Unhinged Society. By Shamim Masih

Image

The straightforward fact is, when I am writing these lines; I find no hope provision of justice and protection to marginalized portion of the society. I am representative of the most vulnerable community of the country, largely dealt under Islamic militancy. Until 2006, rape in Pakistan was a crime that was largely dealt with under Islamic law. Women had to produce four male witnesses to the crime. The failure to do so could mean being charged with adultery. On the other hand, anyone can be charged with blasphemy and be immediately detained without safeguards or the opportunity for bail. Under this law, the only evidence needed is one “reliable” man’s word. Ill-treatment and torture of the accused in the custody are common practice. Judicial proceedings can take years, resulting in innocent victims languishing in jails with pending trails or appeal. Judges become biased and legal representative and care takers are threatened. Political leaders, police and officials in the judicial system often collude in the victimization of the poorest in society.
Because the blasphemy law is open to abuse it has become a powerful tool to ignite religious extremism, encourage hostility towards minority groups and give Islamic zealots opportunities to take the law in their hands. During the last few years many Christians have been falsely accused of blasphemy under this law – often mischievously by people with selfish motives and the number is rising. Pakistan’s tough blasphemy laws have attracted criticism from rights groups, who say they are frequently abused to settle personal scores.
According to a study by USAID, Pakistani courts roots in the British colonial system means that across much of the country they are viewed with considerable suspicion, and that skepticism has fueled doubts about their legitimacy. Questions about legitimacy are compounded by the low level of efficiency, the prevalence of delays, the inferior quality of legal training, corruption, and perception that the court system is a tool for the delay of justice, manipulated by rich and/or powerful interests in the society.
In the same situation; proceedings of the current blasphemy cases are interrupted. Attorney and caretakers are being threatened; pamphlets are dropped in their offices warning them to disassociate themselves from blasphemy cases dealings. Christians face number of problems because of other laws concerning marriage, divorce, guardianship and inheritance. In cases of abduction of Christian women, the Muslim man can declare that his abducted wife has converted to Islam. Thus marriage, solemnized under the family laws of non-Muslims, can be dissolved with immediate effect.
In this situation; what we need to do, either to sit and wait for anyone to intrude or take some sold steps, to hold their horses. If Pakistan wishes to overcome its security issues, it must reject militancy in its entirety, even so called freedom fighters. We have exhausted all options of talks; a military option seems like the only step to curb elements that destabilize the country. In long term, the government needs to support efforts to promote interfaith harmony and generate dialogue that can find a middle ground on ideological divisions. The future of vulnerable minorities looks bleak in a country that is religiously sensitive and combustible to variance in ideologies. The state has failed to perform its primary duty of protecting its citizens. Meanwhile, the minorities remain in fear and fight for survival.

You May Also Like

Image

Islamic Jihad Not Hamas the Most Prominent Threat to Israel from Gaza. By Manish Rai

The ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has taken effect in the Gaza Strip after days of cross-border fighting trigger

Image

If US-religions don’t up-date & proselytize developing world (as per religious freedom), world doesn’t have any future at-least through USA. By Hem Raj Jain

As the age-old wisdom goes, the most difficult thing in the world is to take money from someone because generally people give money after deliberat

Image

USA can count on Tibetans (through India) to put China at its 'proper place'. By Hem Raj Jain

Lip service to democracy by the USA / Pelosi would fool no one (ii)- Strategic retreat over Taiwan legitimate only if USA launches new global organ

"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

On demand of our readers, I have decided to release E-Book version of "Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" on website of PCP which can also be viewed on website of Pakistan Christian Congress www.pakistanchristiancongress.org . You can read chapter wise by clicking tab on left handside of PDF format of E-Book.

nazirbhattipcc@aol.com , pakistanchristianpost@yahoo.com