Stand up against the blasphemy laws

Published: November 23, 2010

The writer is president of the Jinnah Institute, a former federal minister for information and is an MNA

The sentencing to death of a Christian woman on charges of blasphemy by a sessions court in Nankana Sahib has created an uproar in Pakistan. The Aasia Bibi case has touched a raw nerve among thousands of people for more than one reason. The trigger for her ordeal to become a test case for our independent judiciary to do justice without prejudice is obvious. The woman is clearly a victim rather than a blasphemer. She has suffered incarceration for a year over just the kind of charges the blasphemy laws have been used in Pakistan for: to settle personal scores, build pressure for property disputes or simply browbeat minority communities into emigration or life as third class citizens.

But public anger about the case is not just about the mala fide intent of her accusers. It is about the majority of Pakistanis losing memory of what constitutes citizenship and its attendant Constitutional protections. At the heart of this darkness lies our public guilt by complicity. This guilt is about allowing what statutory safeguards we have to be degraded into paper guarantees that only protect the privileged and rarely the vulnerable. It is about standing by, wringing our hands at worst; at best speaking out, writing articles, leading rallies and overturning harsh verdicts. It is about the failure of the silent majority to mobilise resources and marshal support to overturn the laws that allow for such grave injustices to be done in the name of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) who staked his life to protect the weak, especially the minorities, against the bloodlust of zealots.

It is the responsibility of the courts how they interpret the blasphemy laws. And it is the responsibility of the government, as well as parliament, to take notice of laws that allow impunity for such murderous bigotry and initiate a process that dismantles the architecture of these man-made laws. But it is also the responsibility of citizens, especially those who profit the most from Pakistan, to stand up again such attacks on its existential premise. In any civilised country, where the identity of the state was so contested that no one could face the wrath of the self-appointed gatekeepers of Islam, the educated elite would be forced to make common cause with the activist left to put its weight behind reform of laws they all condemn as unjust behind closed doors.

We no longer live in a country where it is ok to retreat behind our affluent enclaves, like the rich do everywhere. Pakistan is burning with extremist fires. It is not enough to mobilise for flood relief or charity where state capacities fail. It is imperative to recognise that democracy in endangered societies is about standing up for the rights of the vulnerable as well as our own. It is about becoming stakeholders in reform, not just marching when one’s own parks and schools are threatened.

Our society is intolerant enough without legal sanction for witch-hunts. This is the time to push for repeal of the blasphemy law in the legislature. If that does not work, just like the Hudood repeal bills did not when we moved them, we need to build positions and craft laws that amend these laws so they become toothless, much like we campaigned to get the Women’s Bill passed in parliament. A PPP government is our best chance of getting some traction on such change. As activists, we should attempt to build mainstream consensus against these laws and create new ones that penalise those that incite violence with malicious intent.

As empowered citizens, it is our responsibility to fight for the promise our founding father made on August 11 of 1947, when he addressed the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Everyone who is reading this should know what he said on that historic day. It is time to make good on that promise.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2010.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (72)

  • Iqbal
    Nov 24, 2010 - 12:15AM

    Sherry, you have written a very good article. I am hoping it will be an eye opener to the judiciary.

    However, I beg to differ with you on one point. You mention our founding father’s speech on August 11,1947. I refer to this splendid article which is not discussed among Pakistanis:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6940148.stm
    You will note that Mr Jinnah was not whiter then white. Some of Pakistan’s problems today goes back to him for not following the people’s verdict and also the reason why Bangladesh eventually became independent. These “hidden” wrongs are not taught in Pakistan but are freely debated in the West.
    On the whole I agree with you that the blasphemy laws need to be repealed. Gen Zia ul huq should be cursed for putting Pakistan in the wrong direction.Recommend

  • CCC
    Nov 24, 2010 - 12:23AM

    1 -> Those who think she must be executed if she is guilty of blasphemy they can join the ranks of Taliban and relocate to those mountains because that is the barbaric version of religion that is being practised by the terrorists. They belong to the 13th century.

    2 -> Those who think regardless of whether she is guilty or not, she should be free, welcome to civilized world, democracy and to the 21st century.

    Choose where you want to be.

    Going by past history, regardless of what the final decision is, her life seems to be in serious danger. I suggest she do a Zulqarnain and go to England to save her life.Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 12:26AM

    Blasphemy law has not justification in Islam. It has no basis in Quran or Sunnah. It is a fabrication of military dictator Zia to prolong his rule on the instigation of jahil maulvis. We do not want jahalat in Pakistan. We want to stand tall and proud now as Pakistanis. Let’s get rid of mistakes & jahalat of the past. May Allah enable us to do so. Ameen.Recommend

  • Insaaf
    Nov 24, 2010 - 12:55AM

    A christian or a Hindu is as sure about their religion as the true religion as ours. So suppose Muslim gets a death penalty in India for saying something bad about Ganesh or Ram.. how would you feel. ?? This is a question every Pakistan should ask themselves. Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 1:24AM

    May Allah swt forgive us for defaming His name and the teachings of His slave Muhammad pbuh and bring hidayat to the mullahs and their slaves the people of Pakistan who persecute and bring shame on all of us in the name of IslamRecommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 1:34AM

    Without blasphemy laws how can we please our good-for-nothing Mullah community? Recommend

  • habib tahir
    Nov 24, 2010 - 1:37AM

    Judicial Commission should be set for this case and if she aasia is not guilty then should be allowed to lead a normal life as a Pakistani….

