Books and Documents

Islam and Human Rights (31 Jul 2010 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Human Rights in Pakistan: Cultural and Ethnic Dimensions

Full Text of a Speech made by Sultan Shahin, editor, New Age Islam, on 11 June 2010, addressing a parallel seminar on Human Right Concerns in South Asia organised by Inter-Faith International during UN Human Rights Council’s June 2010 session at Geneva


We are holding this discussion at a time when cultural and ethnic minorities in Pakistan are in great distress, with suicide bombers routinely killing sectarian minorities like the Shia and the Ahmadi during prayers inside mosques, cross border terrorism once again raising its head after a brief lull, terrorists trained in Pakistan seeking to perpetrate terror even in the West.

 After a few threatening noises following the recent Times square bombing attempt, the international community appears to be treating its dealings with Pakistan as business as usual. But if we are to get rid of the menace of massive violation of the human rights of sectarian, religious, ethnic minorities and women in Pakistan as well as cross border terrorism, it’s high time the world took the issue of neutralising the epicentre of terrorism in the world more seriously.


Just a couple of weeks ago, nearly a hundred Ahmadis were killed while praying in their mosques in Lahore. This kind of killing has become virtually routine for another sectarian minority, the Shia. Suicide bombers regularly invade their mosques on the pretext of praying with them and explode themselves, killing scores of their co-religionists. Ethnic minorities like the Baluchis, Mohajirs, Pashtuns and Sindhis are under constant pressure of varying intensity at different times on different pretexts.


Religious minorities


 Religious minorities like Hindus and Christians face similar persecution. There have been several incidents of these religious minorities having had their prayer houses burnt down, killing scores. Forced conversions to Islam, particularly of Hindu girls, who are abducted first, have become another routine. Hindu minorities who constituted 23 per cent of the population at the time of Pakistan’s creation in 1947 have now been reduced to barely 2 per cent. These religious minorities, along with the Ahmadis, also suffer from Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws which prescribe death for alleged defamation of Islam. In the case of Ahmadis their mere claim to be Muslim constitutes blasphemy. This leads to some ridiculous but deadly situation for the minorities. Two Ahmadi teachers were put under detention and faced the threat of death penalty merely because their bikes had a sticker containing a verse of the Holy Quran, (Is God not sufficient for His servant?). Ten important functionaries of the Ahmadiyya Community were detained under PPC 295-A, 298-C and 295-C which carry long imprisonments and death penalty for writing the following in their correspondence:

 (In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful)

 (We praise Him, and invoke blessings on His Noble Prophet)

 (May peace and Allah's mercy be with you)


A case was registered under the Blasphemy law on 12 October 1994 against three Ahmadis for translating the Quran in Sindhi language. Subsequently, two more Ahmadis were added to the final charge sheet, alleging them to be the publishers.


In this age of the internet it will not be difficult for anyone to find hundreds of examples of such persecution of the ethnic, religious and sectarian minorities in Pakistan.


International dimension


Pakistan’s violation of human rights is not only causing distress to millions of its own citizens; it has an international dimension as well. For Human Rights defenders around the world, the most worrying aspect is the involvement of State laws and state machinery.  It is no accident that the recent attacks on Ahmadis took place in the backdrop of the recent 18th Amendment to the Pakistan constitution which has sealed off the office of prime minister to non-Muslims by declaring that the post will be held by a Muslim. The presidency has, since 1956, already been reserved for Muslims alone. State’s growing intolerance of minorities inevitably encourages extremists to perpetrate more terror.


For Pakistan’s neighbours like India, the concern arises from the fact that Pakistan continues to ignore, if not actively support, the terrorist groups it had spawned earlier under some misplaced strategic imperatives to export terrorism to other countries.


For Muslims around the world, the concern is that Pakistan maintains such discriminatory laws and allows its misuse by the state machinery in the name o Islam, supposedly to promote Islam. After all, the terrorists who blow themselves up, killing scores of people in Ahmadi or Shia mosques, do not do so just because they have been offered some money, but because they have been brainwashed into believing that this act will take them instantly to heaven. There are ostensibly Islamic institutions preaching this evil, brainwashing their pupils and training them to do so. These institutions are well-known, their leaders strut around Pakistani cities, addressing large gatherings, preaching terror, openly collecting donations for their nefarious acts. Pakistani state cannot possibly be unaware of these events, particularly as it organises security for the leaders of these institutions like Hafiz Mohammad Saeed of Jamaat-ud Dawa and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.


