A nation going nowhere
Another injustice has been dispensed, this time to Sawan Masih. This is an addition to the history of Pakistan, which is already pregnant with such incidents where the weak and meek have been ground fine in the mill of so-called justice. Pakistan is a country where more than 70 percent of the people have been mentally debilitated, exploited by religious scholars and politicians. They can be steered in any direction for they are under-schooled and can easily be blackmailed in the name of Islam since they have no proper religious schooling either.
Justice delayed is justice denied. Injustice dispensed so hastily is justice denied too. In the case of Sawan Masih, Muslims themselves have committed blasphemy by disregarding the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and setting the homes of thousands of human beings and copies of the Bible ablaze. These people are as free as the day they were born and have not been subjected to ‘justice’. Flipping the coin, the judge who delivered the death sentence for Sawan seems to be the one eager to earn a place in the good books of the radicals and, according to their thinking, the heaven of God.
It is ironic that the prayer leaders who occupy the pulpit are usually school dropouts. Having failed to continue school, they are deposited inside madrassas — the institutions imparting religious education — where they turn out to be men who stand as ‘authorities’ on religion. The pulpit, which demands great mental calibre, tact and acumen, remains occupied by such dropouts and society gets sown with the seeds of sectarianism.
Ramsha Masih, almost a year back, met the same fate. No ardent Muslim bothered to probe why the imam (prayer leader) of that area allegedly placed pages of the holy book on a heap of trash. It could be because people did not want to get registered themselves in the bad books of God by probing against a ‘Muslim’ and a prayer leader. People may think that they will meet nothing but wrath if they bring a prayer leader to the crucible of justice. What a pity and double standard!
What about the practice of making small shopping wrappers and bags out of newspaper pages and the pages of other books, which most of the time carry a Quranic verse, a hadith or the holy names of the prophets? Eatables are sold and served in such small paper trays by vendors and the people, having eaten in them, dump the paper on the roads. This is blasphemy as well but society and the judiciary are ignoring it.
Muslims, having believed an allegation that a Christian spoke ill about the Prophet (PBUH), vented their indignation by burning Joseph Colony to the ground, rendering thousands homeless and desecrating several copies of the Bible. They burn public property and hurl stones at cars if there is reportedly blasphemous content on YouTube. They undertake processions, chant slogans and choke traffic, causing inconvenience to the public when it is Eid-e-Milad un Nabi. On the very eve, they exhibit love for the Prophet (PBUH) by hanging garlands of paper-flags in the streets, which fall to the ground after a day or two, continuously ‘desecrated’ as people walk by — is this not ‘blasphemy’ indeed? Churches are bombed, hundreds of people die; is this not ‘blasphemy’? The worship places of the Ahmedi community are attacked and, sometimes, a hundred of them are killed. Why does the judiciary not take to task people who orchestrate such acts? Why is there no hue and cry over such shameful, un-Islamic and hence blasphemous shenanigans? Why does the state not convict such people under the blasphemy law?
Minorities are considered easy prey in Pakistan. Maintaining beards does not give anyone the license to interpret and extrapolate religion. Such mullahs need discouragement. The nation badly needs many qualified imams; we will remain far from the elusive milestone of nationhood otherwise.