World’s Crappiest Countries – Pakistan Edition

Part of me wants to feel bad for picking on Pakistan.  It is, after all, one of the world’s crappiest countries.  It probably doesn’t need to be reminded of that fact.  But then I read this story and, yeah, it needs to be reminded of the fact.

To make a long story short, the article is about the Islamabad (“Islam-a-bad”?  No kidding!) mob that threatened to burn down the home of a disabled 11-year old girl (presumably with her inside it) and demanded her arrest for allegedly desecrating a Koran.   The poor girl was subsequently arrested by Pakistani authorities and has been detained for the past two weeks (in fairness to the Pakistani police, it sounds like they may have arrested her to keep her from being killed by the mob, a not uncommon occurrence in parts of Pakistan.  I’ll give the police the benefit of the doubt on that one).

Now, setting aside the whole notion of killing people who offend you or your religion (but I’ll come back to that), what does it say about the mentality of the 500 or 600 or so people who threatened to burn down the house (and, presumably, the people sheltering inside it) of a DISABLED LITTLE GIRL!!!   It’s unfathomable to think how twisted, sick and hate-filled you have to be to think that that’s a good idea.  Even if she did actually desecrate a Koran (and the evidence appears to suggest she didn’t), who in their right mind would try to hold her to account for it (much less burn her alive).  She’s a CHILD for crying out loud, what’s wrong with you people?

Mind you, fine legal points like “intent” and “mental competence” don’t seem to matter much to proponents of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.  Take Meher Aslam Nasir, a lawyer (?!?!) who has pursued charges of blasphemy against several Ahmadi (dissident Muslim) men: “As Muslims, how can we allow anyone to intentionally or unintentionally defame the Prophet and not bring them to justice? We must implement the law. Innocent people have never been targeted and never will be“.  Got that? Whether you intended to “defame” the prophet or not, he’s bringing you to “justice” – don’t cut this dude off on the highway.  Then again,  it certainly helps when all the people you “target” are guilty. Kinda like prosecuting witches!

But the fact that the “accused” here is a little girl who is developmentally impaired is really just icing on the cake.  Here we have a country whose own laws permit the killing of its citizens for offending its religious sensibilities (Asia Bibi is a 51 year Pakistani Christian woman currently on death row for blasphemy),  a country whose citizens regularly take the law into their own hands, and kill people for allegedly offending their religious sensibilities (though as often as not the allegation is just a way of persecuting religious minorities.  It isn’t a coincidence that Christians – such as this little girl – and Ahmadi Muslims are often the targets), and where proponents of the blasphemy laws defend the harsh sentences on the grounds that otherwise the populace would take the law into their own hands (“It’s for your own good, really.  If we didn’t execute you, the mob might”). Nice.

On that basis alone, I think it’s fair to say that Pakistan is one of the world’s crappiest countries.

5 thoughts on “World’s Crappiest Countries – Pakistan Edition”

  1. Normally I would not reply to such a one sided post thinking that the author has already made his or her mind and would not listen to anyone going against the grain of his words. But I noticed a few things that I found very refreshing. Firstly the Author, that is you Bob, has never once associated Islam or Muslim intolerance with what has happened he simply states that something is very wrong with Pakistan and not Muslims at large. This alone shows that you are at least a logical person who does not (or atleast I THINK) use Pakistan and Islam or Muslims interchangeably.

    So you think Pakistan is the worst place to live on the planet. Fair enough but you might want to look what the president of the country has to say about what has happened and you might want to read the views of people on it, check this out.
    http://dawn.com/2012/08/20/blasphemy-case-misuse-of-law-wont-be-allowed-zardari/

    The president has taken notice. The general people who hate him to bits are with him. And if you think Pakistanis are idiots than you can take comfort in the fact the WE ARE OUR BIGGEST CRITICS. We know these things are wrong and as long as we are aware that these are inhumane actions and as long as our government is not willing to change its view on what is right and not giving in to idiotic ideologies than we are still a very safe country. Safer than Israel with its state backed military occupation of Palestinian territories.

    For every Idiot bent on promoting their brand of Islam in the region you have individuals who are not sitting silently. Yes Pakistan has a lot of problems but perhaps you need to look around you to see that most countries are pretty darn crappy, they just do a very good job at hiding their crap probably because the world’s sentiments are with them, probably because they are great new emerging markets and it would be in capitalism’s interest to portray these countries as all happy happy joy joy utopias.

    Do understand that in order to critically analyse a region you need to do more research than just quote BBC. Perhaps you need to pursue the writings of more independent political writers before forming an opinion.

    Pakistan is not the world’s crappiest country. Its just as crappy as India, Israel and United States.

    p.s most which is true for one of these is true for the others.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. As I see it, a thoughtful comment merits a thoughtful reply.

      First, I didn’t say that Pakistan is the worst place in the world to live (hard to compete with North Korean on that front, although the Northwestern frontier of Pakistan might be in the running), I said that it is one of the world’s crappiest countries. And it is. And that’s not a view based on solely on the odd BBC article. You could reasonably draw the same conclusion from, inter alia, the the UN Human Development Index (where Pakistan ranked 145 out of 187. Hey, they beat Rwanda!) or the the Observer Human Rights Index Index (11th ranked rights violator, baby! If they just try harder, I’m sure they can get into the top 10.). But the BBC article gives a qualitative element to Pakistan’s crappyness that you just can’t get from the statistics.

      Second, let’s think about your comment: “We [I presume you mean Pakistanis] know these things are wrong and as long as we are aware that these are inhumane actions and as long as our government is not willing to change its view on what is right”. Do they? Some Pakistanis clearly know its wrong to kill people for (allegedly) offending Islam. One might point to former Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti or former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer both of whom opposed Pakistan’s blasphemy laws which allow for the dealth penalty in such cases. Mind you, since they were assassinated for their troubles (which assassinations were celebrated by many), that kind of undermines your point.

      On the other hand, Pakistani law does provide for the dealth penalty for people who are guilty of blasphemy. People are are regularly prosecuted for such “crimes”. And while the current law originated with Pakisan’s military government, it remains popular today – THAT’s why Pakistan’s government isn’t in any rush to repeal it. That Pakistani law allows the state to execute alleged blasphemers reflects public opinion. The article you linked to cites Pakistan’s president condemning the “misuse” of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws in this particular case. Great, but the problem isn’t their misuse, it’s their existence in the first place, and the underlying social and religious attitudes underlying their existence. Until those underlying attitudes change, Pakistan’s doomed to remain one of the world’s crappiest countries.

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