The CPPC Stands With Wet’suwet’en

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, and denounces the invasion of Wet’suwet’en lands by the RCMP and Canada’s colonial state apparatus on behalf of transnational corporation Coastal GasLink.

Coastal GasLink/TC Energy is trying to force a 670 km fracked gas pipeline that would carry fracked gas from Dawson Creek, B.C. to the coastal town of Kitimat, where LNG Canada’s processing plant would be located. This is the single largest private investment in Canadian history. The LNG Canada export terminal and Coastal Gaslink Supply pipeline would dramatically increase greenhouse gas emissions from Canada, further adding to climate change. The hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have not consented to this project and we stand with them and other indigenous people against this colonial project.

As Pakistani immigrants and settlers on this land, we recognize that the same colonialism that ravaged our places of origin continues to invade and destroy indigenous territories and people in this part of the world. We share a vision of the future where indigenous sovereignty all over Turtle Island is protected, and where climate change is dealt with in humane and sustainable ways.

The CPPC demands that the Canadian government stop the use of state violence in support of the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project through unceded and ancestral territories.

We ask that Pakistani Canadians, supporters, and community members speak up, stand up, and participate in solidarity actions with the Wet’suwet’en people, or organize their own actions in accordance with the call from the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

Aasia Bibi arrives in Canada – a bitter-sweet day

Aasia Bibi arrives in Canada – a bitter-sweet day.
(Statement by the Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians)

The good news for Aasia (Noreen) Bibi, is that she will, hopefully, live a life free of the always-present possibility of injury, or worse, that she faced in Pakistan. But, it’s sad is that she was forced to leave her home-land because of the prejudice, discrimination and violence that she faced if she had continued to live there.

Upon Ms. Noreen’s acquittal by the Supreme Court of blasphemy charges in October of 2018, there were huge demonstrations by fundamentalists protesting the SC judgment, and calling for her murder. Given that her life was in danger, the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau in early November asking that she and her family be given asylum in Canada. We also circulated a public petition to the same effect at that time. Having said that, we do not take any credit for the asylum given to her – the decision was made at much higher levels – and thank the government for taking this step.

Since our inception in the early 1980’s, the CPPC has stood for secularism, equality of all regardless of gender, religious beliefs, nationality or ethnicity, for peace and against militarism and wars, for genuine democracy and for social justice and socialism.

To reiterate our views on this particular matter we want the government of Pakistan to i) generously compensate Aasia Noreen and her family for the agonies they have suffered and ii) severely punish the women who brought the false charges against her, Qari Mohammad Salim, the local mulla who turned a personal dispute into a matter of blasphemy, and the Punjab High Court judge who convicted her to death on flimsy grounds. Fundamentalist/terrorist organizations must be strictly banned, as must be any propaganda against religious minorities in the mainstream or the social media.

Pakistan should get rid of the ‘Blasphemy Laws’; the approximately 1,400 people who are in jails for blasphemy should be released forthwith. Over sixty people have been extra-judiciously murder on the same accusation. The government should compensate their families and punish their killers.

Pakistan should become a secular country where religion and state are separate. If nothing else, the examples of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan (at least since General Zia-ul Haq), Afghanistan under the Mujahideen/Taliban and Iran since Khomeini make this clear. People should have the freedom of religious belief – as long as it is not socially injurious. There should also be freedom not to believe.

The efforts to weaken secularism and growing prejudice against Muslims and immigrants in the west, including Canada, by right-wing forces must be combatted.

Religion is used by ruling elites to divide people. We must reject divisiveness and strive for unity of all.

CPPC Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding asylum for Aasia Bibi

The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau,
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister,

As you are no doubt aware, Aasia Noreen, better known as Aasia Bibi, a woman from the minority Christian community in Pakistan, and a mother of five, was imprisoned for almost ten years, eight of them on death row, on false charges of ‘blasphemy’ (roughly translated as sacrilege).

Almost 1,400 people are in jail under the ‘Blasphemy Laws’, imposed on Pakistan by the brutal,
fundamentalist military dictator General Zia ul Haq. Sixty-two have been killed in cold blood for
this ‘crime’ even before their cases could be heard by the courts.

On October 31, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Aasia Bibi of all charges and ordered her release from jail. However, her life is in grave danger at the hands of fundamentalist extremists who have threatened to kill her. It is most unfortunate, but the government of Pakistan might not be able to guarantee their security.

