Pakistan’s extremists mullahs would be taking out massive processions Friday all over the country to demand hanging of Aasia Bibi, 45, mother of five who has been sentenced to death by a Punjab court.
Friday is Muslim sabbath. The main religious parties in Pakistan including Jamiat Ulema Islam and Jamaat Islami have given calls for protest rallies after noon prayers to keep the blaphemy law in tact in Pakistan’s statute books.
Pakistan’s tough blasphemy law calls for death penalty on anyone who blasphemes Islam or Prophet Mohammed.
The religious parties have also given a call for a shutter down strike next Friday, or New Year’s eve.
In June last year, Aasia Bibi had allegedly asked Muslim women with whom she was working at a field that Jesus Christ had given his life for her and what sacrifice did Prophet Muhammad give for them. Her question allegedly followed an argument as the women had refused to drink water she had fetched for them saying an infidel’s hand had touched the water tumbler.
“We appeal to Maulana Fazlur Rehman, to please call off the protest demonstration. His father the late Mufti Mehmud, was a real moderate Muslim who believed in secular politics,” said Nazir Bhatti who is president of Pakistan Christian Congress and publisher of Pakistan Christian Post.
Rehman is the chief of Jamiat Ulema Islam.
Bhatti recalled that the late Mufti Mehmud had opposed the nationalization of Christian schools and hospitals way back in the early 1970s in two Pakistan provinces, Khyber Pashtunkhwa and Balochistan, and that was the reason why no schools or hospitals were nationalized there.
“Please follow your father who was an enlighten Muslim. Please take back your call,” Bhatti urged.
Hindu human rights activist say the situation with the equally sheepish minority Hindus in Pakistan is equally pathetic where even their marriages are not recognized to this day.
Gopinath Kumar Rajput, publisher of Pakistan Hindu Post, says according to the data he collected at least 1030 persons were charged under these anti-blasphemy clauses from 1986 to August 2009, while over 30 persons were killed extra-judicially either by angry mobs or individuals.
“I am appalled by the political expediency of the government and ruling party who do not want to take a firm stand on the misuse of the blasphemy law but instead are trying to sweep the basic issue of freedom of expression and discrimination on the basis of religion under the carpet,” Rajput said in a letter to Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari. “The deliberate institutionalisation of Islam’s status as protected and predominant promoted the perpetuation of religious intolerance by Islamic fundamentalists,” he added.
Rajput regretted even dead Hindus are frowned upon and he cited a case on Tuesday night when the remains of a 10-year-old Hindu girl was dug out from a Muslim grave to “purify” the graveyard.
Pakistan means land of the pure and the name was conceptualized under British patronage to ridicule the majority Hindu faith in India as impure. Arab Muslim invaders massacred more than 80 million Hindus and destroyed thousands of their temples in India before becoming rulers of India, independent historians say.
South Asian analysts blame Pakistan’s military for promoting Islamic extremism even more vigorously since they met their Waterloo in the Paltan Maidan of Dhaka, Bangladesh formerly East Pakistan, on December 16, 1971. On that day more than 90,000 Pakistan soldiers surrendered at the hands of the Mukti Bahini and Indian army.
Even now, Islamists are acting as show boys of the Pakistan’s defense establishment and scapegoating Aasia Bibi to shield the Al Qaeda and Taliban as the U.S. is determined to take out their sanctuaries that shifted to Pakistan when the U.S. launched Operation Enduring Freedom in winter 2001.
Christian and Hindu women are routinely abducted and forcibly converted and married against their wishes, raped and killed in Pakistan but no culprit has ever been brought to justice in the last 63 years.
Aasia Bibi is presently lodged at the Sheikhupura jail, Punjab, which is also the stronghold of the Pakistan military — fourth largest in the world.