Pakisani civil society


It is heartening that Pakisani civil society is seized of the matter and many intrepid journalists are condemning such dastardly suicide bombings and other terrorist acts at great personal risk. But at the same time, and very unfortunately, one hears voices, even in the English media that used to be the one corner of sanity in Pakistan, justifying killings of Ahmadis and persecution of other minorities in the name of maintaining the purity of Islam. This is largely a result of the ongoing project of Wahhabisation around the world that has spawned many vested interests promoting a very dry, desiccated version of Islam in which the beauty and generosity of Islam, its compassion and mercy have no place. It is necessary for mainstream Muslims to sit up and take notice. Let us hope there is still time and Islam can still be retrieved from the hands of these marauders.


Pakistani state’s continued involvement in promoting acts of terror abroad, even if it is more an act of omission rather than commission, as it claims, has to be inevitably viewed with concern by all those who believe in the indivisibility of human rights. One cannot protect human rights in one country and allow their violation in another country. But this is a cause for even greater alarm for Muslims who see the goings on in Pakistan, as tarnishing the fair name of Islam, thus immensely fuelling Islamophobia around the world. It is no accident that Islamophobic political parties have begun to gain ground in several European countries in the aftermath of continuing massive human rights violations in some Muslim countries and by Muslim extremists even after 9/11. 


UN, OIC must intervene


Humanity in general, but Muslims in particular, have got to become very careful about how Islam is being projected by Muslims in the eyes of the world. Thus not only world organisation like the UN, but also Muslim Organisations like OIC must intervene and seek to impress upon offending Muslim countries like Pakistan to stop following domestic and foreign policies that sully the name of Islam. Suicide bombers trained in Pakistan are not only creating havoc in their own country, but also crossing land and seas to terrorise the world. It is strange that while the International community seizes upon the slightest violation of human rights in some countries to condemn them from all corners, it is quite reluctant to put pressure on Pakistan to change course. This is presumably because it is perceived as an ally in the ongoing war on terror. But it has to be understood that by its acts of omission and commission Pakistan is actually fuelling this war. It is not in Pakistani interest or at least in the interest of all-powerful Pakistan Army for this war to end. So those of us who are working towards creating a more peaceful world should take the issue much more seriously than we have done up to now.


Copyright: www.NewAgeIslam.com




  • Hello KEN, It is clear that Islam does not allow freedom and this applies to democratic freedom, religious freedom, female emancipation, and so forth.

    Yes, some Muslims paint a picture which is very different and they may themselves support peace; however, it does not weigh up when we look at (Prophet) Mohammed himself and the same applies to Islamic Sharia law and dhimmitude.

    Despite this, it will suit nobody for Pakistan to collapse and it will only make things worse for the entire region because Islamists will have a free rein and India will witness even more chaos.

    The domino effect will be terrible and Afghanistan, India, Iran, Central Asia, and others, will feel the consequences of this.

    Also, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Christians, and others, would suffer many pogroms and Shia-Sunni tensions would increase just like in Iraq.

    The people of Pakistan deserve better.

    It is also noticeable that radical Islam is creeping into India and the current situation is very dangerous.

    Lee Jay Walker

    By Lee Jay Walker -

  • We need to decide whether Pakistan or Islam is the problem... I respect the many followers of Islam who are truly peace loving..but unfortunately vast majority of the moderates stay silent as the extremist voices take centre stage. My own friends from Islamic faith who are well educated in the west, and have high ranking jobs in america, when challenged quickly blame other religions but never accept to the faults in Islam which is destroying one Islamic nation after another...

    The reality is Texas oilmen make Saudi Arabia rich with oil money. Saudi Arabia exports extremism. Islamic countries predominantly ruled by religious zealots to hide their incompetence and bad governance, embrace extremism for money.. Extremism needs an enemy to propagate extremism... Today believers of Islam all over the world need an enemy to survive..Out of more than 25 countries that are Islamic, hardly one or two have any semblance of womens rights, minority rights, freedom of speech etc.. Even 100% islamic nations are ridden with violence which are sectarian, religious and against ethnic minorities and women... Pakistan is a pawn..the real problem lies within Islam and its so called guardians....Unless we have the correct problem defined, we cannot have meaningful solutions...

