Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Save My Father Hector Aleem (written by Mehwish Aleem)

At a time that the United Nations calls Switzerland's ban on new minarets "clearly discriminatory and deeply divisive,” and the whole world is condemning the swiss for their vote, I would like to bring to the attention of the world my plight.

My name is Mehwish Aleem and my father (Hector Aleem) is a human rights activist in Pakistan. He has been working as a human rights activist since 1996. He is running an NGO with the name of PEACE WORLDWIDE. Hector Aleem has worked for Christians and Muslims without prejudice. But today he is in jail and could be killed at any time.

My father was working for a church destroyed by CDA (capital development authority) in Islamabad Pakistan. The church was destroyed because according to CDA it was built illegally. The charge was false.

There are many mosques in Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan) that are built with no permit, but no one will dare to touch them. For example, there was a vacant lot near my house and a Maulvi (Muslim leader) started to build a mosque on it. The land belonged to an absentee owner. When the owner learned about it, he started to destroy the illegally built mosque on his property. Hundreds of Muslims rioted and threatened to kill the owner of the land. As the result he give up his land in order to save his life. The government did not intervene. Churches on the other hand are destroyed by the governments’ own agents.

When Hector Aleem objected to the destruction of the church he faced with several lawsuits ranging from fraud to criminal charges. He fought all of them in the courts and proved his innocence.

His opponents tried to assassinate him several times. The Maulvies threatened him that if he continues to work for the church they would kill him and his sons, and would force his dughters to convert to Islam.

During this time Hector Aleem received a Peace award by Mr. Yousaf Raza Gillani the prime minister of Pakistan. One month later, on 21st January, 2009 he was arrested by the police. They severely beat him and tortured him mentally and physically. After 24 hours of not knowing what were the charges, we were told that his offence is blasphemy, a charge that caries death penalty in Pakistan.

According to the first information report someone sent a blasphemous message to a leader of Sunni Tehreek (a Muslim extremist organization) and that sender had once contacted my father. So my father is guilty by association. Since they could not find the offender, they arrested my father.

Hector Aleem, is 51 years old and is a heart patient. He is not allowed to take his medication and is denied visitation. During his trial a large mob gathered in front of the court chanting slogans against him and threatened the judge that if he releases my father they will kill him themselves and they will destroy the court and will also kill the judge and the lawyer who defended my father. Under the mob’s pressure, the judge refused bail. The lawyer of the plaintiffs, who is a Maulvi, told the judge that if he releases my father, he (my father) will be killed as soon as he steps outside the court.

Then on 24 June 2009, chief justice of Pakistan Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudry granted my father bail, but the Maulvies lodged many other criminal cases against him so that he cannot come out.
Hector Aleem is still in jail. It is one year since his capture. The police are in cahoots with the Maulvies. Once two policemen went to my father’s cell and told him that even if he is granted a bail they will not let a blasphemer out. They will lodge so many cases against him that he will not be able to bear them. Soon after that they proceeded to lodge more charges against my father. They used to take him to the police station every fifteen days, where they beat him and torture him in front of the Maulvies and the Taliban.

I am begging for help. I plead to all those who champion the right of Muslims to build more minarets to also care about the minorities in Islamic countries. We are fighting for our lives. Are Muslim minarets more important than our lives of non-Muslims?

Please sign my petition. Please write to the Pakistani authorities listed bellow and ask them to release my father Hector Aleem as soon as possible. He is not guilty of any crime and the accusations of blasphemy that are made against him are false. They want to destroy him because he objected to the destruction of a church.

Today, all our family is in hiding. All of us have received death threats. My siblings and I have left our studies and hide for our safety. There is no future for us in our country. If my father is released he will be killed by the mob. We need to get out of Pakistan. Please help us if you can. We don’t know where to turn and whom to ask for help.

There is so much hoo-ha about the ban of minarets in Switzerland, but will anyone hear our cry?

Please make our cry reach to the ears of those who care more for human life than building minarets. We have done nothing wrong. Our only crime is to be Christians in an Islamic country.

Please contact these authorities and tell them to release my father. They know Hector Aleem is innocent, they are afraid of the mob. Your concern will give them the excuse to act.

Please also sign this petition

Please digg this article so it can be read by more people. The more people know about it and write to the Pakistani authorities, the more are the chances that my father is set free.
Thanks you for your concern.

Some of these addresses have emails; others have fax and phone numbers. Please contact them all and save our lives.

Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan

Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani Prime minister of Pakistan Prime Minister House, Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: + 92 51 9221596 E-mail: webmaster@infopak.gov.pk

Supreme Court of PakistanConstitution Avenue, IslamabadTelephone: 051-9220581-9220600 Fax: 051-9213452

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chairman@ppp.org.pk
Federal Minister of Law Justice and Human Rights S Block, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: +92 51 920 2628 E-mail: minister@molaw.gov.pk
Mr. Rehman Malik Advisor for Ministry of Interior Room No. 404, 4th Floor, R Block, Pak Secretariat Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: +92 51 920 2624 Tel: +92 51 921 2026 E-mail: minister@interior.gov.pk
Mr. Mian Shahbaz Sharif Chief Minister of Punjab H-180 Model Town, Lahore PAKISTAN Fax: +92 42 5881383
Minister of Law Government of Punjab Punjab Secretariat Ravi Road Lahore PAKISTAN E-mail: law@punjab.gov.pk
Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab Punjab Secretariat Lahore PAKISTAN Fax: +92 42 7324489 E-mail: chiefsecy@punjab.gov.pk
Dr. Faqir Hussain Registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan Constitution Avenue, Islamabad PAKISTAN Fax: + 92 51 9213452 E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

Mr. Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi Minister for Religious Affairs Islamabad PAKISTAN Tel: +92 51 9214856 / 9206982 Fax: +92 51 9213593 E-mail: mra.hajj@gmail.com

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