Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
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Author: Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin M. Ahmed (ra), 2nd Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
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Home Media Reports 2010 Jungle justice
Jungle justice
Jungle justice
Dawn Editorial
Wednesday, 21 Jul, 2010
Policemen fire teargas shells to disperse the protesters during a demonstration against the killing of two Christian brothers outside the court building in Faisalabad. - Online Photo
Policemen fire teargas shells to disperse the protesters during a demonstration against the killing of two Christian brothers outside the court building in Faisalabad. — Online Photo

There have been several instances where police apathy, perhaps in some cases connivance, has led to under-trial prisoners being targeted by vengeful elements on the court premises.

Where the charge involves religion, there is a greater need for the police to be vigilant when escorting the accused to or from court, given the kind of fury that allegations of blasphemy unleash. Sadly, this is far from the case in Pakistan as exemplified by the killing of two Christian brothers by a group of masked men on the premises of a Faisalabad sessions court on Monday. The brothers were accused of distributing blasphemous material — that, unbelievably, also contained phone numbers. The men had been brought to court under police escort to obtain remand. Such cases are a reminder of how allegations of blasphemy can be used to incite jungle justice and mob violence that often mask the real motives behind the targeting of individuals. The motives can range from the settling of personal scores to property disputes.

Monday’s killings led to violent protests by the Christian community in the brothers’ native area of Daoodnagar; a section of the Muslim community reacted by asking the people over mosque loudspeakers to “fight the rampaging” Christians. The situation grew volatile enough to necessitate the imposition of Section 144 for the maintenance of public order. The result is the creation of an atmosphere of fear and violent mistrust that could lead to the targeting of more members of the Christian community. This situation can also be exploited by ill-intentioned groups such as the land mafia. This has, indeed, often proved to be the case in earlier incidents of violence involving allegations of blasphemy, particularly in Punjab.

Arrests under Section 295-C of the PPC for allegations of blasphemy illustrates the dangers inherent in a law that lends itself to misuse. The blasphemy law is rightly criticised for the manner in which it can be abused. We must also note that it helps foster a societal mindset of jungle justice where individuals feel that it is right to take the law into their own hands. The blasphemy law must be repealed.

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