Pakistan’s blasphemy law

Published: August 26, 2012

Imran Khan says Pakistan’s blasphemy law is necessary. He says it is a British law and thinks that in its absence, people would be lynched and there would be anarchy. The stern law, therefore, also helps those accused of blasphemy.

Is he right? Let us consider the law.

Only seven cases of blasphemy were registered in undivided India and Pakistan from 1927 to 1986, according to a group of Pakistani Christians. The National Commission for Justice and Peace says that in the last 25 years, 1,058 cases of blasphemy were registered. Of the accused, 456 were Ahmadis, 449 were Muslims, 132 were Christians and 21 were Hindus.

Non-Muslims, who are four per cent of Pakistan’s population, are 57 per cent of those charged with blasphemy. The other aspect is that, by far, the majority of cases are filed in Punjab.

India and Pakistan share their penal code, which was given to us by Macaulay in the 1860s. Pakistan’s primary law on blasphemy is the same as India’s law, which I wrote about yesterday.

Pakistan’s section 295-A reads: “Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations insults the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both.”

Both in India and Pakistan, this law is secular and applies to all faiths. The only significant difference in Pakistan’s law is the punishment, which in India is only three years. In 1982, President Ziaul Haq introduced an ordinance that added a section to this law. Section 295-B reads: “Whoever wilfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Qur’an or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.”

It is difficult to see what new element this added which was not covered by 295-A, except that it is specifically a law that protects Muslim sensibility, and the punishment is increased.

Under prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, another addition to the blasphemy law was legislated in 1986. Section 295-C reads: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

This also was already covered by the original secular law. And again, here the punishment was increased, this time delivering death.

Till this change came, the number of blasphemy cases, to remind the reader, was only seven in 60 years. Therefore, Imran Khan is wrong to say the anti-blasphemy law is helpful in keeping peace. The truth is the opposite: Pakistanis have registered so many cases since 1986 because the Islam-specific laws 295-B and 295-C are being deployed.

It is often said that property disputes or personal enmity are the reasons for many of these cases, because people can be charged on the basis of hearsay. If this were the case, the law would be misused in India also, which it is not. My view is that it is strong religious sentiment that is the reason why so many Pakistanis are accused of being blasphemers.

President Pervez Musharraf said he would look into softening the law, but couldn’t. Sherry Rehman tried to introduce a change to the law and failed. Why?

I would say that it is not possible for the state to bring change over an unwilling population.

Punjab’s Muslims have defied the state on religion before. Emperor Bahadur Shah I (Aurangzeb’s son) was unable to get the Lahore Jama Masjid to recite the khutba because the word ‘wasi’ was added by him to the name of the fourth caliph. The khutba proclaimed him as head of state and was therefore important as a sign of his sovereignty. The emperor had an angry showdown with four sullen clerics in his tent, demanding they comply. In Bahadur Shah’s view, the additional word was not against any specific Sunni practice. The clerics did not back down and, supported by the Afghans in Punjab, threatened civil war. A crowd of 100,000 civilians gathered to fight the state. In all the rest of India, the khutba continued to be read in the prescribed form except in Lahore. The emperor had to back down and finally the khutba was read on October 2, 1711, without the word ‘wasi’.

There is no chance that the state will be able to undo the two changes to Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (58)

  • Aug 26, 2012 - 9:40PM

    Blasphemy law can never be repealed unless pakistani state abandons its policy of jihad and non state actors who destablize india and afghanistan. These laws are necessary to keep the extremists happy so they continue to provide 72 virgin fanatics on constant basis to the central establishment of pakistan. Imran plays safe by not criticizing this barbaric law and instead blames its implementation. the fact is that this law can never be implemented in any society because it is full of loopholes.


  • BlackJack
    Aug 26, 2012 - 9:43PM

    The issue, as I see it, is that the majority of muslims in Pakistan are fanatical about their religion, and an institutionalized blasphemy law tells them that their fanaticism is justified. No one will defend a blasphemy accused – the law in effect gives free rein to anarchy that is increasingly seen in each case of blasphemy.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Aug 26, 2012 - 9:57PM

    No politician in Pakistan can change these laws. It was only possible once when Musharaf took over and Imran became his supporter no.1. .Unfortunately it proved to be another alliance of a Hypocrat and a Mullah.


