Pakistani Senate to Review Blasphemy Laws

I suppose it’s good news that a committee in the Pakistani Senate has formed a panel to examine that nation’s blasphemy laws, but it’s hard to be optimistic about the results of that examination given the country’s history. Of course, the idea that there is a human rights committee in Pakistan is almost Orwellian in and of itself:

The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on Thursday formed a sub-committee to look into the blasphemy law and into establishing a separate human rights division to bring human rights violations into the limelight.

Chairing the committee meeting, Senator Afrasiab Khattak announced that the sub-committee would be headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed while former Human Rights secretary Shaigan Malik and a representative of the Ministry of Defence would be its members.

Bear in mind that in 2011, Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab province, was assassinated by a member of his own security detail for advocating an end to the nation’s blasphemy laws and the release of Aasia Bibi, a Christian women imprisoned for that “crime.” For the Muslim reactionaries, who exist in larger number in Pakistan, it is blasphemy merely to think that blasphemy should not be a crime and those who commit should not be killed.

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  • jolly

    They have such a weak god that it can’t defend itself. It’s like worshiping a worm (except a worm is useful).

  • machintelligence

    One can hope that they won’t recommend making the existing laws even harsher.

  • eric

    @2 – I was just going to ask what the bookie’s odds were on them getting worse instead of better. Even money?

  • ianeymeaney

    @1 Please do not insult worms like that. Worms aerate soil and can be used as bait for fishing. God sends tornados which kill innocent people and appears on pieces of toast. Worms >>> God

  • vmanis1

    I really object to the use of `Orwellian’ in the original article. That suggests some attempt to twist language, or to alter reality to match ideology, or even to organize a dinner with pigs and humans where you can’t tell the two apart. Certainly, 1984 isn’t just about a boot stamping on a human face; it is also about how language can be used ultimately to extirpate freedom.[*]

    The Committee in question might indeed be guilty of any of those things (though I’d be doubtful about the dinner at Manor Farm). However the article didn’t actually mention any of of them. Certainly Pakistan’s human rights reputation is deservedly extremely poor; however, the Committee might just be ineffective, rather than malicious.

    Orwell was extremely fussy about the correct use of language; we should be equally careful when invoking his name.

    [*] Having read 1984 many times, I do take heart in the dubious theory that the book actually does have a happy ending, because the Newspeak appendix is written in the past tense, thus suggesting that Big Brother’s régime was not forever.