Last month on the occasion of Independence Day, Dr Auj was awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.
Last month on the occasion of Independence Day, Dr Auj was awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.
A Pakistani academic known for promoting liberal views on Islam has been shot dead by gunmen – two years after being accused of committing blasphemy in a speech he made in the US.
Dr Muhammad Shakil Auj, Dean of the faculty of Islamic Studies at the University of Karachi, was attacked by two gunmen on a motorbike as he was making his way in his car to a function at the city’s Iranian cultural centre. A junior teaching colleague was also hit and suffered an injury to her arm.
“A bullet pierced through his head, proving fatal,” senior police officer Pir Mohammad Shah told the Associated Press. “We are investigating the killing. It would be premature to state the motive at the moment.”
The 54-year academic was known as someone who had spoken out on many issues in Islam and written several articles. One of the articles had suggested Muslim women should be allowed to marry non-Muslim men. He had also said Muslim women did not need to remove lipstick or make-up before going to prayer.
In 2012, Mr Auj, 54, had complained to police that four colleagues from the university had threatened him and sent him text messages accusing him of blasphemy. They had claimed a speech he had made that year in the US amounted to blasphemy.
One of the academics he complained about had previously held his position within the department. The four men face charges but are currently out on bail, according to reports.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, introduced under British rule and then tightened during the years of military dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, have become increasingly controversial and ever more deadly. Campaigners say that the laws, which carry the death penalty, are routinely used to settle personal scores and grudges that have nothing to do with Islam.
While no-one has ever been executed for blasphemy, many accused have been attacked and killed and lawyers and judges have been threatened. A recent report by a US government advisory panel said there were 14 people on death row in Pakistan and 19 others serving life sentences for insulting Islam.
Among those on death row is a 70-year-old British citizen, Muhammad Asghar, from Edinburgh, who was sentenced in January after being convicted of claiming he was a prophet. His lawyers and family said he has been suffering from mental health issues for several years.
Efforts to reform the laws by Pakistan’s previous government were scrapped in the aftermath of the murder in January 2011 of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, where Multan is located, who had spoken about the misuse of the laws and the need to reform them. A second politician, the then-minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, who also supported reforming the laws, was murdered two months later.
In May this year, the lawyer for another academic who had been accused of blasphemy was shot dead in the city of Multan. Rashid Rehman had agreed to represent Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at Multan’s Bahauddin Zakariya University, who had been accused of defaming the prophet Mohammed on social media last year.
Reports said the accusations were levelled by hardline university students who had pushed for him to be charged. Mr Rehman took on the case after no other lawyer would represent the lecturer.
In Karachi, students held a demonstration in protest over Thursday morning’s killing of their teacher. They demanded the authorities do more to protect teaching staff. One placard being carried by students, read: “The murder of a teacher is a murder of the whole society.”
Zardari was pushed into survival mode right off the bat; Nawaz’s mandate has been killed off in little over a year — so why bother thinking five years and to the even more remote possibility of reward in the form of re-election?
Aha, but even if they could, you’re thinking, they wouldn’t have anyway — politicians are scummy and never had the people’s interests at heart.
Probably. It is still though a lasting damage that will come of all of this: the politician’s incentive to think long term — the little incentive he had — has been killed off.
And here’s why the damage will be lasting: if the politicians won’t, the boys can’t. And can’t is worse.
Go back to the first three years of Musharraf. The seven-point governance plan and its execution were about as good as it has ever got on the governance side in seven decades of this country’s existence.
Great, so all we need is a decade and a half of that and, boom, the country is solidly middle-income, educated, vibrant, and ready for more.
Indian Union Muslim League dubbed on Sunday Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as one of the “daydreamers” in Pakistan for his Kashmir remarks and said that every inch of Indian territory will be protected to the last minute.
"The utterances of Pakistan’s Opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto is nothing but to show he is also one of the daydreamers in Pakistan when he spoke that he will take every inch of Kashmir," E Ahamed, the Member of Parliament and the IUML chief, said in a statement.
Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India, Ahamed said: “entire India especially 170 million Muslims will defend the integrity of the country for which last drop of blood will also be shed.”
He suggested Bilawal and others in Pakistan to do something for their own nation instead of living in daydreams.
"Muslims of India will never allow anybody to reduce the numerical strength of Muslim Population in India, and every inch of Indian Union will be protected to the last minute defending integrity, sovereignty and independence of our mother land," the former minister added.
JHANG: A 16-year-old girl was attacked with acid on Saturday in Jhang by two men, one of whom was allegedly rejected for marriage by the victim’s family, Express News reported.
The victim was shifted to a hospital, where doctors say she is in critical condition and has sustained 90% burn injuries. Further, doctors say she has lost 95% of her eyesight.
“One man, Tauseef, has been arrested. And we are very close to arresting the second attacker, Asmatullah, and are hoping to do so today,” said a police official.
“Tauseef confessed to the crime,” the DSP said, adding, “We have lodged an FIR, and the criminals will be tried in an anti-terrorism court.”
The men staged the attack after Asmatullah was denied marriage by the girl’s family. Later that night, they climbed the wall of the victim’s house, managed to break in and throw an entire bottle of acid on the girl. (x)
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the ‘Gen-Next’ politician of Pakistan, has said that his Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would get back entire Kashmir from India.
Bilawal, in his 20s, was addressing the party workers in Multan region in Punjab yesterday.
"I will take back Kashmir, all of it, and I will not leave behind a single inch of it because, like the other provinces, it belongs to Pakistan," said the scion of highly influential Bhutto family.
