Sherry Rehman Urges Govt To Take Notice Of Anti-Shia Rallies, Act Against Banned Outfits
In the wake of anti-Shia rallies being held by banned outfits across Pakistan to incite hatred against the minority Muslim community, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman has asked the federal government to act against the proscribed outfits in line with the National Action Plan.
Speaking in a parliament session, the senator said the government has to control these outfits as it is the responsibility of the state to protect ‘oppressed segments’ of society. She urged the ministers to give a statement against these marches and ensure that citizens are protected.
Thank you Sen @sherryrehman for ALWAYS standing with the most vulnerable, most persecuted & most terrorised groups/communities. The ONLY Senator who dared say no one else would, the bravest voice in the Senate ❤️🙌 #StopShiaKillings pic.twitter.com/9gEqE8VVHA
— S Malaika Raza (@MalaikaSRaza) September 18, 2020
“We know that speaking against such outfits will land us in trouble, but what is the use of being a parliament if we are unable to raise our voice for the oppressed people,” the senator added.
‘Social boycott’ of Shias:
Participants of an anti-Shia rally that was organised by the banned outfits in Islamabad to protect the ‘sanctity of the companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)’ have called for a ‘social boycott’ of the members of the minority Muslim community.
During the demonstration in the federal capital, a speaker asked the participants to make a promise that they would cut all ties with the Shia community.
The speaker urged the government to enact laws against the Shia community who make ‘insulting remarks’ against certain companions of the Prophet (PBUH). “The government should legislate against Shias just like it did against the Ahmadiyya community,” the speaker added.
In a speech laden with hate, the cleric urged the government ‘cut the tongues’ of Shias over their alleged remarks against the Prophet’s companions. He said if the government will not take action against them, they will take law in their hands to silence the Shias.
Reacting to the rally, journalist Bilal Farooqi said that the outfits participating in these rallies are on the interior ministry’s list of proscribed organisations. He questioned how are these groups allowed to organise gatherings in the presence of the National Action Plan.
Earlier this month, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) held separate rallies in Karachi against the minority Shia community.
During the ASWJ rally, the participant chanted hate slogans, such as ‘Shia kafir’ against the members of the Shia community and demanded a ban on Muharram processions.
Since the start of Muharram, there has been an increase in hate campaigns against Shia groups and subsequent blasphemy allegations for reciting Ziyarat-e-Ashura — a prayer that denounces the killers of Imam Hussain. Moreover, a number of Shia orators were detained across the country for allegedly making blasphemous statements against some companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Sudden rise in blasphemy cases against Shias:
At least 42 cases pertaining to blasphemy were registered across Pakistan in a single month, according to data compiled by a social media user.
Most of those accused of blasphemy belonged to the Shia community, who have been booked under 295-A and 298 sections of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly ‘insulting the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’. Similarly, members of Ahmadiyya and Christian communities are also among the people accused of blasphemy.
Blasphemy accusations are highly inflammatory in deeply conservative Pakistan and have in the past sparked mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.
Anti-Shia wall chalking:
Days after a Shia cleric was booked for alleged blasphemous remarks, anti-Shia wall chalking — a hate practice common since the 80s — has reappeared in various neighbourhoods of Karachi.
According to a post shared on Facebook, the wall chalking also had flags of banned sectarian outfits next to it. “Today, Prime Minister and COAS are coming to Karachi and we can see how the decades-old wall chalkings of “Shia Kafir” started reappearing on the street walls of various neighbourhoods in Karachi with the flags of the banned militant outfits.”