  • Ashamed
    Aug 26, 2012 - 9:59PM

    That is exactly what you can and should expect in terror ridden Islamic republics.


  • Rafique Khan
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:02PM

    There is no need to amend or change the blasphemy law in Pakistan. We are handicaps in other countries because as we all know in the past so many caught red handed including Rushdie and Danish cartoonists in defamation of Islam and our Holy Prophet (PBUH). Their respective Governments said that their citizens are having freedom of speech.

    No any religion teaches its followers to defame other religions but few handful people are doing this bad practices to hurt others.


  • Bilal Naeem
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:08PM

    i dont see why these laws should be removed, Pakistan was founded in the name of Islam and should be kept that way, it laws and legislation should be reflection of our religious values.Recommend

  • ...
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:08PM

    The blasphemy law will never be changed. Why? Because no politician has the guts to do something that is actually against the majority opinion. So PTI trolls, while you go on and on about how Imran Khan is the only leader brave enough to speak the truth and the only honest voice in Pakistan and other things that portray him as an angel, consider this: The truth of the matter is that Imran Khan knows the law is barbaric. How could he not? He is a westernised, educated, elite Pakistani. He even states in his book that he was an atheist for a number of years. He doesn’t support a repeal of it because he needs majority support, just like every other populist leader there is. He is nothing special


  • Mr X from Bombay
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:08PM

    @Author : Honest but grim projection of the situation. Any country (India not being exception) when religion becomes superior than welfare of state and individual, it has already placed itself in a difficult path where the return journey is next to impossible or comes with very heavy price. Either ways, we all can wish that innocents of the society ( irrespective of their choice of faith ) are protected from such biased, often inhuman and unfair laws.


  • Fahad
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:16PM

    Failure to implement a law does not mean that law itself should be removed. If we consider this rule, then we should also allow drugs and illegal weapons as they are also used by police against innocents. Easiest way to have your enemy arrested is to produce drugs or an illegal weapon.


  • Ali
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:24PM

    Thanks for the breakdown of the law. Legislative intent behind these laws is clear as daylight.


  • mr. righty rightist
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:26PM

    Why all the senseless/irrelevant citations.

    Pakistan is a country with low literacy rate. The actions of majority of the population are not based on logic but on brainwashed false ideology.

    They won’t change because you wrote something. Sunni muslim politicians and other powerful are being killed to protect these laws. Sherry went into hiding after popular protests for her proposed reforms.Recommend

  • Karella
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:30PM

    I am not at all a fan of this law, but if it has to be implemented, why not see the following?
    The Taliban blow up mosques and schools deliberately, the schools now number 1,000 plus. In this deliberate action, thousands of Qurans and ‘Noorani Qaida’ (similar to the one allegedly burnt by the 11 year old Christian girl) have been burned. Can we have at least 1,000 blasphemy cases against these people who have confessed to the above crime?


  • Humanity
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:46PM

    Th blasphemy law is inherently blasphemous ..

    Just think about it and then weep for humanity suffering at the hands of the gods who enshrined hatred and bigotry into law and that too in the name of religion.


  • suraj
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:53PM

    If IK also supports this law, then there would be no hope left for minorities for their peaceful living in Pakistan… very sad..


  • Reasonable
    Aug 26, 2012 - 10:58PM

    Lets face is we are emotional and at many a times irrational. Our lack of literacy (including that of the religion itself) is the main reason for the problem. And we live somewhere where the writ of government has been shaky and people generally distrust and discontent in the system of justice and governance. What this law is doing is simply creating a buffer. Had this law not been enacted or was to be repealed we would see a staggering number of incidents where people take the law into their own hands and start execution on streets. Then you’ll be crying to stop the widespread executions all across the country.


  • Saad Aziz
    Aug 26, 2012 - 11:24PM

    i hope the changes are made in the law and imran is going to change that


  • Aug 26, 2012 - 11:31PM

    Dear Author :
    you have totally ignored the circumstances/environment prevailing presently and 300 years earlier.


