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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A journey for peace, Blasphemy laws, Prisoners of archaic laws,

A journey for peace It was an unusual gathering at Karachi’s Cantt railway station, where over 100 people from civil society organisations, intellectuals, political and trade union workers, and journalists had gathered for a peaceful cause. Sixty of those gathered, including more than a dozen women, were part of a Peace Caravan that left Karachi on February 13 for Peshawar to express solidarity with people of Peshawar and the Frontier Province. The women participants in particular, mostly trade union activists and labour leaders, were enthusiastic to join the caravan as it offered an opportunity to meet the womenfolk of the area worst affected by terrorism.
the blasphemy laws have become convenient instruments in the hands of anyone who chooses to target minorities. Rafia Zakaria - These laws, contained in various sections of Pakistan’s criminal code, forbid the damaging or defiling of a place of worship (Section 295-A) and outraging religious feelings (Section 295). Section 295-C states: “Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.” The trial must be presided over by a Muslim judge in a sessions court. Defaming the Holy Prophet (pbuh) can lead to a death sentence and defaming the Quran can lead to life imprisonment.
Anjum Niaz - "Shahbaz Sharif thinks that by making think tanks, he's getting somewhere. But the tragedy is he isn't. Nothing substantial appears happening," the retired bureaucrat who has just witnessed the goings on at the CM's secretariat tells me. "Besides, the junior officers are insecure and unsure of their boss. They don't know when he may fire them on the spot!"


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