Who will be the next blasphemer?

Dawn: by Faiza Mirza: When Jinnah said that “religion and state should be kept separate”, he could not have more appropriately warned the people of present-day Pakistan where the constitutionally supported, man-made religious doctrines issued by fundamentalists continue, to ruin lives.

Persecution of religious minorities is not uncommon in Pakistan, however, year 2012 witnessed the height of injustices when a mentally unstable man was torched alive for alleged blasphemy and an 11-year-old girl suffering from Down Syndrome was arrested for alleged sacrilege.

Given the legal statuette and constitution of Pakistan, no one in his/her right mind would ever venture out to commit blasphemy publicly or otherwise which all the more proves that the aforementioned people were not in full possession of their faculties, when or even if they committed blasphemy.

Though President Asif Ali Zardari sought a report on the arrest of Rimsha, a minor girl, and took notice of the man killed by scavenging protestors — both accused of blasphemy — but no amount of investigation will ever bring back the man who died the most horrible of deaths. No amount of probing will secure Rimsha’s future. No amount of placatory words will reassure minorities that the blasphemy law will not be manoeuvred to hurt them in Pakistan. And no number of notices will ever empower minorities living an oppressed existence in our country.


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