Punjab takes lead


PUNJAB Assembly, on Wednesday, passed a landmark bill
“Punjab Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill 2020” that seeks to prevent blasphemy of the Holy Prophets (AS), the Great Companions (RA), Ahle Bait (RA), Umhat-ul-Momineen (RA) and the holy figures of other religions, the holy personalities of all religions forever, and would help eradicate sectarianism and religious hatred. The printing and publication of objectionable material are prohibited under the Bill. The Bill bars the publisher, editor or translator from printing or publishing any book and material that consists of photographs or pictures of suicide bombers, terrorists, except as required by law enforcing agencies for purposes of investigation.
Apart from serving as an effective instrument in stopping the instances of blasphemy, the law would also help contribute towards the cherished goal of promoting religious harmony and tolerance. Sectarian-related issues have often been at the centre of societal tension and at times trigger law and order situation. Curbing hate speech and literature was also part of the National Action Plan against terrorism, progress on which has been wanting and, therefore, the concrete measure taken by Punjab is appreciable. The bill is comprehensive in nature as it takes into account all aspects of hate speech and material and its implementation in letter and spirit could help change the provincial landscape as far as sectarian and inter-faith harmony is concerned. Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has aptly described the bill as historic as it will prove a milestone in protection of religion Islam and its supremacy. He has a point in demanding that the Centre and the provinces should follow the good lead provided by Punjab by adopting similar pieces of legislation in their respective jurisdiction.

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