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Annual Reports on the Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan. These reports summarise the events and describe how members of the community are harassed, threatened and even killed by the extremists.
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Home Human Rights Commission of Pakistan 2000
Excerpts from “State of Human Rights in 2000”

Introduction

The vacuum created by the military regime’s strategy of discrediting and sidelining political parties and their leaders was ideally suited to the orthodox clergy, and its militant formations took little time to move into the space left behind as political parties were pushed away. In a series of alarming actions, the clergy struck out fiercely against minority groups, especially the Ahmadi community, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), particularly those that tried to promote the rights of women. The outpourings of vicious hatred from these clergymen, in direct violation of law, not surprisingly resulted in numerous incidents of violence, harassment and even cold-blooded murder. The fact the authorities stood by as silent spectators indicated clearly that they were in fact colluding with the extremists against those peacefully, and lawfully, practising their beliefs or undertaking development work aimed at uplifting communities.

The heightened violence and intolerance within society was also exhibited by the numerous cases of blasphemy registered against individuals. In repeated instances this appeared to stem from disputes of various kinds. A minor administrative adjustment proposed by the government in investigating cases of blasphemy, aimed at attempting to check precisely such misuse of the law, was taken back within weeks following pressure exerted by the orthodox clergy.

Kamila Hyat
Editor

Highlights

Crimes
40 people were killed on the grounds of belief. These included 10 members of the Ahmadi community.
Freedom of thought, conscience and belief
A procedural amendment in the blasphemy law intended to check possible abuse of the legislation was withdrawn after protests by orthodox religious groups.
At least ten Ahmadis were killed in sectarian attacks across the Punjab. Others were murdered in incidents which appeared to stem from their beliefs.

Administration of justice

Cases on religious basis

Ahmadis
Acquitted
Four Ahmadis belonging to Mianwali (Punjab) who were tried u/s 295-C were acquitted. They had been arrested in November 1993 and denied bail for four years till their bail plea was granted by the Supreme Court. The judgment acquitting them came on September 9, 2000.

The judge in his judgment said:

“ In the light of the above discussion, this court has come to the conclusion that firstly this is a case of no evidence. Secondly, the complainant party has made the sentiment of the Muslims as tool for the worldly benefit and aim and also used the name of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) for this purpose. The evidence of the prosecution is based on previous enmity, litigation and interested and false witnesses are produced to prove this case of punishment of death which has also created doubts and the prosecution has also failed to prove the case beyond any shadow of doubt, rather they have falsely implicated the accused present persons in the present case.” (Text unedited)
Convicted
Five Ahmadis were convicted and awarded sentences.
Ataullah Warraich of a village in Chishtian (Punjab) was awarded two years in prison u/s 298-B. He was accused of building a niche and a minaret in an Ahmadi prayer house and keeping copies of the Holy Quran there. The court noted that the accused was a first offender, was an illiterate farmer and he might have constructed the prayer house before sec 298-B was added to the PPC.

In its judgment the court referred to the direction it had received from the LHC (Bahawalpur bench) and that accordingly hearing had been held on almost day-to-day basis.

The LHC direction had come in the matter of the accused’s bail application. The latter had gone to the LHC for bail after this had been denied by the magistrate and the sessions judge. While rejecting the bail plea, the LHC (Justice Nazir Akhtar) observed:

“The present case does not involve commission of an ordinary penal offence against one or more individuals but is an exceptional case involving commission of an offence against the society as a whole, which may have national as well as international repercussion .... I feel that the interests of justice would be adequately met if the trial court is directed to conclude the trial within a period of three months ... (and to) conduct proceedings on day-to-day basis.”

