Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Video Report - Xi Jinping speaks on 40th anniversary of China's reform

Video Report - How China became a superpower: 40 years of economic reform | DW News

Interview: China's achievements of 40 years' reform, opening-up remarkable, Russian Communist leader says

China has scored remarkable achievements with global significance since it adopted the policy of reform and opening-up 40 years ago, said Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Zyuganov recalled that for China, the beginning of the 20th century was a time of suffering and humiliation.
"A huge country with a history of many thousands of years, which gave the world masterpieces of culture and art, languished under the burden of semi-colony. Foreign predators tore the country apart, plundering its wealth," he said.
In 1949, an event of world significance happened -- the People's Republic of China was founded and the Chinese people began to build socialism, he said, adding that China, however, continued to face serious difficulties, mainly poverty.
Zyuganov said the reform and opening-up has made it possible for China to solve the problem and about 740 million people were brought out of poverty over the past 40 years.
"It is deeply symbolic that a decisive contribution to the struggle against poverty on a global scale was made by a country that does not abandon the socialist path of development," the Communist leader said.
Meanwhile, China has set medium- and long-term development goals, he added, brushing away Western doubt that China might fail to attain them.
"China is developing despite the malicious statements of ill-wishers who predict a 'hard landing,' if not a collapse. The best answer to such slander is Beijing's success," he said.
In his eyes, high-tech industries are developing at the fastest pace in China today. He said that almost every day he hears news about China's achievements in science and technology.
"A very important result of the policy of reform and opening-up is that it actually goes beyond the borders of the country," Zyuganov said.
In his view, modern China is not just a full-fledged member of the world community but also a country that has an increasing influence on global stage.
As a leader in industrial development, a major global trader and a country with an economic growth rate about twice the world average, China is the leading driver of the global economy, he said.
"It is extremely important to note that China does not talk with other countries from a position of strength," but instead it builds relationships in such a way that cooperation becomes beneficial for all parties, he said.
"It does not demand political concessions in exchange for economic assistance. It does not blackmail nor threaten," added Zyuganov.

