Then they came for me…

By Shamila Ghyas


Pakistan has never been safe for Hindus, Christians, Shias, Ahmadis, skeptics, and pretty much anyone who can walk by themselves on their own two feet. Scratch that, make it ‘everyone’ – the ones who can’t walk, who can’t see, can’t talk, little girls, babies; Pakistan is not safe for anyone.

A Christian simply walking happily outside a mosque is enough for him to be booked for blasphemy. An Ahmadi referring to himself as a Muslim is asking for a major beating by a dozen men at the very least. This could expand to a zealous mob burning his whole house down and smashing a washing machine screaming ecstatically “Yaaayyy” (this happened!) And as we all know, even a mock wedding on TV with a religious song playing in the background is enough to make everyone involved “wajibul qatal.”

The list is endless. Murder happy nation, we are.

Now, the one group of people, it had still been somewhat safe for had been the ‘debonair’ scholars that routinely came on TV to brainwash everyone. The likes of Amir Liaqat, Maulana Tariq Jameel, Hafiz Saeed, Junaid Jamshed and others.

Amir Liaqat has enticed people to kill, poked fun at his callers, given babies away like cellphones in his shows, fed mango to a poor victim like he was waterboarding him, and has acted like a complete buffoon (I am being polite here). Hafiz Saeed, considered a terrorist everywhere except in Pakistan, gets the best microphone and seat in the house when he is around. His Twitter account where he likes to rant (terrorists are so tech savvy these days) has been suspended but I am fairly certain, Pakistan had nothing to do with that. Terrorists are allowed to have a voice here, you see.

Junaid Jamshed, singer/heartthrob turned fashion designer/religious scholar also routinely came on TV preaching religion, singing naats, as well as stating his personal misogynistic views for all to watch, learn and follow.

No one had any issue. Not when he said women should not drive. Not when he said secular laws of the West are a curse.

No one also had any issues when he, along with the other scholars, did not speak up for people who had been accused (wrongly) of blasphemy. When they were brutally killed by the ‘crazed vigilante savage squads.’  When people were hacked, burnt and murdered. When a poor woman who was thrown into jail even after repeatedly apologizing for something she had not even done. None of them spoke up.

Not even when a Christian couple was thrown into a brick kiln. Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi both had their legs broken by the mob so they could not run; they were dragged by a tractor, then thrown into the brick kiln. When the four-month pregnant woman did not burn properly, she was pulled out and wrapped in a cotton cloth before being thrown back in so she would burn faster – all this in front of their two children.

No one spoke up. I think even the most heartless of all would have had something to say, but no, our scholars, our clerics, our keepers of religion kept quiet.

However, Maulana Tariq Jameel has now finally spoken up, not for them, the non-Muslims but rather for Muslim Junaid Jamshed, that mistakes can be made and how God is finally all forgiving.

Are mistakes only accepted as such if supposed scholars make them? If they apologize, they should be forgiven? This is a good thing then, but why does this forgiveness rule not apply to the average man? The average non-Muslim that is.

The ‘scholars’ know more than the ordinary man, so shouldn’t the same forgiveness be applicable to them?  Why is ok to punish some but not others? Does forgiveness have a special section where only certain people fit? Shouldn’t a person who doesn’t know much about the religion be bound to make more mistakes than a person who claims to know religion better than others?

Regardless of all this, the point is, over the years no one spoke up when others were being prosecuted for blasphemy.  ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ and this has just come back now to bite JJ on his tashreef.

He, like the rich ones who could afford it and did not die in the process of making a run for it, has rushed to London (cursed secular London FYI), and will remain there indefinitely. His life is now in danger in Pakistan, even if he is not sentenced through court, someone might kill him long before it even gets to that. His shop in Karachi has been shut down to avoid any violence.  All this, because he and others chose to not speak up when someone else needed them to.

I would say that the blasphemy law itself needs to go, but then I might be booked for it too, so I won’t.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Shamila Ghyas is a fantasy fiction author, blogger, geek and freelancer who writes for Khabaristan Times. Follow her on Twitter

Courtesy: The Nation
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