Public Theology: Research on Gender, Culture and Religion in Pakistan  

CSGC is undertaking a short project, in partnership with Heinrich Böll Stiftung, with the overall goal of enhancing gender and sectarian equality in the promotion of moderate Islam in Pakistan. Between June and December 2014, the project aims to:

  • enhance knowledge regarding constraints on women’s and minorities’ practice of Islam;
  • raise awareness about crucial and neglected gender and minority issues in the promotion of moderate Islam in Pakistan; and
  • link scholars and academic analysis from around the world to promote moderate Islam in Pakistan.

The CSGC team has been working to collect data from various popular sources that illustrate how religion is evident in the public sphere in Pakistan. In all these instances, theological arguments are brought to bear on socio-political issues, and as a result social boundaries are constructed that systematically use religious arguments to exclude certain groups in society. The list below includes a brief sample of randomly collected sources from:
(1) editorials in leading newspapers,
(2) popular television shows,
(3) Friday khutbas,
(4) parliamentary debates, and
(5) popular religious websites.


The list presented here and their editorial content do not represent the views of the Center for the Study of Gender & Culture, nor of its staff. The editorials are divided into three categories:

A. Blasphemy Laws (a series of laws promulgated as Ordinance XX, replacing part of the earlier Pakistan Penal code detailing, inter-alia, instances of and punishments for alleged blasphemy)

B. Hudood laws (replacing part of the earlier Pakistan Penal Code to bring in Sharia-compliant laws detailing, inter-alia, punishments for women for extra-marital sex).

C. Council of Islamic Ideology

A) Editorials on Blasphemy Laws

  1. The Nation (2014)
    Faith killing

  2. Daily Times (2014)
    Blasphemy blasphemy everywhere

  3. Dawn (2014)
    Death for blasphemy

  4. Daily Times (2014)
    The burden of our blasphemy laws

  5. Daily Times  (2013)
    Blasphemy and our minorities

  6. Express Tribune (2013)
    Prisoners’ dilemma

  7. Express Tribune (2013)
    Blind hatred

  8. Express Tribune (2012)
    Another case of blasphemy

  9. The Express Tribune  (2012)
    Justice without meaning

  10. Dawn (2012)

  11. Dawn (2012)

  12. Dawn (2012)

  13. Dawn (2012)
    Forced conversion (Associated Press report)

  14. The Nation (2011)
    Blasphemy assurance

  15. Express Tribune (2011)
    Another blasphemy case

  16. Dawn (2011)
    Minorities in Islam
  17. Express Tribune(2010)
    Asia Bibi blasphemy

  18. Dawn (2010)
    High profile blasphemy cases

  19. The News (2010)
    Walking dead

  20. The Daily Times  (2009)
    For and against blasphemy

  21. Dawn (2009)
    Is there an end

  22. Daily Times (2007)
    Abiding curse of blasphemy

  23. Daily Times (2005)
    Public vandalism of blasphemy cases

  24. Daily Times (2003)
    Reform blasphemy law

    Back to Top


The content summarized here does not represent the views of the Center for the Study of Gender & Culture, nor of its staff. The summaries are produced here as an accurate representation of what transpired or was said in each show. In order to make the reading easier and less cumbersome, pronouns are often omitted; in such cases it should be understood that the speaker or participant of the program is being referred to.

The shows are divided into four categories, with date-wise entries where possible:

  1. Hudood Ordinance (replacing part of the earlier Pakistan Penal Code to bring in Sharia-compliant laws detailing, inter-alia, punishments for women for extra-marital sex)
  2. Women in Islam
  3. Minorities
  4. Blasphemy Laws (a series of laws promulgated as Ordinance XX, replacing part of the earlier Pakistan Penal code detailing, inter-alia, instances of and punishments for alleged blasphemy)


A)        Hudood Ordinance

  1. Geo TV
    Date: Unknown (uploaded 25-06-2008)
    Speaker: Altaf Hussein (Chairman Muttahida Qaumi Movement)

    Content: Altaf Hussein holds that the application of Hudood laws is questionable, and points out that no one has ever been punished for false accusations. According to the Quran, a woman cannot be jailed only on the basis of accusation. Pakistan is an Islamic state, and that according to its constitution all laws should be in accordance with Islam. The Hudood ordinance passed by Zia-ul-Haq is against the Quran and Islamic teachings.  According to the original law a woman could even be jailed over rape, as little distinction was made between willful zina and rape. The use of Hudood ordinance against women by sending them to jail under false accusations needs to be stopped, as women are stigmatized for life as a result.

    Hussein also points out that the standard of education in Pakistan should be raised, and that the state should meet its responsibility. An average Muslim should not leave all religious matters to the mullahs [clerics] but should be conversant enough in Islam to know right from wrong. Madrassahs [seminaries] should be for religious education, and not to promote sectarianism and militancy or to nurture Jihadists for other countries. Male parliamentarians should try and fight for the rights of women, maintaining that members of the MQM have always worked to promote women’s rights. Women had recently been given unprecedented representation (33%) in the parliament, which should be duly acknowledged.

    When asked why the government was not using its simple majority to amend the Hudood laws, Altaf Hussein responded that they were seeking broad consensus for a good national and international impression. The proposed amendments in Hudood Ordinance are for the protection and rights of women according to the Quran and Sunnah, and will be passed with the majority vote. Regarding the local practice of allowing marriages to the Quran, or forced marriages, or denying girls marriages, Hussein was asked whether there is any hope for change from this mindset. He responded that MQM has saved hundreds of girls from being killed. A time will come when crimes like women being married to Quran or being killed for honor will carry severe punishments in Pakistan. For this the parliamentary system needed to be strengthened.

  2. Geo TV
    Program: Zara Sochiye
    Date: 25-01-10
    Participants (Religious scholars): Javed Ahmed Ghaamdi, Dr. Tufail Hashmi, Maulana, Mufti  Muneeb ur Rahman, Maulana Abdul Malik.