The trial court noted that the case had been decided well within the time-limit suggested by the LHC.
Mubarak Ahmad was convicted by a Hyderabad (Sindh) judicial magistrate u/s 298-C on the charge of offering prayers in a police lock-up in the manner of a Muslim. He was sentenced to imprisonment for two months and 21 days (the period he had spent in prison before being allowed bail) and a fine of Rs. 3,000. His trial lasted 11 years during which he had to appear before courts in different cities on hundreds of dates.
M. Yusuf (Kasur, Punjab) was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5,000. Quranic verses had been found inscribed inside his shop and the Kalima on the door.
Mohammad Husain and Mohammad Sadiq (Kasur), father and son, were also awarded prison term for one year and a fine of Rs. 5,000. Kalima was noticed inscribed at their house.
New cases: Fifteen new cases against 51 Ahmadis were reported to have been instituted.
M. Tariq and three others of New Sindh Goods Transport Agency were booked u/s 295-C, 298-A and 298-C at Badin (Sindh). The local magistrates had taken action on being informed that ‘objectionable’ Ahmadi literature (booklets, etc) had been brought to Badin in a truck and that it was lying in the carrier’s godown.
In four cases 19 persons were charged u/s 295-A. They were: Laeeq Ahmed (Sargoda, Punjab); Ghulam Mustafa, M. Yusuf, M. Afzal and three others (Sialkot, Punjab); M. Saleem, Irshad Sulehria, M. Yusuf, and Daud (Sialkot); Ghulam Mustafa, Hamid, Maqsood Ahmad, Mian Fazil (Sialkot).
In two cases u/s 295-B, the following two persons were booked: Munir Ahmed (Faisalabad) and Nasir Ahmed (Rajanpur, Punjab). The case against the latter was particularly noticeable. He was accused of pushing an assailant who fell into a drain. The latter claimed that he was carrying a copy of the Holy Quran in his pocket. Besides other criminal charges Nasir Ahmed was accused of desecrating the Holy Quran.
Eight cases against 26 Ahmadis were registered u/s 298-C. They were: Sahib Khan, Sikandar Hayat and Fazal Ahmad (Hafizabad, Punjab); Khalid Ahmad, M. Abdullah, Nasir Ahmad and Shafqat Hayat (Hafizabad); Iftikhar A. Azhar (Norwegian citizen on a visit, Punjab); Khalid Ahmed and Saeed Ahmed (Karachi); Abdus Sami, Bashir Ahmad and M. Ismail (Serai Siddhu, Punjab); Ghaffar Ahmed, Ilyas Ahmad and Manzoor Ahmed (Chichwatni, Punjab); Dr. Khalid Mahmud, Manzur Qadir, Mohammad Hayat, and M. Idrees Shahid (Bhera, Punjab); Manzoor, Rashed, Arshad, Naseer and two others (Umerkot, Sindh).

Freedom of thought,
conscience and religion

The growing influence of religious extremists on a society which has over the decades progressively allowed increasingly limited debate on the possibility of separating religion from state law was felt throughout the year. Even the most minor procedural amendments, intended to offer some protection against the misuse of law, drew strong protest from zealots, leading the government to backtrack. In at least one portion of the country the increasingly more rigid enforcement of Islamic law demonstrated the dangers of permitting such deviations from constitutional rule. An extremist religious party threatened to impose Islamic law in 20 other districts of the country. The environment overall was such that any expression of views opposed to the orthodox opinion swiftly drew a heated reaction.

A procedural amendment in the law on blasphemy made in April, and stated by the government to be a part of its effort to prevent the abuse of sensitive laws, had to be overturned within weeks after protests from religious groups. [See section on blasphemy].

The state of intolerance
The freedom to express opinions continued to be challenged through the year 2000, with any opinion contrary to the beliefs held by orthodox religious groups drawing fervent protests from them. The freedom to think and the encouragement to express new ideas thus remained severely restricted. Fears of an onslaught from religious elements also meant that in practice certain topics, especially those linked to religious belief or the possibility of separating state from religion, continued to lie beyond the realm of most debate. Thus, the liberty of thought, conscience and religion remained strictly limited.

The impact such restrictions on thought are having within a society that has become increasingly closed from year to year stifling innovative or independent thinking, are perhaps best exhibited in the growing uniformity of discussion and the declining standards of debate, whether within institutes of higher learning or on the broader national platform.