Opinion: Saudi Arabia Is Misusing Mecca

By Khaled M. Abou El Fadl

In the aftermath of the Jamal Khashoggi murder, the kingdom has exploited the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.
The rulers of Saudi Arabia derive much of their legitimacy and prestige in the Muslim world from their control and upkeep of the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba in Mecca and the mosque of Prophet Muhammad in Medina. King Salman, like the rulers before him, wears the title of the “Khadim al-Ḥaramayn al-Sharifayn,” which is translated as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” or, more precisely, “The Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries.”
Despite the humility of the royal title, the Saudi monarchy has a long history of exploiting the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.
In the aftermath of the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as the world’s accusatory gaze was transfixed on Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi monarchy has again used the Grand Mosque to defend and deify the crown prince in a manner that makes its legitimacy and control of Mecca and Medina morally troubling like never before.
On Oct. 19, Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Sudais, the officially appointed imam of the Grand Mosque and the highest religious authority in the kingdom, delivered his Friday sermon from a written script. Friday sermons at the Grand Mosque are broadcast live on cable networks and social media sites, watched with great reverence by millions of Muslims and carry a great deal of moral and religious authority.
Imam Sudais delivered a troubling sermon, violating the sanctity of the sacred space he occupied. He referenced a saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad that once every century, God sends a mujaddid, a great reformer to reclaim or reinvigorate the faith. He explained that the mujaddid is needed to address the unique challenges of each age.
He proceeded to extol Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a divine gift to Muslims and implied that the crown prince was the mujaddid sent by God to revive the Islamic faith in our age. “The path of reform and modernization in this blessed land … through the care and attention from its young, ambitious, divinely inspired reformer crown prince, continues to blaze forward guided by his vision of innovation and insightful modernism, despite all the failed pressures and threats,” the imam declared, from the podium where Prophet Muhammad delivered his last sermon.Invoking the debate following the Khashoggi murder, Imam Sudais warned Muslims against believing ill-intended media rumors and innuendos that sought to cast doubt on the great Muslim leader. He described the conspiracies against the crown prince as intended to destroy Islam and Muslims, warning that “all threats against his modernizing reforms are bound not only to fail, but will threaten international security, peace and stability.”
He cautioned that the attacks against “these blessed lands” are a provocation and offense to more than a billion Muslims. Imam Sudais used the word “muhaddath,” or “uniquely and singularly gifted” to describe Prince Mohammed. “Muhaddath” was the title given by Prophet Muhammad to Umar Ibn al-Khattab, his companion and the second caliph of Islam. The imam implicitly compared the crown prince to Caliph Umar.
Imam Sudais prayed for God to protect Prince Mohammed against the international conspiracies being woven against him by the enemies of Islam, the malingerers and hypocrites, and concluded that it was the solemn duty of all Muslims to support and obey the king and the faithful crown prince, the protectors and guardians of the holy sites and Islam.
Saudi clerics had never weaponized the podium of the prophet at the Grand Mosque so brazenly to serve the monarchy. No imam of the Grand Mosque had ever anointed a Saudi ruler as the mujaddid of the age or dared to imply as much.
The sermons in Mecca and Medina are read from a script, which is approved beforehand by Saudi security forces. While the king appoints a leading imam for the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, each imam has a number of officially appointed deputies who rotate in leading prayers and delivering sermons.For decades, the sermons delivered in Mecca and Medina have been pietistic, dogmatic and predictable. They have always concluded with a prayer for the Saudi royals, but the imams would not attribute sacred qualities to the monarchy and insisted that the rulers should be obeyed only to the extent that they obey God.
A lot has changed since Prince Mohammed’s rise to power. The crown prince has imprisoned hundreds of prominent Saudi imams who have shown even a modicum of resistance — including very prominent and influential jurists such as Sheikh Saleh al-Talib and Sheikh Bandar Bin Aziz Bilila, former imams of the Grand Mosque. Saudi prosecutors have sought the death penalty for Salman al-Awdah, a prominent, reformist cleric who was arrested last September. Some reports claim that another prominent cleric, Sheikh Suleiman Daweesh, who was arrested in April 2016, has died in a Saudi prison after being tortured. The only imams who seem to be allowed to lead prayers and give sermons at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina are those who have agreed to go along with whatever the crown prince wants. Some influential Saudi scholars such as Sheikh Abd al-Aziz Al Rayes went as far as saying in a lecture that even if the Saudi ruler “fornicates in public on television for half an hour each day, you are still required to bring people together around the ruler, not to aggravate people against him.”
Imam Sudais’s recent sermon put Muslims at an axial turning point: Accept the crown prince as the divinely inspired reformer of Islam and believe and accept his words and deeds or you are an enemy of Islam. Muslim scholars reacted to the sermon primarily on social media with disdain and outrage. Numerous Arabic language comedy shows and talk shows on YouTube reacted with mockery and condemnation.When an imam of the Grand Mosque calls upon Muslims to obediently accept Prince Mohammed’s incredulous narrative about the murder of Mr. Khashoggi; to accept his abduction, jailing and torture of dissenters, including imprisonment of several revered Islamic scholars; to ignore his pitiless and cruel war in Yemen, his undermining the democratic dreams in the Arab world, his support for the oppressive dictatorship in Egypt, it makes it impossible to accept the imam’s categorization of the crown prince as a divinely inspired reformer. The sanctified podium of the prophet in Mecca is being desecrated and defiled.
The control of Mecca and Medina has enabled the clerical establishment and the monarchy flush with oil money to extend their literalist and rigid interpretations of Islam beyond the borders of the kingdom. Most Muslims will always prefer a tolerant and ethically conscientious Islam to the variant championed by the crown prince and the acquiescent Saudi clergy.
By using the Grand Mosque to whitewash acts of despotism and oppression, Prince Mohammed has placed the very legitimacy of the Saudi control and guardianship of the holy places of Mecca and Medina in question.

