Thursday, October 16, 2014

High Court Upholds Death Sentence on Aasia Bibi

Setting new records of shamelessness and spinelessness, the Lahore High Court has upheld the death sentence awarded to Aasia bibi for "blasphemy".

For years now, the lower courts in Pakistan have taken the route of automatic award of death sentence in blasphemy cases. Lower court judges feel that they have no security and why should they put their life on the line for a Christian or an Ahmedi (and of course, for apostates they themelves almost certainly feel a death sentence is justified, so no conscience issues there)? They expect that the case will go to the High court and high court judges will either keep it in limbo forever or hear it and throw out the death penalty (helped, no doubt, by the transparent lack of due process at the lower court in a way the lower court judge is doing the accused a service by giving zero time to their defence and pronouncing sentence on the flimsiest of grounds).
Well, no more.
Christians and Ahmedis in Pakistan now face a legal situation whose closest parallel may be in the Jim Crow South, where Black defendants were frequently found guilty on the flimsiest of grounds and if acquited, faced mob justice and public lynching. But while the Jim Crow South has moved on (a lot, though not all the way), the situation in Pakistan is headed in the opposite direction.
A poor woman has been in prison for 4 years and now faces the very real prospect of execution for what is basically the crime of being "uppity". 
Very sad.
Btw, this does shed light on what is clearly the weakest part of Ben Affleck's ignorant but well-meaning liberal account of the Muslim world: the fact that the core Islamic world (really, everyone except Muslim countries that have been hit hard by communism, as in the Soviet Stans and in Xinjiang) is COMPLETELY illiberal when it comes to apostasy and blasphemy. Illiberal views on these issues are not fringe views in the Muslim world. Blasphemers are to be punished, usually by death. This is a MAJORITY view, supported by ALL major Islamic sects and their theologians. The notion that apostates are to be killed has a little less support, but is still the majority view in many countries and is again the clear consensus among orthodox Sunni theologians (I have little detailed knowledge of Shia theology, so I am leaving them out of it...they may believe exactly this as well). Based on these two memes, criticism of Islamists becomes a problem in all these countries and "reform from above", enforced by Westernized rulers (like Ataturk) is always in danger because the religious establishment has never accepted it and the population continues to honor classical beliefs in principle (without knowing them too well, thanks to secularized education) and so is always available to be "reformed" back to those classical beliefs when circumstances change (as they have been changing in Turkey).
And so on.
Its not as hunky dory as Affleck and his fans may wish to believe.
For more, see this article about blasphemy laws.

Also note that while Aasia bibi cannot get out of jail no matter what, this guy apparently had no problem joining the Mujahideen after being imprisoned in Croatia and deported to Pakistan for being a Jihadist
Shoot rushdie

Friday, October 10, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Imran Khan: between a rock and a hard place

For the past one month, Imran Khan has been spending several hours a day on top of a container in the heart of Islamabad, demanding that the elected government must resign (because he says so) and pave the way for him to become prime minister and finally create the Pakistan that was dreamt of by Iqbal and that will be run according to the model of the State of Medina. (I am not kidding, he regularly evokes both Allama Iqbal and the model state of Medina and seems to be seriously impressed by both). Unfortunately, his sincere admiraition is not matched by any detailed knowledge of either Allama Iqbal or the state of Medina. This causes problems when someone who knows a bit about either of them shows up to bully him...poor IK has to cave in. Very fast.

This is Imran Khan promising that in his new Pakistan, "the best will be appointed on merit" and he has just heard that Atif Mian, a Pakistani economist at Princeton is among the top 25 economists in the world, so Atif Mian will be his finance minister:

Imran Khan wants “Qadiani” Atif Mian to be his... by PakistantvTV

Atif Mian is apparently an Ahmedi.

Complete Interview IMRAN KHAN on MessageTv... by fame6

Why can Imran Khan not stand up to the Jamat e Islami or Hamid Gul or anyone with any Islamist credentials?

Sun wey bilori akh waaleya

The original

 The Coke studio version from Meesha Shafi

Whatever you may think of the new effort ("desecration of the original" or a vast improvement), it is interesting that coke studio (and Meesha Shafi's expresions) is trying to to salute some folk and classical elements in their modernized version and the director of Anwara is trying to make his picturization of the folk-ish Punjabi song more modern... I detect at least a short essay opportunity in the journal of postcolonial studies..