    Why free thinker’s afraid of our country’s blasphemy laws?

    Pakistan is an Islamic state and will remain the the fort of Islam till the last day InshahAllah…Recommend

  • habib tahir
    Nov 24, 2010 - 1:41AM

    Islam is Saudi Arabia’s state religion. The country’s laws are an amalgam of rules from Sharia, royal edicts, and fatawa from the Council of Senior Religious Scholars. Those laws prescribe penalties up to the death penalty for blasphemy.

    Please free thinkers call this jahalia also…Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 24, 2010 - 2:52AM

    For those quoting Ahadith in favor of the blasphemy law: The Quran is the word of Allah and as Muslims we believe that is the only word that will never be altered. Hence, as Muslims, we believe there is no argument on authenticity of the Quran. However, those who quote Hadith, and then cite it as a Sahi hadith, need to be a 100% sure that what they are using to form the basis of their argument is not at all in contradiction with any verse of the Quran, because if there is even a single word in a Hadith that contradicts the Quran, it is not authentic.

    All I am saying is that when a Muslim has doubt in his heart about something, he avoids it. Unless you are completely, entirely, totally, unfalteringly sure that the hadith that you are quoting is not in any way whatsoever in contradiction to the Quran. you should think more than twice, lets say 80 times before using it.

    Peace and have fun. Allah is Most Just and He is Most Merciful.

    And Muhammad (PBUH) was indeed sent as a mercy to all mankind.Recommend

  • Talat
    Nov 24, 2010 - 5:55AM

    A MNA of PPP, the biggest party in the ruling coalition, is asking us Pakistanis to stand up against the law. It proves right the common perception that the present government is a dummy government.Recommend

  • Tauseef Ahmad Khan
    Nov 24, 2010 - 7:31AM

    Thankyou Sherry Rehman for writing boldly on such a sensitive issue. The blasphemy law should be repealed as it does not have any place in Islam or modern society. Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 7:53AM

    when the prophet himself forgave the woman who was throwing the dusts on him then who these ‘contractors of Islam’ to punishment anyone when he/she does some bad or wrong in the name of Prophet (pbuh)…..were we being memorized that story just to pass the exams or was there some lesson for us??Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 7:59AM

    Its always good to hear Sherry speak her mind!Recommend

  • Usman
    Nov 24, 2010 - 9:18AM

    My question is? what if someone says anything bad to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) or any other Prophet (AS)? Should there be any law for that? Recommend

  • Kashif Chaudhry
    Nov 24, 2010 - 10:04AM

    I agree with Sherry Rehman on this beautifully written article. What I doubt however is the notion that PPP stands the best chance to fight such bigotry. It was the PPP that declared the Ahmadi Muslims a minority in Pakistan, a step that has not been matched yet for its mockery of religious freedom and practise in the land of the pure. This move by the late Bhutto in 1974 will remain a big blot on the face of PPP.

    The only way to remove this stain would be to take a lead in reversing these discrimnatory laws, including the Blasphemy laws and anti-Ahmedi laws. I am happy you want to work towards this effect. I wish you not only good luck but prayers and full moral support.Recommend

  • Ammar
    Nov 24, 2010 - 10:19AM

    More than 90% of the educated class in this country believes that blasphemy and hadood laws are big stigmas on the face of the legislature of Pakistan. If you are against it then table the bill in NA to repeal these horrific laws? At the day end it is the responsibility of the legislature to ensure the protections of rights of all Pakistanis regardless of religion, sect, or class. What conscious efforts did you make to spread our founding father’s vision of the constitution? It is written only on the wall of national assembly. Why is it missing in our history books that are taught in our educational institutions? Did you ever read those history books? And if you did then it is your responsibility of getting our facts straight. Please ask the PM to form a committee to change all the lies with facts in our curricula. I admire your belief in the human rights, but it time for some meaningful action.Recommend

  • Ajay
    Nov 24, 2010 - 10:49AM

    @Kashif

    PPP should not only undo the discriminatory laws- blasphemy, Ahmadi, etc. but also propose new laws for stricter punishments who seek to abuse minorities in the name of religion, speak lies, spread rumors, bring false charges and spread violence . However as we have seen from news reports today, JI and JUF and other religious parties have threatened Zardari and Punjab Governor with dire consequences if they do any of the below:

    1) Act to Repeal this act
    2) Grant Pardon
    3) If Punjab Governor pleads for her innocence and pardon for violating judicial process

    PPP government has promptly responded saying that that as 95% of people in Pakistan are Islamic and could/will revolt if any such action is taken, so they will not repeal this law but work to enhance this law to prevent misuse. So again the illiterate fundamentalist forces of Pakistan have held the secular/liberal/educated/reasonable people of Pakistan to ransom.

