Are we to be blamed for Rimsha?

Published: September 8, 2012

Are the mullahs solely responsible for misusing these laws or is it also a failure of the state? Is it the society’s citizens who continue to remain silent time and again? PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Qari Khalid Chishti is caught in the same trap that he had initially set for a minor Christian girl — which was intended as a tool against the Christian community in his area. The unexpected backfiring of this case seems to garner hope that Rimsha Masih will receive justice.

The widespread reaction of religious scholars against Chishti’s actions is new hope for all citizens and for minorities, in particular, who feel insecure at the hands of such elements that misuse the blasphemy law.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are based on British colonial laws dating from 1860 and were amended in the 1980s to add life imprisonment and the death penalty by then dictator General Ziaul Haq. According to a report from the Jinnah Institute, there were nine blasphemy cases in Pakistan between 1929 and 1982, while blasphemy cases over the last 15 years have climbed into the thousands.

The question is;

Are the mullahs solely responsible for misusing these laws or is it also a failure of the state?

Who is responsible for creating a rift in the name of religion, region and creed?

Is it the society’s citizens who continue to remain silent time and again?

It should be clear that policymaking is someone else’s job and that the role of the mullah should be limited. But no such comprehensive policy has been introduced. Now, our state is caught in its own trap for not paying closer attention to this issue and for not properly laying down the rules. The menaces of ethnic clashes and sectarianism flourished under the state’s own nose.

Our prime minister has asked the highest court of our country to not serve the contempt notice to him as it would be an issue of the country’s prestige. But perhaps the prime minister has lost sight of the real issues tarnishing the country’s prestige like our shameful budgetary allocation for education and the menace of corruption from top to bottom in the executive, military, bureaucracy and judiciary.

We have no jobs for our youth and our political parties are too busy pursuing personal interests.

There is need to say a big “no” to our current state of affairs. The decades-old system of compromise will no longer serve our purpose; there is a dire necessity to bring drastic changes in our policies.

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Azam Khan

Azam Khan

An Islamabad based reporter for The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Anonymous

    Mullas like chishti should be brought to justice , but the problem is that no one will dare to speak for Rimsha coz mullas gonna shoot them down like ex governer of punjab. May Allah weaken mullas and let us free from them.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Agree with what you said. Calling on those who manage the affairs of the country to set matters right is like blowing in the wind.Recommend

  • Khurram

    The misuse of the law is not as much of an issue as the law itself. What if Rimsha actually had burnt the Quran? What if it were not a false allegation? Would imprisoning or killing that 11 year old girl then be justified? When I look at these laws, where people could be killed for critisising a person because that person is the most perfect man for the majoriity, or where an 11 year old girl could be brought to court for burning some pages off a book that is considered holy by the blood thirsty majority, my heart fills with dismay and dispair.Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    I am appalled that the nation needs to applaud the religious parties whenever they magnanimously decide not to have somebody killed.

    Demanding the release of a 14-year old handicapped child does not make you a hero. This is a very basic thing that we expect all civilized people with a conscience to be on-board with.

    It’s depressing how low we’ve set the bar for Pakistan’s mainstream religious groups.Recommend

  • Salman

    The bigger question is that when will we realize these laws are man-made, redundant and need to be scrapped. I don’t even like calling it the ‘black’ law. That implies it is somehow fine and just needs fixing. It is an inhumane law and from the middle ages. Pakistan needs to get into the 21st century and fast.Recommend

  • Azazel

    Get rid of the blasphemy law, for it has no place in Islam and the laws of State. That is all. When no such law will exist, people will not exploit or misuse it. And if they do, in the hopes of inciting a sympathetic reaction from the overly religious communities, they can be dealt with and punished accordingly to ensure that such primitive “tribal” mob justice will not be tolerated.Recommend

  • MastMaula

    “there were nine blasphemy cases in Pakistan between 1929 and 1982”
    Are you sure that Paksitan existed in 1929?Recommend

  • curious

    Are we to be blamed for Rimsha?

    No,no of course not.

    Everyone knows it is a Hanood/ Yahood/ Nasra conspiracy.Recommend

  • Vikram

    Are we to be blamed for Rimsha?

    Yes, every one knows these Blasphemy laws are being used with ulterior motives to grab properties and take revenge from non-Muslims. Rimsha is very lucky that she is still alive. If Mullahs and crowd had killed her no one would have known the truth. Many people knew what was happening but did not come forward voluntarily. It was a fluke that during investigation some one mentioned how Maulvi added Quran pages to burned pile of pages.
    Even ash seems to have been planted. Burning paper does not leave much Ash.

    Police could have been easily bribed. Rimsha was lucky for some reason that did not happen. Police registered her age as 18 (or 16 I think) and Rimsha was forced to confess for committing Blasphemy. No lawyer was allowed to talk to her.

    Media and foreign countries getting involved saved this poor girl
    I hope Christians don’t leave that area. If they do go away that means mullahs succeeded in their plan. Mullahs plan to build madrasah (seminary) there.

    Mullahs know there is no hell or heaven, so they do anything to achieve their goals

    Hindu girls are being forcibly converted to Islam, by kidnapping girls and marrying them to Muslims. Girls are threatened their families will be killed if they don’t accept Islam. Even families are beaten & threatened right in front of the judge.