Saudi Arabia is committing war crimes with American weapons

By Tom Moran
Americans are told over and over that Iran is the menace in the Mideast, that its Islamic rulers are bloodthirsty terrorists spreading mayhem as they force a sectarian showdown between Shiites and Sunnis across the region.
All of which is equally true of our close ally, Saudi Arabia, under its young ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is a murderer and a tyrant, and his war in neighboring Yemen is killing innocent people on a scale that could soon rival or exceed the body count in Syria.
President Trump has made it clear he doesn't give a damn. As long as Saudi Arabia delivers the oil and buys our weapons, our president is willing to sell this country's soul.But the U.S. Senate last week finally drew a line, unanimously endorsing a resolution acknowledging that MBS personally ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who was killed in the Saudi embassy in Turkey on Oct. 2. That was the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, who found evidence that MBS communicated with the team of 15 killers as they strangled and dismembered Khashoggi in the most brazen and brutal murder of our time.
The Senate also voted overwhelmingly to end United States support for MBS's war in Yemen, which relies on American weaponry, targeting assistance, and intelligence. The vote was 56-41, a rare and bipartisan rebuke of Trump. If there is any consolation to be drawn from Khashoggi's murder, it is the attention it drew to the disaster in Yemen, where Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war as part of their sectarian showdown. It's a bloody stalemate, and the brutality is on both sides. But the Saudi bombing campaign of Yemen is the worst of it, and it directly implicates America.
The bombing has killed thousands of civilians at weddings, funerals, and on school buses, according to the United Nations. It has left the Yemeni economy in ruins, its ports unable to absorb needed international aid. Save the Children estimates that 85,000 children have died during the three years of fighting, and the forecast is for death on a scale that is almost unimaginable.
According to the United Nations' World Food Programme, 12 million Yemenis are on the verge of starvation, with children most vulnerable of all. Relief workers say they are bracing for the worst global famine of their lifetimes. The Senate's action will change nothing on its own, given opposition from Trump and Republican leaders in the House. But with Democrats taking control of the House soon, that could change. And in any case, the defiance of our amoral president is long overdue.


#Pakistan - #Polio: another blow

IT was supposed to be polio’s final stand. Anti-polio campaigners were optimistic that this winter’s drive — the final door-to-door anti-polio vaccination campaign of the year — would also be the last in eradicating the virus from Pakistan once and for all. The prime minister restated his commitment to a polio-free Pakistan in a meeting on Nov 9 with provincial chief ministers, chief secretaries and members of the military in attendance. Starting from Dec 10, the countrywide campaign kicked off with the aim of administering drops to 38.72m children under the age of five — 19.2m in Punjab, 8.9m in Sindh, 6.8m in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 2.53m in Balochistan, 0.347m in Islamabad, 0.237m in Gilgit-Baltistan, and 0.7m in Azad Kashmir.

The campaign was in coordination with Afghanistan to ensure children on the move between the borders were also administered drops. But then came the news of the death of an infant in Haripur. She had been given polio drops on Nov 30. According to an inquiry report, she died of pneumonia on Dec 2, but a social media campaign blaming polio vaccines for the child’s demise had already taken off. Owing to the widely shared propaganda, there has now been a reported 25pc increase in vaccine refusals in Islamabad alone. Shockingly, many of the refusals came from educated, middle-class households. Once again, efforts to eradicate polio have been hampered by sinister disinformation campaigns and the paranoia of uninformed minds. Not only does it risk the health and well-being of other children, it also points to another disturbing trend in our society (or perhaps all modern, technologically driven societies): the spread of fake news and disinformation.

It is disheartening to note that despite all the progress made over the years, despite all the attempts at educating the public, and despite all the lives of polio workers and security personnel tragically lost in the state’s efforts to eradicate polio, we are still far from reaching the goal of a polio-free Pakistan.

Pakistan among worst religious freedom violators

Ken Camp

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo added Pakistan to a list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, while removing Uzbekistan from the list and singling out nine Islamist groups as Entities of Particular Concern.

