Senators for stopping misuse of blasphemy law


ISLAMABAD, May 11 (APP): Senators from both sides of aisle
on Thursday strongly condemned lynching of Abdul Wali
Khan University’s student Mishal Khan and demanded strict
implementation of the blasphemy law, but stopping its misuse.
Speaking on a motion, ‘the tragic incident of lynching
of Mishal Khan and the rise in such incidents in the country,’ they
said the issue should be thoroughly debated in Committee of the
Whole in order to stop reoccurrence of such ugly incidents.
They were of the view that blasphemy law was very sensitive
issue and Ulema, lawyers, former judges, religious scholars
and all the stakeholders should be invited to the Committee of the
Whole for taking their valuable input and guidance in that regard.
Farhatullah Babar of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian
(PPPP) said the parliament had to play its role to stop misusing
of the blasphemy law. No one was asking to amend the law but
its misuse should be stopped, he said.
He said the parliament had made amendment in Section 295-A
to convert life imprisonment into capital punishment for
the blasphemer.
He said the country witnessed increase in the mob violence
incidents and regretted that some elements were suppressing
expression of freedom in the name of religion.
Azam Khan Swati of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) said all
segments of society including politicians, Ulema, lawyers etc would
have to play their crucial role to change the extremist mindset in
order to present soft image of Pakistan and Islam.
Sherry Rehman of PPPP said there was a dire need to change
the extremist mindset. She said All Parties Conference (APC) should
also be convened on this serious issue.
Robina Khalid of PPPP regretted that lynching of the
student was celebrated and rally was organized to demand
releasing of accused involved in that heinous act.
She said war against terrorism could not be won
without concrete counter-narrative to check extremism in the
country. She suggested discussing the issue in the Committee of
the Whole.
Maulana Atta-ur-Rehman of Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) said
no one should be allowed to take law into their hands.
He said his party had already expressed complete sympathy
with Mishal’s family and condemned the incident. However, he said
no one could be allowed to change the law on basis of
such incidents.
He said implementation of law in letter and spirit was the
way forward to prevent such incidents.
Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo urged
Ulema and political parties to join hand to stop religious
intolerance in the society. Nihal Hashmi of Pakistan Muslim
League (PML-N) said there was dire need to change mindset of
both liberal and extremist forces. He urged Ulema to give true
message of Islam.
Mir Kabeer Ahmed of National Party said the state should
take stern action against all those who took law into
their hands.
He endorsed the viewpoint of other senators to discuss the issue
in the Committee of Whole.
Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party
(PkMAP) held University administration responsible for lynching
of the student and called for strict action against all the
people involved in the incident.
He said Mishal’s parents should be given awards for
demonstrating decency and courage even on the death of
their son.
He also suggested that the university’s Mass Communication
Department should be named after Mishal Khan and trial of the case
should also be expedited.
Shahi Syed of Awami National Party (ANP) urged that the
matter should not be politicized and action should be taken
against the culprits, irrespective of their political affiliation.
Chaudhry Tanvir of PML-N said extremist elements were bringing
bad name to Islam by promoting intolerance.
He stressed the need for changing individuals’ mindset to
prevent such incidents. He also called for action against the culprits.
Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan said strict action should
be taken against those responsible for lynching of Mishal Khan.
He said all the people, after identifying in the
lynching video available, should not be given any clemency
and everyone should be tried according to the law. He
said the case should be tried in a military court.
He also urged the chair to refer the matter to Committee of the
Whole in order to have detailed discussion.
Hafiz Hamdullah, Sardar Azam Musa Khel, Noman Wazir,
Barrister Saif, Saleem Zia, Taj Haider and Aurangzeb also
condemned the incident and called for taking action against
the culprits.