Persistent abuse of blasphemy law

A grade twelve student at a private college in Charsadda shot his college principal dead on Monday after being censured for skipping school to attend the November 2017 sit-in of a religious party at Faizabad. In a video, the arrested student appeared to justify the murder saying he believed the college principal had committed blasphemy.
In fact it is the not the first incident of its kind in the country where a person has been murdered on mere charges of blasphemy without going through the legal process. In the past also we have seen individuals abusing the law to settle personal scores or for some extraneous purposes. In this particular case that took place in Charsadda, firstly it is astonishing that the students are allowed to carry arms in the educational institutions without any check. Apparently, the student tried to get sympathies from the local population by levelling charges of blasphemy after killing the principal. Even if the principal had committed blasphemy, the student should have reported the same to the police. Indeed blasphemy by anyone cannot be condoned but individuals cannot be allowed to take law into their hands, as implementation of the law is responsibility of the government and the state. To discourage the abuse of blasphemy law, it has become vital that those who falsely accuse others of committing desecration of holy personalities including the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) are awarded strict punishment — indeed the one that is awarded to a blasphemous person. It is a matter of great satisfaction that over the past few years a consensus has developed that something should urgently be done to protect the victims of false accusations. One way is that legislation should be enacted to punish those who falsely accuse anyone of blasphemy. Then a safeguard should also be provided against arrest and trial on a false charge. Parliament has held threadbare discussion on the matter on a number of occasions, it is time that it also takes practical measures to stop the abuse of blasphemy law.

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