The recent ill treatment of Aasia Bibi has once again sparked controversies about whether the laws regarding blasphemy in the constitution of Pakistan are appropriate or worthy of application at all. The case was brought about by a dispute regarding the use of a water bowl, during which other women Aasia Bibi argued against accused her of making derogatory and demeaning comments about the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Such being the circumstance, Qari Saleem from a local mosque filed a report against her. She was arrested and jailed for about one and a half years, until recently, the Nankana Sahib District sentenced her to death along with a fine of 300,000 rupees.
Many critics regard that blasphemy laws are misused in persecuting Christians and other minorities. Pope Benedict XVI has also urged her released, and to his claims that the minorities in Pakistan were “often victims of violence and discrimination.” International NGO’s including Amnesty International has called for her immediate release, that she may return to her five children at home.
President Zardari has requested that a report be presented to him by a commission by Friday; for many, hopes are dead and they believe that paperwork is as far as the President will go, showing he has no interest in minority protection at the moment.
Though the issue will come and go just like cases like those of the Babri Mosque in India, it is highly important that such issues be thoroughly taken into notice and regulations revised, as in future, our raw material suppliers, our allies, all Christian nations, do not get offended. The law, which many claim is “being used by illiterate masses in rural areas to hoodwink the minorities,” could further rub salt into the wounds of our national reputation, at the worst time possible.
‘We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.’- Quaid-e-Azam.