Sunni Ittehad Council warns of 'anarchy' if Aasia pardoned

By AFP
Published: November 26, 2010

Sunni Ittehad Coucil says the punishment cannot be waived. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Sunni Ittehad Council urged the government on Friday not to pardon a Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy, warning that it would lead to nationwide anarchy.

Politicians and conservative clerics are at loggerheads on whether President Asif Ali Zardari should pardon Aasia Bibi, a mother of five sentenced to hang for defaming the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), under controversial blasphemy laws. While a growing number of moderate politicians have backed calls for clemency for Bibi, religious conservatives have organised a rival campaign.

“The pardon would lead to anarchy in the country,” the head of Sunni Ittehad Council, Sahibzada Fazal Kareem, told AFP. “Our stand is very clear that this punishment cannot be waived.”

Kareem said that the alliance would lead protests nationwide on Friday against any moves to pardon Bibi. The council opposes Taliban militants, which are fighting government troops in parts of northwest Pakistan, and has also organised a protest march against deadly attacks on Sufi shrines blamed on Islamist hardliners.

Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case spotlights the Muslim country’s controversial laws on the subject, which rights activists say encourages extremism in a nation wracked by Taliban attacks. Minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti presented a clemency plea to Zardari late Thursday on the grounds that the case against Aasia was based only on personal enmity.

Pope Benedict XVI has also called for Aasia’s release and said Christians in Pakistan were “often victims of violence and discrimination.” Aasia was arrested in June 2009 after Muslim women labourers refused to drink from a bowl of water she was asked to fetch while out working in the fields. Days later, the women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh).

Aasia was set upon by a mob, arrested by police and sentenced on November 8. Rights activists and pressure groups say it is the first time that a woman had been sentenced to hang in Pakistan for blasphemy. Most of those convicted of blasphemy have their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal through the courts. Only around three per cent of Pakistan’s population of 167 million are estimated to be non-Muslim.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Nov 26, 2010 - 4:17PM

    Tools.Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Nov 26, 2010 - 4:32PM

    Why not Pope Benedict appeal to US Air force to stop innocent killings in Drone Attacks, why no one has any mercy for poor Dr Afia, shes also a woman whos accused without any evidence.

    On the other hand this lady Aasia has confessed in front of court (as mentioned in yesterdays Hamid Mir column in Jang Daily) … then why everyone wants to prove her innocent ???

    What a controversy of opinions and biasness the West is showing towards Pakistan ???Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Nov 26, 2010 - 4:35PM

    We are willing to persecute (illiterate & ignorant) people on the basis of their (so called) blasphemous acts but tell me what should be the punishment for those who have the word of God with them but still do ‘such acts’

    Please read the following link.
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/81399/prayer-leader-arrested-on-allegations-of-sexual-assault/

    Can our pious folks (Read clergy) Let us know what is to made of their fellow men in the case stated above….

    Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) never meted out such ‘harsh’ punishments to any Muslim or Non-Muslim just because someone said anything against him or the religion, because he (PBUH) believed that only Allah SWT has the right to judge, then tell me who gave us the right to start judging……Recommend

  • Amir
    Nov 26, 2010 - 4:41PM

    Now can we not try SIC peolple on Sedition charges? As they are threatening anarchy?Recommend

  • Usman N
    Nov 26, 2010 - 4:43PM

    I think that it is high time that those who stand for a more liberal, tolerant and civilized Pakistan stand up against those that stand for bigotry, hatred, intolerance and extremism. Enough is enough. How long must we keep on tolerating those who refuse to tolerate our brothers and sisters. Bring it on maulana!Recommend

  • parvez
    Nov 26, 2010 - 5:12PM

    The correct thing to do is to call their bluff.
    Her sentence should be overturned in the higher court and this terrible law must be amended.
    This would be a feather in PPP’s cap.
    Absolutely agree with comment of @Usman N.Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Nov 26, 2010 - 5:20PM

    Dr. Aafia was arrested from Afghanistan not Pakistan…. We can’t actually basically decide as to what a woman of her standing was doing in a country like that…. And her persecution did take place after ample evidence was provided….. You think two wrongs do make a right also please do not evade the query put forth in my comment regarding the role of clergy on the mentioned incident?…..