    By KEN -

  • As I wrote elsewhere, nobody has any choice.
    British PM can be vociferous against Paki duplicity, but he still says to Gilani that he needs more collaboration with the Pakis to fight terrorism.
    America does the same. American establishment is aware of ISI link, but they have to yield to blackmail by Pakis and provide aid in return for Pakistan's fight against Taliban.
    Let's face it - everybody knows about the Paki problems , but everybody accepts the current option of engagement despity duplicity as a better option because there is no alternative.
    Their army is their strongest institution. Political class is weak and cannot take on the army. Nawaz Sharif had to go because he tried to sack Musharraf.
    Mullahs and terrorists are strong and popular. Bypassing the army means strengthening terrorists. Starting a war means risk of nuclear conflict. Curbing power of the army or punishing the political leadership means helping to strengthen the Mullah/terrorist power.
    At least when army is in power, ISI help to terrorists will be covert; whereas if Mullahs are in power terrorists can operate overtly.
    What's the alternative? None.

    By DC -

  • It is sad. One thing is Pakistan has never become a nation. There is Pakistani army and ISI. They own Pakistan. Pakistan is their backyard. Every nation has an army but Pakistani army has a nation. The army grabbed land, they operate industries, smuggle drugs, blackmail the world and loot all the aid sent to Pakistani people. They need mullahs, terrorists and its is a mutual beneficial arrangement. 
    But there is anarchists like ARoy who will want you all the minortities in Pakistan dead. These apologists will keep coming up with all the excuses for these babaric murderers. It is India's fault. It is Hindu's fault. It is America's fault. It is Jewish fault. It is Kashmir. It is Palestine. They give one excuse after the other to the Pakistani army. 

    There is one way. The international community have to impose sanctions on the exports, imports, arms and destroy the army/ISI. 
    The Chinese monsters need to be kicked in their balls because these commie scums have supported Pol Pot, North Korean Kim and ba$tard like Pakistani army. This is so common with these commie murderers all over the world. For them, their goals are more important than the mass murders they commit. 
    The commie loose cannon ARoy is all over the US like a mad cow. She never speaks about the Chinese murderers. The b1tch has so much venom against India and US but never speaks one word against this Chinese scamsters. 
    Unless the Pakistani army/ISI are destroyed, there is no escape for poor Paksitanis. 
    Check this blog and a poor Pakistani's agony. 
    http://inewp.com/?p=4406 --------------------...-------------------- It is time, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousuf Raza Gilani, fires the Chief of the Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvaiz Kayani, and the top officials at the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). 
    Mr. Gilani is also required to file a First Investigation Report (FIR) at the nearest police station against Kayani and the ISI bosses for the murder of 3,400 Pakistanis; these Pakistanis were killed by suicide bombings carried out by the terrorists directly under the command and control of Kayani and his ISI cohorts. --------------------...-------------------- 
    Who will bell the cat? The ordinary Pakistani has no chance against this murderous regime.
    By VIVEK, Hyderabad -

  • Sultan Shahin is a brave Muslim. I wonder if he is given any security at all. Anwar has rightly said that the Muslims from secular nations must speak up against radicalization and hijacking of their faith by Isalamo-fascists. Can that prevent rogue regimes of Pakistan from carrying out the dastardly act of abating, sponsoring and harboring religious terrorism? That's a different story.DC
    By DC -

  • Many Muslim majority countries including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia remain woefully backward in the area of human rights, especially minority rights. They also continue to use barbaric penal methods such as stoning to death, whipping, cutting off of hands etc. Muslims in India, Western Europe and North America have a duty to speak up on these issues because they are the beneficiaries of secular systems, and they live in countries where they enjoy a lot more freedom of speech than is available in many Muslim countries. Mr.Sultan Shahin must be congratulated for bringing these issues in sharp focus.

    By ANWAAR -

  • Pakistan may or may not disintegrate but saffron vultures like Ken and Nonfanatic have already started salivating! It is true however that it is essential for Pakistan to separate state and religion, or at least put religion on the back burner and build their national identity on cultural and economic factors. They have a more natural kinship with India than with Saudi Arabia.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin -

  • AHMAD - No point to raise the problem of Israel because it is nothing to do with regional problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir, or the growing threat of radical Islam within India.

    Muslims are killing each other in Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan (Darfur) Turkey, Yemen, and so on.

    Even the Palestinians are divided between Fatah and Hamas; in fact, it is ironic that Palestinian Arabs within Israel have more hope than Muslims in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan (Darfur - Israel supports African Muslims against the genocidal Arab Muslim dominated leadership) and a host of other mainly Muslim nations.

    The Arabs care little about the Palestinians, it is just about taking blame away from their own failings - and again, you have some Muslim minorities who fight for the Israeli armed forces and are loyal to Israel.

