Spread the injustice by staying silent!

Published: January 12, 2011
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The writer is communications adviser of the All-Pakistan Muslim League 
atiqa.odho@tribune.com.pk

The writer is communications adviser of the All-Pakistan Muslim League atiqa.odho@tribune.com.pk

Pakistan is at yet another crossroads. The brutal murder of Salmaan Taseer has divided the nation. Only two types of people are debating the blasphemy law: the extremists and the moderates. There are no grey areas or mixed views on the topic. We, the people, must choose which side we are on, especially since the justice system is taking its time and the state is in a panic.

The media and civil society have been left, yet again, to fight for justice, even as our lawmakers and keepers remain silent. This has happened many a time before with the Sialkot killings, extremism in Swat, women in Balochistan being buried alive and so on.

Injustice is rampant in Pakistan today and delays in provision of justice from our judicial system, even on crimes committed in broad daylight and with ample evidence, further encourage people to take the law into their own hands.

In a country such as ours, where the illiteracy rate is extremely high — even among the so-called educated class there is chaos in their drawing room chatter — we need swift justice. This is important because it will help set the tone on important issues.

Over the last few months, I have witnessed several debates all over the country where people seemed to have been confused on what the law of the land is. Is the Constitution of Pakistan not what we are meant to follow? According to our Constitution, all injustices should be easy to check and those perpetrating them should be punished since the rights of citizens and the responsibilities of the government and the state are clearly defined. If one believes that it is not a perfect document, then the people in the assemblies must amend it according to the environment so that it is made stronger.

Of course, the other problem justice faces in Pakistan today is the politicisation of a large number of lawyers. Given this, even if one were to understand his or her legal rights, from whom is one to seek legal help? Lawyers are supposed to remain impartial and apolitical but when they start garlanding a murderer, who is going to fight against injustice and provide justice to the family of the man killed? What’s even worse is that when lawyers behave in such an improper manner, the justice system does not do anything to correct such behaviour.

I absolutely refuse to further enable the cause of injustice by staying silent against any crime committed, regardless of who may have done it, who is protecting the criminal or how weak our justice system may be. It is for us to keep pushing the system to improve, for it is the citizens of Pakistan who will set the tone for justice by speaking out, if lawmakers and keepers continue to fail us.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • long live democracy
    Jan 12, 2011 - 1:06AM

    Atiqa Odho the great, u r absolutely right :it is an acid test for major progressive minds like u holding the flag of basic structural change in the country for all the citizens irrespective of religion,cast,ethnicity, progressive elements of the society must regain energy and should come out from their deep slumber,,,,,i personally salute u for your brave stance on extremism .despite of so many differences the political party u r serving , ok no doubt this the essence and true color of democracy to differ in opinions,,,mullism is a big curse fell from heaven in this country with their prominent political takeover motives taking the country towards the destruction ,,,,,a piece of verse i would like to mention here

    ,,,, hum aah b kartey hai to hojatey hai badnam
    wo qatal b karte hai to charcha nahen hota……..Recommend

  • Malik
    Jan 12, 2011 - 1:43AM

    I absolutely refuse to further enable
    the cause of injustice by staying
    silent against any crime committed,
    regardless of who may have done it,
    who is protecting the criminal or how
    weak our justice system may be.

    Wish everyone would take this view. Liberals are you listening? Take that iPod headphone off for a second.Recommend

  • Zoubair
    Jan 12, 2011 - 2:40AM

    I have noticed that many male Pakistani politicians do not grow their beards to size of say Osama or the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This is completely un-Islamic. Why have blasphemy laws when so many Pakistani males are not growing their beards ?
    What are your views, my fellow Pakistani muslims ?Recommend

  • Usama Zafar
    Jan 12, 2011 - 3:10AM

    Fully agreed!!!Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Jan 12, 2011 - 3:40AM

    Poor Salman Taseer! Hum Jo Taarik RahooN me Mare gaye!!Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jan 12, 2011 - 3:41AM

    Atiqa – we are with you in this crusade against turning our beloved motherland into a violent den of bigots, fanatics and blood thirsty cowards.

    It is high time that the liberals and truly moderates of this nation get up and start doing. I have decided to do something. Perhaps we need to share a common platform and unite through which we could get organised and spread the message around.

    Is there a webforum for like minded Pakistanis ?

