By: Lesley Roberts
According to Daily Record, two weeks ago, one of the police officers responsible for protecting him in jail decided to impose his own summary justice.
Mohammad Asghar had been lying in his prison bed – in part of a Pakistani jail reserved for those sentenced to death for blasphemy – when a guard walked in and fired a bullet into his back. A second shot missed.
For years now, the international community and human rights activists within Pakistan have been trying to draw the attention to minorities' rights in the country and the use of the blasphemy laws by hardline groups as a tool to oppress and prosecute minorities.
According to The Parliament Magazine, in the most recent incident, a 70 year old British citizen of Pakistani descent who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges was shot by his guard in a high security prison.
By Ambreen Agha
Pakistan is increasingly failing to protect its minorities for two broad reasons: principally, rising religious intolerance and the space ceded to violent ideologies.— Sherry Rehman, former Ambassador to the US, 2011
Little noticed amidst the ongoing pitched battle led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led Federal Government, a group of protesters from minority communities held a rally in Badin District of Sindh on August 16, 2014, against the current Government’s failure to protect minorities from communal atrocities, including kidnapping-for-ransom, killings on religious grounds and abduction of girls for forced conversion.
According to engadget, India's previously criticized Facebook for not censoring material that was critical of its government, so let's agree that the country has something of a strained relationship with social media.
In June this year Mumbai Police had issued a similar warning to citizens directing them to not ‘like’ objectionable posts on Facebook. Mumbai Police told that the people would be booked under section 66A of the IT Act and section 295A of Indian Penal Code, which deals with ‘hurting religious sentiments’, in such cases.
Because India has no blasphemy laws, any material that could offend someone's religious beliefs is prosecuted as hate speech, and that includes uploading, forwarding, sharing, liking and retweeting something. We hate to be cynical, but we can't imagine it'll be long before the first dissenting voice gets thrown in jail to protect the feelings of the general population.
By Jahanzaib Haque
As of August 2014, there are 15.4 million Pakistanis on Facebook, representing approximately 8.5 per cent of the country’s total population; a virtual city set to rival Karachi in terms of sheer numbers.
According to Jakarta Post, Facebook is Pakistan’s largest social network, and — unlike when it was banned over ‘Draw Prophet Muhammad Day’ in 2010 — few would now argue that the site is simply ‘a waste of time’ or only for the ‘elite’ in society.