Discretion and valour

Source: ET

The decision by the Supreme Court to order the registration of an FIR for blasphemy against Sherry Rehman has lead to much outrage and alarm amongst Pakistan’s small and perpetually beleaguered group of liberals. The alarm is justified. Frankly, so is the outrage.

Before I explain myself, a brief summary of the facts. Sherry Rehman appeared on television on January 19, 2011, in a show broadcast by Dunya TV from Islamabad. During that show she elaborated her views as to why the blasphemy laws of this country needed to be amended. Subsequently, a gentleman by the name of Muhammad Faheem Akhtar Gill saw the programme at his house in Multan. He came to the conclusion that Ms Rehman’s comments were tantamount to blasphemy and accordingly filed a complaint at a police station in Multan seeking the registration of a criminal case against Ms Rehman. The local police station refused to register the FIR on the grounds that the crime, if any, had occurred in Islamabad and that Mr Gill should therefore go to Islamabad to pursue his grievance. Both the sessions court (to whom Mr Gill first went) and the Lahore High Court at Multan (to whom Mr Gill appealed the decision of the sessions court) agreed with the local police. Mr Gill therefore took his grievance to the Supreme Court.


Categories: Asia, Pakistan

1 reply

  1. “The second option for the Court was to have actually examined the issue of blasphemy in the context of other human rights. It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to realise that the blasphemy law is being abused at present. It also doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to realise that our political representatives are far too scared to say much about the law. Frankly, given what happened to Salmaan Taseer, I don’t blame them. My point is instead that the reason why we have fundamental rights in the Constitution and the reason why we have an independent judiciary with security of tenure is so that our judges can examine our laws with a vision unclouded by populist pressures”

    Well said. When it came to SR (Sherry Rehman) you wrote this way. However when unknown individuals from Ahmadies, Christians and Hindus were involved great writers of your stature preferred silence. Here is the biggest flaw of our society. When any influential is blamed or involved all feel the pinch however when any ordinary individual is brutalised no one pays attention. SC will never re-examine such laws as it is busy in more important matters of getting rid of current ruling elite. Nature reacts to revenge the innocent blood. Warnings were given such discriminatory laws one day will become death traps for those who were passing and enacting these. But when some one is enjoying the taste of power he or she does not bother such warnings. My only fear is that tomorrow some so called “real Muslim” might not assassinate this bold lady.

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