Blasphemy: Sunni Tehreek lambast Sherry Rehman's appointment

Published: November 23, 2011

In late 2010, Rehman’s life was threatened since she submitted a private member bill suggesting amendments to the blasphemy law. PHOTO: SANA/FILE

ISLAMABAD / MULTAN: The Sunni Tehreek (ST) on Wednesday expressed serious concerns over the appointment of Sherry Rehman as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States (US).

Speaking to PPI, Central leader of the Sunni Tehreek Shahid Ghauri said Rehman was already following “policies of the US and the Jewish lobby as she tried to abolish the country’s blasphemy laws.”

“We are not satisfied with Sherry Rehman appointment because she is not fair with Islam or the country,” he said.

In late 2010, Rehman’s life was threatened since she submitted a private member bill suggesting amendments to the blasphemy law.

Rehman was criticized by speakers of religio-political parties at large-scale rallies and kept a low profile in the ensuing months, particularly after the assassinations of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and the Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti.

(Read: Stand up against the blasphemy laws)

The Sunni Tehreek leader urged the government to appoint an ambassador who is loyal to the country and Islam. “Those who are confident and spies of United States and perusing anti-Islam policies should not be considered for such key posts,” he said.

Rehman was appointed Ambassador to the US by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on November 23.

Petition filed in Lahore High Court

A petition has been filed in the Multan Bench of the Lahore High Court against the appointment of Rehman as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US.

Fahim Akhtar Gill, a businessman in Multan, filed the application today. He has pleaded that Rehman is guilty of committing blasphemy on a television program of a news channel.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Gill said that Rehman was did not deserve the appointment and that she had violated the constitution and was accused of blasphemy.

If the court issues a stay order tomorrow, Rehman will not be able to assume duties as ambassador and the government notification will become null and void.

Gill said that thousands of Pakistanis had reservations over the appointment of Rehman.

“It is against the honor and pride of the federation and the people of Pakistan as Pakistan is a Muslim country,” he said.

Gill claimed that he had taken fatwas from religious scholars of more than four sects of Islam before filing the petition.

A petition had earlier been filed in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Mehar Nasir Hussain on the remarks Rehman had given on a television show. The judge had ordered that an FIR be registered against Rehman.

The Police had informed the petitioner that an FIR could not be filed as the show had been aired from Islamabad and it was not their jurisdiction.

The petitioner had later filed an application citing another petition, where an FIR was registered in Bahwalpur against a citizen of Lahore.

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Reader Comments (66)

  • Nov 23, 2011 - 5:42PM

    Oh God Media please stop giving these guys space in your news stories. Stop paying them attention. There are better and more vibrant Pakistanis working for the progress and prosperity of this nation. I guess Sherry Rehman deserves this space better.

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  • Jameel
    Nov 23, 2011 - 5:43PM

    Let’s hope Sherry gets out of the country before Sunni Tehreek gets a chance to give her shahadat.

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  • asma@Pakistan
    Nov 23, 2011 - 5:46PM

    They only know how to create chaos…useless fasadi

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  • R.A
    Nov 23, 2011 - 5:47PM

    It is true how she can be eligible
    for the job.
    She has no beard she does not wear
    a turban or a niqab or hijab and has
    got no certificate of eligibility from a
    madrsah in Pakistan.
    Atleat she will be abit safer in U.S
    Recommend

  • Schazad
    Nov 23, 2011 - 5:52PM

    I fully support her appointment. I think its a right step in right direction. She is that caliber of politician that can carry responsibility of being ambassador of Pakistan in US. Two thumbs up from me. I am extremely happy for her. I hope she has more success in coming days.

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  • Roflcopter
    Nov 23, 2011 - 5:56PM

    I agree with them, appointing her as an ambassador is a massive mistake

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  • Exasperated
    Nov 23, 2011 - 5:58PM

    “The Sunni Tehreek leader urged the government to appoint an ambassador who is loyal to the country and Islam. “Those who are confident and spies of United States and perusing anti-Islam policies should not be considered for such key posts,” he said.”
    What a load of unadulterated crap!! Please someone tell me how many of our existing bureaucrats, politicians, MPs etc are actually ‘loyal’ to Islam and Country??? Someone please line up these mindless morons and pump some lead into them.
    p.s. the comment does not in any way imply that I condone said appointment… the appointment itself is unacceptable as the individual in question can barely articulate her own throughts in public let alone represent the country as an ambassador!!

