Tag Archive: Punjab Pakistan

Now things are becoming clearer and more understandable. We should forgive those journalists, TV anchors and political leaders who support or avoid opposing and condemning extremists. They have a very genuine reason to live in hypocrisy. Someone who dared to oppose extremism, had to pay the price with his own life; a price for being forthright, honest, bold and outspoken. In spite of his failings and weaknesses as a human, he went down fighting a menace Pakistan has created itself. Punjab’s slain governor Salman Taseer had refused to accept that Pakistani society is no more a society of rational people; it is a jungle where you have to accept the command of those capable of killing. You must bow down to them or get perished. Period. The world is in shock at the gory incident but it fails to understand the fact that the act is being glorified by those elements who claim to profess a religion of peace. This is the most disgusting thing, more than the murder itself. And look at the attitude of the lawyers, the so-called custodians of “rule of law” who kissed and garlanded the accused when he was brought to the court. These are all very disturbing signs. Even Islam would not condone this attitude of showing disrespect to the due process of law.

It is not important that Governor Taseer was a politician and that he was killed at a point in time when his party’s government at the Center was facing worst ever crisis of its survival. The most important thing is that we have come to a pass where you cannot question a menace, particularly the one which was created to please a more dangerous menace, the clergy. The world which was worried about Pakistan’s political crisis is now in shock and unable to think what will happen next. The New York Times says that the assassination of an outspoken secular politician by one of his elite police guards on Tuesday plunged the government deeper into political crisis and highlighted the threat of militant infiltration even within the nation’s security forces.

The killing of Salman Taseer, the prominent governor of Punjab Province, was another grim reminder of the risks that Pakistani leaders take to oppose religious extremists, at a time when the United States is pushing Pakistan for greater cooperation in the war in Afghanistan by cracking down on militant groups like the Taliban.

Mr. Taseer, recently took up a campaign to repeal Pakistan’s contentious blasphemy laws, which were passed under General Zia as a way to promote Islam and unite the country. The laws have been misused to convict minority Pakistanis as the Islamic forces unleashed by the general have gathered strength. The laws prescribe a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam.

Religious parties staged vigorous demonstrations of thousands of people across the country last weekend to protest the campaign by Mr. Taseer, even burning him in effigy. Mr. Taseer countered in comments on his Twitter account and elsewhere.

“Religious right trying to pressurize from the street their support of blasphemy laws. Point is it must be decided in Parliament not on the road,” he wrote on Dec. 26 in the imperfect shorthand typical of such posts.

“I was under huge pressure to cow down before rightist’s pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I’m the last man standing,” he posted on Dec. 31.

Mr. Taseer’s death will serve as a chilling warning to any politician who speaks out against the religious parties and their agenda and will certainly end immediate attempts to amend the blasphemy laws.

The paper also reports that Obama administration officials worry that even if Pakistan’s government survives the upheaval — which they believe it might, for a while — the turmoil could kill any chance for political and economic reforms. The assassination, one official said, leaves not only the repeal of the blasphemy laws in doubt, but also possible reforms to increase tax collection. Under pressure from Secretary of State and other American officials, the Pakistani government submitted a new tax law in Parliament. But it may abandon the push as a way to lure back coalition partners.

The government of Punjab province of Pakistan has introduced certain revolutionary changes in marriage laws. Some of these changes are welcome developments, like medical examination before nikah to prevent future complications like birth of handicapped children due to blood group incompatibility. But some changes have been severely criticized which enhance the role (read: consent] of parents which to the critics mean encouraging forced marriages.

Express Tribune has reported that the Punjab Government made eight amendments to the Nikahnama Law on Thursday. A circular was issued by the Local Government and Community Development Department and sent to all DCOs in Punjab, describing the Punjab specific amendments. The new amendments make it necessary for both the bride and bridegroom to undergo a blood test, which is made compulsory to prevent disabled and handicapped births.

The amendments also make it mandatory for parents/guardians of both bride and bridegroom to sign the Nikahnama document as witnesses. Mention of the bride and bridegroom’s date-of-birth has also been declared binding. The amendments in the circular are as follows:

  1. Additional columns and space shall be provided for dowry articles in the Nikahnama
  2. In addition to the names of fathers of both the bride and bridegroom, the names of mothers of both the bride and bridegroom shall be recorded with their CNIC numbers and dates of births.
  3. Father and mother of the bride and bridegroom shall sign in the witness to the marriage column.
  4. Marks of identification of both the bride and bridegroom shall be incorporated in the Nikahnama.
  5. Medical check up and report of the bride and bridegroom shall be mandatory to obviate any problem in their matrimonial life and subsequently any chance of having abnormal children. Blood groups of the bride and the bridegroom shall be entered in the marriage certificate.
  6. The name of the bride usually changes after the marriage is solemnized which then appears in future documents of the new family. Such a projected change shall be recorded in the certificate.
  7. Instead of mentioning only the age of the bride and bridegroom, their exact dates of birth shall be recorded as in their school certificates/CNIC/Passports.
  8. The latest passport size photos of the bride and bridegroom shall be pasted on the certificate.

The handout says the amendments are effective as of today (Thursday) and no nikah document will be registered without fulfilling these requirements. According to a report, PPP MNA Sherry Rehman criticized the amendments and said that they would strengthen the organizers of forced marriages.