Pak mob kills woman over ‘blasphemous’ FB post – Hindustan Times

A Pakistani mob killed a woman member of a religious sect and two of her granddaughters after a sect member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook, police said Monday, the latest instance of growing violence against minorities.

 The dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and many Pakistanis consider them heretics.

Police said the late Sunday violence in the town of Gujranwala, 220 km (140 miles) southeast of the capital, Islamabad, started with an altercation between young men, one of whom was an Ahmadi accused of posting “objectionable material”.

“Later, a crowd of 150 people came to the police station demanding the registration of a blasphemy case against the accused,” said one police officer who declined to be identified.

“As police were negotiating with the crowd, another mob attacked and started burning the houses of Ahmadis.”

The youth accused of making the Facebook post had not been injured, he said.

Resident Munawar Ahmed, 60, said he drove terrified neighbours to safety as the mob attacked.

“The attackers were looting and plundering, taking away fans and whatever valuables they could get hold of and dragging furniture into the road and setting fire to it… Some were continuously firing into the air,” he said.

“A lot of policemen arrived but they stayed on the sidelines and didn’t intervene,” he said.

The police officer said they had tried to stop the mob.

Salim ud Din, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, said it was the worst attack on the community since simultaneous attacks on Ahmadi places of worship killed 86 Ahmadis four years ago.

Under Pakistani law, Ahmadis are banned from using Muslim greetings, saying Muslim prayers or referring to his place of worship as a mosque.

Accusations of blasphemy are rocketing in Pakistan, from one in 2011 to at least 68 last year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. About 100 people have been accused of blasphemy this year.

Human rights workers say the accusations are increasingly used to settle personal vendettas or to grab the property of the accused.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistan-mob-kills-woman-girls-over-blasphemous-facebook-post/article1-1245491.aspx#sthash.4DNHtTyt.dpuf

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‘Indo-Pak tensions may escalate after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan’

The logic of Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan has always been linked to the fear of encirclement by India. Even if India has no military or security presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s establishment will see it as a threat. It is unrealistic to expect India to not trade with Afghanistan or for Afghans to not accept Indian assistance. But given the mindset of our strategic planners, I fear an escalation in India-Pakistan tensions after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, our state institutions do not seem to agree that the best way for Pakistan to have a friendly government in Afghanistan is by befriending the government in Afghanistan instead of trying to impose one.

My argument is that Pakistan misunderstood its significance for the U.S. by assuming that America will embrace its concerns about India and help build it up as a regional power against India. Great powers cannot be built solely by other nations’ aid or arms and in any case the U.S. never accepted Pakistan’s view of India. The American misunderstanding was that if only it provided aid to Pakistan it would be able to get Pakistan to align its world view with the U.S. over time. Pakistan and the U. S. never really accepted that their interests and priorities did not converge, which explains the cycles of engagement and estrangement. On the one hand, Pakistanis have grown to be dependent on the U.S. and on the other they are bitter about that dependence because it does not allow them to fully exercise what the Pakistani establishment considers to be its national interests. In some ways, the U.S.-Pakistan alliance offers a lesson on how not to conduct international relations based on unreal or falsified expectations.

this is one part of the interview conducted by The Hindu with Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/indopak-tensions-may-escalate-after-the-us-withdrawal-from-afghanistan/article5248696.ece

slavery Index

A global slavery index released on Thursday shows that about 30 million people are living like slaves around the world. Many among those, men, women and children are trafficked by gangs for sex and unskilled labour. Modern slavery was defined as human trafficking, forced labour, and practices such as debt bondage, forced marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.

The index, released on Thursday by anti-slavery charity Walk Free Foundation, ranked 162 countries on the number living in slavery, the risk of enslavement, and the strength of government responses to combating the illegal activity. It found that 10 countries accounted for 76 percent of the 29.8 million people living in slavery – India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Up to 4,400 people are estimated to be enslaved in Britain, the victims mainly from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.They are forced into sex work, domestic servitude, or low-paid jobs in agriculture, construction, restaurants and nail salons

Source: www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/10/index-nearly-30-million-people-slavery-201310171748274269.html

Freedom and Security In Pakistan

I am not in position to take any stand right now. First i’ll document some of the instances of curtailing freedom of speech and expression on ground of public security, law and order.

So, First Case

Authorities in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province on Thursday banned Skype, Whatsapp and Viber to facilitate security operations, triggering angry reactions from numerous users of the instant messaging applications. “Terrorists and criminal elements are using these networks to communicate after the targeted operation was launched (against them),”  (Side story: Ironically Pakistan was on Thursday placed among the bottom 10 countries in the Freedom On The Net 2013 report, which measured internet and digital media freedom in 60 countries.)

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pakistani-authorities-ban-skype-whatsapp-and-viber-in-sindh-province/1177991/0