Pakistan supercharging its blasphemy laws is likely to increase false accusations, as blaspheming Muhammad is set to become as easy as insulting those who lived in Muhammad’s orbit.
Pakistan’s National Assembly (Lower House) voted on Jan. 17, unanimously passing the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Act amendment (PDF), giving support to expanding the country’s current laws prohibiting politically incorrect speech.
Criticizing the warlord, religious icon, militant expansionist, and/or his borrowed theology, already comes with the death penalty, if not hefty gaol term.
Under the new proposal, Article 298c’s death penalty for ‘blaspheming the Holy Prophet,’ would be applied to section 298-A, ‘disrespecting companions, and other sacred personalities.’
These include ‘Muhammad’s wives, and family.’
Reasons for the bill?
The amendment’s backers said blasphemy of Muhammad promoted [domestic] ‘terrorism, and disruption in the country,’ adding, blasphemy also ‘hurts people from all walks of life.’
This disruption, they argued, was something ‘Allah Almighty condemns in the Quran, saying mischief is a crime, more than a murder.’
Pakistan’s anti-free speech expansion pack came with the justification that the amendment was needed in order to end mob justice.
Authors of the bill said, section 298-A’s “simple punishment” for insulting Muhammad’s entourage was too soft.
“Criminals” are not discouraged from ‘committing the same crime again,’ they argued.
Equally, they blamed soft levels of punishment on the rise of vigilantism.
The bill reasoned, ‘such simple punishment’ enraged Muslim mobs against those accused of blasphemy, the 3-year minimum bailable sentence, and nominal fine needed to be harsher. All in order to stop increased Islamic violence against non-Muslims. (PDF)
As reported by the New York Times, this violence often comes from the Muslim majority clashing with the Christian minority.
If, argued the amendment, ‘parliament is sincere to finish [domestic] terrorism and sectarianism, then it should change the punishment for anyone who uses derogatory remarks about [Muhammad’s, wives, family or companions] to the death penalty.’
Although Pakistan tends to imprison, and not execute citizens accused of insulting Islam, 70 people have had been killed by mobs.
Quoting from stats obtained by the Catholic Register, in ‘2009 six Christians were burned alive, 140 houses were destroyed, and hundreds of Christians have been displaced by mobs after an insult to Muhammad was perceived.’
Persecuted Church monitor, Morning Star News said, ‘the legislation is expected to also pass unanimously in the Senate, and then it would require the president’s signature to become law.’
Opposing the amendments, Anglican Church of Pakistan Moderator/President Azad Marshall, told MSN, “The legislation is worrying.”
“Existing blasphemy laws have encouraged religious persecution for decades, and this new legislation is bound to exacerbate the problems for our people,” Marshall explained.
He then added, “The new amendments would only lead to more abuse.”
The logic behind the amendment to supercharge Pakistan’s blasphemy law is barbed.
The bill is a stealthy way of expanding a “convert, pay a tax, or die” mandate, which underhandly squashes Pakistan’s Christian community behind a cloak of emotional reasoning.
Aasia Bibi, as well as Shagufta and Shafqat Emmanuel exemplify how these laws are being used to wage a jihad against Christians.
Another example is Chistian, Samina Mushtaq.
Mushtaq, a widow, who works for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority recalled how she recorded a video of a Muslim man threatening to:
“Accuse her of blasphemy” if she didn’t break the law and “allow an unauthorised vehicle into the parking area of the cargo terminal at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.”
For Mushtaq, the recording posted on social media probably saved her life.
False accusations vis a vis the misuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, are about as infamous as the LGBT lawfare being blatantly waged against Christians in the West.
For those not paying attention: I’m referring to false justifications for vague, subjective laws strapped to the abusive politicisation of phobias, such as so-called Islamophobia, transphobia, and homophobia.
These laws are interlinked through the falsehoods of Woke intersectionality’s manipulative, “us vs. them” cognitive distortions.
Different political religion, same cult-like fanaticism.
Examples of the Woke Jihad against Christians in the West include, Jack Phillips, Israel Folau, Matthew Grech, and now Australia’s Christian Schools.
The solution to mob justice is to outlaw mob justice, not further outlaw free speech, or water down freedom of religion.
To quote Amnesty International,
“There is overwhelming evidence that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws violate human rights, and encourage people to take the law into their own hands.”
The argument, “we’re protecting Christians by making laws easier to falsely accuse them,” exposes the amendment’s pretence.
The proposal entrenches privileges for a protected political class, creating a supercharged “safe space” for Muslims.
Justifications for the amendment are a complete farce. Thus, the bill should be rejected.
First published on Caldron Pool, 31st Jan. 2023.
©Rod Lampard, 2023.