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.