The Voice of Overseas Pakistanis
P.O. Box 4233, Berkeley, CA 94704. USA
Voice: 510/848-6200 Fax 510/666-1354
Editor-in-Chief: K. Ashraf
Editor: Geoffrey Cook
Tuesday September 06, 2011
Peaceful Sangala Hills No More,
The once peaceful and serene surroundings of Sangala Hills are no more there. It is now a bruised, torched and destroyed area. Burned localities, wounded people and hurt feelings await you in Sangala Hills. Religious bigotry and fanatic feelings has once again descended down on a hapless people and has taken its toll.
On 12 November 2005, three Churches, schools, hostel, a Parish houses, sisters’ Convent, Chapel, Holy Bibles, Christian books and Christian houses were set on fire. More than 450 Christian families had to flee from their centuries old houses, and seek shelter in other areas.
According to reports, On 11 November 2005, frantic calls were made from the minarets of different Mosques in Sangala Hill, to rise against Christians. It was announced without validating the inciteful report that one Yousaf Masih has desecrated the Holy Quran. Hundreds of people gathered together, clueless of what really transpired, and attacked the Christian localities and hurled stones at innocent Christians. All requests for security fell on deaf ears, the local police played ignorant, while the community leaders watched helplessly the torching of houses and villages.
The next day again more than 5000 people marched towards the Christian colony. Armed with weapons, patrol and highly flammable chemicals, sticks and batons, they torched and ransacked Churches and the houses. The Raman Catholic Church, two United Presbyterian Churches, Sisters’ Convent, St. Anthony High School, Girls’ Hostel, houses of the Catholic priest and Pastors’ residences were set on fire at Basti Asya, Sangla Hill, District Nankana. Around three hundred Holy Bibles, Christian literature, Crosses, and other Christian sacred material were set on fire including the Islamic studies books and Copies of Holy Quran. Again the Blasphemy law was conveniently used to incite the people against their Christian brothers. According to eye-witness accounts a gambler who lost to Yousaf Masih in gambling, placed false allegation on Yousaf Masih that he burnt the pages of Holy Quran, an allegation denied by Yousaf and witnesses present on the site to extract his lost money.
It would not be out of place to mention that the police knew about the possibilities of the attack, as the local priests had informed them about the impending crisis, but the police took no action. They remained quite and silent when the crimes against humanity were committed. Despite the fact that they are aware of the key suspects, nominated by the local Christians as well, no action has been taken to arrest them. The higher government authority also failed to respond immediately to this grave incident, as no immediate public condemnation was made nor they thought of visiting the site of incident.
A token protest was observed in all the Churches of the country and the 17th was declared as the prayer’s day. All the church run schools and colleges remained closed as a mark of solidarity for their Christian brethren who became victims of violence in Sangala Hills a small town in Nankana Sahab, Punjab. Unfortunately this is not the first or an isolated incident of its kind against minorities and their places of worship despite the injunctions of the founder of the nation towards respecting freedom of worship. Similar incidents had taken place in the past as well without any action on the part of the regime.
This incident once again exposes the much trumpeted slogan of enlightened moderation. The extremists are still controlling the country, they that under the blasphemy laws they can accuse anybody and that they can walk away free from the crime without fearing the law. Many Blasphemy accused have been murdered in custody by fellow prisoners and police guards. There have also been cases of gunning down of those acquitted by courts of law of charges of blasphemy. The Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party commented on this incident that though “Nobody condones blasphemy but no one should be permitted to take the law into their hands for settling personal scores in the name of blasphemy.”
The Human Rights Cell of the Pakistan Peoples Party condemns this incident and demand judicial inquiry, the trial of the culprits be conducted in the anti-terrorist courts and the losses inflicted on our minority community be generously compensated.
Member National Assembly and
Human Rights Cell
Pakistan Peoples Party
A Dishonest Comparison
A lot of columns and letters have appeared terming the present enthusiasm of the public in earthquake relief work as was seen in 1965. All these wise writers or professional columnists have totally failed to judiciously make an honest comparison.
As far as public’s emotions are concerned it is totally right that it has participated and contributed much in earthquake relief. Why materially has come more in these road site relief camps is because today public has more to spare. In 1965 the society did not had that much funds or materials. There were no so many richer people but citizens were of real large heart . People had limited incomes but even then people in 1965 donated. Today only a section of the society has more money and materials to spare hence it looks as if people are giving more relief.
