Pak must knock sense into people who ‘mollycoddle the intolerant’: Daily Times

November 29th, 2010 - 7:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Islamabad, Nov 29(ANI): The sentencing of a Christian woman to death for blasphemy in Pakistan is not just gaining momentum, it is leaving a torrent of controversy in its wake, where extremism and draconian views are being upheld instead of endorsing basic human rights and tolerance, an editorial in a leading Pakistan newspaper has said.

A local court in Nankana district has sentenced 45-year-old Aasia Bibi for blasphemy in a first such conviction in the country.

Aasia’s case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she should not touch the water bowl.

A few days later, the women went to a local cleric and alleged that Aasia had made derogatory remarks against the religious personalities. The cleric went to local police, which opened an investigation.

The 45-year-old was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries death penalty.

“After being sentenced to death by a district sessions court in Nankana Sahib, Aasia’s case has become the poster-child issue for civil society, private NGOs and the international community, all of whom are appalled by this medieval and harsh punishment because of a controversial law,” the editorial in the Daily Times said.

“However, it is saddening to see that some of our politicians are coddling the mullahs who have found in Aasia’s case a reason to once again froth at the mouth,” it added.

The editorial further said that the last thing Pakistan needs right now is any vindication granted to the clerics.

“It is these people who have condoned the extra-judicial murder of anyone accused - many falsely - of blasphemy. It is these clerics who support Taliban-like causes and even outrightly provide ideological and, at times, strategic support to the militants who are ravaging our nation,” the editorial said.

“If members of the ruling party side with their inhumane verdicts on religious matters, little hope is left for our minorities and the cultivation of a society that protects the rights of its citizens. Someone needs to knock some sense into those who mollycoddle the intolerant. They have done enough harm to Pakistan already,” it added. (ANI)

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