Saturday, March 09, 2013

More blasphemy - most burnings in Lahore

by Salman Hameed

I start up the computer this morning to read:
Lahore: A mob of almost 3,000 people, forced a Christian community to flee for their lives on Friday, leaving behind their houses and possessions.
No - this is not just about blasphemy. This is about the breakdown of law & order. There is also frustration and deep economic problems. But an outrage draped in religion provides just enough cover to get away with murder (sometimes literally). It is hard to speak against such actions as it is easy to silence the voice in the name of justice against blasphemy. We saw that with the assassination of Salman Taseer couple of years ago and with the self-exiled Pakistani ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman (she is now facing blasphemy charges). We saw in more detail the exploitation of the blasphemy law with the burning of a girls' school in Lahore - that was run by our friend and astronomer, Umair Asim (see here and here for more details).

So we come back to this latest shameful act in Lahore:

This occurred in the Badami Bagh area, when one of the Christians was accused of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). 
The charged group gathered around Joseph Colony on Noor Road, led by Shafiq Ahmed, who was in search of the accused Savan, alias Bubby. The mob attacked Savan’s house, partially burnt it and pelted it with stones. Other houses in the locality – home to about 150 Christian families – were also attacked.  Many residents, including women and children, hastily fled to save themselves. 
Savan could not be found. However, his father was caught and badly beaten. The vehicle of a pastor, who reached the area to inquire about the incident, was also damaged.
Okay - so they couldn't find Savan - so they badly beat up his father.

The episode began at 1 pm in the afternoon and did not conclude till the evening, when a large number of police personnel finally reached the spot and averted further damage.
The police placated the mob by registering an FIR under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (death sentence) against Savan and ensuring that he would be given into their custody to decide his fate. They also took Chaman Masih into custody. 
Despite all this, the protesters continued to claim that they would not let the families return until Savan’s arrest.

But thankfully the police arrived to register an FIR against - what - Savan?? Well, this was meant to placate the mob. So when does the state (and the police) have to "placate" the mob? And this is where blasphemy law comes in. The government knows that any outrage based on religion can bring people out on the streets in large numbers - and the rulers would of course want to be on the "side of religion".

In the mean time, 100 Christian homes have been burnt. Well - I guess they should have realized that their presence could be perceived as offensive to some pious Muslims - and should have left Lahore voluntarily. Oh - now they must have learnt the lesson.

Read more about this latest embarrassing episode here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

once again, more humans are becoming a victim of this blasphemy law. All you need is to point a finger to anyone and the "muslim zombies" will attack to kill and destroy.