    Isn’t this the right time for Pakistan military to step up to the plate and tackle any disturbances that might follow from this ‘mad’ people? This is a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY for PPP govt to redeem their credibility and do something for Pakistan that will stand the test of time and be remembered for ever. Thsi should take this risk and be ready to loose power if that be so. PPP would be strengthened for years to come by this action alone. THIS IS ALSO A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY for Army to do the right thing- by providing muscle power against these arsonists and mad religious bigots.Recommend

  • Malik Rana
    Nov 24, 2010 - 10:57AM

    Fully agree with you Sherry! Repeal this nonsense created by Zia ul HaqRecommend

  • Ajay
    Nov 24, 2010 - 10:58AM

    Contd from above…

    This is also the right time for the reasonable minded people of Pakistan to raise their voice and lead protests for rightful action on the streets as lawyers did once. Where are the lawyers now? They don’t seem bothered much by this case.

    Some people have written in other postings in response to questions on why raise voice now and not many years before, why only when international voices speak out…the reply was that people are afraid that they will be labeled Hindu-Jew-Christian lover or ant-Islam. YOU CANT LIVE UNDER THE GUN FOR EVER…IT IS TIME TO COME ON THE STREETS. Such small actions will lead to bigger actions and results that will help in cleansing the Pakistani administration.

    Asma Jehangir, Marvi Memon and Sherry Rehman are taking the leads..Men need to pull their weight also…on the streets…by now world should be witnessing multi movement protests on the streets for repeal of all bad laws as well as punishments of terrorists who seek to create disturbances.

    There was a protest march by religious MFs. Should there be counter protests against them?Recommend

  • T R Khan
    Nov 24, 2010 - 11:01AM

    Aasia is ignorant that Muhammad (saw) is pinnacle of all of God’s creation. If she was aware she would have never uttered blasphemy.
    Whose fault is it that she is unaware? Living among a sea of Muslims she is unaware? Living among Muslims who dream of liberating Kashmir and conquering the world she is unaware? Living among decadents of Muslims whose empire stretched from Spain to Malacca straits, she is unaware?
    How can you punish an ignorant person?
    On the contrary we should analyse why we have failed to educate the world of the high station of our Holy Prophet (saw).Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 12:11PM

    Yesterday in a talk show conducted by Talat Hussein – he was questioning the strange coalitions that are emerging. He specifically asked the PPP as to why certain ministries are being given to the Jamaat Islami (the religious party – JUI I think) when this religious party has openly declared itself as being against the notion of women becoming heads of state among other things.

    Most recently the Federal minister of tourism also from the JUI said that the taliban are true muslims.

    My question to the well-meaning Sherry is despite all her good intentions and obvious political clout, the PPP will not be able to walk the talk. Perhaps making the law toothless is the best compromise solution.

    I can offer the following as an illustration: In the small village that my ancestors came from in South India, there is a dispute between two parties over the installing of a saint’s statue in the village temple. While it might seem that the battle is spiritual, the actual battle is over the control of the wealth that the temple attracts. The case is now with the Supreme court no less – in the meantime, an uneasy peace prevails in the village – no one has been arrested to date. That is important.

    It is a travesty of human rights that Asia Bibi has had to spend even one second behind bars because she did not concede that your god is greater than her god.

    To Habiba Tahir – I will say thank your stars that Pakistan has opted for a gentler Islam otherwise according to a fatwa she would have to breast feed her male colleagues before working in a mixed environment.Recommend

  • Kashif Chaudhry
    Nov 24, 2010 - 12:56PM

    The Quran says; “Surely (as for) those who speak evil things of Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the here after, and He has prepared for them a chastisement bringing disgrace.”

    The punishment of Blasphemy is with God alone. Period! But I am sure there are few who follow the Quran. Most these days prefer the Mullah’s verdict over God’s very own.Recommend

  • parvez
    Nov 24, 2010 - 1:11PM

    Nice well written article. Your call for the people to stand up and be counted will not work.
    There is too much pent up cynicism created over the years by our leaders miserably failing the people time and again.
    It is time for our leaders to stand up and do ” the right thing ” and not succumb to political expediency or religious brow-beating.
    I agree that the best chance to repeal or amend this law is now. Giving the present setup an ideal opportunity to redeem it decidedly tarnished image. Recommend

  • muhammed
    Nov 24, 2010 - 1:16PM

    I am expecting a big natural disaster allah is going to send to pakistan within a month. Either Nuclear reactor exploding or earthquakes which will wreck these mullahs and cleanse the evils of this society.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 24, 2010 - 1:40PM

    You cant even argue that Blasphemy laws are against the constitution as the constitution itself recognizes Pakistan as Islamic.Recommend

  • Ali M
    Nov 24, 2010 - 2:21PM

    Which law will you repeal to protect the linguistic minorities in Karachi.. thousands have been killed in last two decades?
    Which law should be abandoned to protect the citizens of Pakistan from drone attacks?
    Which law should be repealed to stop sectarian killings in every city of Pakistan?

    You repealed the Hudood laws… to what end? Can you count the number of women being raped and molested after that? Don’t you remember the barbaric burial of women in Jafferabad; PPP stalwart Bajarani who defended this barbarism was appointed as a Federal Minister by this liberal party. How many women have been married to Quran in the far flung areas of Sindh where PPP holds sway and its office bearers oversee the wild ritual of karo kari .. what have they done to liberate those women?

