Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pakistan: Abuse of Christians and other religious minorities

Exclusive expose from Family Security Matters :

This year, Christians in Pakistan have suffered their worst persecutions for a decade. As a percentage of the population in the predominantly Muslim country, Christians number less than five percent. This year, seven Christians were burned alive in mob violence at Gojra in Punjab province. Four of these were women and one was a four-year-old child. In other parts, homes and churches have been destroyed and hundreds of Christians have been forced to flee their homes.
 
Pakistan's discriminatory blasphemy laws have continued to be used to oppress minorities. As soon as a police complaint (FIR or First Information Report) is made about blasphemy the accused is compulsorily remanded in custody until trial. One Christian individual who was detained in this manner died violently on September 15th, even though the police who incarcerated him attempted to pass off his death as a suicide. In almost all the cases of legislative oppression and mob violence against Christians, blasphemy has been invoked as justification.

[ ... ]

The violence in Gojra, in which Christians were burned to death, stemmed from a dispute that involved accusations of blasphemy. On Tuesday June 30th, a month before the atrocities, more than 110 Christian families were forced to flee their homes in the village of Bahminwala (Bahmina Wala) in Kasur district in Punjab province. The Christians were forced to hide in the fields around the village. They were driven out because Muslim mobs, encouraged by the local mosque, accused them all of blasphemy after one of their number had been listed in an FIR report.
 
The rampaging began after an incident that had occurred on the previous day. An argument broke out between a Christian farm laborer, 38-year old Sardar Masih (Arif Mashi), who was driving a tractor, and a Muslim riding a bicycle who came by and demanded that he should be allowed to pass. When this did not happen, the Muslim (Muhammad Riaz) apparently accused the Christian of being lower caste and a fight broke out.
 
According to Pakistan Christian Post, a mosque imam called Qari Lateef (Qari Latif) was consulted, and charges were filed against Sardar Masih at the local police station. These charges did not – it seems – include blasphemy, but the imam used his mosque loudspeaker system to make such accusations. In the ensuing unrest, electricity meters on Christian houses were smashed, Christian villagers were beaten, and houses were looted and burned.
 
The Daily Times newspaper sent journalists to the region. They met Shaan Ali and his brother Imran, who had both led the mob that attacked the Christians. Shaan Ali claimed, "The Christians had committed blasphemy." He could not specify who had committed this blasphemy. Ahmed Ali Dhillon of the provincial assembly confirmed that Qari Latif, imam at the village mosque, had instigated the violence against the Christians.

~ more... ~

[ Part 2 of the same series ]

Unable to attract even a single girl, frustrated man sues Axe

New Delhi. In what could prove to be a major marketing and legal embarrassment for Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), a 26-year-old man has filed a case against the FMCG company, which owns the Axe brand of men grooming products, for 'cheating' and causing him 'mental suffering'. The plaintiff has cited his failure to attract any girl at all even though he's been using Axe products for over seven years now. Axe advertisements suggest that the products help men in instantly attracting women.

Vaibhav Bedi, the petitioner, also surrendered all his used, unused and half-used deodorant sprays, perfume sticks and roll-ons, anti-perspirants, aftershaves, body washes, shampoos, and hair gels to the court, and demanded a laboratory test of the products and narcotics test of the brand managers of Axe. Vaibhav was pushed to take this step when his bai (maid) beat him with a broom when he tried to impress her by appearing naked in front of her after applying all the Axe products.

“Where the f** is the Axe effect? I've been waiting for it for over seven years. Right from my college to now in my office, no girl ever agreed to even go out for a tea or coffee with me, even though I'm sure they could smell my perfumes, deodorants and aftershaves. I always applied them in abundance to make sure the girls get turned on as they show in the television. Finally I thought I'd try to impress my lonely bai who had an ugly fight with her husband and was living alone for over a year. Axe effect my foot!” Vaibhav expressed his unhappiness.

Vaibhav claims that he had been using all the Axe products as per the company's instructions even since he first bought them. He argued that if he couldn't experience the Axe effect despite using the products as directed, either the company was making false claims or selling fake products.

~ more... ~

Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission continues hearings

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Mathaba) On day one of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Commission Hearing, victims of torture at the hands of the U.S. soldiers, security and intelligence agencies continued to give sworn testimony in front of Commission panels and witnesses.

The War Crimes Tribunal Commission hearing is to continue tomorrow, and follows a two day Conference to Criminalize War held at the same venue under the auspices of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War.

Mathaba is unable to continue live coverage of the proceedings due to inadequate Internet media and communication facilities on location.


From KL War Crimes Commission Hears Guantanamo Atrocities :

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Bernama) -- A British Muslim detained for three years at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison manned by the United States, revealed that the youngest detainee he knew of was a nine-year-old boy who was also tortured like the rest.

Ruhal Ahmed's story was among more accounts of atrocities committed against the detainees at Guantanamo, told before an open commission hearing which began today on the sidelines of an international conference to criminalise war.

The testimonies before the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission Hearings will be submitted to a tribunal in conjunction with the Criminalise War Conference and War Crimes Tribunal 2009 spearheaded by former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir, an outspoken war critic, had said that the tribunal's decision would be forwarded to the United Nations for further action.

Malaysian lawyer Zainur Zakaria headed the six-member panel today that heard the heart-wrenching experiences of seven who spoke of almost daily physical and emotional torture by the US army over alleged ties to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban movement...


From Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission hears nine charges against Bush, Blair, Howard :

Global Research Editor's Note

What has been initiated in Kuala Lumpur is a legal procedure distinct from previous war crimes tribunals. The Commission chaired by former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as well as the Tribunal are integrated by several of Malaysia's most prominent jurists.

[ ... ]

The Kuala Lumpur War Crime Commission chaired by former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad heard nine charges against US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard for the sufferings of the people in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.

The charges against the US and its allies were presented by the legal counsel on behalf of the war crime victims, Matthias Chang, before Dr Mahathir and the other five commission members at the final day of the three-day war crimes conference organised by the Perdana Global Peace Conference.

Chang said Bush, Blair and Howard, through a deliberate plan of deception, falsehood, forgery and outright lies, misled their respective Congress and Parliament to wage war against Iraq which was a "crime against peace."

The trio were also being charged for embarking on a systematic campaign to destroy Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine economically and militarily, he said.

He said the third charge against them was for ordering the destruction of vital facilities essential to civilian lives in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine while the fourth was for the bombing of schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, residential areas and historical sites and conveniently labelling the destruction as "collateral damage".

The three leaders were also charged with allowing the use of weapons of mass destruction that inflicted indiscriminate death and suffering against civilian targets such as the cluster bomb, napalm bomb, phosporous bomb and depleted uranium ammunition, said Chang.

The sixth charge said that Bush, Blair and Howard have fraudulently manipulated the United Nations and the Security Council as well as corrupting its members to commit crimes against peace and war times, he said...


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