Ishtiaq Ahmed on What kind of State was Pakistan supposed to be?

Jinnah’s Prerogatives

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed, Daily Times, December 10, 2017

I fully understand the concern of a whole range of intellectuals representing an assortment of liberals and leftists who steadfastly and heroically keep writing that Jinnah was a secularist, he wanted Pakistan to be a secular state or at least an inclusive Muslim state. As far as an inclusive Muslim state is concerned they are right to a point, but they are dead wrong when they assert that Jinnah was a secularist or that he wanted Pakistan to be a secular state.

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Disappearance of Human Rights activist Raza Mahmood Khan


Activists, family seek Raza Khan’s release

Activists belonging to various rights groups as well as friends and family of Raza Mahmood Khan, a rights activist who has been missing since Dec 2, condemned the ‘enforced disappearance’ of activists and attempts to silence and harass those speaking up for peace and human rights.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, they announced that they would file a habeas corpus petition for Raza’s recovery in the Lahore High Court on Monday and approach the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances as well.

They announced holding nationwide protests and separate agitations in front of the Pakistani embassies in Washington DC and London.

Raza was seen last leaving his office at around 8pm on Dec 2, after attending a talk on extremism, shared Raheemul Haq, a friend and fellow activist of Raza’s. The next day, his friends called him up several times but his phone was switched off. Panicked, they visited his single-room apartment and found it locked from the outside, but the lights inside were switched on.

Raheem explained that this was uncharacteristic of Raza, who never left his house without turning the lights off. Nevertheless, his friends called Raza’s family in Kasur to ask if they knew where he was, but they had not heard from him either. They approached the police then.

Raheem said they entered the apartment to find all of Raza’s belongings scattered on the floor. The police pointed out that his computer’s CPU was missing.

“We are in a world of pain,” said Hamid Nasir, Raza’s younger brother, who filed an application with Naseerabad police station. The FIR was registered on Dec 5. Hamid stressed that his brother did not have any enemies. Raheem added that Raza was involved in several community initiatives around art, peaceful coexistence and urban issues.

As the convener of Aaghaz-e-Dosti, an initiative to help students from India and Pakistan send each other messages and paintings depicting peace, Raza had been a staunch advocate of peace in the region. Activist Saeeda Diep explained that the initiative – which did not receive any NGO funding – would publish calendars carrying paintings of students.

Representing the Women’s Action Forum, Humaira Shaikh said, “We condemn Raza’s enforced disappearance and appeal to the government to at least inform his family about his safety and wellbeing.”

The panel, which included lawyers Sarah Suhail and Asad Jamal, demanded that the state fulfil its obligations under Articles 4, 10, 24 and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan and protect the rights of citizens and activists. They added that the trend of picking up activists – as many as six activists have been picked up this year – had created a sense of fear and aimed at silencing them. “But we will not be silenced, and we will use every platform to agitate and raise our voice,” Sarah said.

Pakistanis freedom of expression must be protected: HRCP

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released a statement on the eve of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights demanding that Pakistanis freedom of expression must be protected

Pakistanis’ freedom of expression must be protected

Lahore, December 9, 2017: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is perturbed by the rapidly eroding space for freedom of expression in the country.  The right to know, dissent and free expression of ideas is essential to any democratic setup. Without the free flow of information and ideas there can be no informed discourse between citizens, which will breed further divisions and intolerance within society.

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Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed on Barelvis & the Pakistan movement

Barelvis and the Pakistan movement

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

The Daily Times, November 30, 2017

When a nuclear armed state relinquishes authority to handful of fanatics

Dharna deal: state willingly ‘mortgages’ its writ

Marvi Sirmed, The Daily Times, November 28, 2017

The state of Pakistan mortgaged its writ willingly yesterday by signing an agreement with religious protesters camped at Faizabad, which at best is an embarrassing blot on its face and at worst resembles the humiliation Pakistan had to endure in 1971 when the saviours of the nation signed off the dismemberment document. True that the agreement with these few hundred religious protesters lead by a cleric is not comparable to the surrender document with Indian army. But it is also a fact that the state voluntarily surrendered all its authority and powers to ensure people’s safety and right to penalize the violators of its writ. In the times to come, this shortsighted move by all organs of the state would haunt us in innumerable ways.

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