Secondly in 2005 political parties in order to encash the earthquake miseries are struggling hard to win the race as can be seen from the TV coverage that more than the relief names of these political parties are repeated and announced on channels.
Last but not the least and the most important is that in 1965 each and every Pakistani from inside his heart and with true national spirit did his national duty. The proof of which is during those days there was not a single incident of thievery, people left villages without remotest fear of empty houses being looted, no hoarding, no increase in prices, truck trip not increasing from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 6000, no one wished to listen his name on Radio in connection with his donation. Today that spirit is totally lacking. See the styles of bureaucrats and leaders. This morning Chief Secretary of the province worst hit on Geo TV interview was with his red type, crisp suiting. His style of talking had not even the remotest sign of any grief on his face. This is the position every where. Same time appeared people on TV telling they cannot shift safer places as they have to take care of their belongings buried under buried. Such a thing was not heard of in 1965. More attention is on TV camera photographs by leaders, stars, elite sportsmen etc with statements rather than practical work. Markets are full of shoppers, Iftar parties are going on, politicians are going abroad etc. Did anyone saw this in 1965? That 1965 spirit in this nation would never come back. Thanks to our rulers and politicians, they have engaged us to the mos important issues t, as one reader said, in TV serials, food streets, night crickets which have changed our habits. In 1965 every one, a man on street, literate or illiterate, a government official all were united one hand. For example then in 1965 it was not that Relief Rehabilitation Commissioner saying that India has rejected President’s proposal for opening of LOC for relief work but Foreign Office same time saying no response from India has so far been received.
Petroleum Minister Naseer Mengal and
Overseas Pakistanis Ghulam Sarwar recently went on
Quick Visas Between India Pakistan
There is a saying sufferings of others are good a news unless we ourselves become a news.
Its real meaning have dawn on me only now after reading a letter to editor of a sufferer.
I was born in India. I was a one year kid when crossing blood stream my family brought me to Pakistan in refugee camps. In miserable condition my grand parents and parents started life and today with blessing of ALLAH we are from lower middle class. We are like millions other under these financially hard days are settled in Pakistan and we never treat ourselves as “Mohajirs”. My two brothers after graduation since 1985 never got any jobs thanks of political domicile system etc. My grand parents died remembering and wish to see their old houses left behind in India where they were grown up. Like late Moulana Shah Ahmed Noornai I never liked opening of Indian boarders unless solving the real problems though being a real human being I have full sympathies for divided families.
However my thoughts have recently changed reading a letter to editor on the subject “Expensive Medicines:”. Karachi’s Raza Ali Doosa wrote that he was prescribed Zelmac which costs Rs. 500/- for 10 tablets He is to use total 180 tables in three months. Since out of his reach he arranged through some friend and bought same medicine with same standard and made of same company at Indian Rs. 58.50 per 10 tables which comes to savings of Pak. Rs. 7956/- for 180 tables.
This has all of a sudden change my mind. Any one including myself can meet the same situation. I wish there is some 24 hours quick and easy India visa where people like Raza Doosa could go morning say fro Lahore to Atari Town in Indian, buy the medicine etc and in few hours come back. Now when both countries have opened their hearts this sketchy idea should be considered.
