News

It’s against the law to ‘see God’ in Pakistan. Two who claimed to have done do face death for ‘blasphemy’

RIAZ Ahmed, 34, and Ijaz Ahmed, 38, residents of Haroonabad in the Gujrat district of Pakistan claimed in 2011 that they had “seen God”.

The devotees of Chaman Sarkar, of whom we know nothing, offended one Qari Muhammad Ahmed, 27, who reported the pair to the authorities, and accused them of encouraging others to join them in “a union with God” through Chaman Sarkar.

Anywhere else, this sort of behaviour would be regarded as merely sillyor eccentric; one cannot see things that don’t exist.

But this being Pakistan, a hotbed of Islamic lunacy, the two were arrested and brought before Additional Sessions Judge Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal on Saturday, who convicted them of blasphemy and handed down death sentences. He also fined them 100,000 rupees (about £1,000) each.

Malik Ghulam Qasim, the defence lawyer, vowed would continue to fight against a law that could be easily misused to victimise innocent people.

I tried my best to defend them. We seriously need to reconsider the blasphemy law and its enforcement.

The sentencing of the pair coincided with a conference in Pakistan held in Bhurban to discuss the hijacking of the media in Pakistan by religious zealots. Around 100 people attending the South Asian Free Media Association’s sixth national conference ­– organised in collaboration with the South Asian Women’s Network – heard that far too many media commentators have adopted “extremist narratives”.

Farzana Ali, Aaj TV’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa bureau chief, said the extremist narrative adopted by most of her colleagues on their social media accounts disturbed her.

Their Facebook walls are full of such persistently negative and radical stances that are very disconcerting.

Farzana Ali

Farzana Ali

Farzana Ali, who wrote a while back about “honour killings” that regular occur in Pakistan, said extremists had always wanted to control media content directly or indirectly. She spoke of how she received calls from extremists trying to dictate how and where she should run news about them.

They even know the [subliminal] meanings of the colours of tickers we run. They are never happy with blue or green. They want them in red to create an alarm.

The speakers condemned the fact that at least 50 out of the 365 days in a year were dedicated to religious broadcasts and televangelists.

The Express Tribune Executive Editor Muhammad Ziauddin said the Pakistani nation was in a state of denial, adding that there was a need to understand what triggered extremist narratives. Some schools of thoughts, he said, blamed the reinvention of jihad, while others traced it to the very genesis of Pakistan.

I have my own theory. I trace its origin to Pakistan becoming a security state very early in the day.

Safma General Secretary Imtiaz Alam said the extremists’ ideology resisted all activities that would allow arts and culture, literature and freedom of speech. He said extremists had created such ideologies that had declared a substantial number of Muslims as non-believers.

Islamabad-based writer Harris Khalique said religiosity triggered extremism. He said extremists took advantage of the fact that there was lack of resistance from the liberal society. Quoting the rise of the Taliban in Swat in 2009 as an example, he said extremists wanted to create a state within a state in the name of faith.

Later, during the question hour, Imtiaz Alam criticised television anchors for trying to become messiahs and pretending to know everything. He said while anchors commented freely on all aspects of society, over 80 per cent of the journalists didn’t know what the frequently-derided terms “liberalism” and “fascism” meant. He said 90 percent of media persons were conservative and backed the extremist agenda.

The speakers stressed the need for giving moderate thinkers adequate air time and page space, which, they said, had mostly been taken by those with extremist views – both right and left. They urged producers and editors to create an environment where intellectual liberalism nurtured in a space where people valued tolerance and agreed to disagree.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (blasphemy report)

15 Responses to “It’s against the law to ‘see God’ in Pakistan. Two who claimed to have done do face death for ‘blasphemy’”

  1. charlie says:

    The fact that blasphemy laws exist, is to me proof that religion is false. If any organized religion were actually true, there would be zero need for any such laws. Blasphemy is any utterance or insult to doG or religion. IF this doG was so “all powerful” he/she/it would just zap said blasphemer and not need any laws to protect him/her/it nor the religion. That such vile laws exist, to me, just shows how false doG and organized religion is.

  2. Caute says:

    Pakistan….. What a shite country….another failed state. This is what islam produces.

  3. Broga says:

    The basis for this blood soaked nonsense is deeper than religion: it is the lust for power. The power to terrify and control people’s thinking. And the way to that is through uncertainty where, to take a wrong step, is to suffer condign punishment. The only people who know what is a wrong step are the religious sadists who invent their own rules. The rulers give themselves titles and dress up and perform silly rituals.

    But let us not be smug. The same system operated here in the past. An innocent old woman could end up roasted alive as a witch when accused by a vindictive neighbour. In current times mind control is the objective of the religious: control of the legislation, control of education and control of the media. All contribution to control of what we think. Is this too fanciful? I hope we may never find out in practice.

