Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Pakistan lawyers charged en masse with blasphemy
Total of 68 charged over their support for fellow lawyer
- ucanews.com reporter, Jhang
- May 13, 2014
Police in the Jhang district of Punjab province opened a blasphemy case on Sunday against 68 lawyers after they staged a protest last week against a police officer.
The police complaint stated that the protesting lawyers had insulted Caliph Umar bin Khattab – according to Islamic history, a close companion of the Prophet Mohammed – while they were demonstrating outside a district police station.
The protesters were demanding the sacking of Station House Officer Umar Daraz, for illegally detaining and beating one of their colleagues.
Daraz shares the same name as the respected Caliph, and the complainant's case asserts that the protesters used derogatory language against the Caliph himself.
In response, the District Bar Assocation has announced a three-day strike.
“Our protest will continue unless the blasphemy case is withdrawn,” Akhtar Khan Baloch, general secretary of the bar association, told ucanews.com, adding that the allegations were baseless and fabricated.
Another lawyer told ucanews.com that some of the protesters are Shia Muslims and the complainant, Arshad Mahmood, is a member of the anti-Shia group Sipah Sahaba Pakistan, so the blasphemy charges are vindictive and aimed solely at harming Shias.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, where mere allegations can trigger riots. Last week, human rights activist Rashid Rehman was shot dead in his office for defending a man accused of blasphemy in Multan.
A former Punjab governor, Salman Taseer, and Catholic National Assembly minister Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated for speaking out against the blasphemy law.