Minorities feel they need to be more cautious with their words and manners

Published: January 8, 2011
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People shout slogans during a rally in Lahore threatening anarchy if the Blasphemy Act is amended. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

People shout slogans during a rally in Lahore threatening anarchy if the Blasphemy Act is amended. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

KARACHI: In the aftermath of the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, minorities have started feeling that they need to be more cautious with their words and manners.

“It’s not about respecting the law. We all respect other religions but we fear the misuse of it [the law],” said A, a Hindu by religion. “Since we are living in an Islamic republic, we expect laws to be based on the Shariat and the Quran but there are people who are misusing these pure principles for their own malign intentions.”

A added that intolerance and misuse of the law is causing more damage to the nation and the image of Islam than to people who are dying because of it.

As a result, most members of minority communities are feeling insecure in the country.  “I don’t know whether we are safe or not because the people, who were raising a voice for us, have also been silenced,” said B, a Christian woman. B said she feels more alienated now than ever.

“My colleagues have the same attitude towards with me and so do the people of my neighbourhood, which is why I still love Pakistan but I still can’t escape from the hidden fear,” she added. B further said that several people from her community migrated to the US, Canada and Australia but she never considered the possibility because she was very happy in Pakistan. “This incident has, however, made me think about it.”

B now feels that even though they will be second-class citizens in any other country, as they are in Pakistan, they will at least have rights. She said that all her family members have instructed their children to avoid any confrontations at school to be safe.

A representative of a Hindu association in Sindh told The Express Tribune that they are very sad about the killing of Salmaan Taseer. He added that the Hindus had suffered a lot at the hands of this law and they had “developed a flicker of hope but this incident killed it”.

He demanded the prime minister provide protection to the minorities until the blasphemy law is amended. He suggested that FIRs on blasphemy cases should not be filed at the SSP SHO level as they have a tendency of getting influenced by the local community. It should be filed only after a hearing of the DIG or the high court, he added.

Meanwhile, members of the Sikh community feel relatively safer mainly because they agree with the law. “No Sikh representative has ever faced any depressing incident in the country so our people are not that worried,” a community representative told The Express Tribune.

He added, however, that they also object to misuse of the law and suggested that the government form a council, comprising of members from all religious minorities. He agreed that the offender should be punished but no one should exploit the law.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • muhammad umar ansari
    Jan 8, 2011 - 11:55AM

    It’s a shame that we treat our minorities so horribly,they always have to be on the lookout,always on edge when in public because at any moment one of us can decide that this hindu,christian,parsi,bahai has offended islam & then all hell will break loose,even if we don’t go to the extent of registering blasphemy cases against them,but most definitely the minority member will then be socially ostracised & treated as an outcast by society( which is 97% muslim,which is a very high number for any 1 religion in any country).
    our minorities have to forego their religion when in public interaction as anyone using ‘god’,’bhagwan’ or ‘jesus’ is looked upon as a dirty ‘kafir’.
    we love to lambast india,but atleast their constitution doesn’t discriminate against muslims by preventing a muslim from becoming the president of the country.
    india,america,britain treat their minorities a million times better then what we muslims do in our ISLAMIC republic of pakistan.Recommend

  • Robin
    Jan 8, 2011 - 8:17PM

    All minorities should leave Pakistan; I am thankful to my grand-parents for getting out of the Pure Land way before the 1947 Partition happenedRecommend

  • jai
    Jan 8, 2011 - 8:19PM

    The law is misused by criminal elements to threaten minorities, usurp their property.Recommend

  • Robin
    Jan 8, 2011 - 8:21PM

    Pakistan should get a new name- Muslimistan – “No Country for Non-Muslims” instead of the Pure Land or Pakistan; Even tho both essentially mean the same thing; Maybe that is why number of minorities keep going down unlike in IndiaRecommend

  • Sana
    Jan 8, 2011 - 11:47PM

    “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.” Recommend

  • Kanishka
    Jan 9, 2011 - 2:26AM

    Robin if the ruling congress party remains for some more time, the Hindu majority India will become a Muslim Majority in 25 years and then there will be a call to implement Sharia in the constitution…Congress has been covering up the distribution of ration card t 3-5 core bangladeshis and aready approx 15 crore muslims stay in India as per 10 year old census.. today they would be around 20 crore at the least…. You can see how Congress leans towards Muslims for vote banks and that should give you an idea of this electorat strength.. I have immigrated from india cause I know in my heart that sooner or later India will be called Islamic Republic of India or Indianistaan.. This I prophesy…so immigrate away from India as soooon as possibleRecommend

  • Mulla Toofhan
    Jan 9, 2011 - 3:03AM

    The way the things are going in Pakistan, and if allowed to spread unchecked Pakistan will be called “Mullahistan” soon. A country where murderers are considered Hero’s by some , what can you expectRecommend

  • Aman
    Jan 9, 2011 - 11:12AM

    “As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side.” – GandhiRecommend

  • Mansoor
    Jan 9, 2011 - 1:00PM

    Even the majorites.its such a place.Recommend

  • A
    Jan 9, 2011 - 1:12PM

    These ignorant fools need to learn from how the Prophet P.B.U.H and the Quaid treated minorities.Recommend

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