Examples of the growing lack of tolerance continued to come in through the year:

¨ The most serious indication of the increasingly intolerant environment came in the death of at least ten members of the Ahmadi community, who were killed as a direct consequence of the views they held. [See section on Ahmadis].

¨ In March, a senior judge of the Lahore High Court, while commenting in response to a newspaper query, held that in his view the suggested changes in the blasphemy law were being considered because of the efforts by western governments to act against Islam. The judge, who had in 1999 advocated Ahmadis be beaten up if found propagating their religion in any way, also appeared unrepentant about these comments.

¨ A passing remark, made by Federal Religious Affairs Minister Dr. Mahmood Ghazi in September during an interview, suggesting that Ahmadis had been declared ‘non-Muslims’ in an ‘emotional atmosphere’, brought a strong onslaught against the minister. Despite the fact that Ghazi himself is an established Islamic scholar, religious parties accused him of “conspiring with the West against Islam.” The fierce attack by religious parties eventually led the Minister to retract even this mild remark, which had been made during a wider discussion on how emotive an issue religion and religious laws frequently become.

The existence of specific laws denied Ahmadis the freedom to practise or propagate their religion. In instances where they chose to do so, many faced cases registered against them as persecution against the community continued. [See section on Ahmadis].

Laws on blasphemy
With pressure from human rights groups, both local and international, growing, the federal government announced on April 18 that as a step towards improving its record on human rights, it was planning measures to avoid the misuse of law. It was also stated that as part of this process, in all cases involving blasphemy, the case would be referred to the concerned Deputy Commissioner (DC). It would be referred to police only if the DC was satisfied the case warranted police intervention and an FIR (First Information Report) would be registered only after this.

The innocuous move aimed at curbing the registration of false blasphemy cases brought swift and fierce attack from religious groups, that threatened countrywide protests unless the minor change in procedure concerning blasphemy laws was taken back. Despite government efforts to reassure religious leaders, the threats continued and on May 16 General Pervez Musharraf announced a restoration of the previous procedure. The failure of the government to implement even this change, offering some protection against the misuse of the law, indicated the extent of religious intolerance in society and the vulnerability of governments to pressure from religious forces.

Freedom of religion
A considerable increase in violence against religious minorities was recorded during the year, with Hindu communities in Balochistan facing some of the worst threats in their history.

Though only Ahmadis are restricted under the law from practising their religion, due to increased social intolerance, members of all minority religious communities faced discrimination and harassment. In many cases, even administrative efforts failed to rescue them from the wrath of communities within which they lived. In other episodes the administration failed to make even an attempt to offer protection.

In repeated episodes, the places of worship of minorities were attacked. Frequently, the attacks appeared to have been orchestrated by local clerics and extremists, who incited people to violence in previously peaceful settlements.

The fact that hundreds were forced during the year to flee their homes after facing persecution because of their religious beliefs alone reflected the state of religious tolerance in society.

Ahmadis
Ahmadis continued to be made the target of a growing hatred, spearheaded by groups such as the Tehrik-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat.

One of the most devastating episodes, causing the death of five Ahmadis, took place on October 30, at a village near Sialkot, where unknown assailants opened indiscriminate firing on the ‘Baitul Zikr’ (House of Worship) in the area, at a time when Ahmadis were at prayer. The bullets killed five of those present at the premises.

The assailants, described by horrified eye-witnesses as bearded men in ‘shalwarkameez’ caused panic in the village, where almost 50 percent of the population comprises of Ahmadis. The settlement had remained peaceful for many decades, with Ahmadis residing side by side with their neighbours. Initial findings suggested the brutal attack could have been the work of an extremist sectarian group. The attack highlighted once again the dangers presented by the negligence of the government in curbing the actions of such organisations and permitting the culture of intolerance to grow rapidly through the freedom allowed to orthodox clerics to preach hatred at sermons and advocate violent action against peaceful citizens. Police had by early December apprehended three of those accused of taking part in the attack, and were investigating the case, in which they believed an element of personal enmity could have played a part.

