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Protests erupt in Pakistan over execution of Mumtaz Qadri

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Pakistan: Following the execution of Mumtaz Qadri yesterday, convicted for the 2011 murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, thousands of protesters took to the streets across Pakistan.

Scores of heavy security have been deployed in Rawalpindi where thousands are expected to mourn Mumtaz Qadri, who was hailed as an Islamist hero among his supporters.

Trained as an elite police commando, Qadri was assigned to Salman Taseer as his bodyguard. In January 2011, Qadri shot the politician at an Islamabad market. He was sentenced to death later that year.

Qadri was executed at 04:30 local time (23:30 GMT) at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi yesterday.

Salman Taseer was one of the most prominent liberal politicians in the country and a close associate of the then president Asif Ali Zardari.

Taseer was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws and supported liberal reforms. Qadri being a firm Islamist, thus, felt his religious duty to kill the minister.

Mostly peaceful rallies were staged by Qadri’s supporters in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Highways were also blocked into Islamabad while demonstrators were seen chanting slogans and burning tyres.

Schools are shut and markets are closed in Islamabad where lawyers are observing a strike. The neighboring Rawalpindi, where the burial will take place, has been kept off-limits for commuters. There is heightened security in all major cities and towns including Karachi.

The funeral is expected to witness large crowds pouring in while religious groups like Jamaat-e-Islami are building tempo, terming the day of Qadri’s hanging as the “black day” and announcing daily protests until Friday.

Regarded as an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan, blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal scores by various religious groups. Target minorities also had to bear the brunt of such unfairness.



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Will prohibiting Burqa result in freedom from under house arrest or religious bias?

According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face.

Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons
Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election. Wikimedia Commons

In recent years there have been several incidents involving the Burqa. In 2009, a state college in Karnataka told a student she was not allowed to attend classes wearing a Burqa. It was later reported that the young girl reached a “compromise arrangement” with the college but did not continue in the same college. Days later, violent protests sparked in Hyderabad after a college principal allegedly told students not to wear a Burqa.

But opposite episodes have also occurred. In July 2010, a teacher at Kolkata’s Aliah University, which has a focus on Islamic studies, was not allowed to teach without a Burqa. The report followed an official notice released in April 2010, in which the university dismissed suggestions it enforced a dress code, mentioning specifically the use of the Burqa within its campus.

There is steep rise in the cases related to crime against burqa clad women. Wikimedia Commons
There is a steep rise in the cases related to crime against Burqa-clad women. Wikimedia Commons

At some point imposing a ban on Burqa will be beneficial…
Point 1:
According to Islam, it is not necessary to cover the face. Hands and face can be uncovered. So banning won’t conflict freedom of practicing religion. And it will not be against any religion.
Point 2:
There are security issues. Imagine man/women under burqa leaves a bag in a public place which later blasts. Now, what do police have? CCTV cameras, forget face they cannot determine if is it male or female due to Burqa. It is the biggest security Loophole.
Point 3:
Many Muslim women do not have a bank account because they are not allowed to cover their face in bank premises. If you didn’t know then yes you cannot cover your face with bank premises and ATM.
Point 4:
It’s easy to have multiple voters ID. Due to Burqa women can go and vote multiple times. This increases corruption in the election.
Point 5:
Crimes under Burqa are on the rise. Murder, kidnapping, robbery are been carried out using Burqa. It’s the biggest advantage for criminals.

What Noorjehan Safia says…
Noorjehan Safia Niaz, a founding member of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a movement which works to improve the status of Muslim women in India, said security concerns have not been a major issue when it comes to dressing. “Muslim women in India comply with all the laws. They are active participants when it comes to elections and has their photos on their passports. So identification and security have never been an issue as such,” she said.
Discrimination, however, has sometimes caused problems, said Ms. Niaz. “There are cases when women are not considered for a particular job because they wear a Burqa. In such cases, women have negotiated. They do not wear Burqa while at work but before and after it they put it on.” Overall, Ms. Niaz said that women themselves – not the law – should decide what to wear. “Let each woman decide what she wants to wear. Neither can you enforce a ban on Burqa nor can you force women to wear it.”

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