Incitement goes unchecked as hatred is spewed at rallies

Published: October 7, 2011

KARACHI: The judge who sentenced former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, to death has been forced to go on leave after threats, banners and slogans at rallies proclaiming him a non-Muslim and an Ahmadi.

His court in Rawalpindi was also attacked by lawyers.

The irony is that the judge of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) is dealing with an ‘action’ of terrorism that is defined in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

The law states that acts of terrorism include the “[incitement of] hatred and contempt on religious, sectarian or ethnic basis to stir up violence or cause internal disturbance”.

This basic definition has not stopped the ongoing campaign of inciting hatred.

But building a case against these individuals requires determining violations of the ATA, particularly incitement. While law enforcement and intelligence agencies are tasked with the job, their assessments are often based on their operatives’ views and biases.

For example, a Jamaat Ahmadiyya representative told The Express Tribune that when police officers entered the places of worship in Lahore after scores of Ahmadis were massacred in 2010, among their first few words were: “Saare hi marr gaye ho ya koi bacheya vi aye?” [Are all of you dead, or did someone survive?].

Former IG Sindh police Aftab Nabi says that the police should depute officers with different backgrounds to get a broader analysis. This, he says, would help overcome any limitations the officer has.

Despite this, law enforcement agencies have monitored people known for inflammatory speeches, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s (LeJ) Malik Ishaq, who was recently detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Act.

Secondly, provincial governments also allow and provide security to rallies where incitement occurs. Rallies in Lahore supporting Qadri continue to be held, highlighting state complicity.

In a United States Institute of Peace report on police reforms, author Hassan Abbas referenced analysis by Khaled Ahmed on the issue: “Throughout the 1990s one or two intelligence officers in each district of Pakistan were tasked to help out members of the state-supported militant groups if the police ‘create[d] any problems for them’.”

The report further adds, “In private discussions police officers routinely mention apprehending militants and criminals but quickly receiving ‘requests’ from intelligence agencies (civilian or military) to let them go. Although the intensity of such practices has decreased in the post-9/11 environment, even today the police hesitate to pursue militants and activists associated with groups generally known for their close relationship with the intelligence services.”

Criminal lawyer Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi disagrees with the perception that the ATA is insufficient or that the courts and police don’t do their job. “The real issue is of evidence. People need to come forward and testify. They do have fears, but what they don’t realise is that they may be setting a murderer free who will later either shoot them or someone else. A man will be caught red-handed kidnapping someone but the victim will say in court, ‘I don’t recognise this person.’ What is the court supposed to do?”

A witness protection programme has been in the works in Sindh for several months now, but has not been implemented yet.

Naqvi says suspects have also become savvier. “Suspects in terrorism cases are often picked up by the intelligence agencies who detain them for one or two months. During this time, their organisations file writ after writ about the illegal detention and rile up the public. By the time the police make a formal arrest, the court will not accept their reasons for the delay. To avoid this, the police should make the initial arrest and then the agencies can interrogate the suspect. They could also amend the period of remand.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2011.

Reader Comments (20)

  • nasir
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:56AM

    another lousy report Recommend

  • Asha
    Oct 7, 2011 - 10:48AM

    Pakistan seems like a lawless jungle.

    Recommend

  • Shahryar Ahmed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:19AM

    This is the projection that Pakistan is sending out to the international world & then we say that we are being treated with Bias. I really do not blame the international community for treating Pakistan they way they are, looking at these people.

    Pakistan is being held hostage by a small bunch of people. These idiots are destroying our children’s future Recommend

  • Diggvijay Singh
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:24AM

    The judge who sentenced former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, to death has been forced to go on leave after threats, banners and slogans at rallies proclaiming him a non-Muslim and an Ahmadi.

    Yesterday I had hoped that they would carry out their protests and demonstrations in a peaceful manner. But this has turned out to be quite a big disappointment for me. Recommend

  • Concerned Pakistani
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:40AM

    Where are we heading into, GOD knows, what will be our children future in the country wher the killing is glorified in the name of religion.

    We in ISLAMIC REBUBLIC OF PAKISTAN can not offer our prayers in peace unless armed guards are not posted out side the Mosques where as non muslim country we can offer our prayers without fear????????