    Content: A debate between four renowned scholars discussing Hudood laws, their roots in Islam and the controversies that it has caused after its promulgation. Dr. Tufail Hashmi says that when Hudood Ordinance was promulgated it was hailed by Muslims but with time it has raised many concerns as it's implementation has resulted in several Injustices. A question is raised whether there is a problem in the law itself or in the implementation of it. It is a man-made law although often projected as divine law. Islam is very clear that anything falsely attributed to the Quran is an unforgivable act.

    Maulana Mufti Muneeb holds that the demand for repealing Hudood Ordinance will never be accepted by the nation. The issue is that when this legislation was enacted, its procedural law was Anglo-Saxon and hence there have been implementation problems. In fact, any divine law when enacted will be man-made. Some amendments can be made to ensure better implementation of these laws.

    Maulana Abdul Malik says that the police are corrupt and the justice system weak: both need to be trained and well conversant with Islamic laws.

    All four agree that no FIR (police investigation report) should be registered without producing four witnesses, and that there is no concept of jail in Islam. In any case, women should not be jailed until the case has been decided. One scholar says that even if a zina [extra-marital sex] allegation is proven, according to Islam the accused woman should merely be kept in her home.


  3. Geo TV
    Program: Alif
    Date: 13-04-10
    Participants: Javed Ahmad Ghaamdi (‘Alim), Asma Jahangir (human rights activist), Kausar Firdous (senator JI), Justice Majida Rizvi

    Content: The discussion starts with Ghamdi describing the offences and hudood punishments as per the Quran. Jahangir says that these laws have only been misused and have resulted in persecution of women in false zina [extra-marital sex] and rape cases. There is a serious issue with the interpretation of the law, as there is no way to limit its exploitation and misinterpretation. Ghaamdi also agrees that there is no confusion over the law but rather its interpretation is debatable and controversial.

    Firdous maintains that the offences and punishments given in Quran and Sunnah [practices of the Holy Prophet, peace by upon him] are absolute and the final word. She agrees that stoning to death is not mentioned in the Quran and is part of Sunnah. Ghaamdi holds that these punishments in Islam were not mandatory but were subject to conditions of the case.

    Justice Rizvi says that the ordinance is not according to the Quran. General consensus with the exception of Ms Firdous is that there is a serious issue with interpretation. Laws should be promulgated by a wide debate in parliament and not by courts or ordinances. 

  4. Aaj TV
    Program: Aaj Islam
    Date: Uploaded by Ghaamdi in 2014. But it is an old recording (possibly 2008) when a series of programs were done on different aspects of Hudood laws.
    Participants: Javed Ahmed Ghaamdi, Justice Majida Rizvi, Mistra Jamal (MMA), Seema Shaukh (Aurat Foundation), Mufti Masood (‘Alim)

    Content: Ghaamdi clearly states that the Hudood Ordinance is a political matter. Not accepting the testimony of women and minorities and to make a principle of awarding punishment on the level of evidence available has no roots in Islam. Shaukh and Justice Rizvi support Ghaamdi’s position, while Jamal opposes it.

  5. B)        Women in Islam

  6. Dunya TV
    Program: Talaash
    Date: 06-06-2012
    Participants: Hassan Nisar, Allama Ibtesam Elahi, Allama Raghab Naemi, Professor Sajid Hamid, Asghar Nadeem Sayed, and Dr. Mehdi Hassan.

    Content: The program features the controversial statements by Hassan Nisar on hijab [veil] and the beard, which invoked a backlash after this program for his remarks. Nisar maintains that hijab and beard were part of the Arab culture and not indigenous to South Asia. We have a female-dominated agricultural society where women work; if you lock up half the population their families will be reduced to poverty. In fact, hijab doesn’t mean purdah but rather modesty; it is an attitude and not an act of covering the face. Covering is more of a cultural (alien) concept.

    The discussion centers on these controversial comments, with other speakers opposing Nisar’s view.

  7. Samaa TV
    Program: Ghaamdi key saath
    Date: 24-09-2013
    Speaker: Javed Ahmed Ghaamdi

    Content: The host introduces the subject by saying that we live in an age with conflicting values and views. The entertainment sector allows women to get away with a lot of exposure, while at the same time women who are respectably trying to strive in professions like the media are strongly criticized on minor things like attire and behavior. On paper it appears that Islam is the most liberal religion in according rights to women, but when the practical reality is very different.

    Ghaamdi explains this dichotomy by saying that the society is living with past norms while being affected by modern culture. It is a state of confusion as they can neither let go of the past nor move on to the future. Islam has placed limitations on behavior and modesty both for men and women, but slightly more on women, as that is required of their gender. On a question that women are faced with a double jeopardy that they have to work to support their family but also have to live with the general degrading perception people have for women who were working, Ghaamdi states that it is important to observe the directions laid out in the Quran that aim to discourage forbidden adultery. These limitations have been clearly defined and the onus lies on the person to follow them; it is not an opportunity for people to criticize and give fatwas [clerical judgments] if people fail. Three important aspects need to be followed: what the religion says, cultural norms, and – most importantly – inner piety.

  8. Rawal TV
    Program: Dastak
    Date: Uploaded 18-06-2014
    Participants: Rubina Faisal, Qari Naeem Malik (Imam Jamia Islamia, Canada), Tasleem Riaz (women’s rights activist, Canada)

    Content: A three-month pregnant girl was stoned to death in front of the High court in Lahore and in front of people on 27 May, 2014. The incident was perpetrated ostensibly for the sake of preserving honor and as protected by Islam. Participants agree that in decisions of marriage, Islam gives precedence to the choice of girl or boy over parents’ choice. Such injustices are not condoned or preached by Islam. In an Islamic country a Qazi [Islamic judge] has the right to decide in the favor of the girl. Islam gives priority to the will of the girl in matters of marriage. These are the rights protected by Islam for women and such acts (killing for honor) cannot be attributed to Islam. It was alleged that the girl was already married and had solemnized another nikah [Islamic marriage contract], and hence had committed adultery; such cases should be properly investigated and people can in no way be given the right to take law in their hands.