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  • Nov 23, 2011 - 6:10PM

    What is the criteria to be elected as the Ambassador to any country? Will she able to eradicate drone attacks, normalize relations with US? how what is her plan? this is a sad thing nobody ask that before pointing an ambassador.

    Drone attacks & what Pakistan has got from “War on terror”?
    http://bit.ly/nTHdBF

    To eradicate Terrorism, we must……..
    http://bit.ly/dKiBUe

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  • Nov 23, 2011 - 6:16PM

    Unfortunately she also has a brain, something that over qualifies her for Sunni Tehreek membership

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  • Ahmed
    Nov 23, 2011 - 6:16PM

    and they want an alliance with pti…huh

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  • Shabnum
    Nov 23, 2011 - 6:36PM

    Please keep your conservative and misogynistic ideology to yourself. Thank you for hijacking my religion and country, you should be extremely proud.

    As a group that is literally fuelled by populist mentality and relies on demagogue politics to feed supporters with improper interpretation of a great religion, such a demand is pathetic.

    I applaud Sherry Rehman for standing for what she believes in and facing neo-fascists like you.

    Wazeer-e-Azam Imran Khan.Recommend

  • bilal
    Nov 23, 2011 - 6:40PM

    ::: Gill said that thousands of Pakistanis had reservations over the appointment of Rehman. :::::

    Dear Gill , thousands has reservations but millions approve. So go find some work

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  • Not required
    Nov 23, 2011 - 6:48PM

    The biggest mistake we did in our history is by making Republic of Pakistan to Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    Religion and Politics cannot go together.
    When a christian or hindu child/person talks bad about Islam or prophet Mohd he is Punished, what about a muslim child/person talking bad about Jesus or bhagwan? why he is not punished. when Islam says equal treatment with everyone then why a Muslim is not punished?

    I am Muslim and to me these blasphemy laws are inadequate and need amendments because everyone has right to freedom of speech and think what ever they want. When Prophet went to preach a new place (i dont remember the name) people threw stones on them he was badly injured and was bleeding.. A angel came and asked prophet should i crush those people between mountain. Prophet said, “NO!”. When prophet did not punished anyone for misbehaving against him then who are you to punish other?
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  • F
    Nov 23, 2011 - 6:51PM

    How can the court even admit such a petition? This is a decision of the executive and in the diplomatic community the only entity that can object to the appointment is the host country where the ambassador is being posted.

    It is no wonder genuine litigants suffer for years because our courts get imbroiled in frivolous litigation which should not even be admitted. So much streamlining the judiciary!

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  • Abdullah
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:00PM

    She had to go out any way, what a better way to go

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  • Bling Bling
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:01PM

    I appreciate women playing significant roles in Pakistani politics and leading the country, just earnestly hope and pray that it is in the right direction.

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  • drsafi
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:07PM

    Why not to consider an experienced person from our foreign office or a retired beaurocrate who can at least stay when the govt changes here. she is just loyal to PPP.Recommend

  • maestro
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:16PM

    Will the media stop giving attention to them??? Sherry said nothing blasphemous – Islam gives equal rights to all religions in its land! Read the Quran – She stood for the rights of minorities! Long live Sherry! Ameen.Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:38PM

    I wouldn’t even bother lambasting them .. Recommend

  • Sj
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:45PM

    How come GHQ is still peddling in state affairs instead of being a professional army. ISI chief, General Pasha visited USA to gather “evidence” of a memo without notifying his commandar in chief and suppose to be boss, President Zardari? Genral Kyani shows ‘reservations’ to civilian President showing who is the real boss, and no one raise eyebrows.

