Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari turned 29 today. He is a popular political leader and developing a positive clout on national political horizon.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has appreciated the efforts of the people of Sahiwal for making PPP jalsa a successful and historical one. He in his Twitter message has thanked the people of Sahiwal for such a huge rally. Earlier he in his speech said that his life and death were with people as he belonged to the party of martyrs.
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Wednesday that the general election of 2018 would be his first one and his opponents' last one.
Addressing a large public gathering in Sahiwal, the Bhutto scion said that it was unfortunate how the politics of today was held hostage by the industrial mindset.
"The rulers of today aren't concerned with the problems of the people," he said. "They are more concerned with their business dealings," he added.
Bilawal said that his relationship with Sahiwal was built on culture and tolerance. He said that Benazir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had fulfilled their promises to the people of Sahiwal during their lifetime.
Bilawal promised participants of the rally that once his party comes into power, it would help form a policy that would be friendly towards the farmers.
"We will also increased the wages of the labourers," he said. "Providing wages is the government's obligation and your right," he added.
Bilawal Bhutto also took shots at PTI chairman Imran Khan when he said that those who were clamouring for fake change were in reality liars.
"I do not believe in the politics of abuse; rather I have faith in clean politics," he said.
Bilawal asked for the support of the labourers and farmers, stating that PPP would go to every cottage in every village.
Blasphemy is a sensitive subject in Pakistan, where strong religious feelings have led in the past to violence.
Blasphemy laws are meant to guard against anything seen as a direct insult to God, Islam or religious leaders. For people accused of violating such laws, the judgment is often a life-or-death matter. Under Pakistan’s legal system, a judge can propose either life in jail or death to anyone found guilty of blasphemy.
The issue is back in the news after a Punjab court last week condemned to death Nadeem James, who is Christian. The police said they had gathered evidence from someone who said James sent him a blasphemous poem through the software program WhatsApp.
A Pakistani government lawyer confirmed a claim by James's defense lawyer that James never sent any blasphemous material to anyone.
"The accused said ... he never sent any blasphemous message through his cellphone," prosecution lawyer Rana Naveed Anjum told VOA. "But once something has been alleged against you, and there is enough evidence on record corroborating that assertion, then it is hard to deny or overlook such material."
A fair trial is difficult
A Pakistani human rights activist, Mehdi Hassan, said it is difficult to get a fair trial in cases involving religious beliefs.
"In Pakistan, religious might is very influential," Hassan told VOA, "and that thinking has an impact on police and other departments in such cases."
Nadeem James's lawyer, Anjum Wakeel, has said the defendant was "framed" by his so-called friend, "who was annoyed by [James's] affair with a Muslim girl."
Prosecutor Anjum agreed that James told investigators he had been set up.
James and members of his family had been receiving threats, some of them from local religious leaders. Because of the sensitive nature of the case, the trial was held in secret, and in a prison.
'Blasphemy' can mask personal disputes
Blasphemy is one of the most divisive laws in Pakistan. Rights groups say accusations of blasphemy are often abused, and used to settle personal disputes.
Activist Mehdi Hassan said the country's political parties should press Pakistanis to end the misuse of these laws.
"To address this problem as a long-term solution, political parties should play a role, because democracy gives a level playing field to everyone," Hassan told VOA.
Hassan remembered Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the well-respected lawyer and political leader who helped create modern-day Pakistan. He said, "We have to remember what Mr. Jinnah said, ‘Religious beliefs are the personal matter of an individual.’”
Jinnah served as Pakistan’s first governor-general after the end of British colonial rule in 1947.
A history of violence
Past blasphemy cases have fueled public anger that resulted in mob violence and killings.
Mashal Khal was a journalism student at Abdul Wali Khan University in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In April of this year, he was beaten and shot dead by other students. They became angry over reports that he had placed blasphemous comments online.
In 2014, an angry mob in Punjab beat a Christian woman and her husband to death over blasphemy accusations. In 2011, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was killed by his bodyguard after the governor proposed reforms for the blasphemy laws.
Even with criticism, Pakistan's government has been calling for strict enforcement of blasphemy laws. In April, the government used newspaper advertising and textmessages to warn millions of Pakistanis not to post, share or upload "blasphemous" material online. The government also asked anyone finding such material to report it to the police.
The group Human Rights Watch reports that 10 Muslims and five non-Muslims were arrested in Pakistan last year on blasphemy charges. In addition, at least 19 people found guilty of blasphemy were sentenced to death and are being held in prison.