Mehwish Aleem sent this update a few days ago to the followers of Free Hector Aleem on Facebook. I have not found time to update it my blog until now. I will post the next update when I find a notification in the old inbox.
Free Hector Aleem Update June 2012
Posted June 18, 2012 2:14am
June 15 was Hector Aleem, Chairman Peace Worlwide’s hearing date. The lawyer has update and collected all documents and will go to the High Court on June 28th, all of you are requested to please pray for the lawyer, the case and Hector Aleem, thanks to all those who donated before, it’s their effort and struggle that we are at the end of the case. You are requested to donate any amount you can till 28th of June. Hopefully we will get some good news on this date.
For donations through Pay Pal here’s the link http://tinyurl.com/hectoraleem
And for Western Union, please contact me
PayPal is the safer, easier way to pay online without revealing your credit card number. (http://tinyurl.com/hectoraleem)
SlantRight Editor: Mehwish liked this story on her Facebook Page. Read it and see the reason why.
Forum for Secular Pakistan launched
By Ammar Shahbazi
Monday, June 18, 2012
Amid relentless chants of Allah-hu-Akbar coming from just yards away, a group of progressive lawyers and social activists launched ‘The Forum for Secular Pakistan’ (TFSP) at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) here on Sunday.
The TFSP is a group of like-minded people committed to fighting growing religious fanaticism and obscurantism and promoting the ideals of secularism. Senior politician Sherbaz Khan Mazari presided over the occasion.
Former law minister Iqbal Haider, read out a declaration signed by civil rights activists, lawyers and intellectuals from across Pakistan. In the statement, Iqbal said that the ideals of secularism were not alien to Pakistan. “The founding fathers of Pakistan were dedicated to the idea and wanted Pakistan to be a secular.”
Haider quoted Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s famous inaugural speech to the constituent assembly of Pakistan, where the founding father said “in the course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense… but in the political sense as citizens of the state.”
“When we started this initiated, we felt that someone has to come forward and speak against the unchecked fanaticism that is gripping Pakistan,” said Hasil Bizenjio, a senior Baloch politician and vice president of the TFSP.
“Today, whereever we go, we find Taliban. We are too scared to speak in front of the Mullah’s gun, but somebody has to speak,” he said. “The basic principle on which Pakistan was created, that is, the right of the federating units to self determination, is essentially a secular idea,” read Iqbal Haider, as he nudged Bizenjo, who was sitting beside him.
Iqbal argued that when a nation tries to bind itself to a single idea or ideology, the remaining segments of the society become secondary. “Hence, those who associate themselves with the state’s ideology attain an unwarranted position in the society, which is unfair to the rest.”
“The preference,” he explained, “could be a religion or an ethnic group, or whatever dividing line one may chose”. Earlier, while welcoming the guests, Iqbal chose not to address the non-Muslim guests as minorities, saying that he believes the non-Muslims of the country are as much a part of the mainstream and have equal rights and are equal citizens of Pakistan.
“Today, wherever we look, we find people being massacred in the name of religion and ethnicity. The Hindus are being persecuted. The Hazaras are being killed. The Baloch are being massacred. This nation should have a heart,” said, Sherbaz Mazari. Mazari insisted to the host that he not be introduced to the audience as a ‘Sardar’.
As the conscientious citizens set out their alternative vision for Pakistan in the front-yard of the Karachi Press Club, just outside, a group of protestors had gathered holding posters of Aafia Siddiqui and chanting religious slogans.
The irony of the situation was not lost on the journalists, who later discussed it in hush-hush tones over tea.
Christian human rights activist and director of NGO Peace Worldwide, Hector Aleem, was taken into custody in January 2009 because a militant Islamic group accused him of sending a ‘blasphemous’ text message from his cell phone. If convicted, he faces the death penalty under Pakistani law.
Later 17 other false cases were lodged against him to prevent him from getting out of the jail.
Prior to the 55-year-old’s arrest, Aleem was threatened by Islamic groups with assassination attempts and lawsuits because he objected to the illegal destruction of a church by Islamabad’s capital development authority (CDA). Muslim leaders threatened to kill him and his sons, and to forcibly convert his daughters to Islam.
Although a heart patient, Aleem has not been allowed to consume his medication and he has been denied visitation in prison. He was denied bail because Islamic mobs filled his trial courtroom and threatened to kill the judge, Aleem, and Aleem’s lawyer.
On 2nd June 2011, he was acquitted from the blasphemy case as well as many other cases which were lodged against him due to lack of evidence (because all those cases were false). Now there are only 5 cases remaining, but the situation is still very dangerous.
Aleem is the recipient of a peace award by Pakistan’s Prime Minister.
*****WHAT YOU CAN DO*****
– Please donate for Hector’s legal fund (and to purchase clothes, hygienic supplies, etc for him and his family): http://tinyurl.com/hectoraleem
Forum for Secular Pakistan launched
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