CA-15 and puppets

Entertainers, intellectuals and liberals in Pakistan are being squeezed. They were already a threatened species, thanks to the policies of successive governments which have resulted in the rise of the religious right. But, the ill-conceived and ill-timed introduction by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the 15th Constitutional Amendment (CA 15) has triggered off fears that such people may actually become extinct — a worst-case scenario that is not as unlikely as it once seemed. After all, neighbouring Afghanistan too once harboured educated, liberal thinking individuals. Those who are left there now dare not reveal their true colours, others have Bed the country or been killed.

Opposition to the amendment has been projected by the government and the country´s right-wing forces as heresy. Religious zealots have gone as far as to urge their supporters to kill those who oppose it. One of them has even asked his followers to launch a crusade against journalists, whom he describes as kafir (infidels). "They are ridiculing the enforcement of Shariah. Kill them wherever you see them," he told a Peshawar congregation in October.

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Himal Southasian