    As for the drone attacks what about the attacks which are happening via all the suicide bombings by these so called Pakistan Tehrik-e-Talibaan on the people of the ‘Islamic republic of Pakistan’

    and Last but surely not the least be a bit original as to get your own name I can suggest ‘The Pakistani’ Recommend

  • adraja
    Nov 26, 2010 - 5:52PM

    Put all so called “maulanas and maulvis” in jail! That would be a good step. Average Pakistani should only concern themselves with education and making a living. All religious matters are a personal issue and in the end only God will be their judge not uneducated, bigoted jahil man with a beard!Recommend

  • Realist
    Nov 26, 2010 - 6:10PM

    @ Usman N

    I think you should not make that call. You will be rudely awakened to the fact that you are in minority in that area.Recommend

  • ComeToSensesJerks
    Nov 26, 2010 - 7:00PM

    All those for death penalty in case of blasphemy, get some life. Prophet Muhammad PBUH is a figure for entire humanity. Any one can read about him comment about him. Some will love him some will not like him. This is how things go for leaders. He PBUH did not come to the world to get famous or respected by all. He PBUH came with a mission by God. His mission is endangered by blood thirsty people like you. Even if any one does an act of blasphemy you need to prove him wrong instead of seeking blood, thus making our beloved Prophet PBUH look like spiritual leader of self loving savages.Recommend

  • Nov 26, 2010 - 8:01PM

    If this were any other nation it would not stand for such bullying and call for anarchy and destruction. Why are Pakistanis so willing to cower and act as sheep in front of these mullahsRecommend

  • Cautious
    Nov 26, 2010 - 8:26PM

    This case spotlights that their isn’t much difference between the extremist Taliban and the rest of Pakistan. Your both willing to kill people that have never lifted a finger to harm you but who’s way of life offends you. The only good thing that may come from executing this poor woman is that maybe the rest of the World will finally figure out that your not worth the effort and cut off aid and diplomatic relations.Recommend

  • Ahmed Khan
    Nov 26, 2010 - 8:47PM

    @A Pakistani
    Thanks for that information,didn’t know she confessed it. People should not interfere into this matter if they don’t know the sensitivity of it!Recommend

  • M M Malik
    Nov 26, 2010 - 9:07PM

    The Holy Prophet has the loftiest position in all of God’s creation, yet there are millions of books and thousands of websites with blasphemous content. Are all persons involved with blasphemy wajab-ul qatal? If the answer is yes, the Muslims of Pakistan who agree with this are all potential terrorists of the worst kind.
    The Holy Prophet (saw) stayed in Mecca initially for thirteen years and was a target of an vicious slander campaign. The infidels called him a magician and other name, they threw a camel’s stomach on him while he was prostrating within the wall of the house of God, but no was punished for blasphemy.
    Why are today we are advocating a death sentence? Is our knowledge more than the Holy Prophet’s?Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Nov 26, 2010 - 9:42PM

    @ Ahmed like always people should shut up right?? Because the clergy will issue fatwa’s against anyone who tries to speak their sane mind….

    Please read the given links and enlighten yourself (I surely felt that when i gave it a read)

    http://muslim-canada.org/HamdardBlasphemy.html

    http://blog.khalidzaheer.com/posts/31

    Maybe once we start understanding our religion in the light of the Holy Quran, our faith will not be ‘this’ weak because right now every time an illiterate (might) say something about our Holy Prophet or Islam there is a major chance of ‘it’ getting shattered…..Recommend

  • Adnan Waqar
    Nov 26, 2010 - 9:43PM

    Those who support carrying out this sentence are infact guilty of Tauheen-e-Allah because he has not prescribed this sentence in his holy book and the prophet of God only spoke what was written in the Quran.Recommend

  • nina
    Nov 26, 2010 - 10:09PM

    Let’s focus on more critical issues facing the nation today. Let Allah be the judge..Recommend

