Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No Signs of Abatement

The Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani "on Monday categorically said that the government had no plans to amend the blasphemy law. Neither have we thought of it nor we are going to think of such a thing." Dera Ghazi Khan, in Pakistan's Daily Times:
The PM said that those who were saying that a committee had been formed to amend the blasphemy law were wrong, adding that no such committee was formed. However, a committee at the party level was formed to discuss proposed legislations moved by MNAs and this committee had rejected any amendment in the blasphemy law, he said, adding, “I cannot even think of making an amendment in the blasphemy law.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Pakistan, the rabid religious forces gain confidence.  The humiliations described below were carried out by the same group of which Mumtaz Qadri, Salmaan Taseer's murderer, was a member:
Lahore (AsiaNews) – Two Christian women, mother and daughter, who recently suffered violence and humiliation, are now in a safe place. An angry mob turned against them in Lahore, beating them, after they were accused of blasphemy. The incident began with a dispute between the two and a Muslim woman, who is married to their son and brother, over the religious education of the mixed couple’s daughter. Mgr Rufin Anthony reacted to the fact, slamming Pakistani society’s increasing intolerance, a sociological problem it must deal with the utmost urgency. 
Speaking from their hideout, John Chand, son and brother of the victims, told AsiaNews that the two women “are afraid of being attacked by extremists” and are hiding to avoid being killed. 
The mob beat Saira Chand and her mother so badly that both lost consciousness. At some point during the attack, some of the abusers put necklaces made of old shoes around their necks, smeared their faces and put them on the back of donkeys to parade around their east Lahore neighbourhood. After regaining consciousness, the two women vehemently rejected the accusations of blasphemy, touching their feet repeatedly, to demand pity from their tormentors. 
A local Muslim leader, Mian Muhammad Sameer, said he did everything to get the two women to “confess” their crime of blasphemy. 
A member of Sameer, the same organisation to which Malik Mumtaz Qadri, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer’s murderer, belonged, he said he was proud of his wife, who “beat Saira more than anyone else.” 
“Her hand is so swollen she hasn’t been able to cook since the day of the incident. I’ve been getting my meals from a restaurant,” he added.

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