Sunday, 6 June 2010

Political response to Ahmadi massacre in Pakistan - bigotry at its worst

The Islam that is my religion seeks to establish such a society where all citizens of the state enjoy equal rights and religion does not become the basis for any discrimination. Religious teachers who taught Islam to me in my childhood taught me that Islamic law holds both Muslims and non-Muslims equal and no superiority or privilege is given to the Muslims on any ground. That the Islamic state is responsible for the protection and security of minorities.

While I saw light at the end of the tunnel today when the leader of opposition in Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif mustered up courage and spoke out against the barbaric act of terrorism carried out against the Ahmadi minority in Lahore. I am disgusted at the outcry his statement has caused from the so called religious intelligentsia who are almost about to declare Mian Nawaz Sharif an infidel for calling the Ahmadi minority our "Brothers and Sisters".

Whatever their religious beliefs Ahmadis are Pakistani citizens. Though Pakistani constitution declares them non-Muslims and a religious minority, they as citizens have a right to security as any other Pakistani. Tolerating massacres of innocent civilians because the victims happened to have a different religious belief is abominable and un-Islamic.

The reprehensible incident of Lahore and the atrocious public and political response can only be attributed to Pakistani society's lack of knowledge of actual teachings of Islam. The vacuum of knowledge, unfortunately, is bridged by the semi-literate clergy and bigoted religious-political leadership with no exposure to the Islamic historical tradition, demands of contemporary age and challenges of future.

Apathy of civil society, media and political leadership to the increasing intolerance towards minorities is worst form of bigotry in practice by a state and its citizens.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Gaza Aid Flotilla Massacre - join Amnesty International asking for an independent enquiry

Minimum we can do to is to join our voices and record our protest against the Israeli massacre of aid workers heading toward Gaza.
At least ten activists protesting the blockade on the Gaza strip have been killed by Israeli forces. The activists were on a flotilla of ships carrying aid to the Gaza strip in defiance of the blockade.

Israel says its forces acted in self-defence but the level of lethal force used by Israeli troops appears to have been out of all proportion to any threat posed.

The Israeli authorities have the primary responsibility to investigate the use of lethal force by its forces but given the international nature of this incident, there is also a need for an immediate international investigation. We are calling on Israel to launch an immediate credible and independent investigation into these killings, and to allow the UN access to conduct an international inquiry.


For nearly three years Israel, which is the occupying power in the Gaza Strip, has implemented a policy of banning all movement of goods and people, except for the most basic humanitarian necessities which are imported by international aid agencies. Only a fraction of patients in need of treatment outside Gaza are allowed out, and dozens have died waiting for Israeli permission to travel.

The blockade does not target armed groups but rather punishes Gaza’s entire population by restricting the entry of food, medical supplies, educational equipment and building materials. Israel has a duty under international law to ensure the welfare of Gaza’s inhabitants, including their rights to health, education, food and adequate housing.
Amnesty International is asking us to come together and Act Now by sending the following message to the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. It take less than a minute to send this message from the Amnesty International site.
As a supporter of Amnesty International I welcome your statement of 31 May and I urge you to support the call for a credible, independent and international investigation into the deaths caused by the raid on the aid flotilla in international waters outside Gaza on May 31 2010.

Given the international nature of this incident and the continuing lack of credible Israeli investigations into violations of human rights in the context of the Gaza conflict, there is a strong need for an immediate international investigation and it’s important for the interests of regional peace and security that the UK strongly and publicly advocate such a call.

The Israeli authorities do of course have the primary responsibility to investigate the use of lethal force by its forces, as well as the claims by Israeli officials that Israeli forces were attacked with a range of weapons. But for full credibility and transparency, Israel should be strongly urged to invite the relevant UN experts to carry out an investigation into the events of 31 May.

The UK should also publicly back the calls for the Israeli authorities to make public immediately the rules of engagement issued to the troops who carried out this lethal attack.

Furthermore it is essential that the UK Government insist on the Israeli authorities immediately providing the names and locations of those UK Nationals detained, as well as their physical condition and legal status. UK officials and lawyers should also be allowed access to those arrested, detained or in hospital.

The UK must also insist that the Israeli authorities promptly release those who are detained unless they are charged with a recognisable criminal offence, and to insist that Israeli security forces and police do not employ excessive force against demonstrators protesting the events of 31 May.
Give the martyrs of Gaza a minute of your time.