By Dr. Arif Javid
Supreme Court of Pakistan, after due process of Law, has acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was accused of blasphemy by her co-workers in a field. This decision should be hailed as deliverance of justice to a non-Muslim woman in the golden Islamic tradition of rule of law and our Ulema should spearhead this cause. By the grace of God, Pakistan is a Muslim majority country and its government has enacted laws to deal with the cases of blasphemy. Muslim judges, who equally love Prophet (PBUH), decide these cases according to the law. However, as happened in the case of Aasia Bibi, it is also a general observation that the incidents of blasphemy are always supported by mobs and judges gave decisions under the intense public pressure. Hence, in the most of the cases, people are denied fair trial and justice in the lower courts. Finally, these wiped off similar kind of pressures in this case and Aasia Bibi was set free, as all evidence against her was doubtful and insufficient.
Unfortunately, some elements with vested interests, are doing politics by means of exploitation of public sentiments over this sensitive issue.
At least, they should realize that it is a matter of a woman and Islam and our social culture ask for a very soft approach towards women. The nefarious conduct of these people is only tarnishing the image of Islam in the world. We remind them of the instructions of Holy Prophet (PBUH) regarding women in his farewell sermon: “Treat your women well and be kind to them”. They should do some soul-searching and refrain from running a campaign against a non-Muslim woman, who has been declared innocent by the competent Muslim judges.
With regard to Blasphemy Laws, it is established fact that many people misuse it for settling scores with their rivals by wrongfully accusing them. The nature of the issue of blasphemy is a very sensitive matter and unfortunately, it has also been exploited by the terrorists to justify their attacks in Pakistan. In March 2016, the killing of at least 17 people in TTP’s Shabqadar attack on the pretext of avenging the execution of Mumtaz Qadri illustrated how misguided extremists are as innocent Muslims were victims of this attack. As TTP have attacked thousands of Mosques, Imambargahs and Shrines in Pakistan, therefore, its justification for this attack was wrong and deceitful. Moreover, TTP has martyred thousands of Muslim Pakistanis in suicide attacks which were itself Haram acts.
Finally, it is also pertinent to mention that Imam Abu Hanifa and all the Hanifa jurists have declared blasphemy a pardonable act and they suggest death penalty only for habitual blasphemer, who does not pay heed to the repeated warnings of a Muslim Qazi. As both Barelvi and Deobandi schools of thoughts and Nuqshbandi, Qadri and Chishti Sufi chains of subcontinent are essentially Hanafi, hence 96% Sunni Muslims of Pakistan are Hanafi and they must adopt tolerant attitude and behaviour towards the issue of blasphemy.
As more protests on the issue of Aasia Bibi will bring more shame to the Ulema in the world, Ulema should come forward and they should convince all to respect SCP verdict. In the end, Ulema of Islam will be credited for promoting healthy attitudes, behaviour and peace on the issue of blasphemy in the society.
The writer is a political analyst; views expressed by him are entirely his own.