    No resignations, results of inquiries for abbotabbad, mahran base, kargil and east Pakistan fall from Generals, but civilian ambassador was forced to resign and a memo needs to be throughly investigated?? why? because it is allegedly written by a civillian. :)

    The words free media and free judiciury are just misleading, they both are mouth piece of GHQ controlling civillian governments since last 60 years.Recommend

  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:47PM

    For once I applaud the establishment for an excellent choice. A courageous woman of proven integrity who should have received even higher responsibility. Recommend

  • zss
    Nov 23, 2011 - 7:54PM

    Another proof of the absurdity of these mullahs….I would request Pakistan’s media to stop giving them space in their national newspapers…Recommend

  • Nov 23, 2011 - 7:56PM

    It’s not worth my energy wearing a frown over Sunni Tehreek’s antics.

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  • MT
    Nov 23, 2011 - 8:01PM

    Give Mumtaz Qadri a chance & see how our “hero” serves Islam by being ambassador to US!

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  • krishnan
    Nov 23, 2011 - 8:12PM

    Go for it Shehrbano ji. Good luck and may your God go with you.

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  • hindustan ki shakti
    Nov 23, 2011 - 8:19PM

    Pleased to see supporters of her election for this post.
    God please give wisdom to these conservatives so that our neighbour can progress in 21st century. They are not supporters of Islam , rather they are politicions who dont want the nation to progress.Recommend

  • Hope
    Nov 23, 2011 - 8:35PM

    @MT:
    if it is sarcasm….It was great….if you really meant it then….oops…

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  • m
    Nov 23, 2011 - 8:47PM

    please- why do you give such stories media space?!

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  • R S JOHAR
    Nov 23, 2011 - 9:12PM

    There is no point arguing with people who have a one track mind with no rationale thinking and cannot hear no as an answer. Such people at best should be ignored and not given so much coverage by the vibrant media in Pakistan. Sherry should be provided foolproof security before she leaves for US.Recommend

  • Khuldun
    Nov 23, 2011 - 9:16PM

    I am a Muslim and I do not support PPP. However, this decision, has been an excellent one given the women’s courageous attitude and for taking a stand when required. As far as the Mullahs are concerned, why dont they raise their voice against inhumanity, injustice, fraud and moral, financial and ethical corruption carried out by the so-called loyalist of Islam, the Mullahs and the headmasters in Madaris who dont even spare the young girls and boys. Instead, their targets are people have a a track record for taking a stand for human rights.

    Become a better human being first, that is the first step towards becoming a better Muslim.

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  • Jadugar
    Nov 23, 2011 - 9:17PM

    Who were these Mullahs thinking of as their candidate for the post. Mulla Radio or Mullah Toofhan or the best choice one eye jack Mullah Omer. I am sure the American would have loved these choices.

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  • Nov 23, 2011 - 9:27PM

    Vienna,November 23,2011
    I congratulate both Fahim Akhtar Gill and the Express Tribune
    since it helps focussing on the flares in Pakistan which is
    suffering critical times.The women and children of Pakistan
    who make up in bulk larger than the populations of many
    countries in the world have a right to live and expect better
    times.They should be supported at all costs.Not Sunny
    Tehriq Pakistan.
    Taravadu Tarnga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • Nov 23, 2011 - 10:05PM

    Notice all the lovely misogynist, prejudiced, paranoid and superstitious buzz words employed by the Sunni Tehreek. Jewish lobby, US spy, anti-Islam enemy, ‘confident’, blasphemy, etc.

    They’re considered from the Barelvi, supposedly enlightened Sunni sub-sect of which Mumtaz Qadri belonged to, btw.

    Maybe it’s time for progressive educated moderate to liberal Sunnis, who believe in diversity and unity with all Pakistanis, to reclaim the narrative and stop being dictated to by these sub-sects Recommend

  • Pakistani in US
    Nov 23, 2011 - 10:18PM

    If it were up to me, I would abolish all these obsolete religious groups. I guess the first step is to remove “Islamic” from Republic of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Nov 23, 2011 - 10:57PM

    Best wishes for the new ambassador. May she be granted forbearance when dealing with her narrow visioned bureaucratic superiors and a Foreign Minister who is not her equal by any measure.