An equally frightening incident took place on November 10 at Takht Hazara, near Sargodha, where a protest was staged against Ahmadis led by a local clergyman linked to the Khatm-e-Nabuwat group, active in increasingly hostile attacks on Ahmadis. He was accompanied by some madrassah students. His provocative actions led, according to reports, to local Ahmadis rebuking him. As the incident flared up, a mob converged on the Ahmadi’s place of worship. While the Ahmadis climbed to the roof to save themselves, they were attacked with bricks and sticks, resulting in the death of five members of the community.

District officials arrived at the spot too late to avert this, while the Punjab Governor ordered a judicial inquiry into the episode soon after the violence broke out. An HRCP fact-finding team that visited the area in November found persisting tension and fear among the Ahmadis in the weeks after the incident.

Persecution of Ahmadis also seemed to be on the rise across the country during the year, with the number of episodes climbing during the later months of 2000. The incidents reported included those of Ahmadi places of worship being taken over, bodies of Ahmadis buried at graveyards being disinterred and religious edicts (fatwas) issued against Ahmadis. At least four Ahmadis were murdered over the year in cases that appeared to stem from intolerance for their beliefs. Cases also continued to be registered against members of the community under specific sections of law introduced under the constitutional amendment of 1974. A representative of the Ahmadi community appeared in October before a panel of the US Commission of International Religious Freedom, conducting a hearing on the state of religious freedom in Pakistan. He stated that since April 1984 to December 1999, as many as 753 Ahmadis had been arrested for displaying the ‘Kalima’ and another 379 for ‘posing as Muslims.’ [See also section on cases against Ahmadis].

Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti, one of the most active anti-Ahmadi leaders in recent years, again played a leading role in this respect. On August 24, he spoke as a guest at a Multan mosque, where he was introduced as the ‘Conqueror of Ahmadis’. Maulana Chinioti detailed to the audience over a two-hour period how his thirty-year ‘jehad’ against Ahmadis had resulted in the name of Rabwah, the name given to a settlement of Ahmadis based on land leased by the community from the Punjab government soon after independence, being changed to Chenabnagar.

Chinioti also called on people to beat up with shoes any Ahmadis found practising their creed and then hand them over to the police. The Maulana had also delivered other similar attacks during the year.

Reports of violence against Ahmadis, including attacks on members of their community or on places of worship, continued to come in through the year from Karachi, Okara, Sargodha, Jhang, Manshera, Kotli and other locations. In many cases religious edicts had contributed to an incitement of hatred against Ahmadis.

A comparitively new trend which gained pace over the year was the disinterring of the bodies of Ahmadis buried at common graveyards. One case which came to light took place in August, at Chak 203 R/B near Faisalabad. After an Ahmadi, Malik Nazar Mohammad, was buried at the graveyard, where 15 Ahmadi graves already existed, extremists sent an application to the Deputy Commissioner, who directed the Superintendent of Police to take action. The Ahmadi community was then directed by police to disinter the body and take it elsewhere. Despite appeals by community elders to the local magistrate, the district administration, apparently under pressure from extremists had the body removed from the grave and shifted, ignoring protests from helpless Ahmadis.

A voice warning of the potential misuse of sections 298-B (2) and 298-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which prohibit the Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslim or their faith Islam, was raised by Justice (retd) Mamoon A Kazi, a former Supreme Court judge, in a major Karachi-based English language daily in July. However in other cases, the press did not fully realise the injustice and dangers in sensationalising such cases, levelling false allegations or contributing to the harassment faced by Ahmadis everywhere in the country.

In November, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) accepted a petition to set up a larger bench to hear a case challenging the decision of the NWFP government to ban books by Ahmadis. The Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) was made a respondent in the case.

Cases against Ahmadis

Under Sections 295-A and B

In March, Laeeq Ahmed was arrested in Sargodha for inscribing the name of the Holy Prophet on the walls of his shop.

