Please see below Open letter to The President, Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Chief Justice, and heads of all political parties, Pakistan, re: murder of Shahbaz Bhatti and demand for action against calls for violence and vigilante action
Deadline for endorsements: Monday March 7, midnight Pakistan time after which we will compile signatures and send to the recipients and to media. Endorsements [your name, designation, location] can be made at the blog www.citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com <http://www.citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com>, or via email email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> . Please share with friends in Pakistan and around the world. If anyone wants to translate it and circulate, please feel free. Thanks
Open letter to The President, Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Chief Justice, and heads of all political parties, Pakistan
Re: Murder of Shahbaz Bhatti and demand for action against calls for violence and vigilante action
The murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, again highlights the rampant lawlessness in Pakistan and the impunity with which the "forces of violence" act against "whoever stands against their radical philosophy," to quote the late Mr Bhatti. These "forces" find fertile ground to operate in an atmosphere where calls to vigilante action are publically made and celebrated.
We urge the government and its functionaries to swiftly apprehend charge, try and punish Mr Bhatti's murderers, and also to take immediate measures to curb this trend.
We urge all political parties and parliamentarians to take a clear stand on this issue: No citizen has the right to cast aspersions at the faith and beliefs of any other citizen or to term someone else a `blasphemer'.
We urge the federal and provincial governments, the judiciary and the security and law enforcement agencies to ensure protection for those, like former information minister Sherry Rehman, who are publicly threatened by extremists
Some immediate steps that must immediately be taken include:
1. An urgent and meaningful shift in the long-standing policy of appeasing extremists, by the security establishment, the judiciary, the political class and much of the media, with a few honourable exceptions.
2. Hold accountable and charge under the law those who incite hatred and violence; zero tolerance for any public labeling of anyone as `blasphemer', which in the current situation is an incitement to murder, even brazen declaration of criminal intent and commission of a crime. Some recent examples of such incitement are:
- Maulana Yousuf Qureshi, Imam of the Mohabbat Khan Mosque, Peshawar, announced a Rs 500,000 award for the murder of Asia Bibi if the Lahore High Court acquitted her of blasphemy (reported on December 3, 2010, a month prior to the murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer; some newspaperseven wrote editorials supporting this call for murder.)
- Banners placed at public places in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi-Islamabad by "Tehreek-e-Nifaz-Tableegh-e-Islam" terming Tehmina Durrani as Pakistan's Taslima Nasreen and demanding that she be hanged. These must be removed forthwith and the organisation, and administrative officers who allowed these banners to be placed, proceeded against.
3. Prevent the rising number of `blasphemy' cases being registered, by laying down and enforcing a law whereby no such cases may be registered without being inquired into by a judicial magistrate.
Please include your name, designation, location.
Citizens for Democracy (more about CFD below)
Citizens for Democracy (CFD) was formed on Dec 19, 2010 in Karachi, as a coalition of professional groups, NGOs, trade unions, student unions, political parties and individuals, with a one-point agenda, to work and create awareness against the misuse and abuse of the 'blasphemy laws' and religion in politics.
Friends in Lahore and Islamabad have come together to form CFD chapters there so that there can be a united front for our one-point agenda.
Anyone who endorses CFD’s one-point agenda is a friend or member, regardless of religious or political beliefs.
CFD blog: www.citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com <http://www.citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com>
Email: email@example.com <.firstname.lastname@example.org>
Twitter: @cfdpk <http://twitter.com/cfdpk <http://twitter.com/cfdpk> >
CFD public statements:
Statement on assassination of Salmaan Taseer - http://bit.ly/g0l1hJ <http://bit.ly/g0l1hJ>
Request for Suo Moto action against vigilantism, incitement to violence, posted sent toChief Justice of Pakistan on Feb 10: http://bit.ly/gKmhXs <http://bit.ly/gKmhXs>
Open letter to Chairman Senate: protest justification of murder, January 30, 2011 -http://bit.ly/evokRp <http://bit.ly/evokRp>
Press Statement: No one has the right to term someone else a ‘blasphemer’, February 2, 2011 - http://bit.ly/hmqRMe <http://bit.ly/hmqRMe>
FACEBOOK: CFD page – http://bit.ly/gcMiUh <http://bit.ly/gcMiUh>
Statement of principles and calls to action
CFD opposes all laws and customs that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, language, ethnicity, gender caste, class or economic status.
CFD calls for and supports measures that protect innocent people from false accusationsof 'blasphemy' due to personal dispute, political or economic rivalry, and professional jealousy.
