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Pakistan Abhors the Taliban Yet Affirms Extremism
There is a blasphemy plaque in Pakistan. People being stoned, incinerated, mobbed and attacked, murdered for the sake of religious extremism. There was the Taliban bomber who blew himself up and 60 others in Lahore. Then, a Christian couple was in Kasur were beaten to death and tossed into a brick kiln to burn. What, exactly, was their crime? A non-Muslim faith and a money dispute. That is all. This is a far cry from some guy being stoned to death for being with a woman that he was not related to. The Taliban attack was simply to kill those in a flag lowering ceremony. The Taliban attack riled Pakistani emotions across the country against the Taliban, while the horror for the Christian couple received little notice or press in the country. However, once the World press began to report of it, Pakistani police decided they had better do something and arrested 40 suspects.
While the general Pakistani population wants the Taliban gone and supports the military attacks upon them, they are sliding into religious extremism that is a Taliban landmark. At least the Shiite sector is, while the Sunni majority generally are not in favor of such Taliban-like intolerance. Shiites only comprise of 20% there, yet, their actions against Hindus, Ahmadis and Christians, are violently extreme. The kicker to this is that even the Sunnis agree with the Taliban with faith based persecution that ends up being extreme under the "blasphemy" excuse.
For many there, if you are of the Ahmadi faith, you are non-Muslim; if Shiite, you are a heretic, if Christian or Hindu, an infidel or second class citizen. Being charge for blasphemy (as simple as speaking bad of Islam or its prophet) can get a death sentence under their Penal Code. People use this charge to get even many times to settle a grudge over money or property. This was the cause with the Christian couple. They entered into a dispute over money owed with the kiln owner. As angers flared, the owner accused them of desecrating the Quran. A local mullah charged them with blasphemy. That was all it took to rally the religious cry of the crowd who became zombies of revenge.
In another extreme, a respected attorney was shot in the head dead just for taking a case defending a man of blasphemy. The man was a professor at a local university. In yet another case, a Muslim scholar who had made a speech in the USA was killed when returning to Karachi. Again, the charge was blasphemy. Pakistani attorneys are afraid to even defend people with these charges because if they repeat what was said in trial, they could be charged with the same crime!
The blasphemy law has become so toxic, the government makes no effort to control or curb the activities of extremist religious views belong to sectarian sects. Their leaders live in urban Pakistan citing the same views the Taliban do. Since the government does nothing, the blasphemy sickness is becoming toxic to real freedom of religion. More and more of the illiterate population there simply follow the religious leaders and like zombies, believe whatever they are told and do under blasphemy law. In a poll, 75% of Pakistanis think the law is there to protect Islam.
Pakistan will become Talibanish without much force from them. They use the blasphemy law for insidious purposes.