  9. Channel unknown
    Link: parda_19148
    Date: uploaded 2014
    Speaker: Tariq Jameel

    Content: A short lecture on how women in hijab [veil] are more beautiful than the women who choose to expose themselves. Jameel narrates a personal experience where he attended a wedding in a hotel: in a gathering of immodestly dressed women, a woman clad in a burqa [full-body veil] stood out because of her grace and stature. Despite her modest attire everyone was overwhelmed by her graceful presence.

  10. Peace TV
    Date: unknown
    Speaker: Dr. Zakir Naik

    Content: Dr. Zakir Naik argues that it's wrong to study the rights of women in Islam from a western perspective. In the name of uplifting women, the West have only degraded, exploited, and sexualized them as objects. The study of women’s rights in Islam should only be done by going to the sources, which are the Quran and Sunnah [practices of the Holy Prophet, peace by upon him]. Islam gave rights to women 14000 years ago, when it was an era of ignorance. Women and men have equal rights but they can't be considered identical as they have distinct features.

  11. Peace TV
    Date: unknown
    Speaker: Maimoona Murtaza
    Subject: Women in Islam

    Content: Murtaza offers a detailed history of the status of women before the advent of Islam, with reference to Hinduism, Romans, and Egyptians. Women were given no rights and were treated as sex slaves. Not only were they exchanged among men, but incest was also a norm. Women were a saleable and a disposable commodity in the society. They were stigmatized as the root of all evil and temptation. Men killed and buried female babies considering them a liability. Islam changed the status of women, for the first time they were given rights and a social status. They were given the legal cover of marriage, and were also given inheritance rights. Women have different roles, and respect is accorded to them as a result. A woman's highest role is of a mother, then sister, then daughter and then of a wife. The status of mother in Islam has precedence over any other relation.

    C)        Minorities in Islam

  12. Geo TV
    Program: Alim on Line
    Date: 07-09-2008
    Participants: Dr. Saeed Ahmed Inayatullah (Naib Ameer of International Khatn-e-Naboowat movement) and Amir Liaquat (State Minister for Religious Affairs).

    Content: Amir Liaquat presents a detailed narrative on the emphasis and importance of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat [finality of prophethood] in Islam, outlining incidents from history and tracing to the issue of present day “Qadianis” [a term used for Ahmadis, often derogatory]. The Quran clearly states that prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the last prophet. Several historical events affirm the finality of prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not bar anyone who recited the Kalimah [testimony of faith] from joining Islam, regardless of their inner intentions. However, there are many instances in history that add another dimension to this. A person named Zaab had claimed to be a prophet during the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and had also gained a big following. Abu Bakr Siddique (may God be pleased with him) [the first Caliph] announced Jihad [holy war] against them. In another incident Ali (may God be pleased with him) [the fourth Caliph, and cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet] labeled a group as kaffir [unbelievers] and raised his sword against them because they refused to believe in Ali, misinterpreted Quranic verses, and created divisions between Muslims.

    Liaquat says that every Muslim has resolute faith in the finality of prophethood. After the birth of Pakistan a fitna [Quranic term for a temptation and trial by fire] tried to deter Muslims and root themselves in the country, but the followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) initiated a glorious movement. Finally on a historical day in the country’s history – 7 September 1974 – the Qadianis were categorized non-Muslims and a minority by the parliament. Today’s program commemorates that day.

    Dr. Saeed joins the show mid-way and justifies the need for his movement, stating that Qadianis were a fitna that necessitated the need to monitor them every second. The decision of the parliament to brand them non-Muslims is a cause of celebration, and that day is Youm-ul-Furqan [Day of Criterion, a Quranic term referring to the criterion between good and evil]. Qadianis have their own channel in which they were propagating their faith and misleading people.

  13. Dunya TV
    Program: Policy Matters
    Date:  25-10-2012
    Participants: Naseem Zehra (anchor), Tahira Abdullah (human rights activist), Ihtesam Elahi Zaheer (Jamiat Ahl-e Hadees), Javed Ahmed Ghaamdi, Lateef Afridi

    Content: Speakers all agreed that Quaid-e Azam envisioned Pakistan as a homeland for Muslims – who were a minority in the sub-continent – so that could freely practice their beliefs. He sought a political solution without adopting any violent methods. But in fact, the numbers of minorities belonging to different religions, different ethnic groups, or sects within Islam, were diminishing. Many had been killed and many ore had relocated for safety. An atmosphere of intolerance and hatred is breeding in Pakistan to narrow the space for the survival of minorities. In many cases they are being killed brutally. Islam’s message of peace, tolerance and equality is being distorted. Islam clearly doesn’t allow the use of force in matters of religion.

  14. Peace TV
    Date: 09-09-2013
    Speaker:  Dr. Zakir Naik

    Content: a short lecture by Zakir Naik on the subject of Ahmadis in Islam. Naik states clearly that since Ahmadis do not acknowledge Mohammad's [peace be upon him] last prophethood, they fall out of the pale of Islam. Islam’s basic tenets are to believe in Allah and in the finality of prophethood of Muhammad.

  15. Capital TV
    Date: 13-10-2013
    Speaker: Zaid Hamid

    Content: Zaid Hamid discusses various issues, including the treatment of minorities in Pakistan. The host tries several times to question Hamid on his views regarding the persecution of minorities, citing the incident of church bombing in Peshawar and exhuming the body of a Hindu to desecrate it. Hamid does not condemn these acts, but focuses on the persecution of Muslims in general by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Several thousand people have been killed in terrorist attacks, which included non-Muslims also. In a country with a weak justice system, no one is protected. On being asked if textbooks with anti-Muslim propaganda are the reason for hatred against minorities, Hamid responds that the education system as a whole is flawed. Hindus committed many excesses during Partition, and were responsible for the massacre of Muslims.

