The literary community came together on Wednesday to pledge support for writer Amar Jalil, condemning the recent hate speech and instigation of violence against him.
More than 300 writers, poets, intellectuals, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, teachers, students and other people from different walks of life asked the government to provide security to the writer and take stringent action against those instigating violence against him.
In their statement, writers including Noorul Huda Shah, Anis Haroon, Jami Chandio, Arfana Mallah, Amar Sindhu, Ahmed Shah, Fazil Jamili and Dr Ayoub Shaikh demanded immediate action against those responsible.
They also called upon the provincial and federal governments to register an anti-terrorism case against the groups in Umerkot announcing head money for the writer, a direct attempt to instigate terror and divide the society.
"We see the recent hate speech against Amir Jalil in the context of efforts to instigate violence, cause lawlessness and social unrest in Pakistan, especially in Sindh, which is against the spirit of a tolerant and plural Pakistan.
"It seems to be a conspiracy to open new fronts of terror in the country," the statement further read.
According to the writers, a few people and groups were instigating violence in the name of religion.
"The hate speech against the writer is a message that rule of law doesn’t prevail and that a small group of people can restrain freedom of speech and expression through violent means."
"We see this as an attempt to intimidate and harass sane voices of society," they maintained.
They demanded the government, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, federal and provincial ministries of law, the ministry of religious affairs, ministry of human rights and all relevant institutions, especially NACTA to take notice of the threats.
Earlier, a delegation of human rights activists, journalists and intellectuals met Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, voicing concerns over the rising incidents of extremism and intolerance, urging action against those hurling threats to the writer.
The multi-lingual writer and intellectual has recently been accused of blasphemy with some critics demanding the registration of an FIR against the elderly literary figure. A man from Umerkot district, Pir Sarhindi, even put head money of Rs5 million on Jalil.
Three years ago at the Sindh Literature Festival Jalil had argued that human beings cannot know or understand their creator because it was beyond their intellect. Some religious circles, which are belatedly reacting to the video, now contend that his assertion amounted to denying belief in the Almighty according to Quranic teachings.