“Right now it’s too easy for anyone to accuse someone else of committing blasphemy in Pakistan”
Rizwan is a planning and performance management analyst in Karachi.
The problem with the blasphemy law is not the law itself, but its implementation. The way it is enforced is completely subjective. There are many different currents of Islam in Pakistan, and different people feel differently about what is or is not insulting to the Prophet and our religion. Right now it’s too easy for anyone to accuse someone else of committing blasphemy – and the consequences of the accusation are much too serious. I do not think it is justified to sentence someone to death for committing blasphemy.
Unfortunately, those who feel strongest about blasphemy are also those who tend to take the law into their own hands. You are more likely, if you commit blasphemy in Pakistan, to be shot or lynched by an angry mob than to face trial.
“If your name happens to be Mohammed, does that mean you can accuse anyone who insults you of committing blasphemy?”
What is to prevent a comedian of being accused of blasphemy for making fun of Islamist fundamentalists in a skit? Or, if your name happens to be Mohammed, does that mean you can accuse anyone who insults you of committing blasphemy (as was the case for a pharmaceutical salesman whose middle name is Mohammed, who pressed charges against a doctor who dared throw out his visitor’s card)?
All governor Salman Taseer was suggesting, when he proposed that the blasphemy law be amended, was that there be a counter-punishment for the accuser in case the allegations proved unfounded. That way, it would avoid people making false accusations.
The governor only pointed out things many liberal Pakistanis say in private, but because he was a well-known public figure, he paid for it with his life. His death goes to show that the subject of blasphemy is absolutely not up for debate in Pakistan."