    Recommend

  • Farhan
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:43PM

    He must be hanged soon, dont waste time. Salute to Judge.

    Recommend

  • Sultan
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:41PM

    ” … has been forced to go on leave after threats, banners and slogans at rallies proclaiming him a non-Muslim and an Ahmadi.”

    So, the friends of the terrorists believe that no Muslim could do the right thing.

    Recommend

  • A.Raja Rao
    Oct 7, 2011 - 5:16PM

    It looks to me that the situation in Pakistan is really hopeless. God help the region which unfortunately includes India. I don’t think India can ever hope to live in peace – there is no respite from the feeling of hopelessness when one reads such reports which come out of Pakistan by the dozen everyday on one topic or the other.

    Recommend

  • Rahman
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:44PM

    Mere Allah save my country and the people of my country from all evil forces, in the shap of either secular or religious mafia.

    Recommend

  • Adnan Khan
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:25PM

    Methinks all these lawyers (who take an oath in the beginning of their tenure as officers of the court, to uphold the laws of the land), should be prosecuted if found guilty of –in any way shape or form– supporting a self-confessed murderer. A terrorist. Someone who was entrusted with a sacred duty to protect a Govt official and instead he perpetrated a premeditated murder.
    .
    About 40 chitters with a baint, dipped in water should set them straight..
    .
    Whether you believe Salman Taseer should have been prosecuted under law, for anything he might have said, is besides the point. That should also have been dealt with, in a court of law.
    .
    Qadri, has besmirched not only Pakistan and it’s institutions, but Islam, by taking the law into his own hands and killing a human being. If Blasphemy Laws are turning out such murdering zombies, they should be repealed with something more sensible and in-line with the real spirit of Islam.

    Recommend

  • ah
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:49PM

    “The irony is that the judge of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) is dealing with an ‘action’ of terrorism that is defined in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).”

    This sums up Pakistan’s current situation…

    So what protection we can expect for a common pakistani?

    Recommend

  • Rationalist
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:58PM

    @Adnan Khan

    Believe it or not, if you go by the detailed history of the community of early muslim followers as mentioned in the hadiths , capital punishment for apostasy and blasphemy was a normal occurrence. So , what is the real Islam?

    Recommend

  • Mansoor Ahmed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:09PM

    Well Mr. Qadri was promised haven.. so why delay…He should ask judge to order hanging him right away. there will be streams, fruits and HOORAIN waiting for him….Why these people are now stopping him of going to Haven? These Mullah don’t support Qadri they are not his friend. Let him go so he will stay in Haven and this earth will be Haven without him as well. everybody happy

    Recommend

  • Amira
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:38PM

    Islam in Pakistan is in a sad state if it needs to be “defended” by people like this!

    Recommend

  • Ram Bharose Singh
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:24PM

    The sooner – people and leaders realise and they and they themselves will have to do something to fix the country – the better. Just naming country “Islamic Country”, calling yourself Muslim and praying to Allah – will not achieve anything. First be honest and truthful to yourself. Look at other countries who had similar problem and how they solved it and follow same steps

    Recommend

  • HammerHead
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:37PM

    It’s the duty of all those who have sworn allegiance to the constitution of Pakistan that they will uphold the law of the land, this would include the lawmakers, security apparatus and the armed forces. Such defiance of should not be tolerated. people who are involved in looting, burning and destruction should me aware that it has consequences

    Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Oct 8, 2011 - 12:12AM

    He must be hanged soon, dont waste time. Salute to Judge. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Oct 8, 2011 - 1:02AM

    Why is nobody demanding banning these hate groups? Why ban only political groups who are militant, why not ban them all? Punjab, especially Jhang is a fertile ground for all terrorists and killers, what is Punjab govt doing?Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 8, 2011 - 7:56AM

    Please Don’t Disturbe NATION IS SLEEPING …

    Recommend

  • Dr Rasheed S Azam
    Oct 8, 2011 - 5:32PM

    @Mansoor Ahmed:
    Qadri and mullas are all hell bound and are bent upon creating hell on earth!Recommend

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