Pakistani society is fast disintegrating on account of religious extremism which is spreading into its body like poison. What happened to a Christian couple on Tuesday was not new. What particularly shocked the people was the way the bodies of the husband and wife were thrown into the heated brick kiln after the mob had beaten them to death. It is no secret that the blasphemy law is being widely misused. There have been cases where criminals have levelled false accusations against members of the minority communities for ulterior motives, particularly to deprive them of their property or to take revenge for some perceived insult. Even when the innocent person is finally released, the incarceration itself which may extend to years, constitutes a heavy punishment. There is an urgent need to revise the law to ensure the end of its misuse.
Such is the intensity of the extremist sentiment that individuals accused of blasphemy are liable to be lynched by enraged mobs before having been pronounced guilty by a court of law. Some are killed inside the jail by fellow prisoners.
Zia-era laws against minorities and women have raised the extremist sentiment to new levels. The succeeding governments lacked the courage to stem the tide. Extremism thus has continued to spread like cancer. Attempts made during Ashura to incite one sect against another led to a clash near Badin which was stopped by the timely intervention of the Police and Rangers. If immediate action is not taken to arrest the wave, there will be no need of Daish to destroy the country. The country would simply implode from within. This must be stopped from happening.
What is needed is a national consensus to contain extremism followed by strict action. Nawaz Sharif should take up the matter with the leadership of mainstream parties. Those spreading hatred, be these seminaries or firebrand clerics, should be firmly told to desist from the activity. Any violation should be dealt with an iron hand.
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