For the first time since 2006, Uzbekistan did not appear on the list of Countries of Particular Concern, a category for governments that have committed or tolerated “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation bordered by five landlocked countries: Kazakhstan to the north; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Tajikistan to the southeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest.(Public Domain)
Instead, Uzbekistan was added to a “Special Watch List” along with Russia and Comoros.

Pompeo announced the lists Dec. 11, after officially making the designations Nov. 28—three days after military personnel and plainclothes police reportedly raided and ransacked an unregistered Baptist church in Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital.

In addition to Pakistan, other nations on the list of Countries of Particular Concern are Burma (also known as Myanmar), China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Entities of Particular Concern are al-Nusra Front in Syria, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Shabab in East Africa, Boko Haram in West Africa, the Houthis in Yemen, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or Daesh), ISIS-Khorasan in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The 2016 Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act created the EPC designation for non-state actors that commit systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.

“In far too many places across the globe, individuals continue to face harassment, arrests or even death for simply living their lives in accordance with their beliefs. The United States will not stand by as spectators in the face of such oppression,” Pompeo stated.

“Safeguarding religious freedom is vital to ensuring peace, stability and prosperity,” he continued. “These designations are aimed at improving the lives of individuals and the broader success of their societies. I recognize that several designated countries are working to improve their respect for religious freedom; I welcome such initiatives and look forward to continuing the dialogue.

“The United States remains committed to working with governments, civil society organizations and religious leaders to advance religious freedom around the world.”

Pakistan criminalizes blasphemy

In a Dec. 11 teleconference briefing for reporters, Sam Brownback, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, noted Pakistan’s laws that criminalize blasphemy as one reason for designating the South Asian nation as a Country of Particular Concern. Of all people in the world who are imprisoned for blasphemy, half are in Pakistan’s prisons, he noted.
On Oct. 31, a Pakistani court overturned the blasphemy conviction of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother, and released her from death row. However, at this point, she has been blocked from leaving the country.
Brownback also noted the Pakistani government “often fails to hold accountable perpetrators of killings and violence against members of religious minorities targeted on account of their religious beliefs or affiliations.”
In recent days, Pakistan expelled 18 aid organizations, including World Vision, Catholic Relief and other Christian groups, as well as secular nongovernmental organizations. Umair Hasan with the Pakistan Humanitarian Foundation said the move will affect more than 11 million aid recipients, resulting in a loss of more than $130 million in aid annually for healthcare, education and other humanitarian concerns, according to CBS News and other media outlets.
Brownback highlighted China and its detention of between 800,000 and 2 million Uighurs as one of the “worst human rights situations in the world.”
“China isn’t backing away from the religious persecution. It seems to be expanding” to include ethnic Kazakhs and other ethnic groups, he said.

Brownback: ‘Substantial changes’ in Uzbekistan

Regarding Uzbekistan’s removal from the Countries of Particular Concern, Brownback said: “They’ve made substantial changes, and they’re doing it because they want to grow their nation. They want to see less terrorism, and they see this as a key route to really improving the livelihood of people throughout their nation, which we agree with, and we’re working with them.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which issues its own recommended list of Countries of Particular Concern, ascribed Tier 1 CPC status to Uzbekistan in its 2018 report.
The report notes “the Uzbek government has not yet embarked on a major deviation from its overall policy of severe restriction of religious freedom.”
Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the commission, praised Pompeo for including Pakistan on the Countries of Particular Concern “after years of reporting systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.”
“While the State Department named Pakistan to the Special Watch List last year, the Pakistani government continued to harass its religious minorities, carry out state-sanctioned discrimination against groups such as the Ahmadis, and tolerate extrajudicial violence in the guise of opposing blasphemy,” Dorjee stated. “Today, approximately 40 individuals in Pakistan are incarcerated on charges of blasphemy.”
However, the commission’s chair raised concern about Uzbekistan’s removal from the Countries of Particular Concern list, saying, “We question whether Uzbekistan has sufficiently improved to be moved from the CPC list to the Special Watch List.”
In addition to the nations the Secretary of State Pompeo designated as Countries of Particular Concern, the commission also had recommended the designation be applied to the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Russia, Syria and Vietnam.
Pointing to Russia’s inclusion on the Special Watch List, Brownback pointed to “widespread suppression of religious expression” and persecution of Muslims, in particular. He noted of the 145 prisoners in Russia currently jailed for their religious beliefs, 106 are Muslims.
The Trump Administration has placed sanctions on several of the Countries of Particular Concern, generally both due to violations of religious freedom and other causes such as violations of arms control agreements, Brownback said.
Sanctioned countries included Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea and Sudan. The administration waived sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan due to “national interest,” he said.