"I will establish my party in South Punjab and Kashmir," NDTV quoted Bilawal as saying.
When Bilawal made these remarks, he was flanked by former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Asharaf.
Bilawal, who has announced plans to contest next general elections in 2018, heads the secular Pakistan People’s Party, which officially wants good ties with India.
His mother, former slain premier Benazir Bhutto, was twice elected as prime minister while his maternal grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who founded the PPP in 1967, also served as prime minister in 1970s.
Bilawal’s father Asif Ali Zardari was Pakistan’s president from 2008 to 2013.
Islamabad-bound PIA flight PK-370 from Karachi was delayed by two and a half hours on Monday as it kept waiting for the arrival of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senator Rehman Malik.
Modi, who visited flood-hit state , wrote to his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, offering assistance.
Ijaz, a bus conductor in his early twenties, spends his days travelling through the bustling streets of Peshawar in northern Pakistan, working hard to scrape a living.
The pay is low and the hours are long, and Ijaz, like many of his colleagues, remains unwed and has no family.
Instead of going home come nightfall, he, and many others, spend their time with street children, paying them as little as 75p for sex and when they have no money, brutally abusing them.
'Once, there was a boy on the bus and everyone had sex with him,' confesses Ijaz who admits to raping 12 different children during his career as a bus conductor.
'I did it too but what else could I do? They invited me. And he was that kind of boy anyway.'
Sexual abuse in Pakistan is rife. An estimated four million children in the country are forced into work from an early age due to poverty and of those, more than a million live on the streets where they are easy prey for men like Ijaz.
A recent survey of 1,800 men found that a third believe that not only is raping little boys not a crime, it’s not even a bad thing to do.
As a result, an estimated 90 per cent of street children have been victims of sexual abuse at some point in their lives.
One such boy is Naeem, 13, who has been on the streets, off and on, since running away from his violent brother who repeatedly beat him following their parents’ death. He was eight at the time.
His world is one of drugs and violence. He talks casually of a street where you’ll find ‘all the paedos’.
He is addicted to heroin and regularly abuses his own fragile body, cutting and stabbing himself in an attempt to deal with his anger.
Although he has sold himself to pay for drugs, he also tells, with tears in his eyes, of a time when he was attacked by a gang of men.
'I was lying here sleeping and four people grabbed me and threw me into a car,' he sobs. 'One was a bus driver, the others were heroin addicts. All four of them raped me.'
Many of Pakistan’s abusers are bus drivers. One man who knows this all too well is Hassan Deen, an entrepreneur who rents beds - and sometimes boys - to drivers at Peshawar’s largest bus depot.
'A bus driver rents a bed from me and he says he'll pay an extra 50 (50p) or 100 rupees (£1) if I can get him a boy,' explains Mr Deen.
'There's often a kid wandering the streets alone. We tell these boys we'll provide food and shelter if they come with us. That's how we lure them in.'
Others, addicted to the cheap heroin that pours across the border from neighbouring Afghanistan, will have sex with these men for a price.
'If I don't make enough money picking trash, I sell my body,' admits Naeen. 'The first time I sold myself, I didn't have any money.
'So I did it three times with a man and in return, he gave me 3,000 rupees (£17). I was eight and a half. I was little.
'The first time I did it, I hadn't eaten for two to three days. Afterwards, I cried all night, asking myself, “What have I done?” I did this to myself to make some money.'
And Naeen isn’t alone. Another street child, nine-year-old Akeeb has also been approached by men on the street but has so far managed to escape.
'I don't get scared if I have a friend with me,' he says. 'I get bothered a lot by the bus driver, the van driver. They tell me to climb on the roof of the bus and do bad things with them. Sometimes they offer me a soft drink in return.'
Unsurprisingly, the impact of this abuse on the children is severe. Along with psychological problems, a Save the Children report showed that as many as one in 10 are murdered by the men who abuse them.
Others go on to become abusers themselves, among them 13-year-old Naeem. ‘There was a boy, about 10 or 11,’ he confesses, shame-faced
'I took him to the cinema and spent money on him and he was OK with it. But when we left the cinema, he said he didn't want to do it anymore so then I grabbed his hand and forced him.'
Although there are laws in place to protect children, police rarely bother themselves with the plight of the street children, with many saying that the ever-present threat of Taliban bombs trumps saving small boys.
One man who might be able to help is Imran Khan, the former governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the region in which Peshawar is located.
'It's one of the most sad and shameful aspects of our society,' he says. 'I'm totally embarrassed by this. It's really shameful for us that we have not been able to protect them.'
For now, boys like Naeem continue to fall victim to predatory paedophiles like serial rapist Ijaz, a man who claims to want a ‘good woman’ for a wife one day and children of his own.
'I'm going to look for a good wife who's read the Quran and prays,' he says. 'A good, respectable woman. Religion is very important because I'm Muslim.'
That, however, hasn’t stopped him from attacking boys. ‘What can we do?,’ he whines. ‘We know it’s totally against Islam. God doesn’t like it. But we’re helpless against our desire.’
While the players were walking back to the dressing room in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, on August 30, Ahmed Shehzad was caught on camera telling Tillakaratne Dilshan, ‘If you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven.’
Khan, who has refused to negotiate with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif whose resignation he is demanding, stopped short of saying that he could hold direct talks with the government.
Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan appeared isolated in his struggle to bring down Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday after a fellow protest leader announced he was ready to allow thousands of anti-government demonstrators to go home.
About 8,000 protesters are on the streets of Islamabad even as Pakistan police fired tear gas shells. Here’s a ready reckoner to Pakistan’s latest crisis.