  16. Channel unknown
    Date: 1-11-2014
    Participants: Maulana Abdul Aziz and Tayyaba Khanum

    Content: Excerpt of a televised debate between two conflicting schools of thought in Islam, which was censored and not aired. Maulana Aziz heatedly accuses Khanum that Shias do not believe in the first three caliphs or Hazrat Ayesha, and that her lectures on Facebook are testimony to this fact. Khanum replies that if this was true that would make Shias non-Muslims, to which Maulana agrees. When Khanum asks whether this makes them kaffirs [unbelievers] and Wajubul Qatl, Maulana said they hadn't killed anyone. But had no response when accused of giving such fatwas [clerical judgments] that entice hatred towards Shias.

  17. Peace TV
    Date: unknown
    Speaker: Dr. Zakir Naik

    Content: Dr. Zakir Naik says that Islam knows no sects, and that there is no division in the religion. Shias emerged later due to political reasons. The Quran is clear that Islam is not divided. Between Sunnis and Shias whoever is closer to Quran and Hadith [sayings of the Holy Prophet, peace by upon him] is the right Muslim and on the right path.

  18. Peace TV
    Date: unknown
    Speaker: Dr. Zakir Naik

    Content: Dr. Zakir Naik, while addressing a huge audience, is asked by a Hindu to define a Kaffir [Unbeliever] and whether Islam authorizes killing of Kaffirs. Naik says that any one who does not believe in the right God is a kaffir. There is a verse in the Quran that says that kaffirs should be killed. But people take it out of context and quote it as if the Quran has ordained killing kaffirs. He said the historical context of this verse was that non-believers breached a treaty with Muslims. Muslims were going into battle and this verse applied to that particular situation where it was ordered that kaffirs be killed on the battlefield. Naik also says that if a non-believer wants to reconcile his differences and ask for protection, it us the duty of the Muslim to keep him safe.

  19. D)        Blasphemy Laws

  20. Geo TV
    Date: Uploaded on 09-11-2010
    Speaker: Amir Liaquat, State Minister for Religious Affairs, with Hamid Mir

    Content: Amir Liaquat states that the fatwa [religious judgment] against Salman Rushdie for blasphemy is according to Islam, is halal [permitted], appropriate and anyone carrying it out will get divine compensation for this act.

  21. Samaa TV
    Program: Newsbeat
    Date:  25-11-2010
    Participants: Meher Bokhari, Salman Taseer

    Content: This is the controversial interview of Salman Taseer (incumbent Governor Punjab) by Meher Bokhari, which is said to have instigated his assassination for his support to a woman (Asia Bibi) accused of blasphemy. His visit to Asia Bibi, on death row in Sheikhupura jail, had sparked a lot of criticism against him, and he became the subject of fatwas [clerical judgments] from clergy for his partiality towards a blasphemy accused. Bokhari is trying to corner Taseer, even though he repeatedly says that he is against any disrespect to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

    Taseer clearly states that these laws are man-made and not divine, as per the common perception. This law has no verification process and could be misused by anyone without any repercussions. Perpetrators who wrongly accuse persons are never brought to justice. The issue is now being politicized, and I have decided to stand up against the terror of such people who have created fear against any change in these laws. Amendments should be made to stop injustices to minorities.

    When asked why he has bypassed two existing forums of appeal to overturn Asia Bibi’s death sentence, Taseer argues that his step may have invited some backlash but has also earned him support from thousands of people.

  22. Geo TV
    Program: Capital Talk
    Date: 30-08-2012
    Participants: Hina Jilani (human rights activist), Akram Masih Gil (Federal Minister for National Harmony), Maulana Sharif Hazarni (‘Alim)

    Content: A case was registered against a 14-year old girl for desecrating the Quran. Her medical report stated that her mental age did not correspond with her chronological age. Local cleric prior to the case had given a sermon to incite people to cleanse the area of Christians. On the merits of the case it appears that it is not triable. During the discussion it becomes clear that there is an underlying issue of intolerance towards the minority community in the country.

  23. (website)
    Date: Uploaded on 15-09-2012
    Speaker: Amir Liaquat

    Content: Liaquat expresses his views on the blasphemous movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ on the Prophet (peace be upon him), his women, and his companions. A resident of California – who should not even be categorized as a human – with a previous criminal record made this movie on a budget of 5 million US Dollars, funded by 100 Jews. He was a Coptic Christian, being supported by Jews and Christians. It was translated in Arabic, which was followed by a wave of violence in Muslim countries. Such incidents coincide with the anniversary 9/11. Jews have a tradition according to their teaching in new Talmud to hurt the Muslims on the new year of Jews, and as part of that they also planned a night of music and drinking in the vicinity of al-Aqsa mosque (Jerusalem) to coincide with the prayer time of Muslims. From 27 Ramzan (the holy month in the Islamic calendar), TV anchors had only focused on Rimsha Masih’s case (14-year old girl sentenced for blasphemy), which was the right thing to do, but sadly no one focused on the insult of the Prophet. Is it not the responsibility of the anchors to give brief time to this issue of blasphemy? But after the violence, they have now started talking about it. But that too focuses on the violence and not the underlying reason behind it. Islam does not condone or accept violence, and protests on this subject should be peaceful.

  24. Channel: unknown
    Date:  2012
    Speaker: Dr. Tahirul Qadri

    Content: Qadri says that many cases are based on the misuse of laws and registering of false cases, whether on zina [extra-marital sex], theft, or blasphemy against Christians and even Muslims. There is no problem with the blasphemy law itself, although possibly some procedural amendments were required. The problem lies with the misuse of the law.


This dataset, although only a pilot sample, is already unique. Over the coming years, CSGC expects to broaden and deepen this list to offer the valuable data as a resource for academic study on trends in public theology in Pakistan.

  1. Speaker: Maulana Abdul Ghaffar
    Place: Jamia Masjid Ahle Hadith, Sadiqabad, Rahimyar Khan
    Sect: Ahle Hadith
    Language: Urdu
    Date: August 2010

    Referring to an article by Dr. Marwan of Saudi Arabia, Maulana spoke on the issue of conversion of Muslims to Christianity in Indonesia. He said that 320 million Muslims in Indonesia were being subjected to Christian missionary conversion onslaught. 12 million Indonesians had been converted.

