Articles by Vision21, Iqbal Series, Vision21
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Human Rights and Blasphemy in Pakistan

December 10, 2010

Today, Human Rights Day is being observed all around the world. Every year, on the 10th of December, this day is celebrated to acknowledge and honor, United Nations’ adoption of ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, sixty two years ago in 1948. The theme for commemoration is different every year. This year’s theme identifies the struggle and sacrifices of Human Rights activists around the world, who risk their lives to safeguard rights of the others, against violence, women abuse, child abuse, physical torture, religious and gender discrimination etc.

Perhaps there cannot be a more pertinent theme than this, for our beloved country Pakistan. Violence, Torture, physical, social and mental, Woman abuse, Child abuse, Elderly abuse, Oppression of those without power. You name a right that can be abused and we have plentiful examples in the ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Yet today the Governing class will cherish the photo opportunity and there will be lot of desk banging for the sake of Human Rights. Such is the scale of sheer hypocrisy in this country that even dogs have become nauseated.
Look a t the news tonight and tomorrow and you will see scores of shows and seminars were organized for this purpose. New programs were announced. Different speeches and lectured were delivered by many influential people of the country. We are all talk but no walk at all. All we can do is pay lip service. Has anyone ever thought about their personal conduct? It makes me wonder how they get a peaceful night of sleep. Don’t they have an iota of conscience left in them?
Hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression, unfairness, obscurantism, and darkness engulf the life of the teeming millions in this country. And all we can do is talk, talk and talk. We talk so much about the rights of the people of our country, but when the time comes for action, all we see is abuse. Starting right from the top. The basic rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness seem to be the stuff of fairytale luxury that is out of reach for the common people.
Who are we waiting for? A Messiah? He will never come. When will we stand up for ourselves?
Along with many other issues of Human Rights, the rights of marginalized minorities are also not taken care of. Look at poor Aasia bibi’s case. We still do not know on what basis has she been found guilty, and what are those issues on which blasphemy is charged? There is a vague understanding of Blasphemy law among the people.
If blasphemy is the matter of disrespect, then we Muslims are the biggest blasphemers. We, who do not pay any attention to the Sunnah of our Sadiq and Ameen Prophet. We, who ignore his teachings for Truth and Justice, at each and every single step of our lives, and every moment of every day.  We are the blasphemers, not some poor old Christian Woman who dare not even speak up.
Shame upon us. On all Muslim Pakistanis.  For our blasphemous conduct in our everyday life.
So what is the point of celebrating this day when we cannot protect the rights of our people and minorities in our country. And there is also no need to make promises and speeches concerning Human Rights, when we have failed miserably to deliver on any previous promise.
If there is any one single term that defines the teachings of Islam, what Quran says and what Sunnah of the Prophet is, more than any other term, that term is ‘Haqooq Ul Ibaad’. Will someone translate that into English please?
That is the sole and the single purpose and aim of ISLAM, which we Pakistanis cherish as our State, Public and Private Religion and Belief.
That is what we claim is our ‘Deen’. Our way of Life.
Haqooq ……….. Ul…………. Ibaad.
Human Rights.
That is the lesson taught to us fourteen hundred years ago. Is it not the time that we learn it?
We either stand up and be counted. Or we shut up and perish in misery.


This entry was posted in: Articles by Vision21, Iqbal Series, Vision21
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Vision 21 is Pakistan based non-profit, non- party Socio-Political organisation. We work through research and advocacy for developing and improving Human Capital, by focusing on Poverty and Misery Alleviation, Rights Awareness, Human Dignity, Women empowerment and Justice as a right and obligation. We act to promote and actively seek Human well-being and happiness by working side by side with the deprived and have-nots.

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