    HarisRecommend

  • JustWondering
    Jan 12, 2011 - 3:50AM

    Are alcohol consumption, drug abuse and adultery permissable under the law of the land? Is bribery ok? Is nepotism allowed? Yes we should go after murderers, but what about those who murder people that weren’t fortunate enough to be politicians? What about rape victims who do not have friends in high places?
    Taseer died as a result of a crime. Crime borne of injustice. And justice will not be served if we only go after the Qadris of today and ignore the more rampant and less talked about breaks of the law.Recommend

  • Noor
    Jan 12, 2011 - 4:49AM

    I think we have to raise our fingers against extremists takeing cove of state institutions. I mean security agencies, those killed aging parents of a supreme court judge because he was trying to curtail their role to disappear citizens. Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2011 - 5:27AM

    I wonder with “if this opinion would lead me to death” liner ringing at the back of your mind, anyone would like to speak up for injustice now.Recommend

  • nasser
    Jan 12, 2011 - 9:07AM

    Look who is talking! Atiqa, dear, are you not adviser of a party whose leader had publically stated that women in Pakistan expose themselves to rape to attract attention?Recommend

  • zoya
    Jan 12, 2011 - 9:19AM

    We are with You Atiqa
    God Bless You uRecommend

  • adnan
    Jan 12, 2011 - 9:35AM

    Miss odho i relly appreciate your views.you also joined musharaff(dictator) party recently. can you please justify the killings of innocent female students of LAL Masjid by musharaff.Recommend

  • RizwanTKhan
    Jan 12, 2011 - 10:48AM

    Right on sweetie.Recommend

  • Ali Haider
    Jan 12, 2011 - 11:38AM

    Very true. Recommend

  • SYED AGHA ALI Moosavi
    Jan 12, 2011 - 11:46AM

    ATIQA has at-least spoken for the the million in a very bold way ,the time is NOW or NEVER, to fight against such brutal actionRecommend

  • Fasih Ali Khan
    Jan 12, 2011 - 11:53AM

    Atiqa Odho Is A Reformist In 21st Century for Islamic Republic Of Pakistan. Mash’ Allah She’s got Alot of Wisdom and Courage to sideup with the Truth. Hats Off Madam.Recommend

  • Sheryar
    Jan 12, 2011 - 12:35PM

    Well said, for the woman who bounces to Abu Dhabi when things get rough. Lets hear from someone brave enough to stay in the country shall we?Recommend

  • Tony Khan
    Jan 12, 2011 - 7:22PM

    Atiqa, You kept quite on the Ahmadiyya mosques massacre of 28th May 2010 and today you speak your heart out.Recommend

  • Ahmed Jamal
    Jan 12, 2011 - 8:06PM

    An excellent Article by Atiqa Odho, we need more liberal and truthful individuals like her to speak out against injustice, it does not matter at t his point when someone speaks out but what matters is that they have began to spread the message of creating a fairer society.

    Pakistan currently needs for it’s population to be supported by a healthy political system and Justice system but currently as that does not exist, it is therefore the human right and democratic right of every fair minded individual to start to make a change and in order to do so we must firstly begin to educate people about the errors of their ways we need to start to educate people about what real rights they do have and not what a so called cleric has ordained upon them.

    Islam teaches muslims to follow the law of the land they live in, Pakistani laws are currently confused between reality and fantasy once we establish the fantasy and point out the reality to people I am sure people will begin to stand up for Justice and their own rights.

    I urge more people like Atiqa to make a comittment to speak out against injustice and start to educate people, and the use of the pen is the most effective means.

    Islam mean “Peace and submission” we must all remember this.Recommend

  • M M Malik
    Jan 12, 2011 - 9:24PM

    It was the Ahmadis who were conquered first, then the Christians. Shias were the next target and now its the Barelvis and ordinary Muslims. Hatred and intolerance is taking its toll. We must separate the state and the church (religion), just as Jinnah envisioned. Recommend

  • parvez
    Jan 12, 2011 - 11:12PM

    Nicely articulated. Agree that the law enforcement agencies and the judiciaries performance has much to be desired. If the media and civil society makes enough noise possibly some notice may be taken or possibly not. Recommend

  • Mohamed Ashraf Chaudry
    Feb 3, 2011 - 4:18AM

    We the muslims just give lip service to our love for our beloved prophet Muhammad(SAW) and cry out loud on the desecration of the Holy Quran by non-muslims.But for those who make the loudest noises, have you for one moment stopped to think what we the so called holier than thou muslims do in our daily lives.Cheating, bribery,rape,(including the very young children),acid throwing,killing of the innocents by suicide bombing,not returning loans,hoarding(sadly most of the wholesale traders are the ones with the longest beards and biggest mihrab on their foreheads)avoiding tax paying,not paying the workers a fair days wages,giving false evidence,mistreatment of women,inequality in the treatment between sons and daughters.It is disgusting that in a so called Islamic country girls are compelled into prostitution.Do not blame the girls.The society and the state is to blame.
    Dare I carry on.We are the ones who desacrate the Quran and Sunnah by our actions.
    Good luck Atiqa,and may your voice be heard loud and clear and you are quite right that the very people who are in charge of dispesing justice are themselves corrupt. Recommend

