HYDERABAD: As many as 284 prominent writers, poets, intellectuals, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, doctors, teachers, and other concerned citizens from different walks of life across the country, have jointly condemned recent hate speech, life threats and instigation against one of the most prominent writers of Pakistan Amar Jaleel and demand from the State and the government to provide security and protection to Amar Jaleel and take stringent action against those instigating violence against him.
A joint statement issued by the intelligentsia across the country said, “We express our deep concern on the situation and challenges posed to democracy, rule of law and human rights. We see the recent hate speech in the context of efforts to instigate violence, cause lawlessness and social unrest in Pakistan and particularly in Sindh which is against the spirit of tolerant and plural Pakistan” and added we see it as conspiracy to open new fronts of terror in the country.
Recalling role Sindh played in creation of Pakistan, the cream of society of the country demanded that conspiracy to punish people of Sindh through these conspiracies will be immediately stopped and terror instigating groups will not be protected or encouraged in any form.
The statement further said, it has been noticed lately that small number of people and groups instigating violence in the name of religion have been encouraged and protected to give a message to civil society that not only sane voices can’t live in this country but doors of law and justice are also closed for them.
The intellectuals said Amar Jalil through his writings has always stood against the powers that be and never minced his words to tell truth about religious, political and social bigotry and oppression, the prominent figures from all walks of life said, “we see hate speech against him as a message that rule of law doesn’t prevail and that a small group of people can control the freedom of speech and expression through violent means”.
They termed it as an attempt to intimidate and harass sane voices of society.
They condemned all attempts on free speech in the name of blasphemy which is being used as a tool to impose conservative lens on freedom of speech and expression.
They demanded effective measure from Government of Pakistan, Government of Sindh, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Sindh High Court, Federal and Provincial Ministries of Law, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Human Rights and all relevant institutions specially NACTA.
They demanded, those people and groups should be immediately booked and arrested under Anti-terrorism Act who have announced Head money for Amar Jalil in Umerkot, which is a direct attempt to instigate terror and divide the society.
They said action should be taken under the National Action Plan and clauses 5, 8,9 and 11 of anti-terrorism act against all those involved in instigating religious violence and paving the way for unrest and atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
The intellectuals further demanded that those groups and people should be investigated and apprehended under Cybercrime Act who used an old video from 2017 out of context for their vested interest and circulated it on social media to instigate violence.
Referring the Article 9,11,14 and 19 of the constitution of Pakistan, which says the State is responsible for protection of life, liberty, dignity and integrity of all citizens therefore life and repute of Amar Jalil should be protected.
They pointed out that all hate speeches and threats against him on social media and on all other platforms should be removed and stopped immediately.
They urged that the action immediate and appealed all institutions of Pakistan to fulfil their responsibilities to protect life, liberty and freedoms of all citizens.
Some prominent signatories included:
Rtd Justice Majida Rizvi, Mahtab Akbar Rashdi Ex MPA, Aasma Shirazi Journalist, Noor Ul Huda Shah Writer, Aajiz Jamali Journalist, Abid Mir Writer, Adal Soomro, Adnan Rehmat Journalist & rights activist, Ahmed Saleem Punjabi Poet and intellectual, Suhail Waraich Journalist, Afia Salam, Ali Palh Advocate, Shabbir Shar, Amar Sindhu, Anis Haroon, Anwar Sen Ray, Asghar Soomro, Atif Afzal, Attia Dawood, Ayaz Gul, Aysha Shujaat, Azra Talat Syed, Bakhat Jamal Shaikh, Abdullah Dayo, Aftab Lashari, Dr. Ayoob Shaikh, Dr . Irfana Mallah, Dr. Ishaq Samejo, Murtaza Khuhro, Dr. Naazir Mehmood, Professor Dr. Rafiq Chandio, Dr. Raiz Ahmed Shaikh, Dr. Shah Mohammad Marri, Dr. Yasmeen Qazi, Fareeha Aziz Advocate, Farhat Parveen, Farooq Tariq, Pakistan Kisan Rabita Committee, Fatima Hassan, Urdu writer and Poet, Fauzia Yazdani, Fiza Qureshi Writer , Ghazi Salahuldin, Gul Hassan Kalmati, Gulbadan Javed Mirza, Gulshan Laghari Hadi Bhatt, Advocate, Hoori Noorani, Iftikhar Arif, Writer, Columnist. Imrana Komal, Inam Shaikh, Jami Chandio Author, Javed Qazi, Lawyer, Kamran Achakzi, Kausar S. Khan, Khawar Mumtaz, former chairperson NCSW, Irfan Mufti, Khuda Bux Abro, Artist Kishwer Naheed, Kulsoom Zeb, Pushto writer, Lala Hassan, Mazhar Arif, Dr. Fouzia Saeed Writer, Cultural Activist, Mazhar Abbass, Mubashir Zaidi, Owais Toheed, Rauf Klasira Journalist, Talat Hussain Journalist, Mumtaz Bukhari, Murad Pandrani, Murtaza Solangi, Mushtaque Gaddi, Najam Sethi Journalist, Naseer Memon, Naseem Zehra, Nasir Baig Chughtai, Niaz Nadeem Writer, Naseem Jalbani, Niaz Panhwar Writer, Prof Zubair Ahmed, Punjabi Writer, Sadiqa Salahuldin, Saif Samejo Artist, Sheema Kirmani, , Wusatullah Khan, Zahida Hina, Zofeen Ibrahim, Zubeda Mustafa Shokat Hussain Shoro writer and others