Pakistani Judge Attacks Social Media Terrorists

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court declared this week that those who upload “blasphemous” materials on social media are “terrorists.”

[Siddiqui said] “If government cannot block such blasphemous pages then it should shut down PTA. If we need to close the entire social media on this count then we will do so.”

He gave these remarks while announcing the orders in the case of uploading of blasphemous material on social media Tuesday.

Justice Shaukat Aziz remarked, “I declare all those as terrorists who upload such blasphemous material on social media.”

The Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority tried to explain to Siddiqui that it’s not possible to filter social media for blasphemy, to which Siddiqui suggested that the chairman should quit and/or the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority should be shut down if they couldn’t not remove blasphemous materials.

Personally, I’m of the view that the best solution to blasphemous speech is more blasphemous speech.

UN Human Rights Rapporteur Condemns U.S. Drone Attacks in Pakistan

Ben Emmerson, United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, recently visited Pakistan and issued a condemnation of the U.S. drone attacks there.

An odd component of Emmerson’s criticism is the claim that the drone attacks violate Pakistan’s sovereignty, since Pakistan keeps protesting the strikes to U.S. Embassy officials and both houses of Pakistan’s parliament have passed resolutions demanding an end to the drone strikes.

On the other hand, thanks to Wikileaks and other sources we know that in the past Pakistan has publicly condemned drone attacks while privately sharing information with the United States and even encouraged such drone attacks. The drones used in attacks in Pakistan, in fact, are widely believed to be based within Pakistan itself. Until late 2011, U.S. drone operations were apparently based out of Shamis Airfield in the southwest Pakistan.

Apparently, as in the United States, generals and intelligence agencies need pay little heed to something as unremarkable as a legislature.

Here’s the full text of Emmerson’s press release on the drone attacks in Pakistan:

UN Counter-Terrorism Expert meets victims of drone strikes in Waziristan and receives clear statement from the Government of Pakistan that it considers US drone strikes to be counter-productive, contrary to international law, and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity

ISLAMABAD (14 March 2013) – UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson on Thursday issued the following statement following his visit to Islamabad between 11 and 13 March 2013:

The UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, conducted a three-day visit to Islamabad, Pakistan between 11 and 13 March 2013. This visit took place in connection with the Special Rapporteur’s ongoing inquiry into the civilian impact of the use of drones and other forms of targeted killing in the context of counter-terrorism operations.

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Pakistani Earthquake Used as Opportunity to Steal Property from Widowed Women

According to the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Networks, the earthquake in Pakistan at the end of last year was used as an opportunity to steal land and other property from unmarried women.

Typical of such victims is Zumera Bibi. The IRIN report describes how Zumera and her four daughters left their house temporarily after the quake. While she was gone, her dead husband’s nephews seized the property and claimed it as theirs. According to the IRIN story,

Zumera has no sons, and as tradition dictates she and her daughters have no right to the property, which would revert back to the brothers of her husband on his death. Even though, under the law, her daughters should get at least a share in the inheritance, this is frequently denied to women.

Well there’s a shock from a part of the world where women can be raped as a method of tribal revenge.

The IRIN story goes on to say that,

In some cases, the claims of the women to hte property have been challenged, and according to reports received by NGOs active in quake-hit areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), women without mail family members have been forced to vacate homes or else hand them over to male relatives in the hope that, in return, they will help care for them and their children.

With apparently no credible system of property rights, it is easy to understand why Pakistan’s per capita GDP sits at a pathetic $2,400. In the process of impoverishing women like Zumera, Pakistan is impoverishing the entire nation.

Source:

Pakistan: Female quake survivors losing property. Integrated Regional Information Networks, January 3, 2006.

Pakistani Earthquake Used as Opportunity to Steal Property from Widowed Women

According to the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Networks, the earthquake in Pakistan at the end of last year was used as an opportunity to steal land and other property from unmarried women.

Typical of such victims is Zumera Bibi. The IRIN report describes how Zumera and her four daughters left their house temporarily after the quake. While she was gone, her dead husband’s nephews seized the property and claimed it as theirs. According to the IRIN story,

Zumera has no sons, and as tradition dictates she and her daughters have no right to the property, which would revert back to the brothers of her husband on his death. Even though, under the law, her daughters should get at least a share in the inheritance, this is frequently denied to women.

Well there’s a shock from a part of the world where women can be raped as a method of tribal revenge.

The IRIN story goes on to say that,

In some cases, the claims of the women to hte property have been challenged, and according to reports received by NGOs active in quake-hit areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), women without mail family members have been forced to vacate homes or else hand them over to male relatives in the hope that, in return, they will help care for them and their children.

With apparently no credible system of property rights, it is easy to understand why Pakistan’s per capita GDP sits at a pathetic $2,400. In the process of impoverishing women like Zumera, Pakistan is impoverishing the entire nation.

Source:

Pakistan: Female quake survivors losing property. Integrated Regional Information Networks, January 3, 2006.

Pakistan Jails Writer for Blasphemy of the Judaic Kind

In Pakistan this week, 40-year-old writer Younis Sheikh was sentenced to life in prison for writing a “blasphemous” book that insulted the four Imams.

The four Imams are Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal and Imam Shafi, who all lived and wrote in the 8th century. Their interpretation of the Qu’ran and Hadith forms the basis of Sunni Islam. Malik’s writing is the earliest surviving book of Islamic law.

According to a Pakistan’s Daily Times,

“The court has sent him to jail for life as he described the four Imams as Jews in his book,” public prosecutor Naimat Ali Randhawa said after the court in Karachi sentenced the man on Thursday. . . The writer also committed blasphemy by saying that stoning to death for adultery was “not mentioned in the Quran”, he [Randhawa] said.

Sheikh has had countless confrontations with Pakistani officials over such “blasphemies.” In 2002, he was sentenced to death for saying at a public lecture that the Prophet Muhammad was not a Muslim until the age of 40 when he had his first vision, and that Muhammad’s parents were not Musims when they died, since their death preceded Muhammad’s religious revelations.

Source:

‘Blasphemy’ author gets life term. Daily Times (Pakistan), August 16, 2005.

Pakistan Vows to Crack Down on Honor Killings

A day after Pakistan Prime Minister Musharraf issued a public call to end honor killings in that country, the BBC reported that two women in were murdered in what were believed to be honor killings.

In one incident, a man murdered his 21-year-old sister and her husband for marrying without first gaining the consent of the family. In the other incident, a man murdered his 17-year-old sister based on his belief that she was having an affair of some sort.

Estimates by human rights organizations suggest that 400-500 women are victims of honor killings every year in Pakistan. On February 10, Musharraf said that such murders were a “curse” and that his government would prosecute people accused of such crimes (Pakistani police have been accused in the past of doing only cursory investigations into suspected honor killings). Musharraf also called for more debate on Pakistan’s Hadood laws that, among other things, require four male witnesses for women to pursue rape charges against men.

Sources:

Pakistan ‘honour killings’ arrest. Paul Anderson, BBC, February 11, 2004.

Musharraf plea on ‘honour killings’. BBC, February 10, 2004.