  • Altaf Khan
    Feb 3, 2011 - 4:44AM

    @Zoubair:

    you know what people like you stink in a very distinct manner,, you are comparing a renowned international terrorist and head of a terrorist organization that is responsible for the killings of personnel of Pakistani Armed forces and its innocent people to Prophet Muhammad SAW !!

    I think the only way to deal with you guys is hang you with your hero Mumtaz Qadri or either start behave !!Recommend

  • uzi khan
    Feb 3, 2011 - 5:36AM

    The justice system in Pakistan is a JOKE. You guys have no idea how far behind we are as compared to a developed country. The biggest worry is that nothing is getting better. We are going down rapidly. Lawyers, Police, witnesses and so called respected Judiciary are all for SALE and everyone knows it too. The question is that, is there anyone in the country who wants to change things?? Absolutely NO ONE.Recommend

  • GUL AZAM KHAN
    Feb 3, 2011 - 9:25AM

    ALL OF US HAVE BEEN HEARD ABOUT AN URDU SAYING”JISKI LATI USKI BHANSE”.SO HERE IS NO ANY ‘LATI’ FOR ‘BHANSE’ IN PAKISTAN,SO HOW CAN WE SAY OF INJUSTICE,ONLY WE CAN SAY INJUSTICE WITH POORS,PAKISTAN IS A NEVER ENDING PHENOMENON ,NO ONE CAN HARM IT,IT IS GOING ON IN THE NAME OF ALLAH. MY SISTER ATIQA ITS PAKISTAN AND IT IS BUILT ON THE IDEOLOGY OF PAKISTAN,WHICH ALL OF YOU KNOWS.DEAR ATTIQA YOU ARE MUSLIM AND PAKISTANI AND TALKING OF INJUSTICE ,WHERE WAS YOU WHEN THRE WAS GOING KILLING AND DISPLACEMENT OF CHILDREN’S AND PREGNANT WOMENS IN SOUTH WAZIRISTAN,SWAT,BUNARE AND SO ON.I THINK YOU PEOPLE WAS BUSY IN BEAUTY PARLOR AM I RIGHT?SO PLEASE DON,T FORGET THOSE PEOPLE WHICH PROTECTS YOU FROM THE GHAZAB OF ALLAH AS WE HAVE SEEN IN THE NEAR PAST.ANYHOW GOOD LUCK AND PLEASE DON,T SPOIL THE DIGNITY OF OUR POOR SOCIETY.IN THE END IT IS CLEAR THAT JUSTICE IS FOR RICH AND INJUSTICE FOR POOR. Recommend

  • amjad
    Feb 3, 2011 - 10:08AM

    @Zoubair:
    Dear Zubair

    Sorry that you dont hand have understanding of world blasphamy, please consult some good dictionary, then you should comment,Recommend

  • B. Hayee
    Feb 3, 2011 - 10:13AM

    Very well said, Atiqa, the quietness of most of the politicians, media men and women over the murder of Salman Taseer shows that they agree what that murderer, Quadri Guy did. It seems that the lawyers, the judges, the intellectuals, men and women of Pakistan justified the act of that killer. As a matter of fact, not only of the murder of Governor Salman Taseer, but all those brutalities and killings either in streets or in mosques are acceptable by the President, the prime Minister, all politicians and by all citizens of the country, who keep their mouths shut. There is nothing in between, as you stated, either YES or NO. When the lawyers shower the rose petals on a murderer; when the judges, including the chief justice of supreme court delay the justice, postpone the murderers’ cases; when the politicians scare to open their mouths against the killers, the criminals and the fanatic extremists; when the law enforcement agencies, such as, the police and armed forces become ineffective to maintain law and order, then something is going on very wrong. A complete vacuum, which may cause an unavoidable drift of a bloody revolution. It is a last toll for all of us, I mean everyone. It is the time to speak up against the injustice and brutalities. Stop staying quiet, watching news and talk shows in the living rooms of your houses, come out and show a real solidarity in the streets of all the cities and call for change of such dirty politics, poor governance, slow or no justice in the courts. Send the religious clerks in the mosques. They shouldn’t be allowed to participate in politics. Politics and religion have to be maintained separately. We all Muslims, even all the citizens of Pakistan, regardless of creed, respect Hazrat Holy Prophet S.A.W. The Blasphemy Law should be addressed properly. All sects of Islam, including Shia, Sunni, Ahmadi, Ismaili, Diobandi, Brelvi and many others respect Hazrat Holy Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. Pakistan must be a secular state, as Qaid-e-Azam wanted it to be. In the end, I reiterate that the murderer, Qaudri must be hanged a.s.a.p. He committed a crime under the penal code #302. If no other judge wants to do, this is a challenge of the Chief Justice to give a right judgment.Recommend