    What concerns me is the motive of the so called Human Rights activists, whether they really want to save the poor people of Pakistan from injustice or just want to please their foreign masters. Come to the real issues. It’s not the law stupid! It’s lawlessnessRecommend

  • Non-Smoker
    Nov 24, 2010 - 3:10PM

    I rather stand against poverty corruption and greed. Recommend

  • ahmed
    Nov 24, 2010 - 3:22PM

    @habib tahir
    You seem to be real fond of Saudi mullahs. A recent Saudi mullah fatwa stated that if women fed their coworkers their own milk then they can work together. Yes, as a free thinker, I call this Jahalia.Recommend

  • Arifq
    Nov 24, 2010 - 3:34PM

    Brilliant article Madam Sherry Rehman, but I am afraid like you have so succinctly said these efforts are limited to writing newspaper articles, blogs and drawing rooms debates.

    And, you also have the founding father date wrong (1947), correct date should read 1952 when the “objective” resolution was passed adding “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan. This is not Jinnah’s Pakistan, had he been alive he would be fighting “against” it not “for” it. This is Maududi/Zia/TTP Pakistan, liberals should either learn to co-exists or find the earliest exit to foreign lands.

    If there is ever going to be a solution then it can only come through division, in the current form and shape we can sit and wait nothing will change. Recommend

  • Ali Khan
    Nov 24, 2010 - 3:38PM

    I fail to understand that Sherry and the folk like her never tire of terming parliament as supreme but are always get disturbed by decision taken as per the constitution or law passed by the same parliament. These people want to impose their own will like the Taliban on the common people. There is no difference between these so called secualirists and Taliban as both are on the extreme. Let the issue be decided by the higher courts instead of favouring or opposing the law. Instead of changing the law reform the police, the prosecution process and judicial system. If someone has levelled false charges of blasphamy against any member of the minority member bring him/her to justice and I think there is a law to try one for levelling false allegations against an innocent person.Recommend

  • R. Khan
    Nov 24, 2010 - 3:46PM

    Great Article Sherry! But do you think we Pakistanis are ready to understand anything logical? We are living in Cuckoo Land!Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 4:26PM

    Oh Sherry! You are the only sensible part of the party you are associated with. I hope you become President one day.Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 4:55PM

    Blasphemy law should not be abolished but should be slightly amended in a away that false accusers should be punished and proper investigation should be made before the penalty is finalized.Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed
    Nov 24, 2010 - 5:36PM

    If there is a physical stand to be taken against ‘jaahil’ mullahs who have torn our country to shreds in the guise of religion, I will be in the front lines..I have had enough of their hate-filled rhetoric in the name of Islam..they have destroyed the beauty and sanctity of my region, by claiming to be the spokespersons of it..each and every sect or order deems the other as ‘kafir’..what kind of ‘religious’ representatives do they think themselves to be??..how do Muslims allow people to become preachers, when there is ‘no Monasticism in Islam’????..as for taking advice from ‘Ijma’ over certain matters, nowhere does it state in the Quran as to who that ‘ijma’ should be, only that they be the ‘learned’ amongst the people..does anyone think these mullahs of today are ‘learned’???…I applaud Sherry Rehman on what she is doing in the assembly, and if she needs a hand, well I’m there.. Recommend

  • Ordinay Pakistani
    Nov 24, 2010 - 6:14PM

    I agree with Ali Khans above comments, these so called liberals are direct replica of Taliban in opposite direction. They are extremists and brainwashed individuals. They have given their senses and self respect in hands of so called Western Society. So whatever dictation they get, they want to impose on us.

    The decision has been taken by the court, why dont our leaders take stand that if Americans can accuse Dr Afia Sidiqui without any evidence, and sentence her to jail, no American leader can challenge the decision. In similar fashion, the decision has been taken by Pakistani courts and we cant challenge it.Recommend

  • Sohail Riaz
    Nov 24, 2010 - 6:26PM

    @Saad Durrani: Shery wont be made president after talking about changing the blasphemy law, as a matter of fact any one who touches it will have to say goodbye to his/her political career.
    Shery, i think there are so many other injustices being carried out in the society that also need attention of people like yourself and Mr Gov Punjab!

    I wonder why is that you people are always on the wrong side of the religious beliefs of 95% of the population???Recommend

  • Mahmood Hussain
    Nov 24, 2010 - 6:57PM

    Amazingly Aasia bibi had been punished under blasphemy law on comparison statement with Christ with Our RASOOL(SAWW).
    Can anyone bother to let know about belief of many Muslims in this comparison statement??
    certainly NO!
    Muslims belief that Christ give Sahadat of his Prophet just after his birth and some muslim belief that Prophet(SAWW) was not Prophet before first Wahi from Jibraeel in age of 40.

    Muslim belief that Christ is still alive and some muslims like Dr. zakir naik believe that our Prophet(SAWW) is dead(nauzobilah).