We respect the right to free speech and encourage discourse and debate. We uphold adherence to rule of law and advocate strict action against those who take the law into their own hands.
We will work against the turn towards extremism in our society that is threatening the security of every individual and destroying democratic state institutions.
We envisage a Pakistan where social justice prevails, where equal economic opportunities are provided to all, and where security for the lives and properties of Pakistani citizens is ensured - a Pakistan built on the basis of harmony among all national, ethnic, religious, and other communities.
Calls to Action
1. Bring the killers of Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti to justice
2. All cases of murder must be dealt with as murder and not justified on 'religious' or 'cultural' pretexts
3. Zero tolerance for any incitement to violence or murder; all such cases must be dealt with under the law
4. Monitor and initiate complaints against hate speech at mosques or other places of worship
5. Monitor and initiate complaints against hate mongering in the media
CFD supporting organisations include Professional Organisations Mazdoor Federations & Hari Joint Committee - POJAC, an umbrella organisation including: 1. Sindh High Court Bar Association; 2. Pakistan Medical Association (PMA); 3. All Pakistan NewspaperEmployees Confederation (APNEC); 4. Mutahida Labour Federation; 5. Karachi Union of Journalists; 6. Pakistan Workers Federation; 7. All Pakistan Trade Union Federation(APTUF); 8. All Pakistan Clerk Association; 9. Democratic Labour Union State Bank of Pakistan; 10. UBL Workmen Union (CBA); 11. National Bank Trade Union Federation; 12. Karachi Bar Association; 13. Pakistan Nursing Federation; 14. National Trade Union Federation; 15. Sindh Hari Committee; 16. Govt. Sec. Teachers Association; 17. Pakistan Hotel And Restaurant Workers Federation; 18. Mehran Mazdoor Federation; 19. All Sindh Primary Teachers Association; 20. Sindh Professor Lecturer Association; 21.Malir Bar Association, Karachi; 22. Pakistan Trade Union Federation (PTUF); 23.Railway Workers Union Open Line (cba) Workshop; 24. Mehran Railway Employees Welfare Association; 25. All Pakistan Trade Unions Organisations; CFD members and those endorsing the above statement also include: 26. Awami Party; 27. Labour Party Pakistan (LPP); 28. Progressive Youth Front (PYF); 29. Communist Party Pakistan (CPP); 30. Peace and Solidarity Council; 31. Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education & Research (Piler); 32. Action Committee for Human Rights; 33. Dalit Front; 34. National NCommission for Justice and Peace (CJP); 35. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan(HRCP); 36. Caritas; 37. Aurat Foundation; 38. Women’s Action Forum (WAF); 39. People’s Resistance; 40. Sindh Awami Sangat; 41. National Organisation of Working Committees; 42. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF); 43. Child and Labour Rights Welfare Organisation; 44. Progressive Writers Association (PWA); 45. Port Workers Federation; 46. Shirkat Gah; 47. Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC); 48. Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA); 49. Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust (SNPET); 50. Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN); 51. Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF); 52. SAP-Pakistan; 53. AwazCDS-Pakistan; 54. GCAP-Pakistan; 55. Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF); 56. Labour Education Foundation (LEF); 57. Progressive Youth Forum; 58. National Students’ Federation (NSF); 59. The Researchers; 60. Tehrik-e-Niswan; 61. Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD); 62. Crises Support Group of Residents for Defence and Clifton, Karachi; 63. Baaghi: A blog for secular Pakistan; 64. Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP); 65. Ansar Burney Trust International; 66. Viewpoint International; 67. Pakistan Youth Alliance; 68. Sustainable Development Policy Institute(SDPI); 69. Youth Together for Human Rights Education (YTHRE); 70. The Institute for Social Movements (ISM); 71 South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-Pk); 72. Institute for Development Initiatives; 73. Shehri-CBE; 74. Institute for Peace and Secular studies; 75. Youth Parliament of Pakistan; 76. Pattan; 77. Awami Jamhoori Forum; 78. Community Development Initiative (CDI)
CFD founder members (original working committee): Saleem Akhter (CPP), BeenaSarwar (journalist), Nasir Mansoor (LPP), Naeem Sadiq (concerned citizen), Nasir Arain (concerned citizen), Nuzhat Kidvai (WAF), Noman Peter (NCJP), William Sadiq (Action Committee for Human Rights), Noman Quadri (student), Zeenia Shaukat, Zulfiqar Shah (Piler), Dr Habib Soomro, Dr Samrina Hashmi (PMA).