. An anti-terrorism court in the Pakistani eastern city of Lahore, on Dec. 21, ordered the noses and ears of two brothers, Sher Mohammad, 27, and Amanat Ali, 29, to be cut off after doing the same to Bibi in September. The court also sentenced the brothers to life imprisonment and ordered them to pay 700,000 rupees (8,300 U.S. dollars) in compensation to the victim.

Balochistan does not have a vibrant middle class nor does it have an active civil society. The media are too restricted and operate unprofessionally with the intention not to offend the government and the tribal chiefs. Perhaps it is this reason that Balochistan is absolutely quite even after the barbaric killing of four women in different incidents in a period of barely one week. Women have been killed brutally by their own close family members in Balochistan’s districts located on the Sindh border on suspicion of having illicit relations with other men. The wired justification given for these reprehensible murders is the “family honor” that is presumably compromised by the “immoral girls”.

Christians, Hindus, Muslims, legal experts, religious scholars and activists for human rights, are all concerned about the abuses perpetrated in the name of the blasphemy law in Pakistan and call for its repeal.  A popular front is emerging in the country which promises to bring the battle for the cancellation of the norm that provides for life imprisonment or the death penalty for those who profane the Koran, or defame the name of the prophet Muhammad.

‘Give peace a chance’ may just be another cliché for many, but for women who have suffered the ravages of war, endless strife and other forms of conflict, joining hands to find meaningful solutions to their collective aspiration lends it a whole new meaning. "For 5,000 years women have been sitting in ‘jirgas’ (tribal councils), at least in Afghanistan. We have ‘jirgas’ all over Pakistan’s tribal areas also, and we thought why not introduce this concept?"

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.

Pakistan’s draconian “blasphemy” laws have come under renewed criticism since several Christians were killed this summer by a mob of Muslim fundamentalists in a pogrom-style attack.
Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC) expresses its grave concern over increasing incidents of violence against religious minorities.
An interview with Dr Charles Amjad-Ali, the Martin Luther King Jr Professor for Justice and Christian Community and the director of Islamic studies programme at the Luther Seminary in St Paul, the United States.
Gojra city police on Wednesday night arrested one of the accused for allegedly attacking and injuring 13 Muslims.
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.
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