    Muslim belief that christ has miracle of alive the dead people but muslim like Dr. zakir naik according to one Mutashabay Ayat our Prophet(SAWW) is man like us.

    can anyone justify who should be punished under the blasphemy law ?????Recommend

  • Ayesha Siddiqa
    Nov 24, 2010 - 7:59PM

    Bravo Sherry! Brilliant article. Totally agree with you. All power to your pen and thoughts.Recommend

  • Ailia Zehra
    Nov 24, 2010 - 8:22PM

    Amazing Sherry! Keep it up.Recommend

  • Nov 24, 2010 - 8:35PM

    Although blasphemy laws need to be repealed but adopting ”nazria-e-zaroorat”, we probably need to make it less effective. This is the same as Ms Rehman has rightly concluded in her post. I second her opinion that we need to be multi-tasked to tackle this issue. The fundamental requirement is to spread awareness among the masses. If we go for repeal at this instant of time, it will simply add to the fire. Mullah organisations will come on the streets, persuade the public to stage massive campaigns, the religious feelings of the people will be aroused and a law and order situation amidst the ongoing suicidal blasts will be created.Recommend

  • Muhammad Faran Hassan
    Nov 24, 2010 - 10:43PM

    Blasphemy laws and Hudood laws. This is from where the politics of liberal fascists starts and this is where it ends.

    Fortunately or unfortunately these are the only two areas, (excluding the family laws) which are drafted as per the Islamic perspective. Rest of system is based upon the laws set by Gora Sb during his rule over united india. So, what point these liberal people are trying to make? (That every problem is bcoz of these two laws. Its really funny).

    These people always try to portray that these Islamic laws are causing people to suffer. And they forget, that there are a lot of other people who are effected by the overall judicial system. These two laws will not constitute even 1 % of the cases being taken up in our courts under the other laws which always favor the powerful.

    Actually there is nothing wrong with the Blasphemy or Hudood laws. They are nearly as they should be in an Islamic society. The problem occurs when people start using the laws to set their own balances with others. Its the implementation part of the laws which is causing trouble for us. So instead of these liberal people putting pressure on the governments for good governance, and implementation of the laws in their true spirit, they come up to erode the laws.

    This bibi “Sherry Rehman” is saying that Aasia is innocent. She might be innocent but will this be decided by Sherry Rehman in her article?? Why doesnt she provide Aasia Bibi with some financial support to fight this case with a good lawyer? Why Sherry Rehman doesn’t come out in her favor? No, these people will not practically help the poor. They will just use their miseries to propagate their own agenda. Agenda of liberal fascism.

    Pakistan peoples party came into power for 4 times. None other political party has ruled the country this many times? What they have done to improve the implementation of the laws? What they have improved in governance? Nothing. Nothing.

    I should suggest some thing to sherry rehman. Instead of standing up against the blasphemy laws, she should stand up with the poor people who are being framed into blasphemy laws during the course of their judicial hearings and not to come out once the case is decided. (Because its the strategy of these political parties to take political mileage on such issues).
    Sherry’s party is in power, she can easily collect the data of all the people who are fighting their cases under blasphemy laws and hudood laws. Sherry should make sure that these people get the justice through judicial system and not by presidential pardons. If she can not do this, then she doesn’t have any right to say something against this law because she is mixing two separate realities, Law & Implementation Of The LawRecommend

  • Shoaib Mir
    Nov 24, 2010 - 11:01PM

    One couldn’t have said it better than Sherry has. The irony is that had this happened in the times of Prophet Muhammad, PBUH, he would have sided with Aasia!Recommend

  • Humayun.M
    Nov 25, 2010 - 12:32AM

    Stop. Think. What would Prophet Muhammad have done?Recommend

  • samina
    Nov 25, 2010 - 12:55AM

    Laws such as blasphemy is causing collective suffocation in the society and wrecking peoples nerves. These laws must be repealed by this democratic government using their well established means or at least be made human friendly..Asia bibi and many like her suffering from such extremist laws be allowed to breath peacefully in their country.Recommend

  • Alm757
    Nov 25, 2010 - 2:47AM

    Sherry, you have written a very good article,. I am hoping it will be an eye opener to your fellow legislatures who are the authority to make a Law. As a matter of facts the founding members of PPP and the members of the National Assembly who happened to pass this Law, shouldn’t take the “FAITH” of an individual in their hand to change. Pakistan is the FIRST Islamic country in the world which INITIATED an action to force individual to stop practicing their FAITH which the individual have his belief. Indonesia another Islamic country follows the footstep of Pakistan and has taken a similar action through their legislature banning the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to practice their Faith Please visit http://WWW.alislam.org to the true Islam.. Now the WORLD knows how easy is to BAN the Muslim from adopting or practicing their Faith. Government of France is the First one to passed Legislature to BAN wearing Vail or Burka in public places. Swiss Government Ban on construction of Minaret on the Mosque. Pakistan and Indonesian government shows the world how easy is to put Ban on Muslims. Things are not stopped here, now Non- Muslims groups are working to declared *Islam * not a world religion of God, but a POLITICAL entity…Muslims Scholars should start thinking (How the interference in Faith which INITIATED from Pakistan) and, what would be the end results??Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 25, 2010 - 4:11AM

    I say Sherry Rehman and Marvi Memon should start a political party of their own. I will join it.Recommend

