Our Stockholm Syndrome

Pakistan, gripped by fear, tries to normalise blasphemy laws, anti-liberal violence

Written by Khaled Ahmed | Published:June 10, 2017 12:18 am
pakistan lynching, pakistan blasphemy, pakistan blasphemy lynching, pakistan ahmadiya, iqbal and ahmadiya, mashal khan, mashal khan lynching, pakistan mob violence, pakistan intolerance, intolerance, india intolerance, india news, latest news, indian express news Pakistan’s blasphemy law is the Stockholm Syndrome par excellence, “a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captor”.

On April 13, Mashal Khan, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was killed by a mob of fellow students, who “shot him, stripped him, mutilated and pulped him, and threw him from the second floor”, after accusing him of being “secular” and “liberal”, and not saying his Friday prayers in the mosque.

The media thought this must be labelled “death for blasphemy”. But the killers murdered Mashal Khan, not for blasphemy, but for being “liberal”, perhaps conditioned by the recent “disappearing” of a bunch of “liberal” bloggers by the deep state.

Perhaps for the first time, Pakistani leaders rose as one to condemn the killing; Imran Khan, whose party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, rules in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, went in person to condole with Mashal’s father, not knowing that a councillor from his own party, Arif Khan, was among the killers whom, significantly, the police subsequently failed to arrest among the many whom it did. Such is the pro-killer syndrome in the province that his party, by and large, thinks that secularism is blasphemous. (At least, his coalition partner, the Jamaat-e-Islami, thinks so).

But Pakistan has not missed the threat from Imran Khan’s member in the National Assembly, Ali Muhammad Khan, quoted saying that those who are secular had better leave Pakistan. Then, another member of Khan’s party, National Assembly member Musarrat Ahmad Zeb, charged that the Taliban attack on Nobel Laureate Malala Yousofzai was “staged” — she accused the army of building Malala up as a champion of girls’ education and granting residential plots to the doctors who apparently falsely claimed that she had been shot in the head.

Pakistan’s blasphemy law is the Stockholm Syndrome par excellence, “a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captor”. In this case, Pakistan has developed its “alliance” with the Taliban and the organisations they serve, al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The Economist (April 24) opined thus: “Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been a source of infamy for decades. International human rights groups regularly document their abusive implementation… Nineteen people are currently on death row for blasphemy. Members of Pakistan’s beleaguered Christian minority are used as targets by hate-mongering mullahs and others… Accusers often level false claims of blasphemy to settle land disputes, and other entirely worldly affairs. Police, scared of the mobs that round on alleged blasphemers, rarely resist pressure to lodge charges. Judges in the lower courts are unwilling to throw out even the most nonsensical cases for fear of retribution”.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, Pervaiz Khattak, was upset with the victim’s father, Iqbal Jan, who complained about the laxity of the law in the face of “pious crime”. Khattak reportedly said, “Don’t throw all responsibility at us. Throw it at someone else too. The provincial government doesn’t have Aladdin’s lamp…”. Was he referring to the Stockholm Syndrome that the Islamic World is smitten with?

Mashal hailed from Swabi, not far from Peshawar where the Panjpir madrasa steadfastly supports the Taliban’s extremist version of Islam and has remained immune from punishment because its custodian is the brother of an ex-ISI officer, still helping the prime minister patch up with Pakistan’s homegrown killers.

Blasphemy in Pakistan has acquired a broad meaning; “innuendo” can get you in trouble, but being “liberal” is signal enough for the pious seeking easy paradise. Section 225-C of the Pakistan Penal Code explains how the punishment of death can be attracted: “Whoever insults the sacred name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by words either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, will be punished by hanging”.

This is one crime that can be committed “without intent”; anywhere else in the world, a murder is not acknowledged as a murder unless you first establish intent. This is what happened to a semi-literate Christian girl, Aasiya Bibi, in 2011; when then-Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer recommended amendments to the law to save people from wrongful accusations, he too was killed, by his own police guard. Now, the Barelvi organisations are not agitating for retaining the law as it is; they object to the delay in the hanging of Aasiya Bibi.

Muslims are suffering today at the hands of fellow-Muslims because as victims, their faith in the 21st century is tending to extremism — an extremism of the victim’s identification with the tormentor, grown out of an inability to meet the challenges of a connected world.

The writer is consulting editor, ‘Newsweek Pakistan’

