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.