On April 28, in Daryapur, District Sialkot, 10 Ahmadis were charged in two criminal cases. This was the fifth case in the district over the last year against Ahmadis in which the Anti-Terrorist Act applies. Ghulam Mustafa, president of the local Ahmaddiya community, and his brothers Mohammad Yousaf and Mohammad Afzal were arrested and seven others booked. They were accused of preaching and also charged in a twoyear old case involving objections to the building of a niche for Ahmadis in the local mosque.

On July 31, in Bharokay Kalan, District Sialkot, four Ahmadis were arrested for watching Muslim Television Ahmaddiya with their garage door partially opened. Ghulam Mustafa, Hamid, Maqsood Ahmed and Mian Fazil were charged with propagating their religion by local extremists.

[Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code reads as follows:
Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. Whoever, with malicious and deliberate intention of outraging the religious feelings, of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written or by visible representations insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to (ten) years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 295-B reads
Defiling, etc. of copy of Holy Quran: Whoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.]
Under Section 295-C

On April 12, the district and sessions judge Jaranwala, district Faisalabad, rejected a plea by Dr. Saeed against the application of section 295-C in his case. The defendant had been charged for preaching his faith two years ago. Later, a magistrate added a charge under Section 295-C.

[Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code reads as follows:
Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, and shall also be liable to fine.]
Under Sections 298-B and C

On January 31, in Haroonabad, District Bahawalnagar, Ataullah Warraich was sentenced by a civil judge to three years in jail. He was charged by a magistrate in a case registered late last year for building a niche and minaret at the local prayer house.

In February, Sahib Khan who had recently become an Ahmadi was accused of preaching by his father in Mangat Unchai, District Hyderabad. He was arrested along with his teacher, Fazil Ahmed and another Ahmadi Sikander Hayat.

On July 30, two Ahmadis from Karachi, Khalil Ahmed and Saeed Ahmed, were arrested after a case was registered against them by local clergymen while they were attempting to visit an acquaintance in a village they had travelled to.

On August 19, three Ahmadis were arrested in village Chak 37/12-L, District Sahiwal on the accusation of posing as Muslims. A land dispute was reported to lie behind the case against Ghaffar Ahmed, Ilyas Ahmed and Manzur Ahmed registered on a complaint made by an opponent.

On August 29, in Sarai Siddhu, District Khanewal, three Ahmadis, Abdus Sami, Bashir Ahmed and Mohammad Ismail were arrested. They were accused of an offence under 295-B by local activists of the Sipahe-Sahaba Pakistan, following an altercation between Abdus Sami and a local.
[Section 298-B of the Pakistan Penal Code reads as follows:
Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc. Reserved for certain holy personages or places.

   (1) Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who calls themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name) who by word, either spoken or written, or by visible representation-

   (a) refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as ‘Ameer-ul-Mumineen’, ‘Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen Sahaabi’ or ‘razi Allah anho’;    (b) refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as ‘Ummul Muminnen’;

   (c) refers to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (ahle-bait) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as Ahle bait; or

   (d) refers to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as masjid; shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

   (2) Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who calls themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who by word, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, refers to the mode or form of the call to prayers followed by his faith as ‘Azan’ or recites Azan as used by Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 298-C reads

Person of Quadiani group etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or propagating his faith. Any person of Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who calls themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who directly or indirectly poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either, spoken or written, or by visible representations or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.]

