LAHORE - The Citizens for Democracy (CFD), an umbrella group of political parties, trade unions, professional organisations, NGOs and individuals, has strongly condemned the 'cold-blooded and cowardly' murder of Salmaan Taseer. In a press statement issued here on Friday, the rights group said they strongly condemn those who were glorifying the assassin, who shot an unarmed man from behind.
"The unarmed Punjab Governor was shot in the back in the most cowardly manner by one of his own bodyguards on January 4th, 2011, after a concerted campaign that falsely accused him of having been disrespectful to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). Unfortunately the whole campaign was conducted through the media and mosques", it added.
The group said that the questions arising from the assassination indicate 'the rise of retrogressive forces' in Pakistan that have made inroads into the 'establishment' over the past couple of decades.
It showed concern over the fact that the assassin, Malik Hussain Qadri, was assigned to the elite force to guard Punjab governor even though he (Qadri) had earlier been removed from the Special Branch because he was perceived as a 'security threat'. It welcomed the arrest of a cleric who had offered a reward for Taseer's murder but demanded arresting those who were offering reward for killing Aasia Bibi.
"There is no solid proof of blasphemy against Taseer. Even in Aasia Bibi's case, her sentence has to be confirmed by the High Court and then by the Supreme Court before she can be considered guilty and executed", it added.
CFD was formed at a meeting convened by Professional Organisations Mazdoor Federations & Hari Joint Committee (POJAC) on Dec 19, 2010 in Karachi. POJAC member organisations include:
Sindh High Court Bar Association, Pakistan Medical Association, All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation, Mutahida Labour Federation, Karachi Union of Journalists, Pakistan Workers Federation, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, All Pakistan Clerk Association, Democratic Labour Union State Bank of Pakistan, UBL Workmen Union (CBA), National Bank Trade Union Federation, Karachi Bar Association, Pakistan Nursing Federation, National Trade Union Federation, Sindh Hari Committee, Gov. Sec. Teachers Association, Pakistan Hotel And Restaurant Workers Federation, Mehran Mazdoor Federation, All Sindh Primary Teachers Association, Sindh Professor Lecturer Association, Malir Bar Association, Karachi, Pakistan Trade Union Federation, Railway Workers Union Open Line (CBA) Workshop, Mehran Railway Employees Welfare Association and All Pakistan Trade Unions Organisations.
In addition to POJAC, CFD members include: Awami Party, Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), Progressive Youth Front, Communist Party Pakistan (CPP), Peace and Solidarity Council, Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education & Research (Piler), Action Committee for Human Rights, Dalit Front, Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP), 10. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Caritas, Aurat Foundation, Women's Action Forum (WAF), People's Resistance, Sindh Awami Sangat, National Organisation of Working Committees, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Child and Labour Rights Welfare Organisation, Progressive Writers Association (PWA), Port Workers Federation, Shirkat Gah, and Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC).