Roshni (https://www.facebook.com/roshnipkdotcom) is Pakistan's most populat progressive Urdu portal with no affiliation to any political party or religious organisation. It is an effort of concerned citizens of Pakistan aimed at promoting alternative opinions, tolerance, diversity, harmony and is a leading voice against extremism and oppression of minorities.
Within a period of one year, Roshni's online membership or fan base has crossed 32,000. The page reaches more than 400,000 people every week – transmitting a progressive, liberal message to far reaches of Pakistan on issues related to society, politics, religion, history, culture, current affairs, news and more.
Everyone is entitled to the fundamental human right to freedom of thought, conscience and speech. Pakistan has a long history of suppressing dissenting voices whether they be political, religious or any issues. There has never been a better time in a country facing bloodbath due to extremism, to promote alternative opinions and progressive liberal ideas. That is precisely what Roshni has been doing, that too in the language which masses understand – the simple use of Urdu language.
Article 19 of UNDHR states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
Blocking of Roshni Facebook page without a notice by PTA is a breach of article 18 and 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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Roshni FB Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/roshnipkdotcom
Pakistan: Why Did Gov Block Access to Popular Portal Roshni, Dedicated to Secularism and Human Rights
By: Josh Shahryar
Source: API Rights
Three years ago, a young Pakistani living abroad came up with an idea. Along with other independent activists and citizens he decided to make a portal and Facebook page about secularism and human rights in Pakistan. Their aims were simple: create a space to promote independent opinions on all subjects including politics, current affairs, history, society, culture, religion and science.
Their efforts came to fruition with the launch of Roshni – meaning light in Urdu, Pakistan’s national language – and it took off almost immediately, generating massive readership and thousands of comments and shares on social media. Their message of secularism and human rights for all resonated with a large audience that started to develop into a dedicated following.
But beneath their success lay a deep resentment from forces opposed to a secular Pakistan.
They started receiving daily abuse and threats from extremists. One message sent by a user Mohsin Raza Khan in romanized Urdu states, “O m***********, Go to hell. You are going to hell anyway, why are you dragging others you damned bastard m*********** son of a rapist”
Another from Avaiz Alam is more dangerous. Again in romanized Urdu it starts with, “Uncle, we don’t curse we take the life of people who speak against our religion.” [emphasis mine]
This is just a sampling of tens of messages sent to me by the founder.
According to him, they’ve so far received thousands of such messages that go from insult to threats on their life – dozens come daily. Things, however, went beyond that. Many Facebook pages were created to malign their reputation and denounce their work to make users stop reading Roshni.
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