Published November 2, 2012 | 1:51 am
Islamabad: There have to be limits to how far Pakistanis are willing to “lose all sense of human decency and rationality” when it comes to the controversial issue of blasphemy, a Pakistani daily said Friday following violence in Lahore this week.
An editorial in the Daily Times said the sorry state of anyone accused of the dreaded blasphemy crime has made itself felt yet again, this time in Lahore.
On Wednesday, protesters and parents took over the Farooqi Girls High School, alleging that a female teacher had distributed an essay containing blasphemous lines to the students.
“The teacher had already been fired from the school at the time of the school’s ransacking but the protestors were having none of it…The teacher and principal have maintained that the alleged ‘blasphemy’ was not intentional,” the editorial said.
“This was not enough to deter the rabid crowd who were not satisfied until they had torched the school, injuring one person in the process. Thankfully, there were no children present when this sorry incident took place,” it added.
The worried daily said there had to be “some limits to how far we are willing to lose all sense of human decency and rationality when it comes to the controversial blasphemy issue”.
“It is as though we Muslims have become ticking human time bombs just waiting for such an issue to make us explode. The burning down of a private school due to mere ‘provocation’ will simply not do.”
The editorial said Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have become a “sad joke”, offering no recompense or safeguard for those who are accused of committing inadvertent blasphemy.
“There is no clause in the blasphemy laws detailing how to deal with those poor individuals who do not intentionally commit blasphemy, which has now become a crime worse than murder in our minds,” it said.
“No mechanism exists to pacify the frenzied crowds.
“No wisdom or rationality exists at such times when individuals need to be at their calmest. So many blasphemy allegations turn out to be false because of vested interests, with many people left at the mercy of hysterical mobs because of unintentional slights,” the daily said, calling for “this madness” to stop.