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In this book, the author deals with an issue that has lamentably marked humankind's religious history. Relying on a wide range of interviews he conducted throughtout Pakistan, Antonio R. Gualtieri relates the tragic experience of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Their right to define themselves as Muslims has been denied by the Govt. of Pakistan acting in collusion with orthodox Islamic teachers. Ahmadis have been beaten and murdered. They have been jailed, hounded from jobs and schools, their mosques sealed or vandalized, for professing to be Muslims and following Islamic practices. This book records their testimony of Harassment and persecution resulting from their loyalty to their understanding of God and HIS revelation.
US$4.99 [Order]
Author: Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan
Description: This book provides a translation by Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan of the Riyad as-Salihin, literally "Gardens of the Rightous", written by the Syrian Shafi'i scholar Muhyi ad-din Abu Zakariyya' Yahya b. Sharaf an-Nawawi (1233-78), who was the author of a large number of legal and biographical work, including celebrated collection of forty well-known hadiths, the Kitab al-Arba'in (actually containing some forty three traditions.), much commented upon in the Muslim countries and translated into several European languages. His Riyad as-Salihin is a concise collection of traditions, which has been printed on various occasions, e.g. at Mecca and Cairo, but never before translated into a western language. Hence the present translation by Muhammad Zafarullah Khan will make available to those unversed in Arabic one of the most typical and widely-known collection of this type.
US$14.99 [Order]

Home Media Reports 2010 Not an American conspiracy
Not an American conspiracy
Express Tribune, Pakistan
Not an American conspiracy
Asad Jamal
Asad Jamal
December 04, 2010
The writer is a Lahore-based advocate of the high court with five years experience and an LLM from the University of Sussex

Is the demand to change Pakistan’s blasphemy laws an American conspiracy as being thought by some people in the country? Though there is no evidence to respond to this question in the affirmative, many believe it to be the case. Thus, Sherry Rehman’s proposed bill to amend blasphemy laws is being termed a conspiracy. This line of thinking is part of the same stream which is averse to reason.

If the demand to change the law is really a conspiracy, then senior advocate of the Supreme Court Muhammad Ismail Qureshi, the chief architect of the most stringent blasphemy law i.e. Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), is also part of the conspiracy. Because on pages 336-7 of the fourth edition (2010) of his book titled Namoos-i-Rasool (SAS) aur Qanoon-i-Tauhin-i-Risalat, he proposes an amendment to Section 295-C to make it less stringent.

He acknowledges that the present Section 295-C of the PPC is not in accordance with the Holy Quran and Sunnah and is indiscriminate as regards intentional and unintentional (bil irada and bila irada) offences of blasphemy in respect of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). He proposes to amend the provision by dividing it into two parts, while retaining the ‘death sentence’ for cases of intentional and wilful use of derogatory remark in respect of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and by providing a ‘fine’ as punishment in cases of unintentional remarks.

While acknowledging parliament’s right to amend the law, Mr Qureshi suggests that the matter of blasphemy laws is not a closed chapter: “Another aspect that the legislature needs to look into is that for the imposition of Hudood punishments, evidence must fulfil the test of Tazkiyah-tul-Shahood without which Hadd may not be imposed, and a lesser punishment by way of Tazir may only be awarded in such cases. Similarly, parliament may change the law to provide for a due lesser punishment by way of Tazir for blasphemy in respect of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in cases where conditions for the imposition of Hadd are not met.” (Translated by the writer)

Qureshi’s argument for a death sentence, based on some Islamic sources, is highly contentious. For instance, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, finding support from the Holy Quran, argues that “…the death sentence can only be given to a person who has killed someone or to someone who is guilty of spreading disorder in a society. No other person can be punished by death.” (The Penal Shariah of Islam, page 39)

Back in 1986, Qureshi drafted Section 295-C providing the death sentence as the only punishment for blasphemy and got it tabled in the National Assembly in 1986 through MNA Apa Nisar Fatima of the Jamaat-i-Islami. The law was passed by parliament in an amended form as it is present in the statute. In 1990, a Federal Shariat Court decision on a petition by Ismail Qureshi rendered the alternative punishment of life imprisonment inapplicable. Clearly, the author of the law has reconsidered his stance since then.

Evidence suggests that stringent religious laws have only encouraged and complimented increasing radicalism and provided reasons for mob justice and abuse of laws for personal motives. In most cases, this has resulted in a grave miscarriage of justice at the hands of the courts. A recent confirmation of death sentence in a blasphemy case by the Lahore High Court is an example (Criminal Appeal No. 1356/2002) in which the court has based its judgment on indirect, hearsay evidence and an extra-judicial confession.

Efforts to change blasphemy laws cannot be termed a conspiracy. Indeed, if there is a conspiracy of scandalous proportions it is the ongoing propaganda and threat of violence to thwart the proposed amendments to blasphemy laws. Sherry Rehman’s proposed amendment bill, while doing away with the death sentence, addresses some of the concerns raised by civil society including lawyers and human rights defenders. Parliament must not lose this opportunity to reconsider the laws that have caused so much insecurity especially amongst religious minorities.

Published in The Express Tribune December 4th, 2010.

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