A cleric has jibed at Liberal Muslims goading them over the release of the hardline TLP leaders.
Lahore High Court has granted two of the most vehement leaders of Thereek-e-Labaaik Party (an infamous extremist group) a month’s release on bail.
The two released firebrand clerics Kahdim Hussain Rizvi and his deputy Afzal Qadri led widespread protests last year against the acquittal of Asia Bibi a Christian woman in a blasphemy case. TLP had long demanded the execution of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy charges last October by Pakistan’s Supreme Court. The rapid growth of TLP is believed to have been generated on the back of incitement of hatred against the innocent Christian mother of five.
The bail release of the two clerics, followed a video in which, Afzal Qadri publicly announced his retirement from the group and issued an apology to General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the superior judiciary to whom he directed incendiary remarks after Asia Bibi’s acquittal. A video of his apology can be viewed (here).
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Mohammad Qasim Khan and Justice Asjad Javed Ghural accepted the bail application of Khadim Rizvi during the hearing of the case. The court, however, granted the bail to Afzal Qadri temporarily on medical grounds till 15th July 2019. Both men are required to produce a bail fee of 500,000 Pak-rupees
Bail conditions were met due to the poor health of the two clerics. It was accepted that Khadim Rizvi (54 yrs) is incapictated through half his body after a report from the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases was filed. Whereas, Afzal Qadri (68 yrs) has been suffering from heart disease and recently underwent a coronary artery bypass grafting (CBG) surgery and then Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy -Device (CRT-D) implantation (installation of a pacemaker).
“Therefore, in the larger interest of justice, in order to provide an opportunity to the petitioner to get himself medically treated in an institute of his preference, while granting them interim relief we admit them to interim post-arrest bail till 15th July 2019 – subject to furnishing bail bond in the sum of Rs500,000,” the panel stated.
Pakistan’s Christian communities are both shocked and surprised by the recent outcome, Mehwish Bhatti, National Executive for the BPCA in Pakistan, said:
“When sister Asia Bibi was coughing blood and despite a perpetual decline in her health, no offer of bail ever materialised.
“Moreover, the case of Khadim Rizvi and his deputy Afzal Qadri have been fast-tracked.
“The two men where arrested in February and now their appeal is being heard in May, however it took six years before Asia Bibi had her chance for an appeal in High Court.
“Worse still she failed that High Court appeal despite the post-court comments by judges that she was innocent but due to a technical issue she cold not be exonerated.
“It seems there is one law for Christians and another for Muslims – I will be praying for a revamp of existing laws, policies and practices in our country that will make our broken lives fairer.”
British Pakistani Christian Association, is fearful that the release on bail of two men who held extremely intolerant views on Kaffir (Non-Muslims) and have openly declared animosity towards Asia Bibi, may simply be a ruse to have her killed.
Diplomats who have spoken to Wilson Chowdhry, have expressed concerns that reasons behind the delay of Asia Bibi’s exit from Pakistan were based on concerns that Military leaders were fearful of reprisals from the Taliban. They were equally fearful that Asia Bibi would case international shame on Pakistan when she revealed the total truth about her ordeal.
Wilson Chowdhry, President of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Asia Bibi’s release was always going to be an incident of polarised vehemence.
“Releasing the two firebrand clerics from their cell where more deserving victims have had genuine bail applications rejected and by fast-tracking the court process for known treasonous terrorists.
“Pakistani authorities are simply exhibiting a further capitulation to extremists.
“I don’t believe the apology given by Afzal Qadri was genuine simply a supine attempt to escape their captivity – which is why Khadim Rizvi failed to apologise.
“Buoyed by the release of their two leaders many indoctrinated members of their group will now begin fashioning plans to seek revenge for freedom of Asia Bibi, whilst plotting her death.
“In many ways this would suit the Government of Pakistan and the military quite well, as they would not have to engage their Inter Services Intelligence officers to do their dirty work in a foreign land.
“In one fail swoop politicians and army officials with malicious intent would kill a perceived blasphemer and restore peace to their nation.
“I hope this is simply a fantasy but something tells me there is some real truth in this hypothetical situation – there certainly has been a deal brokered between Pakistani authorities and TLP.
The release on bail of the two clerics was met with great elation amongst their supporters. In a video posted by a TLP supporting cleric Shakeel Ahmed Qadri, on his twitter he castigated Liberal Muslims and jested at their failure to keep the two TLP leaders in a cell. He challenged them to add remarks below his twitter feed:
More alarmingly the same supporter posted a tweet with a lynched Kermit puppet, above the video were written the chilling words ‘God willing this will be happening soon.’ Pakistani Christian leaders believe this video is in reference to the lynching of Asia Bibi who TLP still believe to be a blasphemer.
Only yesterday BPCA shared another video in which a Muslim man in Pakistan sang chants glorifying Muhammed and threatening to kill Asia Bibi in Canada (click here). The would-be-assassin stated that he was in Canada and though we cannot prove whether he is there or not we have informed Canadian, British, American and Pakistani authorities of all these declared threats.
Mr Chowdhry added:
“People of good conscience must continue to challenge for adeqate protection for Asia Bibi.
“The death of this known innocent woman who has been acquitted of all wrong in Pakistan’s Apex court, must be allowed to live her remaining years with her family in peace and security.
“Her death at the hands of extremists would be a blow to the concepts of international morality, of world peace and of global equality.”
Twitter evidence of the video with the retort about an impending lynching.