Aasia Bibi, and her family, have already suffered grievously. There is the great likelihood that they might suffer an even more violent and tragic fate. That is why the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians requests that your government urgently grant Aasia Bibi and her whole family asylum in Canada.

Thank you.

Omar Latif
Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians

cc: Minister of Immigration: Ahmed.Hussen@

Islamophobia in the Age of Trump
Creating a Counter-Narrative

With the rise of xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments, policies, and discourse since Trump’s win in the States, and also within Canada, it is important
as community organizations for us to challenge this bigoted discourse.

Guided by our two co-facilitators, we are hoping to:
a) Name the anti-immigrant policies and discuss briefly their impact on our communities,
b) Discuss the failure of Trump in his attempts to implement these policies (whether it is the decision of the judicial system or the opposition from State governments) AND MAINLY,
c) Provide language to challenge these systems.

Alia Hogben is the Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. In 2012, Hogben became the second Canadian Muslim woman to be awarded the Order of Canada for her work in the area of women’s rights.

Syed Hussan is a researcher, writer and campaigner based in Toronto. He organizes as part of and alongside migrant and undocumented communities, including those targeted by the national security state. He is a co-creator, with Aliya Pabani, of the project.

You must get tickets to attend the event.

Film Screening: Among the Believers

Bocumentary, colour, 95 min, English subtitles.

In its verdict of March 9, the Islamabad High Court made it mandatory for all applicants to the army and the civil to declare their ‘true faith’, failure to do which could make one ‘guilty of betraying the state’ and ‘exploiting the Constitution’.

Fundamentalist ideology and violence that has been devastating for Pakistan, especially its religious minorities.

This ideology and these actions, are those of a small minority of people and have nothing to do with the beliefs and practices of the overwhelming majority of the Muslim masses.

‘Among the Believers’, featuring the renowned nuclear physicist and mathematician, and courageous human rights activist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, focuses on the chilling message of the radical cleric Abdul Aziz of the Lal Masjid of Islamabad who is known for his support of Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Documentary followed by discussion on the origins and impact of fundamentalism in Pakistan and what we can do to help combat it.

All welcome. Free admission; voluntary donations appreciated.

VAUGHAN: Saturday, March 17, 2 pm,
Civic Centre Library, 2191 Major Mackenzie Drive

AJAX: Saturday, March 31, 1.30 pm
St. Francis Centre, 78 Church Street

TORONTO: Wednesday, April 11, 7 pm
Palmerston Library, 560 Palmerston Ave, (Bathurst & Bloor)

MISSISSAUGA: Sunday, April 15, 2 pm.
Burnhamthorpe Library, 3650 Dixie Road

NORTH YORK: Sunday, April 15, 2 pm
Noor Cultural Centre, 123 Wynford Drive

Hassan Nawaz Gardezi (Jan 8, 1911 – April 19, 2017)

Hassan Nawaz Gardezi
Jan 8, 1933 – April 19, 2017

It is with extreme sorrow that the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians announces the death of Dr. Hassan Nawaz Gardezi, one of the founding members of the CPPC, a lifelong and a tireless activist against imperialism and wars and for equality of all, justice, peace, secularism and socialism.

From the Algoma University website:

Hassan Nawaz Gardezi is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Algoma University College. He began teaching at Algoma University College,Sault Ste Marie, Ontario in 1970. He began his academic career as a lecturer and head of the Department of Sociology at Punjab University.

He moved to North America in the late 1960s. He has written on issues relating to the political economy of Pakistan and South Asia and has been a member of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars (BCAS) editorial board since 1978.

Gardezi also played a key role in creating the Pakistan Philosophical Congress (PPC), the Pakistan Sociological Association (PSA), and the Pakistan Psychological Association (PPA).

Representative publications include: “The South Asian Bomb: reality and Illusion” (1999), “The Political Economy of International Labour Migration” (1995), “Understanding Pakistan: the colonial factor in societal development” (1991), Pakistan: the unstable state (1983), “Sociology in Pakistan” (1966).

Faiz Day 2016


The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians celebrates Faiz Day on November 21st to pay homage to the revolutionary Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, The program includes recitals, audio & video clippings and singing of his revolutionary and love poetry. For tickets, please contact Mr. Abbas Syed at 647-524-1891.

21 November, 2015 at 06:30 p.m.
Burnhamthorpe Community Centre,
1500 Gulledin Drive, Mississauga
(Burnhamthorpe Road East & Dixie Road)
Eventbrite - CPPC Faiz Day 2016