  • SM
    Aug 26, 2012 - 11:43PM

    …and they all lived happily ever after.


  • Sindhi_Pakistani
    Aug 26, 2012 - 11:50PM

    This law is being misused and it has been used to settle score with opponents using religion as a tool. This is really shame. General Zia destroyed very fabric of our nation. Nation was brainstormed to follow religious fundamentalism as certificate of being Patriot. To save Pakistan, all Zia era based laws and policies need to be reversed on war footings, before whole nation plunge into deep hole of madness.


  • Rambler
    Aug 27, 2012 - 12:50AM

    Thanks for this crystal clear article. IK has no idea what the law is, he is only a Mullah appeaser and he will keep doing that until he is of no use to the Mullah. IK on one hand criticizes the British and finds solace in knowing that anti Blasphemy laws were made by the British. How Ironic!

    As far as the law is concerned, its inhumane to its core. I would not say that it is being misused. It is being used in its true spirit in which it was made. People of Pakistan have come to the point where they think only about themselves. In a country where thousands can gatherer to persecute and 11 years old, how can we expect from its people to stand up against the law.


  • zeeshan sheikh
    Aug 27, 2012 - 2:28AM

    Yes go on finish the law and we will take law in our hand.


  • kabir
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:29AM

    Pakistan is NOT a secular state–no matter how much we may like it to be. The problem with democracy is that people may vote for laws that others find reprehensible. But if you believe in the principle of democracy, than you have to respect the decisions of the duly elected representatives. There is no party in Pakistan that will support the repeal of the blasphemy law. If there was a vote taken in Parliament tomorrow asking whether the blasphemy law should be repealed, I can safely say that most politicians will vote for it to stay in its current form. What can the international community do though? Democracy is democracy right?

    The Zia-era blasphemy laws cannot be removed until and unless Pakistan becomes a secular state—something that is not likely to happen in the next 50 years. The problem is that our national ideology is very confused: Was Pakistan founded as a Muslim-majority nation that would be a secular state or was it meant to be an Islamic State run on Sharia? No one has been able to figure that out over the past 65 years.


  • nomi
    Aug 27, 2012 - 7:25AM

    @ mr. righty rightist

    What moral basis does an Indian like you have to question Pakistan’s law and order situation?

    Your secular country is ahead of Pakistan in religious discrimination according to PEW research.

    Many politicians in India have the same mentality, patronize many extremist groups.

    Pakistan may be heading towards disaster, but you have no real moral basis to comment on that unless you accept your country’s own shortcomings.


  • John B
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:18AM

    Majority vote on reprehensible issues does not make them legit.

    An issue attain legitimacy because it appeals to the natural order of human senses and value.

    Majority in a town cannot decide that they are going to execute those who do not agree with them. They may have a majority vote, but the issue of vote does not fit in natural order of process. Similarly, majority cannot decide to enslave people of different ethnic origin or religion or execute those who do not belong to their religion.

    PAK was never confused about her identity. Pak is a theocratic state and never had the intention of secular state. It was founded in the name of religion and asserts her position as such in the constitution clearly. The only idea of secularism was the once and only once uttered Jinnah’s speech, which has no substance of value:- secularism speech delivered on the heels of separation based on religion.

    All that are happening in the past 65 years, either during elected government time or during military rule have been slow fulfillment of promise made 65 years ago: to reach the goal of a perfect Islamic state, in the definition of PAK ideology. On that front, it is going in the right direction and those who did not like it either left the country or resisting it with futility with compromises.

    The old adage ” Be careful what you wish for” came true for PAK. Unlike Bangladesh, PAK is caught in her vision and cannot become a secular without a civil war.


  • Kamran
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:28AM

    Blasphemy cannot be committed against God herself as she is too supreme and infinite. If offended does anyoen doubt she can handle the matter herself and doesn’t need puny little mindless creatures on Planet Earth to act on her behalf. (Despoiling this planet via overpopulation and overconsumption is what is really blassphemous to Her!)