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    Ajay Nair
    Jun 10, 2017 at 11:57 pm
    "On April 13, Mashal Khan, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, was killed by a mob of fellow students, who “shot him, stripped him, mutilated and pulped him, and threw him from the second floor”, after accusing him of being “secular” and “liberal”, and not saying his Friday prayers in the mosque." Ha ha ha ha! We should pack all our Indian "sickulars" and "liberals" and send them to Porkistan. Their jihadis over there will solve our problem for us.
    Reply
    1. S
      sivakumar
      Jun 10, 2017 at 10:18 pm
      @ Chitta you must speak the truth atleast today that Hindus are so accommodative and broadly secular and wil for coexistence, it's only 30 percent of Muslims dreaming of Islamic caliphate and dreaming of reviving Muslims rule in India , do you think it's possible? , in the bargain the peace and tranquility is hammered
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        chitta
        Jun 10, 2017 at 11:23 pm
        Sir I am not representing Muslim community. I am a part of it. Don't be so excited. One tip to Hindus. Open your eyes otherwise you will again divide. See Kashmir for example.
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          Ajay Nair
          Jun 10, 2017 at 11:50 pm
          What to see in Kashmir? Hindus and Buddhists in Kashmir are perfectly united? Only jihadis are cayusing trouble just like they do in every other country in the world.
          1. T
            Thrinethran T
            Jun 11, 2017 at 1:08 am
            Open your eyes?!What we see is a community opposed in the main to cultural exchange, social reform and religious evolution, all of which other faiths are open to. Until now, the pseudos had a great run pampering to this exceptionalism, in spite of the fate of the minorities in the Muslim majority neighbourhood. So there is a small wave of reactive hostility. Hope you would realise the importance of reform and integration.
        2. S
          sivakumar
          Jun 10, 2017 at 9:28 pm
          @ Chitta - there is no iota of doubt Muslims having equal status in India, but who is spoi the true sprite of brotherhood and co-existence, Godhra Train massacre is one small incidence, even the Babri Masjid the Masjid is no relevance and no Historical relevance, if Hindus have some belief , it's a place of Lord Ram's birth place and the barber razed the very old Ram temple to build a Masjid [It was proved by archeological dept that there were some structure beneath the Babri Masjid), you should be grace enough to understand the fee of the majority, the world would have appreciated, you proved that you don't wish to be coexisted , so many bomb blasts in India killed thousands of people, who is spoi the peace, who is dreaming of caliphate in India, Chitta please don't think of bringing the situation in India for what the saitanic people are replicating in Syria, Afghan, Iran, Palastine, and other Middle East states Muslims kill ing other Muslims why! Think.. think
          Reply
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            Employ Ment
            Jun 10, 2017 at 9:24 pm
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            Reply
            1. C
              chitta
              Jun 10, 2017 at 9:11 pm
              @who replied to me. Every religion has some good and bad. I agree Muslims community has more bad than good. But can you do anything.?? Can you export 300 million Muslims to other countries.?? No. Creating communal riots and kil s will not help any side. This is not medieval or barberic mindset. It's reality. Instead of blaming on Muslims, blame your politicians. So Muslims will Live in India. Don't ask them to Leave.
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                Ajay Nair
                Jun 10, 2017 at 11:51 pm
                Every religion has good and bad, but in most religions the bad is small percentage of the population. In Islam, good people are the minority. Majority are extremists.
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                sivakumar
                Jun 10, 2017 at 9:04 pm
                @ Chitta- You are not happy to living with me, then will you be happy in living in Porkistan ? where sharia law will be implemented in near future. It's already in force partialy, minority Hindus, Sikhs, Christian are living as third cl citizens in porkistan will you appreciate this , even the Ahmedis, Bora, Sufis are treated as third cl citizens and constantly living under fear, will you appreciate this fact, If you are a true Islam follower keep your right hand in your chest and say are you being treated as a second cl citizens India, are you not enjoying the freedom and equal status enshrined by our cons ution. Chitra my friend, I do not know you are a women or men, please learn to speak the truth,
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                  PAREED
                  Jun 11, 2017 at 5:02 am
                  Islam did not promote the extremism.The deviant sects are promoting the hard law of the so-called religious extremism.Quran teaches that there is no compulsion in religion. Shia is a deviant group among Muslims.They didn't recognise the companions of the prophet.They argued that the selection/election are against the Islam. They believe that 'Ali' the husband of the daughter of the prophet is the inheritor of the Khilafat.Shia't Ali means 'party of Ali'' The Wahhabi's didn't recognise the companion of the prophet.They are not following'according to selfish thoughts'' Ahlussunnathi Val Jamaat is the true belief of Islam.They are against all anti-national and anti-religious activities.There are four approved schools in the Ahlussunnathi-Val-jamaat.Hanafi School, Maliki Shool, Shafei School and Maliki School.All approved schools were established during the first three hundred years after the life of the prophet. Deviant Sects are inhuman and anti-national in origin.
                  Reply
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                  chitta
                  Jun 10, 2017 at 8:29 pm
                  Don't ask Muslims to go to Pakstn. Live peacefully with them or Leave India. Muslim has equal rights in India.
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                    Murthy
                    Jun 10, 2017 at 8:56 pm
                    Equal rights, okay but special treatment or appsmt is not okay. Chitta all minorities are safe in India for two reasons: Hindus are secular becuse of the make-up and history of Hinduism. Second Pseudo-e secularism is a disease of the ru cl of Hindus, not of Muslims nor their ru class.
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                      Ajay Nair
                      Jun 10, 2017 at 11:52 pm
                      Muslims don't have equal rights, they have special rights. Special civil code, special reservation, special subisidy, free Hajj trip, free stipend for imams etc etc
                      Reply
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                      sivakumar
                      Jun 10, 2017 at 8:20 pm
                      @Chitta - Iam not hate monger, Iwas only replying to your dirty mediaeval. barbaric mindset. Hindus have no problem in co-existence, you know the truth, all Hindus are very accommodative, tell me who is trying to show religious superiority, the Muslims are, who is spitting venom at other religions belief it's Muslim not Hindus, every Muslim minds are programmed to hate non believers, Hinduism never having 'Kafir ' ideology, even the cuted Parsis arrived from Iran, Hindus welcomed with both the hands and they are living happily in India, they never complained , have u ever heared of unhappiness towards Hindus, You know , they are the actual minority in India , 20 percent of Indian Muslims are very fanatic the problem start with their activities, I don't subscribe Gujarat riots but who started? It's all happen because of Godhra train massacre! , 80 percentage of Indian Muslims are wil to co exist despite their hate religious ideology, but 20 percent like you spoil the peace.
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