  • Anwar Hasan
    Nov 25, 2010 - 5:16AM

    Well done Sherry. Excellent article.Recommend

  • mir liyaqat
    Nov 25, 2010 - 11:47AM

    Respected writer, I stand by with you as long as the legislation of the blasphemy law is concerned so that nobody can use it to settle personal scores. To repeal it and Hudood ordinance is totally an attempt to put pakistan on the embarkation of a secular country. Which is an insult to those martyers who sacrificed their for the islamic republc of pakistan. Actually the elite in pakistan and some women activist are following a path which will not take them nowhere but will end up with the polorization. Recommend

  • Bina
    Nov 25, 2010 - 2:15PM

    Well said Sherry. Repeal the blasphemy laws. This is Pakistan not Wahibistan.Recommend

  • lota6177
    Nov 25, 2010 - 3:11PM

    Blasphemy is required to weed out people who would restrict our speech, not for fear of us insulting people, but for us questioning concepts. Vexen CrabtreeRecommend

  • Syed Farrukh Hussain Shah
    Nov 25, 2010 - 4:54PM

    First of all I want to clear that I am as much against mullaism and wahabiism as anyone can be..I am also of the view that, we should not follow these mullahs, who are product of ignorance….but as far as defaming or degracing Prophet (Pbhm) is concerned, we should not tolerate this…this is what which islam appeals from us being a muslim….and this is basic building block of islamic ideology….i am not discussing specifically asia bibi, i am of the view that, first we should have free and fair trail to conclude whether she had done which she is accused into, or not…if yes…..we should proceed according to islam….

    and qouting the example of that lady who used to throw garbage on Nabi Pak (SAW), should not be applied here, because at that time Nabi Pak was authority, and HE can forgive anyone, but now how can we forgive anyone on His behalf??????Allah said in quran that HE will not forgive on onyone’s behalf, than how can we?

    I know people of Pakistan are using blasphemy law for their personal benefits, we should change our behavior instead of allowing anyone to defame our belove Prophet, just show our self modern/moderates…..thanxRecommend

  • maz
    Nov 25, 2010 - 5:11PM

    Very good article Ms Sherry hope it could have some effect on our government officials and judicary.
    We have become a nation of terrorists Maulvis are destroying our country . Musharaff saab’s dhanda was good for them they were quiet at that time .Wish he could get back and get things right . The Central Govt & Punjab Govt are puppets in the hand of maulvis, jihadis and terrorist groups who all have changed their names.
    When a muslim is not safe under this blasphemy law do u think a christian wil be safe ?
    people are using this law for their personal benefits .Recommend

  • Rehan
    Nov 25, 2010 - 6:36PM

    Not repealing the Law of blasphemy itself is BLASPHEMY!!!Recommend

  • abida
    Nov 25, 2010 - 7:26PM

    So if we agree with sherry, all the laws of Pakistan must be abandoned; why only blasphemy, because all of them are being used for personal benefit by all those who are influential in any way. Now let me tell why only a single law is a problem for sherry. Such people are working on american agenda and are always against any law which is, in any way, related to our Islamic faith.Pakistan was established on the basis of Islamic ideology. If this single factor is removed, Pakistan’s existence is meaningless. So Pakistan’s enemies are struggling hard to remove the Islamic element form each part of it. So far, they are successful to a major extent because these enemies of us have turned down every effort to implement Shariah Law in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Nov 25, 2010 - 10:18PM

    Killing someone over something he/she said is the blasphemy – and you wonder why the rest of the world shakes it’s head when they hear the mantra “religion of peace”.Recommend

  • HAYAT Muhammad Umer
    Nov 25, 2010 - 11:24PM

    Good piece of work as expected yet i shall add that why external’s like Pope and other powerfull people intervene in our internal issues? Did Pope discussed the case of any-one Muslim female or even male discriminated all over the world. Even take the example of Ban on Veil in France, did Pope intervened? No as they think that it is Europe’s internal issue.

    So I would like to say Assia’s case including these Laws are our internal issues. Recommend

  • Hadayatullah Hubcsh
    Nov 26, 2010 - 1:24AM

    I think Sherry has said very logical things but she has forgotten the fact that laws such as blasphemy law have been made by PPP itself in 70s.The government, lead by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto being puppets in the hands of so called clerics of Islam, initiated 1st step towards extremism when they provided legality to declare a minority(ahmadies) as non muslims.And this blasphemy law is the branch of the same tree which was planted by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.Recommend

  • Gohar Abbas
    Nov 26, 2010 - 2:31AM

    Miss Sherry’s sudden and bold decision of quitting portfolio of federal minister has finally benefited this sense-starved nation. Self styled analysis of barren-mind journalists has ruined not only journalism but also polluted the public opinion. The article needs no praise as it is expected from a seasoned and highly educated journalist like Sherry Rehman. Anyhow thanks for moulding minds of the misguided masses in the right direction. I wish if the article is published in the urdu daily of Express Group as like humanity, english literacy is in scarcity in this country of ours. Recommend

  • T.S. Bokhari
    Nov 26, 2010 - 7:14AM

    An excellent article indeed! It is surprising that our women can think like that. It is encouraging indeed that women have been coming up recently to think and write about the misuse and distortion of religion in Pakistan and hope that it would be the women who could face the mullah and his ‘deen-e-fassaad’ to get rid of it.