    Those who are offended by blasphemous acts as defined by te Blasphem Laws are tiny insignificant and powerless people living on an insignificant patch of land on an insignificant planet. Blasphemy can only be committed in the eyes of these tiny, insignificant people for they have the gall to speak and act for the Almighty and presume She is offended by any tiny insignificant act these tpeople are offended by. These laws make these people feel important and powerful when they are really hopelessly insignificant in the scheme of things and in te eyes of the Almighty..


  • Ejaaz
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:51AM

    The penalty for desecrating the Word of Allah should be death as well. Why did Zia limit it to imprisonment?


  • logic needed
    Aug 27, 2012 - 3:34PM

    @John B: I agree with you. good analysis. I also think that pakistani liberals are doing a great disservice to their cause by citing this speech as proof that Jinnah worked for separate secular state. He deliberately used religious sentiments for achieving his political aim. his speech was more like an apology to non-muslims who suffered because of his call for direct action day and partition. By dissolving elected constituent assemblies he proved that he had very low respect for democratic values.
    We all agree that better future of Pakistan lies in being secular and tolerant, but giving false logic exposes liberals to ridicule from right wing. It will take a very powerful leader for Pakistan to admit that Jinnah had committed grave mistakes by exploiting religious sentiments and undermining democratic values.


  • kabir
    Aug 27, 2012 - 3:42PM

    @John B:
    Sorry, but you clearly don’t understand how democracy works in nation states. Pakistan is an independent nation state and thus it is up to Pakistanis whether they want a secular state or not. A country can be democratic without being secular.

    All I was saying is that in the forseeable future, any time a vote is taken on whether to repeal the blasphemy laws are not, I can bet you that a large majority of Parliament will vote for the laws to stay in current form. There is nothing that outsiders can do about it, except complain. The law will change when the majority of 180 million Pakistanis demand a secular state from their politicians.


  • Lala Gee
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:49PM

    @Anas Abbas:

    “Blasphemy law can never be repealed unless pakistani state abandons its policy of jihad and non state actors who destablize india and afghanistan.”

    I am myself is severely critical of the current Blasphemy Laws in the present form. Only non-secular version of Article 295 seems to be fair and carry more than enough punishment for blasphemous acts committed deliberately by a sane adult. But how these are related with ‘Jihad’? I understand Indians frustration with ‘Jihadis’, but believe me it has nothing to do with true ‘Jihad’.


  • THE
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:51PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: PML-N and Shahbaz Sharif have more then once publically requested the Taliban not to attack Punjab and now you come to tell us about Imran Khan. Have some shame!!! Recommend

  • Babloo
    Aug 27, 2012 - 4:59PM

    The blasphemy law is a product of the state.
    The state did propoganda in its favour and argued for it.
    The state can undo it accompanied by propoganda against it.
    The state of Pakistan is unwilling to do it just as its unwilling to abandon terrorist, sectarian and other extrimist militias.


  • abhi
    Aug 27, 2012 - 5:28PM

    Democracy doesn’t mean tyranny of majority. If you think democracy means all the decision should be taken by popular votes then you are totally wrong. you can not have democracy without freedom of expression.


  • Aug 27, 2012 - 5:37PM

    I’m really not sure if Pakistanis are Muslims any more. If a mob of Pakistanis are willing to riot and kill over a torn book or cartoons of Mohammed haven’t they become Mohammedan idolators – worshipers of images?


  • sick of this nonsense
    Aug 27, 2012 - 5:37PM

    @mr. righty rightist:
    mostly of “jahils”? you dont have the decency to talk in a public forum. Jahils dont put things up for debate like we are doing here. Kindly don’t comment if you dont have any thing worthwhile to say.
    If you allow a person to call us jahils kindly do publish my comments too. Thanks.Recommend

  • Astonished
    Aug 27, 2012 - 6:35PM


    Understood. But freedom of expression itself gives birth to bullying. So if I start abusing you in the public and start cursing the way you live your life, would you call it a freedom of expression or a personal abuse?