Islamic #Pakistan abusive to religious minorities and women

Christine Douglass-Williams
The Trump administration has put Pakistan “on its annual list of worst offenders for nations that it says infringe on religious freedom,” largely because of its infamous blasphemy laws. The high profile case of “Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was recently acquitted of blasphemy but has been unable to leave the country due to riots and death threats against her” highlights the severity of Islamic oppression in that country, where Muslims were hunting house to house to find and kill Bibi and her family.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom also released a report that accused “South East Asian nations of systematically failing to protect their populations’ religious rights, noting that ‘state officials’ in Pakistan often shield criminals forcing Christian or Hindu women into a Muslim marriage,” citing Pakistan as “home to the most egregious violations mentioned in the study.”
As abusive as Pakistan is to religious minorities and women, it also a state sponsor of terrorism, and is attempting to enforce its Islamic blasphemy laws internationally. Its Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to go to the UN to stop all Muhammad cartoons and criticism of Islam, and Pakistan has already succeeded in compelling Twitter to enforce Sharia. Twitter has absurdly sent warnings out to Western foes of jihad terror and Sharia oppression, telling them that their tweets violate Pakistani blasphemy laws.
“US Downgrades Pakistan in Religious Freedom Rankings,” Associated Press, December 11, 2018:
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday placed Pakistan on its annual list of worst offenders for nations that it says infringe on religious freedom.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement he added Pakistan to the U.S. list of “countries of particular concern” regarding protection for people to worship according to their beliefs. Pakistan had previously been on a special watch list for religious freedom. The downgrade means that Pakistan could be hit with U.S. sanctions, although Pompeo waived those penalties in the U.S. national interest.
U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said the decision to designate Pakistan was largely the result of criminal blasphemy laws in the country. He said half of the world’s population of prisoners jailed for blasphemy are in Pakistan. And he noted the recent high-profile case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was recently acquitted of blasphemy but has been unable to leave the country due to riots and death threats against her.
“It’s our hope that the new leadership in Pakistan will work to improve the situation,” Brownback told reporters on a conference call to detail Pompeo’s findings. “There was some encouraging signs seen recently on how they’ve handled some of the recent protesting against the blasphemy laws, and we continue to watch very carefully what’s happening to Asia Bibi.”
Other countries on the blacklist, which calls out nations for “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom,” are China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. All had been so designated in last year’s list. Aside from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkistan received sanctions waivers.
Uzbekistan had previously been named a “country of particular concern,” but Pompeo upgraded it to the special watch list. The watch list now also includes the Comoros Islands and Russia.
In addition, Pompeo designated several Islamic militant groups as “entities of particular concern” as they do not meet the definition of countries. Those are the al-Nusra front in Syria, the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaida, Somalia’s al-Shabab, Boko Haram in West Africa, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Islamic State and the Taliban.

Opinion - How Caste Underpins the Blasphemy Crisis in Pakistan

By Faisal Devji

Caste discrimination against Christians, whose ancestors were lower-caste Hindus, persists in the country.