Recommendations

  1. All laws which have acted to discriminate against minorities and provide legal sanction for such discrimination, need to be repealed. These include the system of separate electorates separating members of minority communities from the political mainstream and the laws against Ahmadis.
  2. There is no need for a specific set of laws against Ahmadis. They should be guaranteed the freedom to profess and practise their belief and protection against violence of all kinds.
  3. The laws on blasphemy are in need of urgent review given their frequent abuse. The government acknowledged this by announcing a short-lived procedural adjustment in April. It must now stand firm on its stance, and amend or repeal all laws which can be misused to settle disputes or enmity, with dangerous consequences for the persons accused. If necessary, saner elements from within religious groups may be consulted in the completion of this process, while the government must avoid capitulating under pressure from those threatening violence. This can only encourage such forces of obscurantism to adopt similar tactics in the future.
  4. Courts, the district administration and law enforcers must be made more aware about the dangers of backing in any way prejudices against religious minorities or registering complaints too hastily. The official machinery must act as a check against excesses of all kinds, rather than aiding those perpetuating them. Their role is essential not only during the hearing of cases, but also during the registration of a case, the section applied and the tackling of efforts by religious groups to build up public outrage or incite violence when an incident is first reported.
  5. Observations by courts which amount to expressions of intolerance or prejudice must be checked. Courts must also act to protect the rights of the accused by presuming his or her innocence during the trial, rather than contributing to any hatred expressed through remarks made or steps taken during the trial process.
  6. In the view of the growing dominance of religious groups adhering to the most orthodox interpretations of Islam, the government must create space for the views of other schools. These schools should be included in forums set up to establish peace between sects, to help amend laws where these are being misused and to help curb growing intolerance and violence.
  7. The creation of hatred by delivering speeches at mosques or issuing fatwas must be banned and laws to this effect implemented more effectively. No one should be allowed to advocate punishment for ‘offenders’ meted out by the public, as has repeatedly happened in the case of Ahmadis or those accused of blasphemy.
  8. Citizens across the country should be guaranteed equal protection as laid down by the Constitution and law. The emergence of quasi-religious courts in Malakand and Kohistan sets a dangerous precedent, with a parallel legal system in operation in these areas.
  9. The government must show commitment to its promises to tackle sectarian violence and the display of arms by religious groups. To do so it must assure law enforcers they will be facilitated in the actions they need to take. Similarly, the training of militants in madrassahs and training camps must be stopped.
  10. Forced conversions, especially those that come about as a result of harassment must be checked by law and communities given the right to practise their beliefs. This applies to religious minorities across the country as well as to groups such as the people of Kafiristan, who have increasingly been subjected to mounting pressure from religious groups to adopt Islam. The difference between persuasion and coercion must be made in all such cases.
  11. Minority groups must be protected against threats to their lives, homes and places of worship.
  12. The religious content of curriculums taught in schools must be tailored to create greater tolerance within society and ward off the growing tendency towards a refusal to allow divergence in opinion especially on matters related to religion and its interpretation. The state-controlled electronic media should also be used to disseminate information about the legal protection and rights of minorities, and dispel prevailing attitudes which in many cases act to lower their social status and encourage discrimination.

Appendices

HRCP stands

There is an urgent need to review the law.

295-C, Ordinance XX: The blasphemy and anti-Ahmadi laws have in practice proved to be an encouragement to fanaticism and an instrument in the hands of the bigoted. There were repeated attempts by past governments to make amendments to at least prevent their abuse, but they backed down.

It will be a pity if the recognised injustice is allowed to continue.

Blasphemy law and the protection of minorities

May 17:

Few commanders made a more craven retreat on a battlefield than the Chief Executive did over a minor move to check the abuse of the anti-blasphemy law. All that was proposed was that complaints of blasphemy would be examined at a slightly higher level before their registration.

Three aspects need to be pointed out. First, the Chief Executive claimed that he was acting in accordance with the popular wish. How did he ascertain this popular wish? Are the members of the Milli Yakjehti Council going to be the regime’s barometer of public opinion?

Secondly, if the government can be so terrorised over a non-issue, what hope that it would make any meaningful advance on its grandiose objectives — the objectives on the basis of which it obtained such a strong endorsement even from the Supreme Court?

Thirdly, it did not take long for the hollowness of the regime’s commitment to human rights and human dignity to be shown up.

There is now a clear danger that the so-called religious parties, puffed up on their present success, will want to keep the momentum going. They have a long list of demands. These are all meant to advance their narrow agenda and set the society further back. The omens were never happy. They look even bleaker now.


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