Burning blasphemers

The mayhem at Madyan shows the distrust in the justice system

The events at Madyan, in Swat district of KP initially proceeded as they were to. A tourist was accused of desecrating the Quran by burning it. Those who apprehended him very properly handed him over to the Madyan police, who took him into custody. After that, things began to go haywire. Announcements were made from the mosques. A crowd gathered, which then attacked the police station and burnt it. It is not clear whether the alleged desecrator was burnt alive, but his body was certainly burnt. This is a level of cruelty which has been specifically forbidden by the Islamic Sharia. Burning is a punishment that the Almighty has reserved for Himself, and has forbidden His creatures from administering. Bodies are to be disposed only as the heirs prescribe, and there is no indication that the deceased was a Hindu, or a follower of any religion prescribing cremation. This is not the first time in KP that an alleged blasphemer or desecrator has been taken away from the police in KP. That such an incident could occur indicates not just some private animus, but the ability of the crowd to gather in numbers sufficient to overcome the defenders of the police station.

However, it appears that blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is now receding as a vehicle for venting spleen, and desecration of the Holy Quran is now coming to the fore. The Jaranwala church attack last August and the Sargodha attack in May were both over allegations of desecration of the Quran. Is it purely a coincidence that such incidents have started taking place after the burning of the Quran Eidul Azha before last (last July) outside the main mosque in Stockholm?

Whether or not that is a contributing factor, or whether the rising temperature has anything to do with it, the point is that the justice system has such a bad impression in the public, that people are not prepared to trust it with blasphemy or desecration. Islam prescribes a system of laws, one which even takes in such an emotive issue as blasphemy or desecration, and deals with it. It is not supposed to result in what amounts to rebellion, which is what the attack on the police station means. The provincial government has primary responsibility for maintaining law and order, but the federal government also has a responsibility to make sure that no one, no matter the excuse, takes the law into his or her own hands.

Editorial
Editorial
The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].

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