    There may be some Hindu girls who might have converted to Islam by choice.

    What happened to that Hindu guy who converted to Islam on TV show with Maya Khan? Poor guy when asked why he is converting to Islam had no good answer. Is that guy still alive?Recommend

  • Huria

    Pakistan is soon going to become like Iran, where the Mullahs control the government and then we will all watch the persecution of everyother person in name of protecting Islam and protecting Pakistan. Just keep watching, because thats what the masses do!Recommend

  • curious

    Are we to be blamed for Rimsha?

    Of course not.

    All blame must be laid at the doors of the Yahood/ Hanood/ Nasra conspirators.Recommend

  • kaalchakra


    The historio-cultural unit of Pakistan has existed for 5000 years, at least. It came to be so recognized only 1971, but throughout recorded history the people of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Pakhtoonwa always interacted more among themselves than with anyone else because they saw themselves as one people. Ancient mayan records show a thriving Indus culture stretching over all this land.Recommend

  • moonjely sony

    Tthere were nine blasphemy cases in Pakistan between 1929 and 1982, while blasphemy cases over the last 15 years have climbed into the thousands.
    sure Pakistan existed on this date.
    Here shows standard of Pakistani writers and the people who read it. Pakistani army knew it from right beginning and they made people fools. keep it up Recommend

  • http://Pindi RS

    Its not the Blasphemy law, it’s uneducated, morally handicap, mentally retarded, corrupt, exploiter/intentionaly degrading values of Islam, who mis-use their unfortunate n evil desires. These forces needs to be disciplined, not by simple words but by force. All mullah n Islamic political parties needs to be banned, all/any madrases put under local civil administration. Pick all mullahs, give them crash military training n deploy them on country fronts. Country needs them on fronts, not sitting in mosques, lotting/plotting mischeifs, exploiting mases. Pakistan was not created for them or by them.Recommend

  • Hindu Indian

    @kaalchakra: But isnt the identity of Pakistan associated with Islam and we all know that islam came to the world 1400 years back. So wat happened to the rest of 3600 years of history. And as far as the Indus Civilization is concerned, they didnt follow not Islam for a simple reason being, they worshipped Idols :( , sorry for destroying your 5000 year old dream mansionRecommend

  • John B

    Yes, Yes and Yes

    Rimsha’s case is just the scum on the top of the rotten barrel. Let us face it, PAK state is powerless when it comes to religion and it will go a step further had it not been for the free press.

    Contrary to what people paint, it is the educated wealthy PAK people who created the present day PAK. It was they who enacted the law, controlled the civil machinery, suppressed the minorities by systematic discrimination, sit in judiciary and teach children in schools and colleges and it is they who flee when going gets tough, and remain silent and oblivious to the fact and write distorted history.

    The poor illiterate masses of PAK listen and read what the educated mass of PAK teach them.

    The discussion on amending the blasphemy law and not on repealing it and the silence of the NA members in the parliament on this subject speaks volume. Recommend

  • Khurram

    Indus Valley culture pre-dates Islam. Any impact Islam had on that civilization was destructive. It’s irony how invaders have colonized different regons of the world in the past, then invader left but their religion kept ruling the minds of the invaded people. Relion is a meme, as defined by Dwkins, which infects the minds of the infected and is passed on to the next generations by specific well designed tools of childhood indoctrination, and draconian lblasphemy laws. Religion once exerted such power in the West, the time of Inquisition. But those societies have evolved under the pressure of the empowering thoughts of rational, secular thinkers like J S Mills, B Russel, and currently Richard Dawkins, Chris Hitchens etc. WE are stuck in medieval times because we haven’t had the good fortune of having such intellectuals in our society. Even if we had, they would have been killed by crazy mobs anyways. It’s time our youth came out for social change, for a secular, rational Pakistan with a clear separation between the Mosque and the State. We’ve haf enough of these painful yet hilarious jokes of sectarian killing, blasphemy law cases, extremist verses set as compulsory syllabus for Islamic Studies at school, and censorship of the Internet and cable TV channels!Recommend

  • Syed Owais Mukhtar

    Another money making business for Pakistani NGOs.Recommend

  • RK Singh
  • gp65

    The issue of whether you are to be blamed for Rimsha is moot. Pakistan is rapidly and systematically driving out its minorities, so there will be no Rimshas and RInkle Kumaris left to oppress and torment in the near future.

    The question you should be asking yourself is whether you are to be blamed for Jadoon and the answer is Yes. Taking Saudi money to establish salafi madrassas in a bid to create low cost warriors for jihad is a deliberate choice that the country made. People like Jadoon therefore are a consequence of that choice. Recommend

  • Ismail Sher Khan

    I am sahmed to call myself a Pakistani and a muslim, why all this for what a relgion killing and framing innocents for practising their faith, Indians are much better and tolerant nation, we can never compete with them today or in the future if we bring religion in vereything we do, shame on that Mullah for framing an innocent 11 year old physically impaired girl, Khudha us kho kabhi maaf nahee karange.Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    @John B:
    You have hit the nail on the head. Completely agree.Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    @John B:

    Yes, Yes and Yes,
    We have only ourselves to blame.Recommend