On June 14, 2009, Asia Bibi, a poor Christian woman, was picking fruit in the field of Itan Wali village in Pakistan, about 30 miles from the city of Lahore. On the landowner’s order, Bibi fetched drinking water for her co-workers, but three Muslim women among them accused her of contaminating the water by touching the bowl. An argument followed.
Later, the Muslim women accused Bibi of making blasphemous statements against the Prophet Muhammad — a charge punishable by death under Pakistani law. Despite little evidence, Bibi spent nine years in prison — eight in solitary confinement on death row — till she was finally acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in late October.
Pakistan’s religious right has violently protested her acquittal and Bibi is being held in an undisclosed location to keep her safe. The initial accusation against her was not about religion but caste. Her handling of a drinking vessel was seen to pollute the water inside because she belonged to an “untouchable” Hindu caste that had converted to Christianity.
When this offense turned into the charge of blasphemy, the shift signaled the simultaneous disavowal and internalization of caste discrimination by Muslims who otherwise attribute the practice to Hindus in India. Caste discrimination in Pakistan often involves its non-Muslim population and its Hindu past, and allows Muslims to minimize their own caste differences by projecting discrimination outward.
When Pakistan was created after the partition of colonial India, upper-caste Hindus and Sikhs fled or were forced to leave for India, leaving their poorer and less mobile lower-caste coreligionists behind.
In the southern province of Sindh, some upper-caste landowners stayed, while low-caste Hindus took the religion, its temples and practices into their hands in a startling departure from Hindu tradition that has no Indian counterpart. In Punjab Province, former “untouchables” accelerated their conversion to Christianity, taking given names common among their Muslim neighbors while replacing the caste surnames with appellations like “Masih,” the Urdu word for Jesus in his role as Messiah.
Discrimination and ethnic cleansing reduced the population of non-Muslims in Pakistan from about 30 percent at its creation in 1947 to less than 5 percent now. Yet the nearly absolute majority of Muslims in the country has not reduced religious conflict, but rather displaced, increased and internalized it among Muslims.It is now Muslims, especially in Punjab, who maintain a caste hierarchy. And since Islamic beliefs don’t include a caste system, the discrimination cannot be defined in terms of caste and is labeled religious. This shift was illustrated by turning Bibi’s quarrel over sharing water into blasphemy.
Perhaps Asia Bibi mentioned to her three accusers how the Muslim prophet and religion did not permit such discrimination. But in Pakistan, neither the Christians, who are understood to have been low-caste Hindus, nor the Muslims, who have adopted the role of their high-caste coreligionists, can refer to the vanished past that mediates their relations.
The increasing refusal of Muslims to share water or food with Christians suggests an inability to come to terms with a past that defies the religious identifications meant to structure all of Pakistan’s social relations. The debate about blasphemy is also tied to cultural issues assuming unprecedented importance with the emergence of a technologically mediated global arena after the Cold War. But such protests and violence over depictions of Islam’s prophet began during the middle of the 19th century in colonial India, where they had to do with urban politics and competition in newly capitalist societies.
These controversies are about struggles over representation in a public space. What defines Muslim outrage is never the traumatic encounter of the believers with the images of the prophet or his representation, but merely the rumor of circulation of his images and his representation beyond their control.When controversies over insults to the Prophet Muhammad first arose in colonial India, the cases arising from them were dealt with under the Indian Penal Code written by the British politician Thomas Babington Macaulay, who criminalized the injury of religious and other sentiments in secular rather than theological terms by treating it the same way as defamation, libel and other such offenses.In post-colonial India and Pakistan, religious offense among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians continues to deploy the secular language of hurt sentiments rather than the theological category of blasphemy. In Pakistan, Lord Macaulay’s equal-opportunity conception of injury was done away with, and insulting the Prophet Muhammad was made into a specific crime above all others.
In the early years of Pakistan, a group called the Ahmadis, who are accused of not accepting Muhammad as the last prophet, were the first to be charged with blasphemy. But the charge of blasphemy was soon being leveled by even the most acceptable of Muslims against one another, often for petty and personal reasons. Such accusations are ways of legitimizing the individual motives of those who make them, whether these are concerned with quarrels over money, property or marriage.
But the accusations of blasphemy are also related to anxieties about the Muslim prophet’s vulnerability to insult, which have emerged from profound shifts in the life of Muslim societies.
These include efforts by Muslims to create a “modern” Islam by ridding it of “superstitions” like attributing superhuman powers to the prophet. But by becoming more human, Muhammad has also become more vulnerable to insult, and as a result requires the protection of his followers in an ironically secular way.
In contrast to these global concerns, Ms. Bibi’s case is resolutely local and has led to no Muslim agitation outside Pakistan. This is because it emerges from the Muslim disavowal of caste and refusal to acknowledge Pakistan’s ethnic cleansing of the Hindus who are seen to represent it. Just as Muslims take on the character of their vanished Hindu enemies by persecuting low-caste Christians if only in the name of religion, so do Hindu militants in India lynch Muslims by acting the part of medieval invaders who happened to be their coreligionists.Familiar across the subcontinent, such playacting involves practices such as caste restrictions, forcible conversion and other, more grotesque forms of bodily violence in which a community takes on the role it attributes to its enemies.
Implying a relationship of perverse intimacy with one’s foes, this impersonation also distances perpetrators from their own brutality by turning it into a piece of theater. In all cases it involves the impossible and infinite desire for vengeance against an enemy who has vanished in time, like India’s Muslim invaders of a thousand years ago, or in space, like the Hindus and Sikhs who left Pakistan.
In Pakistan, both the discrimination of caste and the history of religious difference are officially proscribed and forgotten. But for this very reason they continue to haunt the present in disavowed ways that include the charge of blasphemy against Ms. Bibi. In this sense, the passionate defense of their prophet represents a kind of traumatic memory, one that only allows Muslims to obscure a reality that remains unrecognized and therefore unresolved.

