Veena Malik and the modern witch-hunt of Pakistani blasphemy laws

Freedom-of-Expression

Source: The Telegraph

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are a menace to everyone in the country; even speaking out against them now constitutes blasphemy itself

It’s hard to read about the blasphemy convictions handed down to Pakistani actress Veena Malik and her husband Asad Bashir, media owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, and television presenter host Shaista Wahidi without a sense of frustration and confusion over the arbitrary application of the country’s blasphemy laws.

Malik and Bashir took part in a restaging of their wedding on a programme on Geo TV, owned by Shakil-ur-Rahman. Playing in the background was a song about the marriage of one of Mohammad’s daughters. That, apparently, was enough to trigger a prosecution.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are notoriously easy to invoke, and as such are often used as part of broader agendas and vendettas against individuals. Even mentioning Mohammed can become dangerous, as politician Sherry Rehman found when she invoked his memory to suggest that he would not approve of the death sentence for blasphemy.

Rahman’s friend Salmaan Taseer was killed by his own security guard for his campaign to reform the blasphemy law – suggesting that the country was now in a situation where even to speak out against the blasphemy law constitutes blasphemy in itself.

4 replies

  1. Look at the wording of section 295c of the Pakistan penal code: “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.”

    By such broad definition almost every one, in Pakistan, who is not fully acting on the teachings of the Prophet, is in a way defiling his name.

    The Blasphemy Law seems to be perfect recipe for anarchy and chaos.

    The fundamental question is what is more important some imaginary respect of the Prophet or freedom and rationality of every human, for which he was sent by Allah.

  2. As you sow so shall you reap.Geo has always been on the forefront in this dirty bloody game. I feel so sorry for dr.Shaista Lodhi as she is also a grave victim. My humble opinion is that Geo is responsible for ruining her, and her family. Every thing that shines is not gold.
    She was fine with ARY shows.May Allah have mercy on her.I really feel deep pain for her excesses. I don’t know if she can go back. I think she is from shia sect.My prayers are for her.

  3. Ahmadi specific modifications of blasphemy laws are showing their true colors! After using them against Ahmadis, people are waking up to their other uses. I believe Mullahs and Mullah types aren’t safe either.
    Serves them right, the press and nearly everyone else had a field day making the lives of Ahmadis a misery. Then they turned on Christians and now on each other. May remind one an Urdu line aptly expressing the state of affairs:
    لو آپ اپنے دام میں صیاد آگیا۔
    But I do feel sorry for Veena Malik and Junaid Jamshed.

  4. One quality of Law is is that it it is equally applicable to everyone.
    So 295c at least qualifies on these grounds.

    But more astonishing is the the cunningness of Mullah that they are finding excuses to pardon JJ. Because he is from their lot.
    One may have sympathy with any victim of this law but it must be emphasized the if mullah and consequently law enforcers can accept the verbal request of pardon from Junaid , why others cannot avail this path. How come a mullah think that the door of tauba is closed for the victims.

    Another positive outcome of these happening is that hey highlight the inherent flaws of the action 295c , which may result in ultimate amendment of the highly objectionable law.

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