Express Tribune: It has been rather disturbing to witness the way Sherry Rehman has been the latest target of the purists within the ruling PPP. For years, Sherry has represented the intellectual vigour within her party. From drafting of manifestoes to holding the important portfolios, she has been an articulate defender of the PPP and its government. Her decision to resign in the wake of the judges’ saga and media handling of the 2009 Lahore-Gujranwala Long March was a matter of democratic choice.
After her resignation, she did not defame her party leadership and continued to demonstrate her loyalty. She is now a victim of an unwise ban on PPP leaders and legislators preventing them from appearing on a particular television channel. Worse, she has been lumped with the other dissenters — Naheed Khan and Safdar Abbasi — whose politics is altogether different. Continue reading
This statement by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), shows that we are not the only one keen to curb freedom of expression (Raza Rumi)
The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to highlight a number of restrictions to the freedom of expression ongoing in several countries in the Asian region. There are a number of situations in the region that are cause for concern with regard to this important right, affecting a range of countries with different levels of development, democracy and records concerning human rights.
At one extreme, in Myanmar, the absence of opportunities for free speech is nullifying the prospect for any notion of free and fair elections. The media have been prohibited from analysing the new laws and rules for the planned elections, or from saying anything about parties already registering for the ballot. The ALRC has submitted a separate written submission concerning the issue of the elections in Myanmar to this session of the Human Rights Council (HRC). Continue reading
Faraz Rana, a lawyer based in New York, has authored this exclusive piece for PTH. We welcome his contribution and hope that he will contribute regularly. (Raza Rumi)
Depictions of the Prophet (pbuh) are banned in Islam so people (presumably, Muslims) don’t idolize the images. The lawyer in me will tell you that a non-Muslim drawing a similar image, especially in jest, will not violate that rationale. Nor will Muslims ever confuse a cartoon with a serious depiction. Of course, using technical legal arguments to quell incensed religious rhetoric is about as effective as eradicating objectionable content on cyberspace by blocking it. Oh, wait.
The debate on FacebookGate and the underlying arguments on the limits of free speech will never be resolved by rational minds. So, in case you missed it, here is just a quick sampling of the conversations sprouting all over, coincidentally, Facebook.
The Facebook group was a collective effort to malign Muslims. The group was intended to be a demonstrated exercise in free speech by some bloggers, as a direct response to the decision by the producers of another TV show to curtail their creative outlet in the face of death threats. As often happens on the Internet, the ones with the most pent up vitriol for just about everything under the sun tend to have the most free time to vocalize it. The group was hijacked and the posts became offensive. What is interesting, though, is that the group was not very popular until people started pointing fingers at it. After that, it went Facebook viral and the offensive content just perpetuated itself. It is as if Muslims snatched the offensive content from the jaws of obscurity and brought it back to life for the whole world to see. Continue reading
By Wajahat Ali
President Obama invites Muslim communities worldwide to join him as a “partner” dedicated to ending a “cycle of suspicion and discord.” He strives “to seek a new beginning between the US and Muslims all around the world.” Although Obama confessed, “no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust,” he hopes Muslim communities will invest faith in his iconic presence as the world’s first multicultural Superman and new ambassador of a tolerant, introspective and cooperative America. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
President Obama’s landmark speech was extraordinary and unprecedented. It marks a paradigm shift in US’ relationship with the Muslim world and is a recognition that our common earth needs to be saved from destruction and mindless violence. President Obama is proving himself to be the change that he promised. Yet as a Pakistani I feel that the speech was delivered at the wrong forum in the wrong city. Continue reading
Here is a speech delivered by the CEO SRSP Masood UL Mulk at the UN Flash Appeal at the National Library in Islamabad. The four speakers on this occasion were the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, The Federal Minister for Finance and Planning Ms Khar, the Chief Secretary of NWFP and Masood Ul Mulk the Chief Executive of SRSP
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On 15th May SRSP teams based at the Transit Facilitation Center on the Malakand Mardan road, established with the help of UNHCR, to receive displaced people observed that more than 400 vehicles came down that road each hour, continuously, for almost twelve hours carrying people fleeing the war. This was a tale repeated many times and at many points on many days.
Less than 20% of these people found space in the camps established by the government to receive them. Some went to government schools. The vast majority were taken care of by the moral economy of the area reflected in its social networks, strong ties of reciprocity and traditions of hospitality and humanity. Continue reading
PTH’s post and the subsequent sharp comments have attracted some ire among the readers as to what is Varun Gandhi issue doing here? Indeed, the question merits some deliberation. We in Pakistan are constantly being demonised by the Indian mainstream media as a ‘terrorist’ country and that we are a great threat to the ‘secular’, shining India. Varun gandhi’s remarks as the saner elements of Indian media and commentators are saying only show that people have gotten away with such crap. The fissures in the secular Indian democracy get even more evident when such speeches are delivered.
Varun Gandhi’s remarks on Muslims, hate speech that goes beyond all measures of ‘hate speech’ concerns us as it only exposes us to brigades of hatred, communalism and violence across the border. If our jihadis or Islamists get inordinate attention then why should a bigoted idiot like the young Gandhi not worry us? Imagine if by a stroke of misfortune he comes to power surely we are all set to be chopped off as we – the Muslims – have ‘scary’ names; and that Pakistan would be the next target once Narendara Modi-esque pogroms are completed against Indian Muslims. Continue reading