Don't Rush to Judgment
On the alleged remarks of General Pervaiz Musharraf that rape has become a easy money making and easy settlement in Canada a lot of hue and cry has been made. General Musharraf has clarified, and I believe on that, it was his own wordings but he stated what many were in Pakistan today thinking. And this is not incorrect. Mukhtar Mai is a real victim. She really suffered. But the money and glamour came to her have brightened eyes of many for future hopes. If one wants to understand then he should keep the photograph of innocent totally illiterate Mukhtar Mai when she was raped and her initial photo appeared both at home and press. Also place parallel to it her latest big size colour photographed appeared this week in international press receiving a cheque of Rs. 600,000 from Amin Fahim. In this photograph see her style, her light green matching suite with golden shining golden ring. See the expression on her face particularly her health. Try your best to match the face of this photograph with that of old photograph, difference will speak in itself that why rape is going to be an attractive means for others. In her new photograph she appears to be from elite "Begumats" whose photographs we often see doing social work in 5 start hotels for poor shanty huts population. On this alleged remarks of President every Dick and Harry has spoken including so called women rights activist MNA Sheri Rehman. I do not recall if she made the same noise when Sonia Naz was arrested sitting on Assembly chair near her. The gang raped victim Mukhtar Mai has speaking to a Dubai newspaper says she was pained on hearing of General Musharraf’s alleged remarks. However the most surprising remarks are from the alleged police raped victim Sonia Naz, She says I am hurt by these words of President. She adds she has no money even to buy medicines for her two infant babies. I can not stop wondering her "protectors and sympathizers" who eg. Asma Jehangir etc if can provide Sonia nice accommodation, high cost security, costly press conferences, cost communication systems like NWD and international faxes, high cost advocates for her high court case, why cannot they provide just a Rs. 100/- for medicines for her two babies? I wonder why this "free honest" press fifth pillar of the state is deliberately silent that while publishing her statement that she has no money for medicines for two babies, same lady has paid approx. BD 4.5 millions in three phases to police and third man mediators. From where she or the family got all this huge fortunate whereas her husband is just a Lower Division Clerk hardly earning Rs. 4000 a month. While General Musharraf allegedly referred to some people taking about money concern, one other angle is yet invisible and that is more dangerous. That angle is that rather than spending huge money and long time in courts, it would be more easy for wives of arrested criminals to "arrange" a rape with some distance relative and pin it to investigation officer and police. The results would be wonderful. In hate against the General or in a fashion to criticize the government one must not be quick to jump on conclusions. Rape has always been there but all of a sudden such victims raising the issue with help of NGOs and media and alleging in each case gang rape particularly by law enforcing agencies must be a serious point to ponder before siding one party.
In his weekly Postcard USA of 7 August 2005 the retired senior bureaucrat turned journalist says how Pakistan’s image has been tarnished after American journalist Kristof recently wrote two columns in New York Times based Kristof’s meeting with Dr. Shazia. He tells how after these columns world over there is an outpouring of sympathy and support for Dr. Shazia. I have never been able to understand that our senior technocrats and bureaucrats after retirement when settled in their safe heavens of USA, Canada, how all of a sudden everything in Pakistan becomes dirty, gloomy, uncivilized for them.
Rape is the worst form of crime against the women and the society in general. What happened with Shazia and Mukhtar Mai has no words to cover condemnation by those who respect their mothers, sisters, daughters. However, Shazia’s mysterious behaviour at that time had itself been a point to ponder. The whole nation cried on Shazia’s pain. So-called NGOs both at home and abroad put all their weight behind Shazia because it was a chance for them to tarnish the image of Army as an institution. But Shazia despite all this support in the weak argument of harassment allegedly by agencies and others kept mum and preferred silently to go the heavens of Europe getting a visa sitting home. Same sort of threats the illiterate villager Mukhtar Mai received from Police and area tribal elders but she stood firm and straight? And now seeing the money, fame and social status coming to Mukhtaran inline with a few other gang rapped sprang up in press recently, Shazia too has broken her silence and started again. What is all this?
Khalid Hasan in his USA Postcard has mentioned briefly the messages Dr. Shazia has received world wide after publication of above Kristof columns. One such message is from a women writing from Tel Aviv saying “I had tears in my eyes reading the column about Pakistani rape victim. I too am a rape victim”.
So it means rape also happens in Israel. A 10 years girl was gang raped in UK last month in a garden. A police officer rapes a women last month in India. At least one rape happened to that women in Israel. Can any reader particularly the columnist Khalid Hasan enlighten us through this column if in Israel on rape of said Israeli woman similar up-roar happened? Did local Israeli NGOs demonstrated on roads and supported that ill fated Israeli women? Did NGOs from USA where Khalid Hasan enjoys living invited that Israeli raped women to visit USA in the interest of women rights as these NGOs had been calling Mukhtar Mai? Did CNN showed that victim? This will increase readers knowledge. By the way since now Shazia’s case has been taken I am sure now Mukhtar Mai case will get low priority in eyes of these columnists and NGOs. As this start of ignoring the Mai should open the eyes of both Mukhtar and Zhazia. Mukhtar has renewed his request to authorities to allow her to proceed to USA to work for women rights? Has she completed and her women rights awareness and welfare work she started in her area? Mai concentrate on your own area rather than spreading your legs all over Pakistan and abroad wishing to become a champion of women rights. You are a used “cartoos” now and very soon NGOs, women rights activists, Kashmilas would forget you as they would find new doors to keep their “livelihood”. Do not play in hands of these foreign funded people. Rest on respect and sympathies gave you by ordinary people of this country.
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