Abusive Tweets

On tweeting about recent peace talks between Afghan Taliban and Afghan Govt. Raza Rumi encountered some abusive tweets, these also included the responses he got after questioning about the Tableeghi Jamaat questioning his religious integrity.

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Why Pakistan is the most dangerous country for journalists

Published in Daily O

By Sheharyar Rizwan

March 29th 2015

The country is still as unsafe as it was a year ago, when Raza Rumi was attacked.

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It was on this day exactly a year ago that our colleague and friend Raza Rumi luckily escaped a brazen murder attempt on his life. While Raza received only minor injuries, his young driver lost his life, for no fault of his. Raza’s car was sprayed with bullets by six men from a close distance as he was on his way home after recording a show that he anchored on Express News. A few months later, six “target killers” allegedly belonging to the anti-Shia Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) were arrested.

Supposedly they had claimed responsibility for the killing of popular Shia leaders as well as the attack on Raza for his anti-LeJ and anti-Taliban views.

Raza was and remains a liberal and outspoken voice on politics, society, culture, militancy, human rights and persecution of religious minorities. Maybe this was the reason those disagreeing with his views wanted him to go silent. Raza is thankfully alive, but has anything changed even though a year has passed since the attack? Continue reading

Pakistani Journalist and Blogger Remains in Exile, One Year After Violent Attack

Published in Global Voices

March, 28th 2015
By Annie Zaman

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March 28 marks the first anniversary of the attack on Pakistani blogger and prominent political commentator Raza Rumi. Once a contributor to Global Voices, Rumi was added to the Taliban’s hit list after he opposed government peace talks with the militant group in 2014. His moderate views also have been misinterpreted by some as anti-Islamic. When two gunmen opened fire on Rumi’s car at a market in Lahore, his 25-year-old driver and confidant was killed. Rumi departed for the US shortly thereafter, at the urgings of family and friends.

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A year after Raza Rumi attack, little change for Pakistan’s beleaguered press

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Raza Rumi, pictured in Washington, D.C. in March at a rally for a murdered Bangladeshi blogger, has been living in the U.S. since gunman attacked him last year. (Raza Rumi)

One year ago Raza Rumi, a TV anchor and widely-respected analyst in Pakistan, narrowly escaped death when gunmen opened fire on his car in an attack that killed his driver, Mustafa. When I wrote about the March 28 attack, the fourth on the Express Group in eight months that had left four people dead, I highlighted the lack of a police investigation.

I went on to repeat a recommendation the Committee to Protect Journalists has made many times:

First and foremost, Friday’s attack on Rumi and his driver were crimes: murder and attempted murder. They must be investigated as such. It does not require a special commission, as came after the killing of Saleem Shazhad in 2011, or Hayatullah Khan in 2006, or after the sadistic attack on Umar Cheema in 2010. Practice has shown that those commissions achieve little or nothing, and the perpetrators go unprosecuted.

It’s not like the government took my advice, but there was no special commission named to look into the attack on Rumi and his driver. The police did investigate and there has been some movement, but little conclusive. In the past week, Rumi and I have been communicating about last year’s events. He moved to the U.S. soon after the attack, stringing together fellowships and think tank appointments, writing for papers in Pakistan and online, but no longer hosting his TV show. He filled me in on the status of the case:

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Social Media Harassment

Compilation of social media harassment by different accounts.

You (Raza Rumi) should learn Islam as you know nothing of it and you are trying to give lessons of humanity to us. Pig with the nature of pimp!

I have offered you to debate on Islam, come and debate and you will be humiliated whenever you will talk against Islam.

Curse on the Taliban and the dogs who support them also curse on the dogs of Ahmadis who bark, curse on them a thousand time. Is it all right now?

If the Gun is ours the target will never be missed.

If there is very less use of dog killer guns in Army then why is Raza Rumi barking this much?

Pakistan: giustizia e protezione per Raza Rumi!

Published in Amnesty International

Date: 23 February 2015

Data di pubblicazione dell’appello: 23.02.2015 Status dell’appello: aperto

Campagna “Individui a rischio”

Raza Rumi ©Raza Rumi
Raza Rumi ©Raza Rumi

Mi è stato detto che il mio nome era tra i bersagli dei talebani, ma ho pensato fosse solo una tattica per spaventare i giornalisti come me perché non parlassero della situazione nel mio paese. Mi sbagliavo? ” Raza Rumi, giornalista

Il 28 marzo 2014, Raza Rumi, giornalista e difensore dei diritti umani, è scampato alla morte. Stava tornando a casa dal lavoro, a Lahore, quando la sua auto è stato ricoperta di proiettili. Rumi ha subito ferite non gravi. La sua guardia del corpo, Anwar Hussain, invece è stato gravemente subito ferito ed è rimasto paralizzato. Il suo autista, Mohammad Mustafa, è stato ucciso.