    May Madam Ambassador serve the nation with as much integrity as she has shown when she was a federal minister. She is also much more forthright than her predecessor and does not fit the profile of a diplomat. May this stand her in good stead. The US is likely to find her a tough cookie! I hope that she makes Pakistan proud.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Nov 23, 2011 - 11:47PM

    This is exactly why the blasphemy law needs to reviewed in order to avoid its misuse.Recommend

  • Sana
    Nov 24, 2011 - 12:54AM

    She is a capable woman and certainly can work unlike these mullahs. Better not give them much attention. They are not worth it. More power to you Sherry!

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  • Khalid sheikh-Khi
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:29AM

    as per Islamic teachings the women should never be part of any govt/public institution or office as they are deficient in intellect and religion.what to say serving as ambassador which is completely in contradiction to Islamic teachings.such actions invite the wrath of Allah Almighty.this is really something shameful for Pakistan.May Allah give us leaders who implement true islamic teachings in my country.Ameen.

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  • saleem
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:40AM

    We should appoint sunni tehreek leaders and the whole parties of all the religious groups as ambassadors to the libyan deserts, the sinai ,gaza and the tableeghis to antartica

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  • mussarat
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:57AM

    Sunni Tehrik has nothing to do with the appointment of Pak ambassador to USA.

    Basically Empty Mind is a Devil’s Arena. That’s it.

    Hell will not fall following the appointment of Sherry Rehman as Pak Ambassador.to USA.

    She deserves and quallifies for the coveted post.

    Mussarat

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  • Jameel
    Nov 24, 2011 - 7:03AM

    Send our hero Mumtaz Qadri to Washington as ambassador. Unfortunately Osama is dead otherwise he could have been a candidate as well.

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  • hindustan ki shakti
    Nov 24, 2011 - 10:10AM

    @Khalid sheikh-Khi:

    May Allah grant wisdom to people like khalid sheikh-khi , so that u can take the Islamic teachings on positive way.
    U r the ones who teach their conservative approach and spoil the entire society.

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  • Bilal
    Nov 24, 2011 - 11:52AM

    Dear Mr Shahid Ghauri – you claim to be a leader for Sunni Tehreek. My question is very simple, do you know how many people misuse blasphemy law in Pakistan. I know for fact it is being misused. So it is obvious later Gov. Salman Taseer was murdered because he wanted to stop the misuse of the law in our society and so did Sherry Rehman wanted. So stop bringing religion into political statement which holds no meaning in real world.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Nov 24, 2011 - 12:38PM

    OMG. When will these people change their mind? I think that first of all Mr. Shahid Ghauri, please define what is blasphemy? Many people misuse this law against their enemies. At that time why do you not speak?

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  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Nov 24, 2011 - 12:54PM

    ……Rahman is the best in PPP’s regime. She is likely to do good job,unless she falls into American game plan.Good luck to you Sherry!!! Recommend

  • R.A
    Nov 24, 2011 - 3:05PM

    @
    Khalid
    Can you recall the time when
    Hazrat Aiysha RA was leading an army
    in a battle.
    Recommend

  • Karim
    Nov 24, 2011 - 4:19PM

    Media is requested to give lessor importance to fanatics and bigots.

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  • MAHER ALI
    Nov 24, 2011 - 4:22PM

    Why sunni tehrik is pretending that they have flag of ISLAM ? Let them enjoy their life, we have voted for this govt so enjoy the fruits of decomcracy…

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  • ali
    Nov 24, 2011 - 6:10PM

    the people objecting to sherry rehman appointment are sick , so are the followers of qadri . the bachas of zia have made this country a no tolerance state

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  • Dr.A.K. Tewari
    Nov 24, 2011 - 10:06PM

    It means , Now shariya is to be rooted out from Pakistan .

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  • Nov 25, 2011 - 10:52AM

    @Dr.A.K. Tewari:
    You are not Pakistani then how could you talk about our internal affairs and what Pakistan should have and should not have, and this appointment has nothing to do with Shariah but with the eligibility, merit of Sherry Abdul Rehman.