  • Azhar
    Feb 3, 2011 - 12:44PM

    @Zoubair:

    Janaab growing a beard is different matter and blasphemy law is a totally different matter! You cannot equate the two! Recommend

  • Azhar
    Feb 3, 2011 - 12:51PM

    @B. Hayee:
    Janaab to your comment, “Politics and religion have to be maintained separately. ” The 2 are inseparable! They go hand in hand in the case of Islam!

    We can always argue what our great leader (I might add our greatest leader) Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but fact of the matter is that the Constitution of Pakistan states that our laws should not be against Quran, hence it means that it is not a secular state! But then we have to define what secular is????

    Allah knows best…Recommend

  • Feb 3, 2011 - 1:27PM

    Well, this wasn’t so bad!Recommend

  • Dr.Tariq Rahmani
    Feb 3, 2011 - 6:43PM

    Dear Atiqa odo, . We must not remain silent in case of injustice.We must ‘speak’.I agree.But, that is not enough,I reckon.we should speak our heart out with sincerity and without hypocrisy.Whole nation listens to the loud ‘sermons’ of “intellectuals”, anker -persons,columnists,politicians,NGOs etc round the clock but the positive change has not been observed.Why? Because of hypocrisy. We do every bad act in the name of goodness!We don’t mean what we say. Most of the time our actions and beliefs are contradictory rather hypo critic. Anyways, I appreciate your efforts . wish you…THE BEST !Recommend

  • Syed N.
    Feb 3, 2011 - 9:47PM

    Its not enough to speak out against the injustice.WE MUST ACT NOW.Blasphemy law is unislamic.Repeal it now or face the wrath of ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY.Recommend

  • P Khan
    Feb 4, 2011 - 2:23AM

    Pakistan, We are a failed state. Not because of our leaders. Not because of America. But because we are a failed people, all of us undeserving of world’s sympathy. We are diseased, rotten to every brain stem, world please make an impenetrable fence around us, keep us all in so we don’t spread it to other people, other countries.Recommend

  • Mohamed Ashraf Chaudry
    Feb 5, 2011 - 12:04AM

    Following my earlier comments,may I take the liberty to state that my beautiful deen of Islam has been hijacked by the ‘Sunglasses wearing’ mafiosi type Kalashnikov totting,(with all their heavily armed bodyguards),who are nothing but ‘Gangsters’.I am no aalim or scholar but to those of you(although I doubt if they are intelligent enough to read this) who are responsible for giving my beautiful deen a bad name,do they not know that the starting point in the implimentation of ‘Sharia law’ is for the state to fulfill all the requirements for social security for the entire population,irrespective of their religion,cast,ethnicity or creed.Once all these necesseties` are met then and only then are the punitive laws implemented.We have a precedence on this issue during the reign of the 2nd.Khalifah ameer-ul-momineen,sayidna Umar bin Khataab(ra) the Sharia Law was suspended when the Arabian peninsula was affected by famine.I will stand corrected if I am wrong. Recommend

  • Haris Lodhi
    Feb 6, 2011 - 1:33AM

    Dear Ms.Atiqa Odho,

    APML is going great and hope for the best for our future . I would like to introduce my self as a son of Mrs.Shireen Lodhi who lost her life in the recent air blue crash at margalla hills on 28th July 2010. Since then we are going pillar to post for their investigation report but till now all efforts in vein .I would like to request our great leader Gen.Pervaiz Musharaf to comment on this issue as there was 156 passengers / 156 families affected. With each family there were more than 100 persons affected.

    We sent a letter to CJ but unfortunately there is no action on our letter . A petition is already registered in Sindh High Court and hearings in process. But If Gen Sb. comment on this then our moral will boost as we consider him our future leader .

    Hope you understand our feelings and do something for justice.

    Looking forward for your valuable response .

    Best Regards,
    Haris Lodhi
    Son of Shireen Lodhi ( victim of air blue )
    KarachiRecommend

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