…. and the humanist murdered

Source:  Samaa Published in Current Affairs on Monday, April 17, 2017

Blasphemy is yet to be confirmed, but he is murdered, After severe torture that led his death. Mashal was first shot, then beaten with wooden planks till he succumbed to his injuries. Whoever saw those video clip/footage of Mashal Khan’s clamorous, blatant murder couldn’t sleep that night, neither me.

Mashal Khan was a humanist, he committed a sin to tell this to people who have no understanding of humanity.


The lynching of a young student Mashal in Wali Khan University jn Mardan by fellow university students has shocked the entire nation. It was a heart rendering incident happened recently in the name of blasphemy.
Which raised many questions yet again..

How can one use religion to justify a murder?
Why are we so fond of killing people in the name of the same Prophet who brought us the message: “Whosoever killed a person it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” The Holy Quran- 5:33

Allowing individuals to deal with such matters on their own is fraught with danger, especially in divided societies (in different sects and belief) like ours, where even ulema are reluctant to offer prayers with members of other school of thought.

Why Pakistanis were not indulging in Blasphemy in pre Zia era 47-80? No cases, no lynching in that period?
To pursuit the truth when do the laws date from, How did it surface in the history? I came to know that the law enacted by the British, made it a crime to disturb a religious assembly, trespass on burial grounds, insult religious beliefs or intentionally destroy or defile a place or an object of worship. The maximum punishment under these laws ranges from one year to 10 years in jail, with or without a fine.

The offences relating to religion were first codified by India’s British rulers in 1860, and were expanded in 1927. Pakistan inherited these laws when it came into existence after the partition of India in 1947.

Between 1980 and 1986, a number of clauses were added to the laws by the military government of General Zia-ul Haq. He wanted to “Islamicise” them and also legally to separate the Ahmadi community.

In 1986, a separate clause was inserted to punish blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad and the penalty recommended was “death, or imprisonment for life”, in that order.
It is known that total of 633 Muslims, 494 Ahmedis, 187 Christians and 21 Hindus have been accused under various clauses of the blasphemy law since 1987.
In many cases, an accusation alone is enough to inspire vigilante action against suspects.

Many believe the law, as codified by the military regime of General Zia-ul Haq back in the 1980s, is in fact straight out of the Koran and therefore is not man-made.

However, It is clear that either people have become a lot more blasphemous, or there is an inherent capacity within the law to be used as a weapon of persecution.


If we don’t want to mourn for the next Mashal we need to find a permanent solution to this problem, Although there is a little hope to reverse a patten but can it be a defining moment to start the debate to reform the law?

It is govt’s failure if it won’t stop everybody taking the law in their own hands and dealing with sensitive matters such as blasphemy on their own rather than going to the courts.

Mashal was intellectually curious, brilliant ‎and inquisitive, always complaining about the political system of the country, music lover, Sufi soul, according to his teacher he never heard him saying anything controversial against the religion.

No evidence found to suggest Mashal khan committed blasphemy or proves Mashal spoke anything controversial about religion of his involvement in blasphemy, Even the chief minister of KP told the assembly that no evidence had been found to suggest Mashal had committed blasphemy.

So in Pakistan mere accusation of blasphemy is enough to make someone a target for hardliner? And instead of protecting people from vigilante action against blasphemy accusations based on online activity, the state faces the danger of facilitating it.

Imran Khan, whose party heads the KP government, has rightly condemned Mashal Khan’s lynching, vowing to resist “the law of the jungle” so now it’s a key test for PTI leader Imran Khan and for the Provincial (KP) government to take strict action against those involved in this heinous crime.

Such incidents in the universities were a big threat to our educational institutions and the government have to take strong action against these brigades/hardliners. Writ of law must be enforced because no parent should have to send his child off to be educated, with the fear of having him return in a coffin.

By: Nazia Memon

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