    Dr. Marwan decided to visit and start Da’wat to Islam in the area where people were converting to Christianity. He met a Christian girl who told him that they reached people on bicycles and asked for food while spreading the message of Christianity. They were about 20,000 of them on this mission. The Maulana went on to ask the clergy of Pakistan who will support the people who were leaving Islam and adopting Christianity as murtad (apostate)? Who will stop this trend towards apostasy? He said that the people of Indonesia had been converted by the sword. And now the situation had become decadent, women prayed wearing shorts etc. He described this situation as one in which kufr [Unbelief] had conquered the world.

  2. Name: Maulana Abdul Khaliq
    Place: Jamia Masjid Tablighi Markaz, Rahimyar Khan
    Sect: Deobandi
    Language: Seraiki
    Date: August 2010

    The sermon emphasized that life on earth was not permanent and the pious would inherit permanent rest. On death, angels visit to check the deeds of the deceased, and if they found no mosque but a whorehouse, alcohol drinking, disrespect to parents and abuse of the companions of the prophet and his pure wives [reference to Shias], then his place would be in hell.

    He went on to narrate an incident where a man had a prostitute as a companion; he dressed her in new clothes and was passing through a street when a saint threw a dirty stone at the woman staining her clothes.  The man slapped the saint, and when the saint asked for forgiveness, the man refused saying that he couldn’t forgive him for dirtying the clothes of his girlfriend. The saint replied if that is so, my friend (Allah) cannot forgive you for the slap you have inflicted on his friend’s face. Your friend is a prostitute but my friend is Allah.

  3. Speaker: Maulana Abdul Ghafur Haqqani
    Place: Jamia Usmania, Shorkot-Kabirwala Road, Jhang
    Sect: Deobandi
    Language: Urdu
    Date: August 2010

    The sermon narrated the story of a pharaoh whose wife refused to worship him and instead prostated before Allah.  He said that the pharoah’s wife had a prayer mat but women today don’t have prayer mats and do not care. As a result they had worries in the house, with fighting and bad omens. They were ignoring Allah and hence there were no blessings in the house.

    He went on to say that the pharaoh’s wife, Asiya, said that she was doing sajda [prostration] to Allah. The Maulana rhetorically asked his gathering what Asiya was doing? Was her sajda toward the grave, ark or ta’zia, the Muharram horse (shia ritual) or to some holy tree? Asiya told the pharaoh that she could not worship him as he was not god: it was Allah who gave wives to all husbands and Himself had no Wife. Men became hungry and ate, Allah was free of hunger and she said that she bent before Him who gave food to all people in plains and mountains. Anyone who ate was not worthy of worship.

  4. Speaker: Maulana Abdul Hameed Chishti
    Place: Masjid Allahwali Multan
    Sect: Barelvi
    Language: Punjabi with Rohtaki accent
    Date: May 20, 2010

    The sermon spoke about the miracle contained in the knowledge of qul (the whole) and juzv’ (the part) given to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He went on to talk about bogus clerics in comparison to walis [friends of Allah]. Mullahs can go bad but walis cannot. In the same way all mullahs were not the same: how could one pray behind a mullah who denied the Prophet’s ability of the knowledge of the whole.

    He spoke on the subject of girls: times had changed, they carried mobiles worth Rs 20,000 and spoke on cell phones secretly from their beds and no one minded. The mother believed the girl was asleep while she was talking to her lover. Boys tell their mothers that if the girl he was talking to did not marry him he would kill himself. Boys called their fathers to watch TV dramas, when they should be calling them for prayers at the time of Azan. Women painted themselves at weddings and boys wore fitted pants. He said to keep an eye on girls. He went on to denounce “prostitutes” who come on TV.

  5. Speaker: Maulana Abdul Raheem
    Place: Jamia Rehmania, Multan
    Date: May 26, 2010

    Maulana spoke of the destruction that had come because of western culture and technology. On one side the Quran was being recited, and on the other boys listened to music on their mobiles. The son of an Ahle-Hadith scholar attended a funeral with blaring music on his cell phone disrupting the whole atmosphere. The mourner who had come to pray left after listening to music. If a single Ahle Hadith madrassah or mosque reformed itself everyone else would be reformed. He said that VCRs in houses and mobiles with these ugly sounds were disrupting their path. He said that people were rebuking the son and daughter of the scholar as disco models. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) had said that one sign of the Day of Judgment would be women in dresses that showed them as naked. He asked rhetorically what he would say if Allah asked him whether those who listened to the Quran were properly dressed and whether their families observed the law of Islam.

  6. Speaker: Maulana Mohammad Yousaf
    Place: Jamia Masjid Ahle-Hadith Zakaria Town Multan
    Sect: Ahle-Hadith
    Language: Punjabi
    Date: May 26, 2010

    Maulana spoke on the evil of current times. He said that we had become a nation that ate the wealth of orphans, killed each other, spread fitna [trials], trampled on the honor of people while indulging in drinking wine and gambling. He said that society was not observing purdah [veiling], wives did not listen to their husbands over purdah and called them thekedars [caretakers] of Islam. Fathers were rebuking pious sons and mothers were not listening to their daughters over issues of faith. Small calamities strike the country as warnings that namaz had been abandoned and evil ways were being followed. There were TVs in every home with naked movies being shown, wine was being drunk and children were smoking heroine in rooms. Non-stop dancing and singing had become common.

    Maulana said that we had adopted Jewish customs, basant [spring festival] was celebrated, and VCR and cable TV were common. These were the sins of Jews; while the Prophet (pbuh) opposed Christians and Jews, we were now imitating them, as well as Hindus and Sikhs.

  7. Speaker: Maulana Hafiz Khalid Mujahid
    Place: Jamia Masjid Jahania Khanewal
    Sect: Ahle-Hadith
    Language: Punjabi
    Date: May 29, 2010

    The Maulana spoke about women who got painted and dressed up to go to movies. He said women with shame and modesty will be ahead of the hoors [virgins] in paradise, but not those women who spent day and nights in beauty parlors and danced at the wedding of their brothers. In the hereafter, pure women will be more beautiful than the hoors. He described the pure woman as being obedient and loyal to her husband, and not the type who went to parlors and general stores and talked sweetly and laughed. Pure women spoke dryly in shops as they reserved sweet talking for their husbands.

