Pakistan’s leaders may go around the world and claim that Pakistan is a modern progressive country but it continues to remain a country where you can be lynched simply for saying something that someone else believes is blasphemous. This was evident in the recent brutal lynching by a mob in Mardan of a cleric.
The incident shows how far Pakistan is from preventing vigilante mob justice where accusations of blasphemy are involved. “A video of the macabre incident has gone viral on social media, underscoring the lawless ways of a brutalised Pakistani society. That someone actually had the audacity to film the horrific incident is also chilling.”
The victim was a cleric who “allegedly made blasphemous remarks at a political rally. Sensing the crowd’s anger, police personnel escorted the man to a shop nearby in an attempt to protect him. But the mob prevailed. Angry men broke into the shop and beat the cleric to death — and did not even stop there.”
As an editorial in Dawn notes, “it is clear that, despite strong censure of such incidents by rights organisations and activists, and notwithstanding the condemnation of the violence by other countries including those belonging to the European Union, for years now, the state has failed to prevent mob violence perpetrated in the name of religion.”
Unfortunately, as the editorial noted, “tackling this issue requires moral courage, fortitude and political consensus — a reality that continues to elude Pakistan.”