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  • Jameel
    Nov 25, 2011 - 11:33AM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed:

    You are not Pakistani then how could
    you talk about our internal affairs

    Pakistanis like to talk about Indian internal affairs all the time; Babri mosque, Godhra incident and so on. How about if they do the same?

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  • Nov 25, 2011 - 3:33PM

    @Jameel:
    Babri mosque, Godhra incident are not mere Indian incidents, they are incidents against Humanity.

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  • rajamantony
    Nov 25, 2011 - 4:44PM

    @syed, Godhra incident is incident against humanity ? and Gojra incident in Pakistan is it also an incident against humanity ? or they are sub humans (christians) to your eyes ?

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  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Nov 25, 2011 - 5:46PM

    The Pakistani version of Sharia law (not Sharia itself which is a distinct concept) like any other man made law has strong and weak points, much of this law has not been subjected to ijtihad for centuries.

    All muslims submit to the component of this law based on the Holy Book and indeed this (small) component is not controversial even to non muslims. This component is incorporated into the existing Pakistani legal system and any law which is repugnant to the Quran can be struck down.

    The problem arises when the whole legal system of sharia laws is confused by some ignorant folk with the Quran or Hadith and they defend it with mindless passion.

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  • Jameel
    Nov 25, 2011 - 5:46PM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed:

    So is anything to do with Blasphemy or Shariah. Hence a valid point to discuss by our Indian friends.

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  • Raj NJ
    Nov 25, 2011 - 8:13PM

    @syed,

    Read your links – solving Kashmir issue will solve Terrorism is your line of thinking.

    Fine with it. The persons involved in 26/11 in Mumbai, 9/11 in America and Britain and spain – they are not Kashmiris. So it is the kashmir issue feeding terrorism is to me is a wrong sell.

    Coming to Independence/freedom – explain to me from what? If I look around – I am bound by local township rules, then state rules then country rules – also rules set by family.

    So the Indenpendence/freedom is allowing to make my own rules. Well – agreed. Let them put forth the rules and will see how much it will differ from the current constitution and if the deviation from Indian constitution is considerable then will resolve the differences amicably. Please do not go by religious rules as they are not inclusive of all individuals of a given state.

    Otherwise will I consider crying hoarse about freedom – is more of a few individual personal gains of these so called leaders rather than betterment of the people.

    If they are is rift between in Indian govt and Kashmiris – let them resolve those rifts and find the equilibrium one day and I hope that day is (With Britain and India/Pakistan it took couple of centuries) is sooner than later. I DO NOT buy a rift between two parties is creating terrorism across the whole world. Just stop that nonsense. I used to watch twin towers from my office before they are brought down.

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  • Nov 26, 2011 - 12:54AM

    @Syed Arbab Ahmed:

    Please stop with the zealous nationalism, hypocrisy on freedom to comment and anti-Indian resentment.

    It’s the 21st century. The globe is democratizing. Every citizen and non-citizen with access to the Internet can and will give their opinions on anything and everything. Including your own blog that touches ‘every field’.

    Sharing the region, Pak-US relations matters to India as much as India-US relations matter to Pak, including ambassador appointments. While the appointment has nothing to do with Sharia, clearly there’s a significant Pak section that claims so, and their views are sadly creeping and making a regressive impact all over the country.

    I think your ‘crimes against humanity rule’ is a convenient made-up excuse as you would most likely still have taken issue with an Indian commentator condemning crimes by Pak government or terrorists against minorities, and yourself indulge in opinions on Indian government or business appointments.

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  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Nov 26, 2011 - 9:55AM

    @bigsaf I agree with you. The ambassadors appointment has been challenged in court so it does have to do with Sunni Tehrik’s concept of blasphemy and Sharia. A concept that right thinking people of whatever creed or nationality do not and should not share and should join to condemn.
    As a muslim and as a Pakistani I value the insights from all quarters including India. In the sub continent we are prone to sentimentality in dealing with issues that require clarity of thought and also tend to waste energies on imaginary conflicts.