    He said women start longing for market places during the full moon, and passions stirred in their bosoms to crowd the marketplaces. He said that in order to be like Fatima and Ayesha they should not behave like this. The Quran has said that they should be dry and rough in their speech to strangers. Desires had to be sacrificed in order to win paradise. Even people who read the Quran allowed VCR and cable TV in their homes. He said only the women who sought the sole pleasure of their husband would be selected for paradise. Women who stayed at home would have a larger share in paradise than the Mujahideen who fought with their swords for Allah.

  8. Speaker: Hafiz Muhammad Binyamin Abid
    Place: Jamia Masjid Ahle Hadith Khanewal City
    Sect: Ahle Hadith
    Language: Punjabi
    Date:  April 2020

    The subject of the sermon was zina [fornication]. The Maulana explained the context that Allah says to not go near zina, which also meant that the curse of cable TV and other things should be avoided.  Zina was present in the house. The time of Tahajjud prayer [supererogatory prayer in the middle of the night], when Allah came down to the first heaven, was also the time cable TV started its filth and suggestion of zina. At that hour, Allah calls for forgiveness of sins and at that time people are watching dances. The prophet (pbuh) had said that when his people will become shameless they would be afflicted with diseases. With shamelessness, zina comes to the fore and with that follows disease of the human body: Allah punishes people for their sins. People had abandoned Quran and Sunnah [practice of  the Prophet (pbuh)]: how many people were there now who followed the sunnah of keeping a beard? The prophet said not to listen to songs and watch dances, yet people now can’t survive without it. People drank alcohol, and took interest from banks. The prophet had said that working on the basis of riba [monetary interest] amounted to zina with their own mother.

    Those will be punished who do not know the Quran and Sunnah but know the dance of every Indian prostitute. He went on to say that the law of the country was not Allah’s but what the English gave. It was a scourge from Allah that all laws were American.

  9. Speaker: Maulana Mohammad Jafar
    Place: Masjid Anwer Madina Talamba Khanewal
    Sect: Barelvi
    Language: Seraiki
    Date: March 2010

    Maulana narrated a story from Gilgit: a man heard a voice from the grave asking to be taken out as the person was alive. The person went to the local maulvi [cleric], who with a group of people dug the grave and found a naked woman. She asked for clothes to cover herself. After putting on the clothes she ran from the people and locked herself in a house. She refused to open the door, but then allowed the strongest of persons to enter. They were shocked to see she had no hair on her head. When they asked why her skull was without hair, she replied that when she was alive she would go out of the house with her hair open. After she died she was punished and the angels uprooted her hair one by one with their hands so that even the skin came off. When she showed her face, her lower jaw and lips were missing and her teeth were showing. She said that she used to apply lipstick to look beautiful. When her lips were being cut off a voice told her that this was her punishment to make her ugly for showing painted lips in the marketplace.

    Addressing women, Maulana said that Allah had made them beautiful but they had made themselves ugly by putting powder on their faces. Allah did not want them to spoil their beauty and if they abided by His rules He would give them a place in paradise.

  10. Speaker: Maulana Ashraf Asif
    Place: Jamia Masjid Hilan, District Mandi Bahauddin
    Sect: Barelvi
    Language: Urdu
    Date: April 2010

    Maulana narrated a hadith [saying of the Prophet (pbuh)] that any man who guarded his eyes against haram [forbidden] indulgence would get hoors [virgins] in the afterlife, the person who looked into others’ houses would be raised as a blind man in the hereafter, and the person stopping an ogler from his sinful pastime would also be married to hoors.

    He said that all senses need the same discipline: if the eyes were not allowed to see women then the ears should also guard against hearing their voice, the only exceptions being a doctor or a cleric who were allowed to hear women’s voices. These were not man-made laws but the laws of Allah. If a person is not allowed to hear the voice of a non-mehram [not legally related] woman in person, then he is also not allowed to hear it on the phone. The Prophet (pbuh) had made it clear that all senses had their own way of sinning, which was, in a way, zina [fornication]. Any pleasure against the shariat [way of Allah] was zina: there was zina of the eyes, of the ears and of the tongue.

    The mo’min [true believer] observed the morality of the senses and kept himself and his senses clean. In present times, the concept of sin had changed and the youth were influenced by English ways. He said that there was a difference between a dog and a Muslim: a dog had no limitations while a mo’min was not supposed to be like a dog. He said that music and songs were haram. Listening to the Quran and praises of the Prophet were, in contrast, good for the senses.


The National Assembly of Pakistan
Assembly debates (Discussion on the Church Bombing in Peshawar)
Monday, 23 September, 2013

A discussion took place in the National Assembly condemning twin blasts by two suicide bombers in a church in Peshawar the previous day. The blasts on September 22, 2013, killed 81 Christians and injured 137 others, including children and women. The discussion in the Assembly continued for two days in a prorogued session in which others matters of business were suspended.

A resolution to condemn the attack on the church and express solidarity with the Christian community was passed. The Minister for Interior condemned the attack and termed it inhuman, announcing a three-day mourning period for the deceased as a show of solidarity. He also planned to call a Christian community meeting at the federal level to discuss their issues and make a policy at the national level to protect their places of worship.

Terming this incident a national tragedy, the leader of the opposition said that the minorities did not want to be classified as “minorities” but as “Pakistanis.” The label of “minority” marginalized them. Other opposition members claimed there was no justification in our belief, religion, or laws for such an attack. Opposition benches generally endorsed the view that Christians should be referred to as “non-Muslims,” as the Constitution does, but not as “minorities,” and that they needed to be afforded the same rights as other Pakistanis. One opposition member proposed a bill to this effect, while others stressed the need for changing the educational curriculum of the country to eliminate hate material against non-Muslims including Christians and Hindus. Members pointed out instances of forced conversions, which law enforcement often abetted.