  • BlackJack
    Aug 27, 2012 - 7:46PM

    I don’t disagree with @John B, but in this case I understand where @kabir is coming from. The downside of democracy is a possible tilt towards populism – this manifests itself in decisions that are not always good for the nation but are certaintly popular with a vocal segment of the electorate – whether it be retaining the blasphemy law (or) instituting reservations for Dalits in promotions in PSUs (or) reluctance to institute adequate gun control (all 3 points for different countries). What @kabir is saying is that it is impossible for Pakistan (as a democracy) to get rid of the blasphemy law because this is what the people want; whether the law in itself or its supporters are barbaric or not, I think there is very little disagreement amongst all of us, but then even slavery was abolished long after many of the western countries became democracies. You could argue that this was a couple of centuries back, but then Pakistan is still in the 7th century CE.


  • John B
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:04PM


    I”ll ignore your comment on my lack of understanding of democracy.

    I agree with you that if the vote comes up in PAK parliament in favor of blasphemy law it will be passed unanimously.

    However, I disagree with you that outsiders cannot do nothing about except complain.

    PAK is totally dependent on her export: that means she cannot live in a vacuum and has to abide by the natural laws of humanity.

    A container ship from Pakistan turned away from docking in the distant shore will be the last straw.

    That said, blasphemy law will remain in PAK books but it will be systematically ignored and no prosecution will ever happen in the coming years.

    @abhi: “Democracy doesn’t mean tyranny of majority”- well put


  • Babloo
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:16PM

    @Solomon2 sahib,
    Whats wrong with idolatry, if the idol is in the mind of the devotee, a representation of the divine or the supreme power ?
    The propoganda against idolatry is anathor form of philosophical bigotry.


  • AhmedMaqsood
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:16PM

    The craziest thing about this law is there is no mention of punishment for blasphemy in the Quran or the hadith.


  • gp65
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:33PM

    @Astonished: I am not abhi but would like to respond to your question posed to him.

    Yes. Bullying is unacceptable. But all difference of opinion do not automatically constitute bullying. When Sunnis desecrate Ahmadi graves, that is bullying where even the dead are not spared. But if asmall child of 11 burns a copy of Norrani Qaida (I could have unknowingly spelt this incorrectly) which she found in a trash can where it clearly must have been thrown by a Muslim and in playing with this book she found in trash manages to destroy some Quranic verses that were listed in this book, it does not constitute as an attack on your way of life. If another young Christian girl misspells some religious word which makes it mean something different from what was intended, that too is not an attack on your way of life. Yet both these people have been accused of blasphemy. People who practice different religions have different core beliefs. Muslims believe that there cannot prophet after Prophet Mohammed, Hindus do not believe this. Expression of these differences also does not constitute bullying as long as you are not forcing your opinion or way of life on others.

    By the way ET, I responded to @nomi twice in great detail yet you do not publish my responses which meet all the ET comment guidelines.


  • Aik Aam Insaan
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:53PM

    @ the writer, Sir with due respect I don’t agree with your wrong Analysis

    First of all, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded the Ahmedi movement on 23 March 1889 under British law so it is not possible to count or compare the number of blasphemy cases after 1889 to 1947 (due to British law). Also in Ahmedi books they write wrong things in their religion and call themselves Muslims which is prohibited by the constitution of Pakistan and that’s why most of the victims 50% of blasphemy are Ahmedis

    Secondly, 1920’s a young man was hanged in India for killing the publisher of an inflammatory book defaming Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was his defense lawyer so don’t put everything on Zia-ul-Haq

    Also, Mr. Bhutto passed the constitution in which Ahmedis are non-muslims and they can’t call them Muslims.

    And the last one point, In India their is no such thing like Blasphemy, hindu kill muslims after every 3-4 years for no big reason. I witnessed 1992-1993 mass killings after Babri Masjid in India. and recent Assam 1000+ killings just last month. 400 hundred people are still displaced.

    How on earth someone can don’t discuss 1000+ killings in India and discussing the blasphemy law in India for one single christian girl ?

    Jinab leave India , discuss Karachi, everyday 10-15 people got killed, but alas they are not belonged to minorities so they are buried unnoticed from respectable media/civil society.

