Exploitation via ‘Blasphemy’

Its like a friend of mine put it. You get up in the morning after a good night’s sleep well aware of the fact that it is finally Sunday. The day you can get away with being as lazy as you want. It is usually peaceful. No errands. No chores. Just a Sunday. You have a good breakfast, followed by morning coffee or tea. And then you pick up the newspaper and bam. There goes the good mood.

The Express Tribune had a news piece on its front page today (link in case you haven’t seen it is: http://tribune.com.pk/story/259907/girl-accused-of-blasphemy-for-a-spelling-error/#.Tn83GJc8oQJ.facebook) of a case where a 8th Grade Christian girl was expelled from school under ‘Blasphemy’ in Abbottabad. It didn’t end there as the overly emotional and irrational nation that we are took out rallies and local religious extremists pressurized the girl’s family move out from the city. The case was of a spelling mistake. The misplacement of a ‘dot’ or ‘nukta’ and the word in question was lanaat instead of naat. I can assure you having had a lot of trouble in getting good grades in Urdu during my school days that this is a mistake which could easily have been made. It is beyond me how anyone can turn such a mistake into a towering religious crisis. You make a spelling mistake, you get low marks for it. Not get beaten up by the teacher, expelled from the school and forced to leave town.

And this is not the only case. Such stories where people from minorities are exploited under the ‘Blasphemy’ law keep popping up in the news every now and then. Yet we don’t really see any action being taken. How can we endeavour to become a better nation or strive for progress when instead of constantly just conveniently focusing on our bad government, corrupt politicians and an incompetent administrative setup we do not also see that as a nation minus the authorities we are a long way off from being progressive? Are we blind to the fact that this is unjust? Are we blind to the fact that Islam was supposed to be a religion of peace and justice and not one where we have extremists who just grow beards the length of a foot and can claim themselves religious authorities? Are we blind to the fact that the majority of this nation is brainwashed into following these religious fundos who give fatwas left right and centre without following it up with any logical basis? And most of all are we blind to the fact that our Justice System is always conveniently not taking action against any of this? Pakistan was created as a secular nation. We are no where near that.

Our honourable (questionable) Chief Justice likes taking Suo Moto notices against NICL scams (great…), Karachi violence (great…) and other issues which are great for racking up popularity votes. First of all how much have these ‘Suo Moto’ notices helped? Have they actually gone on to get the issues resolved? I really don’t think they have. Why has the Chief Justice not taken Suo Moto notices on crimes against basic human rights which are being committed on a daily basis? Why was Qadri not convicted in the Salman Taseer murder case? He admitted to the crime. He handed himself over to the authorities. Its an open and shut case.

This is a huge problem for this nation. And it will continue to be. And it doesn’t merely lie as the responsibility of the Government and the administrative setup of Pakistan. It lies with the people of these communities, with us, with everyone living in this country to stand up against such intolerant and idiotic fundos and extremists. A country and nation which does not separate religion with governance and its ideology really cannot prosper or be progressive. Any country that has to move forward and in the right direction not only in this world but also in the hereafter has to learn to be a nation which is secular and clearly underlines the need to recognize the very basic rights of all human beings regardless of their religion or ethnic background. The same goes for individuals as well. Religion needs to be something that comes personally to everyone and not one which is forced onto people so that their lives can be peaceful and without threat. Islam wasn’t spread on the might of the sword. It was spread because of the qualities of our ancestors. Because of the qualities that Islam asks us to practice as human beings. The basic things that we need to live by. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) lived in a way which could serve as a guideline to us on being better human beings. Islam is a religion which in its very basic essence asks for two things: absolute faith in Allah. And Haqooq ul Ibad.

Unfortunately I don’t see that happening. In contrast I see our religion being maligned by such idiots who use it to exploit others to their benefit and whim and fancy.

Yes, I have written this while being extremely annoyed. And if you aren’t annoyed by the news piece that was published in the Express Tribune or the numerous other such stories which manage to make it to the media from time to time then either you are an extremely cool and patient person who doesn’t let anything get to them (which in question might make you a borderline robot) or you are mullah with a unruly beard which goes till your chest. (It might not physically be present but that’s who you are).


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