Qadri sentence: Justice served - for now

When will the government start taking action against all those who accuse and punish innocent people for blasphemy?

Vaqas October 02, 2011
The verdict is in. The assassin will hang. Justice seems to have been served. Well, not quite yet.

Almost ten months to the day when the former Punjab governor was gunned down, the lone gunman has seen his bubble burst. His ‘divinely inspired’ mission wasn’t so divine after all. He will die the way a real blasphemer would have been put to death.

Except that in his case, thousands of righteously misguided individuals will take to the streets to push for his release from prison. After all, guilty or not, his followers have already made it quite clear that for them, the only just decisions are ones that go in their favour, and these aren’t clerics by the way, they’re lawyers.

Specifically, Namoos-e-Risalat Lawyers Forum Pakistan, who, just three days before the verdict, announced that there would be “massive retaliation” if the self-confessed assassin was convicted.

So we have a group of lawyers who outrightly refuse to accept the rule of law in the killer’s corner. Fortunately, mainstream lawyers have already rejected the claims of this group.

The following day, the World Ahl-e-Sunnat Organisation’s central amir tried to make something of a centrist appeal to support the killer, highlighting that even the father of the nation had defended the murderer of an alleged blasphemer in 1929, showing that even the secular father of the nation would have defended this self-righteous executioner.

Now the incident itself did happen, but the clergyman left out some very important background facts.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah did defended Ghazi Ilmuddin in 1929, after the latter assassinated a Hindu publisher, Raj Pal, for permitting the publication of Rangeela Rasool, a book with many derogatory references to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

What the gentleman failed to point out was that the man who would become Pakistan’s first governor-general was hired for a fee to represent Ilmuddin. He was not working pro bono. It was just another case, albeit a controversial one. More importantly, he lost the case, and faced harsh criticism for taking a stance against Hindu-Muslim unity (he would not advocate the two-nation theory until much later).

Later, the same cleric gave the example of a judge who had declared two young Christian boys not guilty of blasphemy. The judge was shot dead by another fanatic. The cleric claimed to have met with the killer in prison and claimed that the man’s actions were justified because his face was full of Noor (heavenly light).

So they can’t see heavenly bodies in the sky, but they can see heavenly light in people’s faces.

Fortunately, to nullify the claim that the murder was divinely inspired or religiously permissible, a few days back, Ejaz Haider cited Qazi Abu Bakr Jassas in his Ahkam al-Quran, pointing out, “Jihad, or implementing hadd cannot be permitted without the authority of the ruler, in modern times the state, not the clerics and certainly not by a semi-literate policeman.”

For secondary confirmation, there is always the opinion put forward by Aslam Khaki, a prominent Islamic jurist who told Syed Ali of Express 24/7, “Many zaeef (unauthenticated) traditions are usually cited by certain scholars to justify vigilante justice, however the Islamic system not only promises due legal process to every citizen but also allows suspects to repent and seek forgiveness if they so wish.”

But who will explain this to the thaekaydars in this land of confusion?

Full credit goes to the judge for upholding the dignity of the justice system, in spite of veiled public threats and the historic precedent of the final outcome for many whose rulings on such cases went counter to the sentiments of hardliners.

The decision is almost certain to be appealed, and whether or not higher courts uphold the ruling remains to be seen. What has already been seen though, is protesting mobs damaging public property, making various vile proclamations, and essentially doing everything to remind the public that they will kill or maim anyone who calls them violent bigots.

But then, one must remember that according to the aforementioned religious group, and even the killer’s lawyer, the assassinated politician was responsible for his own death. The argument being that someone or the other would have killed the politician.

That would be true, if one were to believe the convoluted interpretation of his statements as relayed by extreme right. However, take out a few minutes to look up and actually read what he said, while keeping the case of the ‘blaspheming’ village woman in mind, and re-examine the extrajudicial verdict against the late governor. Keep in mind that a false accusation of blasphemy legally merits the same sentence as that which would have come had the accusation been true.

Now comes the real question, the answer to which can only be provided by the one party with the right to declare anyone a blasphemer and punish him or her accordingly.

When will the Government of Pakistan start taking action against those, who without any authority, accuse and punish innocent people for blasphemy?

Not just those with famous victims, but those who live and die without making the front page.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011. 
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Umar Farooq Khawaja | 12 years ago | Reply @Muhammad Aurangzeb: Please learn to differentiate between freedom of expression and taking the law into your own hands. And while you are at it, kindly read the Qur'an and Hadith yourself as well. As far as I have read in the Qur'an, everywhere Allah has ordered us to not do something, He has also told us to seek forgiveness and repent. This implies that your sins are not final. Furthermore, Allah has very, very strictly forbidden the taking of lives, so much so that He has said that whoever takes one life unlawfully has killed the entire humanity. The more important point is this though. Was Zia-ul-Haq appointed by Allah? Was he a prophet of God? The answer is no and no, to both questions. He was a human being. He was a stooge of the US and the CIA. He was there to prepare the ground for their shenanigans in Afghanistan. They needed a line to feed the Pakistani masses to make them want to go into Afghanistan and get themselves killed, so they filled our minds up with pseudo-religious claptrap, in the shape of Hudood Ordinance and Blasphemy Laws. Nowhere does it say in the Qur'an and the Hadith that re-examining an Islamic state's laws is blasphemy. In fact, Allah has commanded us to understand Islam as best as we can. If you really think about it, the real disbeliever is Qadri, who frankly broke every important command of Allah. So do us all a favor. Take your own advice. Read the Qur'an with translation and not just in Arabic.
imran | 12 years ago | Reply why the rule of law for just MUMTAZ only! it should be for our president who was,is and will be a murdere of a great number of Pakistanis, it should be for REHMAN MALIK also< and how can we consider THE JUDICIARY of Pakistan a pure and honest institution when it was and is being directed and dictated by the persons like BABAR awan,(a snake biting and cheating people by using the name of islam. ALAS! ALAS! THE JUDICIARY OF PAKISTAN IS JUST BARBARISM or you can call it BABARISM BUT if you can make the rule of law for all not for just Innocent people, then i will be the first to appreciate the HANG DECISION of thousands of MUMTAZis of this world.
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