Christian parliamentarians suggested that condemnation by itself was not enough, and that there was a need for punishment. Not a single person had been punished for perpetrating crimes against the Christian community, and this impunity encouraged such incidents, as there was no deterrent. They argued that no Christian had ever challenged the writ of Pakistan, nor carried out a terrorist attack, and that Christians had always respected the laws of the state.

The discussion also sparked a debate on the blasphemy laws. In the course of discussion a number of opposition members observed that the blasphemy laws in their present form were against Islam or were not being implemented appropriately. As a result, resentment had taken root in much of the country; innocent Muslims as well as Christians were unnecessarily jailed, while non-Muslims had begun migrating out of their homeland. The same members generally affirmed that respect of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sacred and inviolable, but that the persecution or victimization of innocent people needed to be addressed through amendments to the laws.

The Protection of Women Bill-2006 (Amendments to Hudood Laws)
12th National Assembly, 2002-2007

4th Parliamentary year
Title: The Protection of Women (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2006
Introduced on: 21-08-2006 by Mr. Wasi Zafar, Minister for Law
Referred to select committee on: 21-08-2006
Report of the select committee on: 04-09-2006
Reviewed by: All-party Select Committee.
Reviewed by: ’Ulema Committee (extra-parliamentary)
Votes: 188 votes out of 342 NA members.
Passed by National Assembly: 15-11-2006
Passed by Senate on 23-11-2006
Signed by the President: 01-12-2006 (Act VI of 2006)

The bill carried 29 amendments in two of the Hudood Ordinances, and separated Hadd [limit, or prohibition] from Tazir [discretionary punishment], and rape from zina [extra-marital sex], two issues that had led to disagreements on interpretations in the past. Rape was moved to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), although fornication was also added to PPC, carrying a penalty of imprisonment up to five years and fine up to ten thousand rupees. The procedure for making a complaint for zina was also changed with the addition of imposition of qazf [slander against a chaste Muslim, usually a woman]. The provisions were drafted with a ‘series of firewalls’ to keep zina and rape separated. However, some religious scholars saw the eventual inclusion of lewdness and Shariah-compliant evidentiary requirements in the PPC as being against the principles of Islam and discriminatory to women.

On the introduction of the bill, some Assembly members suggested that the bill should be sent to select committee, others supported it in its original form, and some criticized it. The bill generated a lengthy debate but was eventually passed (188 ayes out of 342 NA members) in a voice vote that some parties boycotted.

The debate on the bill is illustrative of how theological issues appear and are contested in the public sphere in Pakistan. Many parties and individual Assembly members supported the bill, while the alliance of Islamic parties (MMA) criticized it at length. In addition, a few important women members also condemned the bill. At root was the issue of whether or not the bill was in accordance with the provisions of Quran and Sunnah. The President of the ruling party eventually declared that he would resign if any discrepancies emerged.

The bill underwent acute scrutiny and review for almost two months, first under an all-party parliamentary select committee of the National Assembly (that two parties boycotted), and then a specially-constituted committee of ’Ulema (religious scholars). The formation and deliberations of the extra-parliamentary committee were strongly criticized by many.

Honour killings -2004
12th National Assembly (2002-2007)

2nd Parliamentary Year
Title: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2004
Co-movers: Ms. Mahnaz Rafi and Mr. M.P.Bhandara
Moved on:  30-07-2004
Report of the standing committee: 21-10-2004
Passed by the National Assembly on 26-10-04
Went on to become: Act I of 2005.

This bill amended the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to define karo kari or siyah kari [both terms for “honor” killings], and similar practices, as murder with penal punishments. It enhanced punishment on honor killings to death penalty or 25 years imprisonment. It also enhanced the rank of police officer that could investigate honor killings. The adviser to the PM on Women’s development worked on structuring this bill.

National Assembly: After debate was deferred several times, the government finally allowed the resolution to be moved in November 2003. On presenting the resolution both co-movers Ms, Mahnaz Rafi and MP Bhandara spoke on the bill. Since it hadn’t been formally put to the house it was neither rejected nor carried. The bill met with criticism in senate, as it was deemed deficient and incomplete.  The opposition walked out in protest on the third reading of the Bill. The senate wanted the draft to go to the upper house committee on law and justice, but despite these reservations the government forced the bill to pass. 

The alliance of Islamic parties (MMA) argued that these issues were raised to spoil national “family culture” and said “we should legislate according to our social and family norms.” After a lengthy debate, the five amendments proposed by MMA senators were rejected, while liberal opposition objections that the bill was “insufficient” were also ignored. The bill on prohibition of honor killings did not have provisions on Qisas [customary right of a murder victim’s closest living relative to retaliate] and compensation (these provisions were included in a previous private bill that was rejected).


Private member bill
Title: the Protection and Empowerment of Women bill, 2003,
Moved by: Sherry Rehman and others
Tabled on: 15-10-2003
Introduced on: 14-09-2004
Sent to the concerned standing committee: 14-09-2004
Standing Committee report on: 13-09-2005
Bill lapsed after the assembly’s term finished in 2007.

Sherry Rehman, member of National assembly PPPP had tabled the comprehensive Protection and Empowerment Act, 2003. The legislation aimed to repeal Hudood Ordinances and proposed prohibitions on domestic violence and honor killings. The bill was forcefully opposed by the alliance of Islamic parties (MMA), as well as by some champions of women’s rights such as advisor to the Prime Minister on Women’s Development (who cited technical drafting issues with the bill).



  1. Tanzeem-e-Islam
    Dr. Israr Ahmed founded the organization. Its website propagates through audios of Friday sermons and issuing of press releases based on these sermons. Amongst regular Islamic and current subjects, the sermons address issues like friendship with Jews and Christians being unfavorable, backing them with verses from the Quran. The website suggests that abolishing capital punishment is a foreign agenda to bring anti-Islamic legislation instead of implementing Islamic Shariah. Similarly, it argues that repealing of blasphemy laws is a conspiracy, and would be met with vigorous and defiant response as it undermines the bond that Muslims have with the messenger of Allah. However, the website denounces the 2014 burning of the Christian couple, and states that it is the duty of Islam to protect non-Muslims.

