Thursday, November 8, 2012

Well-known Pakistani editor in hiding as he 'fears for his life'

He had been standing against the country's controversial blasphemy laws

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- According to a Lahore-based Christian rights activist, Zakaria Khan, a well-known Pakistani journalist, Muhammad Kamran, who has been facing blasphemy charges "is in a very possible danger of extra judicial killing by the extremists, and has gone into hiding to save his life."
Muhammad Kamran with his family,
all of who are now in hiding
Mr. Khan told the ASSIST News Service ( that Muhammad Kamran holds the office of Editor In Chief of the daily Merit News, Lahore.
"He is one of the most vibrant and tolerant journalists in the country," said Khan. "For a long time, he has been working for the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan and he has made several appeals to repeal the ruthless Islamic blasphemy laws which are being misused against them."
He went on to say, "Muslim religious extremist put Muhammad Kamran on their hit list because of his bold stance on the Islamic blasphemy laws and have already made several attempts on his life.
"A Muslim fundamentalist. recently accused him of criticizing the Islamic blasphemy laws."
Mr. Khan added that this man had recently approached a local Lahore Mufti and got a formal Fatwa [an opinion handed down by an Islamic scholar about some aspect of Islamic law) issued against the editor on October 13, 2012.
"After the issuance of this Fatwa, the situation turned even more dangerous for Muhammad Kamran; he received multiple threats from the fanatic activist and as he sensed his life liberty and physical wellbeing is in danger and he immediately abandoned his home and went into hiding along with the members of his family," stated Mr. Khan.
Christian activist Zakaria Khan
"It is notable that no serious step has been taken by the government to provide security and protection to this fine journalist, and his family."
He then said, "Please highlight the situation of Muhammad Kamran to raise the voice of international community against this inhuman treatment."
Zakaria Khan was born on Feb.1, 1956 in Rahimyar Khan in Southern Punjab and he says that he belongs to a middle class Christian family. He holds a MBA degree with a major in human resource management and states that he has been "fighting for the rights of religious minorities" in this Muslim majority country.
He concluded by saying, "This critical situation being faced by religious minorities in Pakistan is a source of grave concern for me. I have been raising a voice against the state's regressive laws and discriminatory policies which have isolated them from the existing system of protection and integration. These people are living at the receiving end they are struggling in the jaws of poverty, facing discrimination, exclusion and vulnerability to multiple threats across the country."

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