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  • Bilal Jahanzeb
    Nov 26, 2011 - 12:04PM

    @Khalid sheikh-Khi:

    You are living on a constructed hope my friend. The only women who are deprived of responsibilities are in third world countries such as Pakistan. Women hold more respect than a man in Islam for your information one such example is provided by R.A and i’ll give you another one, Prophet married Hazrat Khadija a woman older than Himself, now that is the status given to woman in Islam. Stop living in your cubical world that Islam doesn’t allow this that. Islam in fact teaches the opposite, as the saying goes “ilam hasil karo chahiye cheen jana paray” it is quite obvious had Prophet meant Islamic teachings he would have given us by Himself. He emphasized on worldly matter which is quite obvious some people don’t understand yet they are the “best muslims”…..having said that its time we should let our women get educated and let them prosper such that they can make their own decision. For men who assert dominance, get a life … just cause you couldn’t do anything in your life doesn’t mean you should take it out on wife :-)

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  • Bilal Jahanzeb
    Nov 26, 2011 - 12:05PM

    I think these mullahs when their high on adrenaline come up with such statements … haha

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  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Nov 26, 2011 - 6:14PM

    Men all around the world perceive themselves smarter than their women, many women believe them. Objective studies have found only small differences in IQ and some of the difference is attributed to gender bias in the tests.

    The religious basis for the claim that women are deficient in mind and faith comes from a sahih hadith. There are different interpretations to the hadith. Nowhere does even this interpretation of the hadith claim that ALL women are so.

    The fact remains that although some women may be either mentally deficient or deprived of education and experience by conservative society there are also a whole lot of smart ladies who do not lack intellect, education or expertise, around the world. Our Ambassador designate would seem to fit in the latter category.

    The claim by one or another religious cult that it dislikes women in high office does not separate a citizen from his/her constitutional rights.

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  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Nov 26, 2011 - 6:48PM

    @Bilal Jahanzeb re women in third world countries – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FemalepoliticalleadersinIslamandinMuslim-majoritycountries
    the three most populous Muslim-majority countries have had women as leaders:
    Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Megawati Sukarnoputri as president
    Pakistan, the second most populous Muslim-majority country, twice (non-consecutively) elected Benazir Bhutto as prime minister
    Bangladesh, the third most populous Muslim-majority country, elected Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina as prime ministers.
    Other Muslim- majority nations which have had female political leaders include:
    Turkey elected Tansu Çiller, who became prime minister on June 13, 199
    In the Muslim majority region of Kosovo, President Atifete Jahjaga was unanimously elected by the Assembly of Kosovo on April 7, 2011
    Kyrgyzstan’s President Roza Otunbayeva was sworn in on July 3, 2010, after acting as interim leader following the 2010 April revolution.
    Senegal’s Mame Madior Boye was Prime Minister from 2001 to 2002.

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  • Maulvi Imran Ahmed
    Nov 26, 2011 - 6:55PM

    To those who have misunderstood the role of women in Islam there was no parliament system at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) but “Women rode camels at that time, women would choose whom to marry, they sat in attendance in mosques (which was a sort of parliament), they voiced their views, they fought in battles, and guess what — they could be richer than their husbands. I think once again this is an example of how we’ve mistaken many Jahiliyah practices for Islam — we don’t follow the Prophet, but we follow his times — we follow a lot of what he opposed.

    Women were never placed behind closed doors — that’s an injustice — and the Qur’an teaches us this by giving us a myriad of examples of Sheba and Maryam.”

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  • Bilal Jahanzeb
    Nov 26, 2011 - 10:15PM

    @Maulvi Imran Ahmed:
    Agreed, but lets talk about the majority who never got a chance to go to school just because their father thought its too liberal. We all know its either poverty or a mix of religious & cultural beliefs that led the “man of the house” to not put those girls in schools. Public policies are also to be blamed here. Every woman in Pakistan could be the next Benazir, now the question is do we really want that? and that is my whole argument.

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  • Ahmar Mustikhan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:40AM

    Sherry Rehman must speak out against human rights violations in Balochistan.

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