Pakistan Minister Promises "Protection" For Hafiz Saeed In Leaked Video

India has been demanding Pakistan not only to arrest Hafiz Saeed and try him in the Mumbai attack case but also punish all those involved in this carnage.

A leaked video featuring Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's junior interior minister has vowed to "protect" Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his party.
The leaked video showed Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi talking to Milli Muslim League (MML) leaders and when his attention was drawn towards non-registration of Hafiz Saeed's party by the Election Commission (ECP) as a political party due to the US pressure and the ECP's plan to declare it a terrorist organisation, the minister said: "We will not let this happen."
"As long as we (the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf) are in the government all those including Hafiz Saeed who are raising voice for Pakistan and righteousness, we are with them," Mr Afridi said, adding "this is our belief."
"I request you to come to the National Assembly and see whether we are supporting those who on the right path or not," he told them.
Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the US and the UN after the 2008 Mumbai attackand was put under house arrest in November 2008 but freed by a court some months later. He carries a USD 10 million American bounty on his head for his role in terror activities.
India has been demanding Pakistan not only to arrest the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and try him in the Mumbai attack case but also punish all those involved in this carnage.
In the leaked video, an MML leader said the high court ordered the ECP to register the MML as a political party but the top election body said that it had come to know that the US had declared MML a terrorist organisation.
On this, the minister assured that "this will not happen in the Imran Khan's government."
Saeed launched the MML in August 2017 with a so-called mission to implement the ideology of Pakistan in accordance with the 1973 Constitution.
In April, the US placed the MML on its list of foreign terror organisations for its links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The interior ministry had written to the ECP recommending to not register the MML as it is an off-shoot of Saeed's Jamaat-ud Dawah, which has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.
The MML contested general elections on the platform of the "dormant" political entity Allaha-u-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which was registered with the ECP.
The Supreme Court in September last permitted the JuD and its arm Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) to continue their relief and charity work in the country.
JuD's network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services. The JuD and FIF alone have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers, according to two counter-terrorism officials.
Earlier, the government banned companies and individuals from making donations to the JuD, the FIF, and other organisations on the UN Security Council sanctions list.