  4. 20% Off says:

    Tend to agree with Broga…. Islam is a totalitarian system with positive (in the mathematical sense) feedback amplification whereby any individual can accuse anyone of some jumped up charge to incite the mindless uneducated fearful mob to murder in the name of a god. The equivalent behaviour in say the uk it would go like this…A nasty vindictive loser sees a good looking, intelligent, independent local village woman, who he has the hots for, getting friendly with a guy from out of town, in the pub on a saturday evening. The couple go off together and, in the evil mind of the jealous onlooker, they spend the night. Mr jealous is pissed off and and goes to the vicar on sunday morning with the accusation of adultery and blasphemy. The vicar then relates the exaggerated story of a lustful carnal interlude to the congregation at the morning service and declares the couple as sinners deserving the ultimate punishment. He declares that the man should be beaten to death and the woman stoned on the village green. The congregation now inflamed, with each member terrified that failure to act out punishment ordained by god will result in their own stoning, act out mob rule. They charge to the woman’s house, picking up spades and rocks on the way, and drag the condemned into the streets howling and shrieking for blood. The man is kicked, pummelled and beaten until his brains spill out of his smashed skull. The woman is then dragged to the village green where a waist deep hole has been prepared. The crazy mob paw and rip at the woman and then smash her naked torso and head with rocks. The police meanwhile have been alerted and idly watch the murders knowing that their job is easier if the mob do it for them. Could this happen in the uk? Well it did centuries ago but islam has not been chopped down to size yet. Worse, the criminals and exploiters in islamic states are using islam to invest themselves with power and authority over the stupefied masses. Sharia…. instant diy punishment meted out by anyone who chooses to be offended by almost anything.

  5. Broga says:

    An ignorant mob is readily inflamed. A paediatrician was identified by a local group as a paedophile and given a very hard time.

    Machiavellie had a jaundiced view of human beings:

    “They are ungrateful, fickle, liars and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit.”

    These same humans now seem intent on breeding to excess, despoiling the planet and plundering its finite resources. Much of their excess is faith inspired but then “religion poisons everything.”

  6. 1859 says:

    Cough…cough…on a lighter note, what I want to know is, if these two women have indeed ‘seen god’ then what did he look like? (of course he’s a he). I mean it’s been a looooong time coming and I’m sure my curiosity is shared by many – mankind has probably been waiting at least for 10,000 years to catch a glimpse of the guy, so what exactly did they see?

    And one wonders why this is blasphemy? Could it be that any person’s (and especially a woman’s) description of the Big Guy might just be seen to be so totally idiotic, so infantile, so crumby, so seedy and so plain stooopid, that what the holy men (for they are always men) are really, really afraid of, is the heap of scorn, ridicule and sheer laughter, that just might undermine their grip on the masses? As has been said many times, it’s all to do with the trappings of power – privilege, elitism and control. And what better way to do this than by theocratic repression?

    Oh, and don’t forget, the country that came out top for the Google search term ‘Donkey sex’ was Pakistan. Was this, perhaps, their vision of god?

  7. […] The Freethinker has more. […]

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    Only in religion is following a clearly-stated set of rules in conformity with centuries of tradition called “extremism” and deviating from that path called “moderation.” Because religion cannot exist in the head informed by reason and the heart informed by compassion.

  9. Angela_K says:

    I wonder what would have happened if the two claiming to have seen their god were men or Mullahs? As we know, women are second class in Pakistan [and according to all religions] so their imagined crime is an affront to Islamic patriarchy. Also, if these women or indeed men, have direct access to their god, what need of the Imams, apart from deciding what their god wants mixed with their own bloodthirsty desires?

  10. barriejohn says:

    This is a depressing report. Sorry, but it doesn’t seem to appear elsewhere.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530920/You-parody-Islam-says-Palin-Monty-Python-star-believes-religious-sensitivities-increased-impossible-make-Life-Brian-today.html?ns_camp

    “There are people out there without a sense of humour and they’re heavily armed.”

  11. barriejohn says:

    Oh, no! Comment:

    mahdi.t, London, United Kingdom, 8 hours ago
    No one should parody any relgion, whether it is Christianity, Islam or Judaism etc…There are plenty of things to joke about other than religion… Then you don’t have to worry about getting death threats…

    Did I really just read that?

  12. Broga says:

    “No one should parody religion.” Not even when the C. of E. is currently lining up people living near the churches with their ancient chancel so that they can screw money out of them? Imagine the anxiety and heartbreak being caused by this right now? And this involves many thousands of house owners who can’t even sell the houses at the market price.

    Is it any surprise that we find religion, with its pompous preaching clergy so detestable? What are our religious politicians going to do about this? Meanwhile Justin Welby, the sanctimonious hypocrite is whining about his concern for the poor. I begin to puke at the mention of clergy.

  13. 1859 says:

    Strange in a way. Palin says that when they were writing back in the 7o’s there were some topics they couldn’t touch (homosexuality), but then he went on to comment that ‘today we can say anything – and somehow this has made us more depressed’.

    It’s also very sad that a religion so farcical, so fanatical, so inhuman, so patriarchial, misogynistic, homophobic, dominating and domineering as islam, can escape the wit of comedians. But we all know why – fear.

    Would anyone dare make a comedy film like the Life of Brian today that took the piss out of islam, knowing full well it would spark world wide riots and result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people?

    So what DO these heavily armed fanatics laugh at? They must have some sense of humour?