Justice Markandey Katju-
Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer in English Literature in a College in Pakistan, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy by a Court in Multan. He was arrested in 2013 and has since then been in solitary confinement. Many lawyers in Pakistan distributed sweets on hearing of the verdict, just as lawyers in Lahore showered rose petals on Qadri, the security guard of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer who assassinated the latter.
It is not just the illiterates in Pakistan who are ‘jaahils’. It is much of the so called ‘educated’ class too. A Professor in a University in Pakistan informed me that when he criticized the murder of Salman Taseer in the staff room his colleagues stared at him as if he had physically assaulted them, and some even threatened him of dire consequences unless he shuts up.
The lawyer who defended Junaid Hafeez was told by the prosecuting lawyers in the court room that he will not be alive on the next date of hearing, and sure enough, he was shot dead by unknown assailants soon thereafter. The lawyer who defended Asiya Bibi has fled the country. Defending a blasphemy accused ( section 295C Pakistan Penal Code ) is inviting a death sentence by the lawyer. And many of those accused of blasphemy in Pakistan are lynched even before the trial begins.
Moreover, it is well known that blasphemy charge ( of insulting the Prophet ) are usually made for some oblique motive e.g, to grab the property of the accused. Minorities in Pakistan e.g. Hindus, Christians and Sikhs are particularly vulnerable as they are often falsely accused of blasphemy.
As for the 5 million Ahmadis in Pakistan, they live in terror, like Jews in Nazi Germany, as mentioned in detail in my article ‘Barbaric persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan’ ( see online ).
So isn’t Pakistan a ‘jaahil’ country ? And isn’t this the logical and inevitable consequence of declaring Pakistan an Islamic state?
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.]