    As for the PPP, I don’t expect any ‘kheir’ from it as it is this very party which is responsible for turning our somewhat liberal constitution into a ‘fatwa’ by allowing the Second Amendment therein which emboldened the mullah and lead to all the anti human laws imposed by Zia which led to oblige the Muslims, and Muslim only, to submit humiliating Yazidi declarations of faith to the bureaucracy, notwithstanding the fact that it is God only who can judge the faith of any body. .

    The real problem, however, is that it is not the laws alone but the lawlessness in the name of religion which is basically the cause of all the mischief. As it is, unless we change the mindset of the people to get them freed from the clutches of the mullah through proper education the extant lynch bigotry would lead us to catastrophe unparalleled in history. Recommend

  • hm
    Nov 26, 2010 - 8:18PM

    I hate the People’s Party BUT GOD BLESS YOU MRS. REHMAN! I hope you succeed in amending this jaahil un-Islamic law.Recommend

  • Masood
    Nov 26, 2010 - 8:45PM

    Those who support this current blasphemy law (295-C) with their emotions and not with their brains are completely ignorant about the Quranic teachings and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). In fact this law is an insult and blasphemy on Islam and Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and has become a big stigma on the face of Muslim world. It is high time for PPP to redeem itself by getting rid of mistakes of the past and clean the mess created by dictator Zia.Recommend

  • Shams Zaman
    Nov 26, 2010 - 11:14PM

    I am fond of reading the writings of seculars. I read them because it further consolidates my faith in Islam and I can see from my own eyes the foldings of events which were foretold by our Prophet some 1400 years ago.
    “The Islamic draconian laws must be changed” that is the old rhetoric of the seculars living in the Islamic society. They don’t want the society to become hostage in the hands of fanatics, however, they have no problem if the laws are changed according to the whims of “secular fanatics” who must be earning lot of respect and living from their chord holders living in the west or maybe they have been completely been westernized, both, in their ideology and life style.

    In Pakistan almost all the laws are being manipulated by the police and influentials. The narcotics law, the civil law and the state law. So why to go after the blasphemy law only? Why not to scarp whole of the Law altogether??
    But other laws doesn’t bother these seculars, their only problem is the religion of Islam and what all they seek for is to abolish Islam or change the face of this religion so as to pave the way for the establishment of a secularized world devoid of any spirituality and religion and a new order should be established in accordance with the western ideals.
    But Muslims believe that humans can’t become wiser than God while for seculars, God is dead or is a disabled and helpless god in the face of humanity and who can’t give a perfect law for the mankind. They only want to be derived by their whims or western ideals.

    Every religion which we see today has undergone the same very process and same very transformation and the only thing which stands as an exception to Islam is that its revelations in shape of Quran and Hadith remains in original form which are beyond alterations. While scriptures in other religions were amended, this can not be done to Islam, and I can understand how much pain and grief these seculars must be feeling for not being able to do that, but they simply will never be able to do that. So anyone who believes in God and his Messenger can always refers back to the original teachings of Islam without any intervention from any myopic religious zealot and this must be very frustrating for them, because it is the most formidable obstacle in their plan to secularize and westernize this country.

    To further add to the grief of my beloved seculars, I must tell that western liberal capitalism is falling apart. The slogan of western triumph raised by Fukuyama hasn’t come true. Must be very disturbing for these people but that is what is happening. US is in serious trouble and Europe is even in a worst kind of economic downturn, hopes for any recovery are very slim! Ah!! so much pains for the seculars. Keep striving for spreading the evil and falsehood and we will see on the day of judgement as to where we stand.Recommend

  • AzA
    Nov 27, 2010 - 8:45PM

    Ms. Rehman: We admire and support your efforts. But what about your own party’s stalwarts like the law minister who says, “over my dead body!”?Recommend

  • UZMA BARRY
    Nov 28, 2010 - 6:07AM

    Actually intolerance is the result of illiteracy which is getting unaffordable by the poor masses especially women.

    The way those Muslim women behaved with Aasia depicts the ignorance of our society. It demands to revise our Islamiat curriculum.We think that Islamiat is useless for our children, though we can generrate tolerant society by brining some realistic change in it. We must include the teachings of Quran and the Prophet (SAW) about the Non- Muslims especially the Belivers of Holy Books. Quran sets clear guidelines and Prophet (SAW) set an excellent example about the relationship with the Belivers of Holy Books.Quran gives respect to all humans especially Christians as well as Jews who keep faith in Allah Almighty and warns Muslims how to debate with them on common grounds.

    This kind of change will bring great result that wont even bring by the repeal or reconsideration of blasphemy laws. Unfortunately fuedal lords are the main hurdle in promoting educated society and results in caste- based society where women are deprived of their basic rights including education. Solution lies in up-rooting the fuedalism and eduating the true teachings of Quran and Hadith to our country-men.

    thanx
    Regards
    Uzma BarryRecommend

  • UZMA BARRY
    Nov 28, 2010 - 6:09AM

    On November 26 Pakistanis living in the United States have joined human rights group in urging the government to release Aasia Bibi and reconsider the laws that discriminate against minorities.