Secondo i funzionari della sicurezza almeno sei uomini sono stati coinvolti nel suo tentato omicidio. La polizia gli ha consigliato di lasciare la propria casa e di restare al chiuso, non potendo garantire la sua sicurezza nelle strade di Lahore. Il 18 aprile del  2014,  la polizia del Punjab gli ha comunicato di avere arrestato sei uomini legati al suo tentato omicidio ed ad altri omicidi a Lahore. La polizia ha sostenuto che gli uomini appartengono a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, un gruppo armato settario fuori legge che ha rivendicato la responsabilità di centinaia di omicidi in tutto il Pakistan. La polizia ha inoltre affermato che gli uomini hanno confessato di aver ricevuto istruzioni da Malik Ishaq, uno dei leader del gruppo. Un uomo che è stato più di dieci anni in carcere con l’accusa di omicidio e terrorismo.

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Winning hearts

Feb 15 2015

The Friday Times

Fahmida Riaz

At the sixth Karachi Literature Festival, Fahmida Riaz received a prize on behalf of a friend with a heavy heart
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It was a pleasure and a privilege for me to have received one of the KLF Peace Prizes on behalf of dear friend Raza Rumi, for his book, ‘Delhi  By Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller’. This is a book that I know rather well. I saw it being written and when I read its drafts I realized that a younger writer was continuing the struggle to shed stereotypes about the ‘enemy’ India and highlight the common civilization that we share. I told the audience that the book is about our shared heritage and history with India written by a Pakistani with profound insight and that each chapter deserves a separate prize.

As a poet and writer I found his book merging sensibilities of Urdu literature with the English language. How Delhi’s past – that is our past too – has influenced and shaped our language, culture, habits, poetry and mystic beliefs. Very few people of the younger generation actually make that effort.

Talking about our shared heritage with India and a common past is also a crime, as Pakistan has desperately tried to invent a new history for itself, and today younger generations only know that. At the same time Pakistan’s efforts at recreating history have been outdone by Hindutva ideologues who are mutilating history beyond recognition. This is why Raza’s book is so important. It challenges official doctrines and also presents the social and cultural history of Muslims in the subcontinent.

I received the prize with a heavy heart, almost a deep, haunting grief. I was in India when extremists tried to kill Raza and sprayed his car with bullets in March 2014. His driver succumbed to the wounds in the car and this peace advocate, in blood stained clothes, tried to stop the speeding cars on that busy road so that the driver could be taken to the hospital in time. After a few weeks, feeling insecure, Raza left the country because he was not prepared to get another driver or guard killed for his sake. Having lived in exile myself I know exactly how it feels to be forced to stay away from your own people and the land you love.

After five years of engagement, he was absent and this was a void we all felt

Raza Rumi has been an active part of every KLF, bringing life and a certain sparkle to every event where he spoke or moderated. After five years of engagement, he was absent and this was a void that many of us felt. Raza was so dependable that in the literary circles of Lahore, he had come to be closely associated with Karachi! He could not come but I am glad that he is safe and alive.

The jury obviously noted that the worthy son of our homeland, who risked his life for human rights, always wrote and spoke for peace. And peace not just against the internal enemies of Pakistani people -the extremists – but for peace with a neighbouring country that has a symbiotic relationship with us.

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Raza had asked me to thank the jury, the sponsors, OUP especially Ameena Saiyid, Harper Collins, his family and friends on that occasion. Even though he has been banished from the country, I was happy that his efforts were recognized at KLF.

Despite the violence he faced, I am sure Raza will continue to advocate for a tolerant Pakistan at peace with itself and abroad.

(At KLF peace prizes were awarded to Ziauddin Sardar for his book “Mecca”, Ali U Qasmi for his book “Ahmedis and the politics of religious exclusion in Pakistan”; Moonis Ahmer for  “Conflict management and the vision of secularism in Pakistan” and Raza Rumi for “Delhi by Heart”).

 

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