The Jaranwala Aftermath and Misuse of Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan

Farrukh Saif

August 22, 2023

In the wake of the Jaranwala incident, the embers of extremism have spread across Pakistan, igniting deep concerns, particularly in the province of Punjab. Beyond the immediate repercussions, the incident spurred an unlikely alliance between Muslims and Christians, personified by Malik Ejaz, an entrepreneur in Kot Abdul Malik, Sheikhupura, Punjab.

Ejaz’s Facebook post, following the Jaranwala incident, poignantly juxtaposed the shared anticipation of the second coming of Prophet Isa (Jesus) by both Christians and Muslims. In his post, he questioned the incongruity of this shared anticipation with the ongoing destruction of churches and Christian homes. He added whether Allah, as understood in Islam, failed to safeguard the sacred spaces of Prophet Isa (Jesus).

Tragically, Ejaz’s expression of thought sparked a chain of events that revealed a distressing misuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a prominent Islamic political party, initiated legal action against Ejaz, invoking sections 295 A, 153 A, 504, and 16 MPO. This action swiftly escalated into a violent mob-led assault on Ejaz’s home. Shockingly, without any due process, the mob fatally shot Ejaz, discarding his body callously.

The violence continued as the mob rampaged through Ejaz’s house, tossing his belongings onto the streets and setting his home ablaze. This incident starkly highlights the grave implications of the misuse of blasphemy laws, originally established to protect religious sentiments, but now wielded as tools of personal vendetta and violence.

This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for a comprehensive reevaluation of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. A system meant to promote harmony and respect for all faiths has, in some cases, become an instrument of intolerance and persecution. The story of Malik Ejaz underscores the necessity for a fair and just legal framework that safeguards citizens from manipulation, ensuring a harmonious coexistence of diverse religious beliefs.

In conclusion, the Jaranwala incident’s ripple effects underscore the fragility of religious harmony in Pakistan. While there’s been a heartening display of unity, this incident also exposes the critical need to address the misuse of blasphemy laws, fostering a society where justice prevails over prejudice and tolerance prevails over extremism.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a fearless Christian Human Rights activist, founded the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to combat religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His focus on liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns has earned him international recognition. Despite facing threats and fatwas, his impactful work continues to support marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, amplifying its global reach.

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