Black laws to restrict freedom of expression and religious education

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 16:34:46 +0100

QUETTA: A desperate military government is working on several new
legislations to curb the freedom of expression and clip the wings of
religious organizations with the help of its Western allies in
particular the United States which deems Muslim religious leaders and
institutions as the only obstacle in imposing its will and discipline on
the World populace. 

According to reports the projects that the Mushrraf government is
currently working on include a law against the working journalists and
editors of newspapers that would even reject documentary evidence in
support of the investigative stories against the military rulers. 

Another legislation which is in the pipeline is to regulate the
religious madrassas in such a way that no religious teacher or
organization could resist the government pressures to exploit them for
its vested interests including giving an Islamic colour to some of the
Western practices like Riba (interest) and declaring Jihad against

Leading national English newspaper The News reports that the Musharraf
government has finalized new defamation laws for working journalists,
editors and publishers carrying penalties ranging from fine of Rs 1
million defined as "special damage" and apology or both, reveals a Law
Ministry summary submitted to the federal cabinet for approval. 

The newspaper has published the draft law under which the journalists
will have no right to produce any official document, summary or other
required papers to substantiate the validity of their stories or
assertions in the court of law. The accused journalist, in line with the
new press laws, will simply be required to satisfy the prosecution in
the form of "apology" or "fine." It is feared that after the
promulgation of this ordinance, it will become practically impossible
for the reporters, editors and publishers to file independent and
investigative stories based on official documents. 

These laws are worst than those promulgated by another military dictator
Field Marshal Ayub Khan to control the Press and media. These black
laws, though forced the journalists to render numerous sacrifices to
exercise the freedom of the expression, could not save Ayub Khan from
the wrath of the people. 

Meanwhile the Law Ministry and Cabinet Division are working day and
night to finalize the draft of a law to be known as Madrassah Ordinance
2002 which will allow the government to tamper with the curriculum of
Madrassas, control admissions to the madrassas as well as hiring of
teachers etc. by the madrassas. 

Under the law, all religious schools will be regulated through a board,
their financial and administrative activities will be monitored by the
government and no one would be allowed to “misuse” these institutions. 

Sources said the directive was issued in the wake of mounting world
pressure on the government to do 'more' and take visible steps promised
earlier with the US led coalition. Sources said the directive was issued
in the last law and order meeting presided over by the president in

Both these laws will be submitted to the cabinet for final approval, the
sources add. 

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the United States has assured Musharraf
government that it would provide necessary funds to create
infrastructure to regulate the religious madrassas. US starategist find
madrassas as a threat to their designs in the region and are willing to
help Musharraf to reform the whole concept of the madrassas in Pakistan,
commented a source. 

Source:  balochistanpost

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