It seems that those who claim to police the sanctity of the majority religion in Pakistan are on a constant and unending witch hunt. Their victims, or targets, mostly always happen to be poor and destitute women from the Christian minority that already lives a perilous existence in our increasingly intolerant country. A few years ago we witnessed the case of Asia Bibi who was charged under the blasphemy laws and in the wake two courageous opponents of the law were killed by the so-called protectors of the faith.
The victim this time is a poor, unlettered minor named Rishman. Those who have accused her of blasphemy assert that amongst the papers that she collected in the street to use as fuel for a cooking fire were some pages of the Qur’an. And thus having burned those pages, she has, somehow, blasphemed. Needless to say that our first concern should be to speak about the nature of this life: why does a child have to gather fuel in the streets to cook food in the so-called Islamic republic of Pakistan.
A board of seven physicians have attested that Rishman is a minor and does not even have the IQ commensurate with her age. No one saw her burning the so-called pages and, most importantly, being unlettered, she would have not even known what she was burning. Neither the intention nor the act can be proven. So, how is it that this case is even on trial and that she awaits her fate in jail without a recourse to due process or even a bail.
Is this what we have become as a nation: a bunch of ghundas who pry on the weak in the name of religion. Is this how Islamic jurisprudence works? Does Islam permit arresting and jailing children for committing offenses even when they might not even had the metal capacity to discern right from wrong. My reading of the Sharia tells me that the justice system in Islam cannot be arbitrary and that the rules of evidence are extremely strict to protect people from false accusations.Which Qur’an are these mullahs and their followers reading?
It is time we stood up against these messengers of hate: we need to declare once for all that Pakistan does not only belong to Muslims. That all those who live and abide by the laws of the country are its citizens and are inherently equal. Let us stop our mullahs and their followers from dictating as to what kind of nation we ought to be.
Let us stop blaming and arresting children in the name of religion: it defies the basic dictates of human dignity, cheapens the value of law, and darkens our future.
Yes, no more of these witch hunts. No more public or legal prosecution of minorities. No more injustice in the name of religion.
We have had enough of your bigotry!