"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary.Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."
--Albert Einstein !!!
NEWS,ARTICLES,EDITORIALS,MUSIC... Ze chi pe mayeen yum da agha pukhtunistan de.....(Liberal,Progressive,Secular World.)''Secularism is not against religion; it is the message of humanity.''
تل ده وی پثتونستآن
Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy crackdown is tightening the noose around nonbelievers.
On Tuesday a High Court Judge in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad reiterated in a hearing that “blasphemers are terrorists,” as a petitioner sought a ban on social media pages allegedly uploading derogatory posts against Islam and Prophet Muhammad.
The Islamabad police have since registered a case against the owners of these pages. The Senate has approved a resolution demanding strict action against “blasphemous content” online. Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Agency has published ads in national dailies asking citizens to “help identify blasphemers on Facebook.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman, in his defense, said that similar social media pages have recently been blocked and that it takes time to convince the Facebook administration to take action.
In January, secular bloggers and activists, many of whom were accused of being affiliated with these pages, were abducted from various parts of the country, with the well-coordinated maneuver accused of being a state-backed operation by many quarters.
Almost parallel to the activists’ release, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the Mumbai Attacks, was put under house arrest. Many believe the state’s long overdue action against Kashmir-bound jihadists is being pushed by China, as it seeks security for the much touted economic corridor.
With the current ruling party forging political alliances with many of these jihadist groups, and the Army using them as “strategic assets” for proxy wars in Kashmir and Afghanistan, only external pressure can lead to decisive counterterror action.
But what this has meant is that both the civilian and military leaders now have to appease their heretofore Islamist allies to avoid collective backlash, as action against jihadist groups becomes inevitable. Pakistan’s overt war against freethinkers might just give the state the respite that it needs.
This is why Justice Siddiqui’s juxtaposition of “liberal secular extremists” and radical Islamists is critical. All state institutions echoing apologia for Islamists, and slamming secularists, is menacing for an already endangered species: the Pakistani atheist.
Delineating the ideological divide, which would result in any liberal ideals being thrown to the wolves, could’ve instigated Bangladesh-like violence had Pakistani freethinkers been a quasi-significant demographic. As it is, a few abductions, and banned web pages, were enough to silence many of us.
While one still can’t officially register as an atheist, or opt for “No Religion” as identity for the national database, the number of atheists is believed to have increased following the advent of Internet and social media allowing isolated nonbelievers to connect.
In 2015, the hashtag #ایک_کروڑ_پاکستانی_ملحد or “Aik crore Pakistani mulhid” (10 million Pakistani atheists) trended around Darwin Day, with thousands of Twitter users tweeting both for and against atheism. It trended around February 12 last year again. But we didn’t see a repeat last month.
Pakistani atheists – a broad term encompassing agonistics, the irreligious, deists, and humanists alike – have been lazily painted by the Islamists as “liberals and seculars,” despite the fact that many believing and practicing Muslims identify as such as well.
Muslims openly identifying as atheist in Pakistan would be an open invitation to violence, considering the state’s blasphemy laws are interpreted to outlaw apostasy, coupled with the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) refusal to let citizens officially change Islam as their religion. Hence, the aforementioned “secular liberal” label also provides refuge to the atheists.
Even so, in websites and social media pages that are critical of Islamic theology, the Islamists at the helm of state institutions have found the filter to sift atheists. Justice Siddiqui himself was quick to clarify that non-Muslims shouldn’t be considered in the ongoing case against blasphemers, clearly underscoring apostates as the intended target.
And while these atheists of Muslim heritage aren’t an organized political entity – as is the case in Bangladesh – the IHC’s verdict, and the capital police registering a case weeks after action against secular activists had already been taken, smacks of a thirst for blood.
Whether the episode is being staged to mollify Islamists amidst the crackdown on jihadists, or if there’s a genuine clampdown against free-thought, remains to be seen. But the state seems more than willing to sacrifice its nonbelievers at the altar of its security failures.