  • Mushood Sheikh
    Nov 26, 2010 - 11:16PM

    That was the supremely forgiving conduct of the Holy Prophet (abundant peace be upon him) that he would wholly let go of any contemptuous act that was done to dishonor him; however, we, as his followers and essentially as his admirers, and as the undeserving advocates of his honor, the custodian of what is the All-Powerful Himself, must not be negligent to ensure his respect till our last, at the very least. If the case of the lady is genuine, she should be dealt with accordingly, by the law that is. Recommend

  • zeruk
    Nov 27, 2010 - 12:19AM

    english speaking class usually ignore the ground realities.actually they have only vague ideas about the sensitivity of blasphemy law.they quickly jumped to conclusion that aasia maseh should be pardoned and 295c must reappealed.irrespective of the fact that masses have strong belief that no one is qualified to pardoned the perpatrator of such henious crime.if someone feel that aasia is innocent. he should help her to follow the legal path.it is incorrect that specifically miniorities are under attack in pakistan.every poor human being,without creed or cast is suffering here.so pl don,t create further mess and try to raise your voice against injustices. no matter who is perpatrating them.if aasia is innocent,as some people claims.prove it in the court of law ,don.t ask for pardon,go for appeal and ensure her eqittal.all prophets are respected entities.so one should try to discourage the people who have no respect for the prophest of God.Recommend

  • Nov 27, 2010 - 12:25AM

    Aasia must be pardoned, and the blasphemy law must be repealed.Recommend

  • Tilsim
    Nov 27, 2010 - 2:02AM

    The State is powerless because we allow it to be powerless. We have become a nation of cowards infront of the mullah. The mullah’s distortion of Islam is taking over because we do not resist. We are the victims of our own cowardice. The mullahs know it and can threaten anarchy and the State and the people run for cover. There is no option but to resist if we have any decency left.Recommend

  • Emmon Khan
    Nov 27, 2010 - 3:08AM

    These people are out to destroy the peaceful image of Islam.Recommend

  • Akhtar
    Nov 27, 2010 - 3:40AM

    This is one way of mullas retaining the control over a generally ignorant population
    Recommend

  • Tahir Ahmed
    Nov 27, 2010 - 4:21AM

    We can take the example from the life of Holy Prophet PBUH… He never ever punished anyone for his sake. Don’t you remember the incidents, such as old women who used to through garbage on his way and on him, Ta’aef is not a forgettable incidence, what about Fatah Makkah (his successful return to Makkah) and many more. He taught us to behave with mercy and forgiveness.

    What, so called ‘Mullah’ are relating to His teaching.. hatred, violence, killing, Blasphemy laws. If they are not able to learn from the act of Holy Prophet (pbuh), they should keep their mouth shut. This is the insult to related such things to the Prophet.

    I request the whole nation please learn that you can’t win the hearts with sword but with your behavior… how can a single man win the hearts of thousands within a period of 23 years. Its just because he behaved and taught the mercy and fogiveness and today we lost. He proved that he is Rahmatul Alameen (Mercy for the whole universe (human, animals, living beings and everything)). Today we forget this lesson and we become the reason of demise of Islam. Recommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 27, 2010 - 4:55AM

    I completely trust the Pakistani government not to do the right thing and pardon that poor lady. Just think of the thousands of Christians who will fear every single day of their life.Recommend

  • JA
    Nov 27, 2010 - 5:59AM

    Surprising to see so many voices of reason. Not the kind of impression people have outside of Pakistan. There is a perception gap mainly fostered by the ruling elite in Pakistan and their policies.Recommend

  • ahmed
    Nov 27, 2010 - 8:40AM

    @MALIK
    Extremists have sowed seeds of hatered in our people they have made people compasionless &heartless.
    There cant be anarchy its just a threat to the government. Its not an easy task some people just say anything.
    So all of u chill coz nuthing is gona happenRecommend

  • Saad Ahmed
    Nov 27, 2010 - 9:43AM

    No argument. She should be made an example for all other people. Wakeup MuslimsRecommend