    Anyway, getting back to the nuclear issue, it is clear that many nations are worried about this and China is trying to create a multi-national military armed force, for rapid deployment in order to protect nuclear installations.

    Lee Jay Walker

    By Lee Jay Walker -

  • Really Pakistan will be devastated once the terrorists get hold of nuclear material. Their first target will be India. Or the US will destroy Pakistan's nuclear facility in case of any eventuality.Pakistan is aware of that which is why it does not show any antagonism to Israel or any concern for the plight of Palestine. Its heart beats only for Kashmiris.

    By ahmad -

  • Pakistan is a basket case.
    Where can the international community start to indicate an issue and hope that this country and its people will remedy that?
    If anything, this so called nation is a lost cause and will soon be nothing but a minor aberration in history...


  • The world cannot allow Pakistan to collapse because of several reasons.

    Firstly, if Islamists take over the government then this would be a disaster because of the nuclear factor and because of the menace that this will cause India.

    The I.S.I. is good at playing dangerous games and this is why America continues to prop up this nation.

    Yes, many areas of Pakistan are chaotic but if Pakistan collapsed then this would be a nightmare for India, Iran, and other regional nations.

    Terrorism desires failed states, just look at Afghanistan and Somalia; for now, Pakistan appears to be on the verge of a major collapse but nothing is what it seems in Pakistan.

    I do not know the answer, who does?

    But sometimes it is "better the devil you know, than the devil you do not know."

    The people of Pakistan deserve better and Zia-ul-Haq created this mess and since him this nation goes from one crisis to another; but it will serve nobody if this nation collapses and just think of the untold misery that this will create for the innocents of Pakistan....


    Lee Jay Walker

    By Lee Jay Walker -

  • The moment US withdraws from Afghanistan, Pakistan is history. I am sorry for people of Pakistan, but failure of Pakistan is imminent from the date of US withdrawl. After US withdrawl, the pakistani generals will prostitute Pakistan to China for few years and continue to lead a luxurious life (buying multi-million dollars in the west, sending their children to American and British schools and stashing huge amounts of aid money into secret accounts around the globe). However China is not US whose funds are used to kill its own soldiers in AF-PAK region... China will not let Pakistani generals play double-games and will indirectly begin controlling both pakistani army and ISI to a point where even pakistani army will no longer have control over itself nor over pakistani citizens...China will handle fire with fire and pakistani's under chinese control will face the same fate as the chinese Uighur's.

    Perhaps for the first time in the history of the world, a "democratic" nation will fail because of its religion. The religion which treats non-believers as Kafirs will itself become a Kafir in the eyes of the world. It is sad that the religion which pakistanis pride themselves for, has brought untold misery, poverty, terror and death and continues to destroy Pakistan..It is time Pakistanis begin thinking of embracing another religion before it is too late.. For peace Buddhism or Hinduism, for prosperity Jainism, Sikkism...

    By KEN -

  • Hello Shamshad Elahee Ansari-Mississauga

    I agree, the time of Jinnah seems like it didn't exist because of the current situation in Pakistan and the plight of minorities, irrespective if they are Ahmadiyya, Christian, Hindu, Shia, Sikh, or whatever.

    At the same time it is clear that religious and ethnic differences, alongside ideological differences within Islamic ideals, is tearing Pakistan apart and women are also suffering because of the breakdown in the rule of law and central functions (it must be added that central control in parts of Pakistan have always been vague but it appears to be spreading).

    Saudi Arabia can not be trusted and I also would have no faith in the OIC because it is often a rubber stamp and again it will mean more outside power games.

    The control of religious schools is essential and somehow a Wahid is needed whereby all sides can trust; after all, you had major Christian-Muslim clashes in parts of Indonesia but Wahid supported a unified approach and he wanted religious and social harmany via Indonesia's secular traditions.

    Indonesia is doing its best to contain J.I. and other radical organizations, however, the problem for Pakistan is that the current situation is deep-rooted and it is hard to control an ideology which desires to take power from the central government.

    Also, unlike Indonesia, you clearly have major ethnic issues and added to this it is obvious that the I.S.I. is divided and playing several games at the same time.

