Blasphemy law Pakistan have been used to persecute minority faiths, unfaith and unfairly target minorities. It carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. A large majority of Pakistani people support the idea that blasphemers should be punished.
Amending the blasphemy laws has never been on the agenda of any political parties. But none of them has made much progress – principally because of the sensitivities over the issue, but also because no major party wants to antagonize the religious parties. When Punjab Governor Salman Taseer – a prominent critic of the law – was assassinated by his bodyguard in 2011, Pakistan was divided, and large numbers of people hailing his killer as a hero.
A month after Salman Taseer was killed, Religious Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who spoke out against the laws, was shot dead in Islamabad, underlining the threat faced by critics of the law.
In 2016, Pakistan also passed its cybercrime law, which upholds identical punishments for Penal Code violations in the cyber-sphere.
In 2016, Pakistan also passed its cybercrime law, which upholds identical punishments for Penal Code violations in the cyber-sphere. This means that “blasphemy” would be punishable by death, even if committed online. The immediate impact of January’s abductions was a mass exodus of anonymous secular bloggers from the web. Satirical publication Khabaristan Times, including Bhensa, Mochi, and Roshni these pages were also banned by the PTA.
The statement was also made by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge “liberal secular” is a bigger threat than Islamic extremism. The reason behind putting ban on these web pages and facebook pages, was not only blasphemous content but also they criticized Pakistan Army, establishment and government.
Ironically, it is the state’s appeasement of radical Islam that has caused an upsurge in the number of atheists in Pakistan. This is why an official discourse on atheism has been going on in Pakistan, resulting in many expressing non-belief online, most doing so anonymously.
While one still can’t officially register as an atheist, or opt for “No Religion” as identity for the national database, the number of atheists is believed to have increased following the advent of Internet and social media allowing isolated nonbelievers to connect.
Muslims abandoning Islam – even if not their Muslim identity – is a global phenomenon, and the apostasy wave is upsetting the Islamist cart in Pakistan as well.
Muslims openly identifying as atheist in Pakistan would be an open invitation to violence, considering the state’s blasphemy laws are interpreted to outlaw apostasy, coupled with the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) refusal to let citizens officially change Islam as their religion. Hence, the aforementioned “secular liberal” label also provides refuge to the atheists.
Asia Bibi the woman who was accused of blasphemy, isn’t the first victim of Pakistan’s outrageous blasphemy laws – yet the government refuses to take real action. There are thousands of victim in which Mashal Khan the secular blogger was killed by a mob on a university campus after being accused of blasphemy against Islam. Christian, Hindus and Ahmedis are easy target after free thinkers/secular bloggers.
Those who want to enforce their faith over others to prevent criticism or ridicule will jail the dissenters. The dissenters do not have this ability. That form of asymmetry creates a nightmare for human rights activists, whether word or deed, and a dream tactic on the part of authoritarians to arrest political activists, such as Nizami. He, at present, is facing the death penalty. This becomes a common phenomena with the people inside of theocratic regimes subject to the whims of the powerful and the privileged. These crackdowns were by the Pakistani government. Then there was a hashtag, #hangayaznizami, after the arrest of Nizami.
The Pakistani government has arrested many such writers and activists. The five men who were operating behnsa facebook page are under serious penalties. Muslim countries are also advocating for the policing of blasphemy within non-Muslim countries. The Judge of the supreme court in Pakistan has announced that blasphemous acts and the people behind it are even worse than the act of terrorism and the terrorists in our country.
Stating that ”a strict action will be taken against any person who is caught doing any such activity and he would be made to face serious charges that may include life-long prison or being hanged to death. Serious penalties will be charged for such acts and against such people. Common citizens are being ordered and advised to report any such activities so that serious action could be taken against them”.