    Aik Aam Insaan from bayhis Awam


  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:54PM

    There are only 3% non Muslims left in Pakistan. I would request imran Khan and the Pakistani government to put in another law amendment to it which makes the relatives of the accused as being a non active participants to the crime and confiscation of their properties mandatory by the state . It will solve the problem of these wretched people. The true nation of pakistan will be born according to zaid Hamid and Hamid guls dream. 100% Muslim state should be the manifesto of imran Khan. Cheerio


  • Asok
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:07PM

    @Ejaaz like when tQuranic verses and the Kalima are defaced or erased from Ahmadi mosques and establishments?

    Do you support the death penalty for such acts?


  • gp65
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:38PM

    @Aik Aam Insaan: “And the last one point, In India their is no such thing like Blasphemy, hindu kill muslims after every 3-4 years for no big reason. I witnessed 1992-1993 mass killings after Babri Masjid in India. and recent Assam 1000+ killings just last month. 400 hundred people are still displaced.”

    Please provide sources for these statements. you clearly have a different source for information compared to the rest of the world. As far as I know more Hindus died in the riots following Babri Masjid. This is because these were retaliatory riots initiated by the Muslim community. Secondly in Assam around 50 people including Bodos and illegal Bangladesh immigrants have died (not thousand). Further the Muslims that dies are not Indian citizens or legal immigrants and hence less willing to seek police help since they fear repatriation. Finally there is no institutionalized bigotry coded in the constitution against Muslims in Indian constitution as there is against Ahmadis in Pakistani constitution.


  • gp65
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:43PM

    @Babloo: Welcome back babloo. HAd not seen a comment from you in a while.


  • Babloo
    Aug 27, 2012 - 10:55PM

    Thanks. Sometimes ET policy of filtering comments, baffles me. I enjoy reading your posts.


  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Aug 27, 2012 - 11:55PM

    Blasphemy is intolerable,but,does it require review for any further improvement………that is to be discussed ???


  • Aug 28, 2012 - 12:24AM

    “Whats wrong with idolatry, if the idol is in the mind of the devotee, a representation of the divine or the supreme power ?”

    @Babloo: in my religious tradition, Judaism, the problem with idols was that over time people no longer thought of an idol as the representation of the supreme power but as a separate god entirely – thus becoming one of a pantheon of gods, gods whose characteristics were then imbued by men, rather than men following the desire of the supreme power. So they were banned.

    But hey, if it works for you in your religion, if you can keep holding the idea of an idol as a mere representation of the Supreme One, and if you are certain you can successfully imbibe that into your progeny, I don’t see why I should have any complaint.


  • M.Yaqub
    Aug 28, 2012 - 1:00AM

    Blasphemy Law is itself against The Holy Quran. And what can be more blasphemous than a law against the word of Allah. This is a Christian law adopted by all the countries where the British Rule prevailed. This present version is purely and specifically un-islamic. I have repeatedly asked a simple question which has never been published before. That is this: For 1400 years the only way the Muslims have disposed off papers with Quranic verses is through burning or burial. Why suddenly since the last 25 years this has been found un-lawful? Have the Mullahs found another method of disposal of Quranic Verses?
    Also Bismillah is a Quranic verse written or printed on every other piece of paper, which often lands in garbage. Is this not Blasphemy under Pakistani Law?
    In the present scenario, the only way to correct the law is to remove the additions to the basic law and make false accusations punishable by 80 lashes !!


  • Aug 28, 2012 - 1:15AM

    Great point on the property disputes and personal enmity not being a primary motive for blasphemy cases and probably more due to fanatical religious sentiment. Most Western nations still have blasphemy laws on their books. But it isn’t retributive nor signals violent permissiveness to a fanatical majority. Only silver lining is that, unlike the vicious public mob mentality, the Pak state rarely executes convicted blasphemers under custody, though custody could be infinite. How long this small relief of humanity will last is anyone’s guess.

