Blasphemy laws, mob justice and Pakistan politics

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blasphemy_laws

No doubt that the majority of the religious, political, non- political parties, fundamentalist groups and clerics prima facie condemn on media especially on television, attacks on minorities in the name of religion particularly on alleged blasphemy incidents inspired by blasphemy laws.  But the bitter truth is that some of them also provoke masses to protest strongly demanding exemplary punishment against the accused which ordinarily turn into violence and create law and order situation.

Meanwhile, the protesters go beyond the scope of the right of protest and take law in their hand to punish the alleged accused on the spot, which we normally called mob justice. Although our history carries a long list of these merciless incidents like Mishal khan case, Hindu girls abductions, Asia Bibi and Kot Radha Kishan cases.

The horrifying Kot Radha Kishan, where a christen couple (Husband and Wife) were burnt to death by a provoked mob on the allegations of blasphemy.

The tragedy, in this case, was that one of the victims was a pregnant woman and the killing of a pregnant woman is a gruesome and terrible crime itself. In recent times a well-known case of Asia bibi which was highlighted in international media too when a sitting governor of a province was murdered by his security guard because the governor was in favor of the release of accused lady. Even-though latterly the lady was acquitted by the apex court, now fled to the abroad to live a safe life with family.

In a couple of hours of pronouncement of acquittal judgment, we witnessed chaos in our streets and life business was paralyzed in major cities unless the government surrendered and reached to void ab initio agreement with the protesters. That time no one had dire to ask whether the protesters and their leaders are a more true believer then the Muslim learned judges of the apex court of a Muslim country or their vision and knowledge is higher than the members of the bench of the Honorable  Supreme Court. In the entire scenario of alleged blasphemy cases, the role of political and religious parties have not been up to the mark so far.

The political and religious parties always stood with the popular narrative to save vote bank and the skins of hoodlums who challenged the writ of the state fearlessly. It has been seen that these parties always use to put the entire responsibility and pressure on sitting governments to deal and settle the matter amicably and without any massacres or bloodshed and maintain law and order. While this situation every government prolongs the matter to reach the deal without any incident which may cause or damage the vote bank and the reality is that no elected government can afford any incident like model town 2014.

When we heard the mob cow lynching or any other misshaping news in India how we do feel sad about the Muslims living to cross the border but forget the fact that so often we treated the same with our minorities.

On very sad note that no political-religious party, religious clerics and speakers feeling itself moral and legal responsibility to ask their followers or audience that don’t take law in their hand when the law of capital punishment exists in full force and the courts are working so independently so let the courts work and sentenced the responsible after a due process. It is very unfortunate that we have never heard too to preach their henchmen that the spreading chaos and killing extrajudicial is as bad and prohibited in Islam as the blasphemy itself.

Others days every religious political party claims that they are the real guardian of the blasphemy laws and will do every possible if any attempt seen to amend or change in blasphemy laws. It is much pertinent to mention here that every alleged accused of blasphemy who killed or awarded capital punishment by mob or individual without any giving opportunity of the fair trial which is a fundamental right protected under the article 10 of the constitution, is innocent.

Naeem Khan Qaisrani
Practicing lawyer

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