  • Sikandar
    Nov 27, 2010 - 11:51AM

    set up an example of people of Pakistan heading into the future.Recommend

  • Disco Molvi
    Nov 27, 2010 - 12:00PM

    @ all those in favour of Blasphemy Law, please read this:
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/81399/prayer-leader-arrested-on-allegations-of-sexual-assault/
    Then please be kind enough to demand punishment for rapist molvi, with the same determination as you want with Aasia, for committing blasphemy by using a Masjid as a place for sexual pleasures.Recommend

  • Insaaf
    Nov 27, 2010 - 2:39PM

    Most idiotic law in the history of this world. Well done Zia Ul Haq!!Recommend

  • divideandrule
    Nov 28, 2010 - 5:01PM

    the west always uses divide and rule, the principle of blasphemy law is correct, it is islamic, otherwise you will have to allow practicing kufr “freedom to insult” as in the cartoons. This is what the kafir enemy want to destroy in their war-on-islam.
    The islamic laws have to be fully integrated into an islamic state, the country has declared war against allah and his messenger in dealing with interest, and aligning with kafir against muslims.

    The aasia bibi should be setup for propaganda for Islam, in controlled recorded interview, she should have death sentence suspended for good behaviour and public apology, in exchange for Dr afia siddique and guantanomo bay.Recommend

  • divideandrule
    Nov 28, 2010 - 5:05PM

    and whatabout the american soldiers that flushed the quran down the toilet ?Recommend

  • divideandrule
    Nov 28, 2010 - 5:18PM

    those of you citing and comparing wrong muslim individuals examples should not slander Islam with them. You cannot pass judgment on Islam from the actions of a muslim.
    Where did it say in Islam there bad behaviour is correct ?
    Its funny how individual American bad behaviour, or even Bushs, does not reach your lips to criticize Capitalism. So you guys need to clear your ideas before you bash Islam.Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2010 - 7:31PM

    it is time we dealt with the blasphemies of the mullahs what crimes they have committed in the name of islam….Recommend

  • Anis Qureshi
    Nov 28, 2010 - 9:47PM

    I wonder about the stupid behaviour of these barelvis maulvis who are also the victim of this stupid and cruel law and still support it. Religion has not been understood by these maulvis or they are playing politics to remain in game of politics. Can any mulla tell us where in quran or the sunnat of holy prophet they find such a behaviour or mention of punishment of blasphemy. I request to nation to stop these mullahs from desecrating the name of our peaceful prophet. These mullahs have brought bad name to our religion of islam. Islam means peace and tolerance.Our prophet is Rehmatul alameen and not rehmatullimuslimeen.Recommend

  • Mubarik
    Nov 28, 2010 - 11:37PM

    Please don’t repeal Blasphemy law as this is source of human blood which Pakistani mullahs need as part of their healthy diet. If this law is repealed then mullahs will die of mal-nutrition.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Nov 29, 2010 - 10:56AM

    I read most of the comments on this article & on other as well. It is good that people started thinking & raising voices against anything which they feel wrong, but before leaving any comment try to think 100 times, keep few principles in front of view while commenting

    ur comment should not be offensive
    dont disrespect anybody
    be polite
    be tolerent
    ur comment should not spread hatred
    be responsible

    we are not fighting here we are discussing here, we get different opinions here which can help us in enlightening our mind, before replying to any comment try to understand what actually has been said, else it will start a chain of useless comments Recommend

  • Masroor
    Nov 29, 2010 - 11:06AM

    I would request everybody to be responsible while commenting, criticism should be constructive, dont spread hatred here, give your opinion without hitting anybody keep following things in ur mind while commenting here

    be tolerant
    be responsible
    be polite
    dont be offensive
    dont disrespect anybody
    dont spread hatred
    Try to understand others
    think before posting ur comment the consequencies of ur comments

    you have the rights to disagree, you have the rights to spread your opinion but you dont have the right to insult anybody so be carefull,

    we should utilize such forum constructively!!!Recommend

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