    I suggest them to raise their voice against the discriminatory legislation fo Pakistanis who encounter such laws as soon as they step up to the American Airports. Respect is for all humans, if the honour of Queen is protected in Britain then why not the Prophet (SAW) who is the identity of leadership of the Muslim World,comprising the largest population.

    Moreover we request to award imminent clemency to Dr. Afia in the exchange of Aasia Bibi.

    thanks and Regards
    Uzma BarryRecommend

  • Gulshanin
    Nov 28, 2010 - 10:47AM

    My dear: I think it is really childish to ask the Government to change the legislated law.
    How many of you have dared to ask the Western countries to change their ‘Laws’?
    Some other countries and states do have the ‘death penalty’ law but nobody is bothered
    about it, but when it comes to Muslim country everybody starts jumping up and down,
    getting emotional and abuses Muslims as Wahabi. On this matter I would say: How dare they?
    Changing the blaspheme law will give freedom to blaspheme Muslims, their religion.
    and their Prophet (SAS). As this world is full of ignorant people who do not believe in respect of others and their religions. This law should be kept to teach a lesson to the ignorant ones who blaspheme Muslims and their Prophet (SAS) without a second thought.

    However, in the matter of Ms. Asia she should be made to apologize and then freed her,
    as to keep any woman in the Prison is against the Islamic Sharia/Divine law.
    She should be freed right now if the ruler is a Muslim and believes in Sharia.
    Salaam/Peace.Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed
    Nov 28, 2010 - 11:57PM

    @Gulshanin..you are of course entitled to your opiniom, but may I humbly inform you there is a big difference in the ‘death penalty’ and the ‘blasphemy law’..the death penalty is normally meted out to murderers..in this day and age what you term as ‘blasphemy’ may be just someones ‘opinion’..you dont kill people for holding opinions..learn to accept the fact that neither the Prophet nor Islam is in any danger from ‘words’..it is our ‘deeds’ that are killing us.. Recommend

  • Atta ul Sami Chandio
    Dec 10, 2010 - 9:22PM

    I totally agree with the comments of Sherry Rehman, Blosphemy laws, Anti Ahmadiya Ordinance, Declaring Ahmadis as non muslims all these ammendments and laws should be withdrawn from the constitution of Pakistan. Every one should obey the sayings of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech of 11 august.Recommend

  • malik
    Dec 24, 2010 - 8:17PM

    A Mulvi should be abondend from anything that this Mulvi can use against ordinary people. Recommend

  • Aisha
    Jan 5, 2011 - 8:45AM

    Kudos to you, Sherry for speaking up! Certainly, Islam mentions no such law, and this law has no place in our Pakistan. We’re in the 21st century for Allah’s sake! Even Muhammad was abused and he was known for forgiving his enemies. Where does this law come from? It has no place in the Qu’ran or Hadith so how in the world can it be “Islamic?”

    Who would you rather base your life by? The Qu’ran or the nutjob mullahs?

    Say no to radicalism! Radicalism plays no role in Islam! Say no to crazy mullahs!
    Dammit, we NEED to progress. Imagine what would happen if we give Pakistan in the hands of mad hypocrites! Shiver Look at Iran. Look at Afghanistan.

    We, the people of Pakistan, are behind you Sherry! Don’t stop believin’ :)

    Salaam Alaykum. Recommend

  • Aisha
    Jan 5, 2011 - 8:48AM

    Kudos to you, Sherry for speaking up! Certainly, Islam mentions no such law, and this law has no place in our Pakistan. We’re in the 21st century for Allah’s sake! Even Muhammad was abused and he was known for forgiving his enemies. Where does this law come from? It has no place in the Qu’ran or Hadith so how in the world can it be “Islamic?”
    Who would you rather base your life by? The Qu’ran or the nutjob mullahs?
    Say no to radicalism! Radicalism plays no role in Islam! Say no to crazy mullahs!
    Dammit, we NEED to progress. Imagine what would happen if we give Pakistan in the hands of mad hypocrites! Shiver Look at Iran. Look at Afghanistan.
    We, the people of Pakistan, are behind you Sherry! Don’t stop believin’ :)
    Salaam Alaykum.Recommend

  • salman jafri
    Jan 22, 2011 - 2:01AM

    salam sherry

    You said personal scores being settled, the only way someone will admit to this is basically if the police speak to people who know the person saying that someone is guilt of blasphemy. As for other religions and hating them purely due to other faith is another cause which can be easily found out by the views expressed of the accuser. Property disputes can be dismissed quickly and wanting to people to leave an area to making pakistan something taliban swat and south wazirstan wont be allowed by any police officer in pakistan.

    “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”
    “You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.”

    All a police officer needs to ask is whether he/she follows the above text from 11 august 1947 by mohammed ali jinnah.

    I think religious people with police can work out whether a person is falsely accusing someone of blasphemy and hopefully that process is used.

    You need to add lawyers to the process in all cases whether or not blasphemy to help poor and rich and those in distress or in danger of being wrongly put in jail before it goes to trial.

    I think the method of looking out for religious minorities need to be altered and also protecting the poor.

    Those people who make up false cases should face jail.for blasphemy.

    I hope you sherry rehman try to return to minister position.

    thanks and allah hafiz
    salman jafriRecommend

More in Opinion