  2. Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam Pakistan
    Syed   Atta-ulah Shah Bokhari is currently heading this organization, which dates from 1929 to 2013. The organisation focuses on Khatm-e-Naboowat among other Islamic subjects. Their publications include magazines (Naqeeb-e-Khatmenaboowat) dating from 2002. Several articles on Qadiyani’s and Shia Imams are included. There are write-ups on: Conversion of 10 Qadiyani’s to Islam, and Blasphemous material on a Qadiyani website. It also offeres a Khatm-e-Naboowat course (long distance)

  3. Global Islamic Media Front This website is the “technical arm of the GIFM,” providing mobile and internet encryption services for Islamic movements. The site claims that this organization has spearheaded the media battle and spared no effort in supporting the Mujahideen. The introduction mentions the Imam and the master of the Mujahideen, Muhammad bin Abdullah (the best of all preachers and the leader of the resplendent). It goes on to explain the shortcomings of the media faced by the Ummah, which is an intentional plan to keep them from achieving the true renaissance in the Islamic Ummah. It calls the Jihadi media the principal arm for speaking for the Mujahideen and expressing themselves. It goes on to boast that Mujahideen have been victorious in the media war against the west. It is said that this organization is associated with jihadist groups including a-Qaeda. And that it is a port for dissemination of information and a distribution site for Mujahideen.

  4. Bab-ul-Islam
    This website is a forum, mostly in Urdu language, where visitors can leave comments. Most of the website consists of comments in support of worldwide and Pakistani Islamization, e.g. for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or giving stories about individuals leaving lucrative jobs to join militant groups, or with more detailed stories with captions such as “Disbelief is a united nation against Islam”. The comments almost all carry individual names. Authorship of the website is unclear, and at least four organizations are mentioned and promoted frequently: Bab-ul-Islam, Ansar-ullah [Friends of Allah], al-Furqan [the Criterion], and Millat-e-Islamia [the world of Islam]. The website organizers, possibly Bab-ul-Islam, also post Urdu headlines on the website such as "Is Pakistan’s constitution Islamic? Cause for concern to those who think that Pakistan is Islamic” and "Forming a Caliphate of Islam is the most important duty.” However, it is not yet clear how many editorial and visitor posts relate to women or minorities.
  5. Takmeel-e-Pakistan
    Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid calls his web page a battle station in war to defend Pakistan’s Islamic ideology, which is being threatened by the arch enemy India, western propagandists, and Zionist orders by spreading moral and religious anarchy. All journalists, analysts, media, diplomats, teachers and the political elite are corrupt. He says there is a conspiracy to break up Pakistan through a 4th generation war and replace it with the world order of the west. The site propagates a Khilafat-e-Rashida model for Pakistan. It includes a list of publications authored by Zaid Hamid for sale, and also allows access to his programs on TV channels.
  6. Al-Huda International Foundation
    The organization was founded in 1994, and its network now spreads all over Pakistan and abroad. It has a well-organized and detailed website, offering extensive information on Quran and Sunnah in the form of videos, audios, lectures and publications. It has a well-developed educational program both on campus and long distance, as well as a comprehensive social welfare program. Its founder, Ms. Farhat Hashmi, has been accused by other clerics of promoting incorrect ideologies under the name of Islam. She is said to follow the Salafi school of thought. Her audience in her reformist mission is said to be ‘rich and fashionable women’. She has been know to provide religious education and short courses to women and then allowed them to deliver lectures.
  7. Jamat-ud-Dawa
    Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (Let), now known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), led by Ameer Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, has been banned and is said to be one of the most organized militant organizations in South Asia. It has a huge following and organizes large gatherings for its followers. The website promotes philanthropist activities that JuD undertakes at a large scale through their Filahi Insaniyat Foundation. Their website focuses on current news with an open anti-India, Israel and US policy. The propagate their messages through videos of addresses to gatherings, Friday sermons and press conferences; all visuals can be accessed from the website. They have a well-organized social media programme, with a blog and two twitter accounts. The website notes other links where Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is invited on private channels and on state-owned PTV. The website blog has video recordings of speeches with comments from viewers, including detailed accusations of blasphemy.
  8. Hizb-ul-Tahrir
    According to the list released by the National Assembly of Pakistan (2012) Hizb-ul-Tahrir is a banned organization, and its website cannot be viewed in Pakistan. It’s an international Islamic organization, with a goal to unite all Muslim states under the banner of Islam and imposing Islamic caliphate.
  9. Ahle-Sunnat Network
    This is a Karachi based organization, also, with activities in Lahore, apparently headed by Allama Syed Shah Abdul Haq Qadri. The website includes Quran translations, publications, audios and videos of Friday sermons, apps for android phones and more. A question-&-answer page focuses on issues of women, such as purdah, whether cutting hair is permitted, and removal of facial hair in Islam.
  10. Blog: Sipah-e-Sahaba
    This organization has been banned for its militant activities. The organization blog expressly claims to be non-violent and non-aggressive, seeking a path of peaceful coexistence. However in the blog Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi directly calls Shias the worst and filthy of kafirs [Unbelievers].
  11. Facebook page: Jamat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat
    The organization represents the Hanafi/ Barelvi school of thought. The page generally covers their activities and conferences in Pakistan and outside. They claim to be the largest group of Muslims and the only one whose beliefs are in accordance to Quran and Sunnah. The website considers repealing of blasphemy laws to be unacceptable.
  12. Facebook page: Jaish-e-Mohammad
    The display picture on the page has a sword and the caption “Jihad will continue till Judgment Day”. The page has 440 followers, and focuses on anti-India and pro Kashmir, with many posts also mentioning Shia as kafirs [Unbelievers]. It also has a link to another Facebook page of the same organization: second page includes speeches of Maulana Masood Azhar against the West and India, as well as punishments for kufr and promotion of Jihad.
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