Living in denial substitutes deliberate ignorance for a thoughtful planning towards change.For over six decades we have confused, manipulated and twisted the theocracy. Denied principles that could have saved us from reaching the brink.
In February 1948 in a Broadcast talk to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan , Jinnah said the following:
The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair-play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims –Hindus, Christians, and Parsis –but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.
The address leaves no doubts regarding the ideology that led to Pakistan. It caters all factions of the society with their roles, rights and standing. Six decades after the address the inherited traditions, practicality, and sense of justice have been replaced by fanatical theories. The theocratic state now seems to serve a different mission. An agenda that was seeped in to the foundation of our society for the sole purpose of power. Zia’s Islamizition continues to serve its purpose. Over the time only faces have changed, while the fanatic ideology remains unscathed.
TOBA TEK SINGH: Seven people were burnt alive and 18 others injured in Gojra on Saturday after fresh violence erupted in the town over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran three days ago.
More than 50 houses were set on fire and a place of worship belonging to a minority community was damaged by an angry mob.
So an alleged discretion of the Quran can be used to justify burning 7 people alive?. Humanity says No, while the blasphemy law says yes.
The Blasphemy Law:
The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code were amended, through ordinances in 1980, 1982 and 1986 to declare anything implying disrespect to Muhammad, Ahle Bait (family of the prophet),Sahaba (companions of the prophet) and Sha’ar-i-Islam (Islamic symbols), a cognizable offence, punishable with imprisonment or fine, or with both.
|298A||Use of derogatory remarks etc., in respect of holy personages||3 years imprisonment, or with fine, or with both|
|298B||Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles etc., reserved for certain holy personages or places, by Ahmadis||3 years imprisonment and fine|
|298C||Aka Ordinance XX: An Ahmadi, calling himself a Muslim, or preaching or propagating his faith, or outraging the religious feelings of Muslims, or posing himself as a Muslim||3 years imprisonment and fine|
|295||Injuring or defiling places of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class||Up to 2 years imprisonment or with fine, or with both|
|295A||Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs||Up to 10 years imprisonment, or with fine, or with both|
|295B||Defiling, etc., of Quran||Imprisonment for life|
|295C||Use of derogatory remarks, etc; in respect of Muhammad||Death and fine|
How these laws can be used to justify violence?
Dr. Sajjad Farooq’s case in the year 1995 is ghastly example of religious frenzy, he was beaten to death by people outside a police station in Gujranwala. After being declared an apostate and accused of having desecrated the Qur’an. Dr. Farooq,was later reported to be a staunch Muslim, was dragged out from the police station where he was lodged and stoned to death by frenzied mobs. All this on the basis of a rumor, apparently circulated out of personal enmity, he was proclaimed to be a Christian through the loud-speakers of the mosques in his locality.
The outburst of sectarian and inter faith violence following the law are condemnable.Yet mere condemnation will not save lives.We need to eliminate these elements.The society cant bear co-existence until we break the shackles of religious extremism.Religion can not be made a compulsion.Neither can respect be driven through fear.While we fight the Taliban, one of the many gifts of Zia, the fanatic mindset requires immediate action.The rights of minorities can no longer be sabotaged.Repression of basic humanitarian rights will only lead to a chaotic backlash.General Zia’s ‘Islamization’ is not only controversial but has imparted irreparable damage to the social fabric. Zia had no qualms in exploiting the name of Islam to justify his lust for power.
Its been 31 years , since the law was introduced, yet the nation shows no scruples in abiding by the most futile system. A system sought to instill beguiler views and flourishing a conservative society.This involves the suspension of the sensibility of love and reason underlying the religious tradition signified in our culture.
Whether we allow the flames of Gojra to burn down the fanatic ideologies remains a pending decision. So let the victims of Gojra open our eyes to the flaws blatantly engraved in our minds and steer us to a much needed change.