Misuse of Blasphemy laws and Religious exploitation

FIA submitted a report in Islamabad High Court that it was unable to find any evidence of blasphemy being committed by the bloggers who were alleged to have committed this crime.

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These bloggers, Waqas Goraya, Salman Haider, Asim Saeed, and Ahmed Raza Naseer were abducted earlier this year. Initially it was being treated as another case of forced disappearance. Their families and civil society protested against their disappearance and demanded immediate release.

Initially all the agencies denied having them in custody.

However, the matter aggravated when blasphemy allegations were botched up against them and they were accused of posting blasphemous content.

These allegations were brewed up to justify the forced disappearance Pakistan which is unfortunately a common practice and a gross human rights violation.

Some T.V. anchors started inciting hate by willfully starting a venomous campaign against them.

Social media platform were used to spread this propaganda against them. They were accused of posting blasphemous content on social media. Subsequently, public anger against the bloggers increased and they were lambasted and cursed on social media.

Fake social media pages suddenly appeared with blasphemous content and these people were accused for running those pages too.

However, one by one, all the bloggers returned home. Some of them left the country as the situation inside it became too dangerous for them and their families to live in.

Now, the question that persists after every false claim of desecration is that why we’re so careless while alleging someone of blasphemy?

The finality of Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) is a sacrosanct belief for Muslims and the base of one’s Iman lies on him being a firm believer of this finality.

It’s a very sensitive issue for Muslims as they can’t tolerate a word of desecration against Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H). Punishments have been laid out in the constitution against those who commit blasphemy and are accused of such acts done knowingly to aggravate hate and Incite violence or to bring harm to someone’s belief system.

But, what about those who misuse these laws?

It is a rife practice in our country to allege someone for blasphemy because it ignites people sentiments against that individual as the issue holds severe importance for many. It’ll also put pressure on law enforcers and lawmakers to absolve that individual because of public duress.

These laws were introduced by a military dictator who used religion to strengthen his rule and the repercussions of which the country is stall facing.

These laws are now blatantly and shamefully used by religious clerics, hate mongers and even T.V anchors to silent the dissident voices and critics.

This game is often fueled by the state to curb censure.

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Despite being privy of the danger it puts people in, we’re engaged in this accusation game. Salman Taseer lost his live when someone took the law in his hand to punish a blasphemer.

A minority minister was also gunned down after being accused.

Mashal Khan was brutally lynched earlier this year. He was accused f blasphemy and said that he made derogatory remarks about Islam. But, who tried to ascertain truth before lynching him to death?

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People are brutally lynched to death and whole colonies are burned to ground just because an Imam who has a monopoly accuses an individual of blaspheming. Truth or lie; who cares?

These laws should be revised taking into consideration the religious and social implications of the matter. The matter should be taken up with utmost seriousness at the Parliamentary level.

People should be made to believe that if someone has committed blasphemy, the law will definitely punish him so that they abstain from mob violence and street justice.

Only the state should be allowed to punish not any organization or individual.

Also a robust punishment should be outlined for those who use this as a game or a tool to quash personal beefs and falsely accuse someone putting their life in peril.

Persecution of minorities under the umbrella of this law should be stopped. This can only be done by keeping a check on incitement of hate by local imams.

Keeping in mind the sentiments of people attached with this issue, no one should be allowed to play with these beliefs to propagate a dirty game and those who do this should be punished under the law.

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We also need to stop eulogizing and admiring those who commit crimes in the garb of this holy sentiment. A murder cannot be justified done under what so ever circumstances.

We as a nation should be more considerate and open to debate. The onus is on us to create understanding, acceptability, tolerance and harmony in the society. One shouldn’t be so stringent in their  beliefs that they head out of their homes trying to deliver justice by the tip of their swords making Pakistan seem like the wild west . Otherwise, if we let these hate mongers to deceive us and play with our beliefs, this country will soon be engulfed in a crisis that none of us will be able to upend.

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