    The Bahadur Shah I history was new and revealing (the irony as Aurangzeb’s son). Perhaps the Wahhabification of Pak shouldn’t be surprising, due to such precedents. The disputing Sunnis of Lahore of 18th century may have been a type minority (still 100,000 is huge) in the whole of then India, as other Sunni clerics and their flock elsewhere did not threaten violence, but are now the type that are majority in present day Pakistan.


  • Lala Robin Daniel
    Aug 28, 2012 - 2:14AM

    Imran Khan is a cow boy leader, he is not a leader, he is still a cricketer, we cannot compare our situations and our mindsets with another country. Late Banazir Bhutto said that in a country where fake witness is purchased in 200 rupees, the law like blasphemy law will creates problems for the whole society. People used this law for there personal enmity, what is the stance of Imran Khan in the case of Rimsha Masih a 11 years child girl? How he compare her with any other case? Things use to gain political millage and having sense of humor as a leader is something else.Recommend

  • gp65
    Aug 28, 2012 - 4:37AM

    @Solomon2: I appreciate the open mindedness you have shown in understanding how we Hindus see idols in our scheme of worship. Ofcourse your faith has taught you differently and you have explained the rationale for that too which is helpful to understand.

    As I am sure you are aware, we Hindus are inheritors of a painful legacy where several Afghan and Mongol invaders destroyed our places of worship and idols therein. Your greacious acknowledgment of a different way of thinking is the type of conversation needed to build bridges.


  • vasan
    Aug 28, 2012 - 7:13AM

    It is very funny that instead of religion protecting people, people are trying to protect religion. Is religion that unsafe.


  • gp65
    Aug 28, 2012 - 10:08AM

    @vasan: “It is very funny that instead of religion protecting people, people are trying to protect religion. Is religion that unsafe.”

    Exactly my thoughts. It is those of us who believe in God who derive comfort, courage, hope by believing in the one Supreme power. God certainly is not a 96 pound weakling depending on us mere mortals to protect him/her. Also GOd as I conceive him/her would be fair and judge everyone by their actions (honesty, kindness, decency, hard work, empathy) not by who prayed to them more often let alone something as minor as what name they were addressed by or specific rituals followed while showing our gratitude for his gifts. How can God be like this boss who indulges in favoritism and gives promotions, bonus and raises only to his clique whom he likes regardless of who puts in more effort and fires anyone that applies to another role within the same organization – working for a different boss.


  • 123
    Aug 28, 2012 - 2:07PM

    The people of Pakistan should strongly oppose any move to amend or repeal the blasphemy law. Changes to the current law will not be acceptable to us Pakistanis. Shame on those who want to change or repeal it.


  • KT
    Aug 28, 2012 - 5:33PM

    It is interesting, I have been trying to do some research on the matter. Quran talks about two kinds of rights (Haqooq), Haqooq-Allah, rights of Allah and Haqooq-Alabad, rights of humans (please note humans, not Muslims otherwise it would have been Haqooq-Almuslimeen). God has reserved the right to punish or forgive those who do not fulfill His rights and commit blashphemy and has not delegated it to other humans. Humans can punish or forgive other humans for issues related to Haqooq-Alabad only. In fact, the exact verses in Quran for blasphemers points to their hopeful repentence. How can a dead person repent. Yes there are verses in Quran about capital punishment but for espionage, treason and so on. The two may be linked when someone deliberately commits blasphemy and leads it to such an extent so as to stir violence and conflict but the act of blasphemy alone may not be punishable by death. Am I missing something here?


  • Indian Catholic
    Aug 28, 2012 - 6:44PM

    @BlackJack: even slavery was abolished long after many of the western countries became democracies.
    Just thought I would correct you a bit there. The US was perhaps the country with the most number of slaves and one of the first countries to abolish slavery. Even though the US was a democracy, slaves were disenfranchised and did not have the right to vote. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Lincoln in 1863 making all slaves free. However they became US citizens only later through jus soli and the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 which finally made them citizens and gave them equal rights.


  • Ummer Khan
    Aug 30, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Imran Khan is wrong when he doesn’t speak out loud against this barbaric inhuman law. But I will vote for PTI.


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