Blasphemy law and minorities

Published: August 28, 2012

RAWALPINDI: The incident involving an 11-year-old Christian girl being accused of blasphemy has deeply hurt the sentiments of Pakistan’s Christian community. The increasing number of incidents of terrorism, indiscriminate killings all over the country, misuse of the blasphemy law and the increasing violence against minority communities indicates the alarming times Pakistan and its people are going through. The blasphemy law has been misused over the years and caused insecurity and fear among the weakest sections of the Pakistani population. The growing persecution and violence against minorities shows that the government has failed to provide protection and security to them.

The laws of the land can only be considered good if they protect the life and property of its citizens. It is no more a hidden fact that the blasphemy law has been gravely misused and employed as a tool to unfairly target non-Muslim citizens. The government must take stern action against elements that are hell-bent on usurping the government’s writ and the democratic set-up. They are a threat to the nation and to Pakistan’s very existence. It is the responsibility of a democratic government to ensure basic human rights, freedom of opinion and religious liberty to all citizens.

The Government of Pakistan must form a committee to review all discriminatory laws and if it has no power to amend or repeal them, then it must, at least, stop the misuse of laws that negate basic human rights.

Salma Peter John

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2012.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Aug 29, 2012 - 8:26AM

    Salma you have a nice name. But, why have you, or rather you parents, chosen the name Salma? I am curious.

    If I were to garner a guess it is to escape the daily persecution meted out to non-Muslims in Pakistan.

    You name is proof that its not just the Blasphemy laws which are the problem in Pakistan. You are living here with a non-Christian first name, I don’t have to tell you.

    All I can tell you is this: Study well, against the odds, I know. Get a good job. Try your best to migrate to a non-Muslim country. Worst case scenario apply for political asylum.

    Your children will not have to be named Aftab or Akram or Sameena. John, Peter or Bob will do.

    Remember the minorities minister who was killed by a brute? His name was Shahbaz too. That couldn’t save him. All he did was question a law, exactly what you are doing now.

    Be safe.. Salma.. Hope I will address you next time as Samantha.

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  • sdfef
    Aug 29, 2012 - 4:46PM

    @BruteForce:

    A trivial point but how is it that people decide a name is a “muslim name”? Is Salma Hayek a muslim then? or is she hiding from someone too?

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  • Aug 29, 2012 - 6:43PM

    @sdfef:

    Its not a trivial point but a very important one. The answer you are smart enough to gather and I responding is what is trivial.

    If you want to go for ‘Whats in a name?’ defence, go right ahead. My larger point was different, and you know it well. You have introduced a red-herring and I am not going to fall for that.

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  • gp65
    Aug 29, 2012 - 7:14PM

    @sdfef: “A trivial point but how is it that people decide a name is a “muslim name”? Is Salma Hayek a muslim then? or is she hiding from someone too?”

    I think it is fairly easy to distinguish between Muslim, Hindu and Christian names though not as easy to distinguish between Christian and Jewish first names or Hindu, Sikh and Jain names.

    Oh and Salma Hayek’s dad is SAmi Hayek and is of Lebanes ancestry. So if you gave this example to prove that someone with no Muslim heritaage would keep thi s name , you are wrong. She does have a Muslim heritage on her father’s side.

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  • Mobashar Ahmad
    Aug 29, 2012 - 9:16PM

    @BruteForce:
    It is sad state of affairs. I have never heard that muslim have monopoly on names. My friends the names you think are muslim are really arabic. Tell me if the Prophet’s (saw) father’s name was muslim..remember Prophet (saw) was orphan at birth…people like you give bad name to Islam and muslim.

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  • Rakib
    Aug 29, 2012 - 10:58PM

    @sdfef:
    @BruteForce:

    Not to belabour a point or to miss the real point that BruteForce is making but it so happens that “Salma” is not an un-Christian name. It is of Semitic origins (just as Shalom & Salam) and means “peace” and one of the many names with which followers of at least three religions can be comfortable.

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  • Eric gill
    Aug 30, 2012 - 1:28PM

    @BruteForce: Nice one

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  • Rakib
    Aug 30, 2012 - 5:20PM

    @gp65:

    She does have a Muslim heritage on her father’s side.

    Her father Sami Hayek Dominguez was a Roman Catholic. Latin America has very large number of Christians of Lebanese extraction. Almost 40% of Lebanese population even today is Christian. A famous Lebanese was the great poet Khalil (Arabic for “friend”) Gibran. He too was born a Maronite-Catholic though later in life he worked out an ecelectic personal philosophy.

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  • Zikria
    Sep 6, 2012 - 9:33PM

    Salma Peter good very good effort to write on critical issue and please ignore the , un social and non ethical comments .No one has right to comments on name etc.

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