    Lee Jay Walker

    By Lee Jay Walker -

  • Thank you very much to New Age Islam to publish the speech of Sultan Shahin in Geneva. His concerns pertaining to the human right situation in Pakistan and its effect of entire South Asia is to be underlined carefully. It’s really a pain to know that Hindu minority population is under serious threats as they have already marginalised from 23 % to mere 2% in 63 years, now the spot light in on other sects like Shiite and Ahamadis. Pakistan lost an opportunity to lead the Muslims of the whole world soon after the death of Qauid e Azam Jinnah, no other leader had the guts to replace his position and stature nor they had any vision like Jinnah, soon the whole nation became puppets to Middle Eastern pan-Islamic brand of Islam and discovery of Oil forced Pakistan to allow rotten Kings to come on the driving wheels. History gave them a chance to assert as a global leader of Islamic community but unfortunately, untimely death of Jinnah closed the door for ever.

    Military rulers one after another sought assistance from the Middle Eastern Kings and they continued to pour in petro dollars with Wahabbis ideology, they not only gave money to build expensive mosque in a poverty stricken country but also helped hundred of thousand Madarsas throughout the country which created a special parasitic clergy class in the country. Now, what we see is the result of past more than 20 years of support from Middle Eastern states in the name of a particular brand of Islam. We all know the role of Zia ul Haq regime and its contribution to Afghan war with collaboration with CIA.

    I disagree with the conclusion of Sultan Shahin where he pleaded OIC to look into the state of affairs of Pakistan. OIC is on the payroll of Saudi Arabia which is the root cause of this problem and whose proliferation and promotion of Wahabbis ideology is sending chilling tremors throughout the region. We have to see, how long western powers will continue to support the most barbaric form of governance on the face of the planet? How one can expect OIC to go against Saudi’s interests in South Asia or elsewhere like Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, South Yemen etc?

    By Shamshad Elahee Ansari-Mississauga ON Canada -

  • Hello Abdur Rahman Khan

    Firstly, American law is based on secularism and church and state have no relationship in the legal system so Muslims should stop making the same error.

    You state this: "The Holy Prophet Muhammad never and I state never enslave others wilfully. In fact when he married Khadija he freed all of her slaves"

    "Never enslaved others wilfully"is stating that he did enslave, irrespective if wilfully or not; also, he had sex with concubines; this is about a warlord and not a prophet of God.

    Jesus never enslaved anyone nor did he have sex with concubines; he was pure!

    Slavery is an Islamic institution and it is still happening today in Mauritania and it was happening in Sudan until the SPLA fought back.

    Saudi Arabia was forced to stop slavery in the 1960s, so from Mohammed to the 1960s it is clear that slavery was institutionalized in Arabia; even worse, Mohammed supported this during jihad which meant that free people were enslaved.

    Many Islamic and European Empires have enslaved, and of course slavery is evil; where is the Muslim wilberforce and European powers then went the other way and had wars against Muslims in Africa in order to stop slavery.

    Again, Buddhists and Hindus can condemn both Christians and Muslims and state that it was only these two faiths which enslaved others in Africa; Islamic armies also enslaved Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, and others, in Asia.


    You confirm this by stating what happened to the Jews and how many treaties did Mohammed break?

    "Also, the Jewish women and children were free but Mohammed and fellow Muslims not only enslaved them, they stole their wealth and then forced them out of Arabia.Quran-8:17—It is not ye who Slew them; it is God; when thou threwest a handful of dust, it was not Thy act, but God’s…..” (Allah said, the killing of surrendered soldiers were done by the wish of Allah)"

    You see, pure Paganism and now Mohammed is stating that it was God who did this slaughter; terrible!

    A Hadith says: Ishaq:321 "Allah sent down water from the sky at night and it prevented the polytheists from getting to the well before us." This Tradition is followed by a hellish one, suggesting the source of the inclement nocturnal weather. Ishaq:322 "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who reject Me. So strike off their heads and cut off their fingers. All who oppose Me and My Prophet shall be punished severely."

    Then from the Qur'an: Qur'an 8:12 "Your Lord inspired the angels [fellow demons] with the message: 'I am with you. Go and give firmness to the Believers. I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes." Allah is calling himself a terrorist. He is ordering his fellow demons to decapitate and mutilate men so that their fathers, sons, and brothers might rob them. Islam has sunk to a new low.



    Also, you gave quotes from the Old Testament; however, the Koran makes many mistakes about the Judaic Old Testament so you have no right to quote from this book when the Koran corrupts the word of the Old Testament.

    You can not pick and choose, like Mohammed, and say this is wrong and this is correct, and so forth.

    The Christian New Testament supports a new way based on peace and getting away from brutal punishments.

    When a lady was going to be stoned to death (still happens in the 21st century in Islam) Jesus said "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    Clearly, Jesus knows that all people have sinned and this meant that nobody had a right to stone her.


    Lee Jay Walker

    By Lee Jay Walker -

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