Published November 13, 2018
While watching last week’s three-day violent protests in Pakistan over the acquittal of a Christian lady, Aasiya Noreen (commonly known as Asia Bibi), by the Supreme Court over accusation of blasphemy against Islam, some things were going through my mind. I wondered if Pakistan and India had remained one country, what would have been the fate of that country, given the stark contrast in the worldviews of Pakistan and India, especially on the issue of religion and culture. Would it be peaceful or tempestuous, stable or instable, progressive or backward?
In June 2009, while harvesting berries, Asia Bibi – a peasant worker, mother and Christian – was accused of blasphemy after an argument with co-workers because she drank water from a well with the same cup used by Muslims. According to reports, a neighbour of hers who had an ongoing dispute with Bibi’s family about some property damage, excoriated her and reminded her that it was forbidden for a Christian to use the same drinking utensil with Muslims, given that she was considered unclean because of her Christian faith. An argument ensued between them. Bibi was accused of blasphemy.