Rise of Extremism and Asia Bibi's Case
Extremism is engulfing international politics. Growing extremism has become another threat to international peace. Pakistan is also among one of those countries who are facing issue of extremism in the society. It is very unfortunate that this society is losing patience. Recently, Pakistan’s Supreme Court in a landmark verdict overturned the conviction of a Christian woman (Asia Bibi) facing execution for blasphemy as the the evidence produced by the prosecution against the alleged blasphemy committed by the appellant, the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbours.
After the verdict of Supreme Court, some radical Islamist political and religious parties started agitations against the verdict and started vandalizing public and private properties. Countrywide agitations turned violent when protestors put some busses and cars in flames. PM Imran Khan in his televised address to nation requested agitators not to mess with the state otherwise, to maintain law and order, legal action will be taken against those who are taking law into their own hands. Protestors had set PM’s request aside and try to paralyze the country for three days before the state capitulating to agitators.
After the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a ray of hope was, arise for minorities in Pakistan. Entire international media termed this development a victory for Pakistan’s minorities and liberals. However, after the agitations of Islamist hardliners, they started criticizing Pakistani government for capitulating to religious hardliners. International media is criticizing the capitulating of state to the religious hardliners. French, American and Indian media grilled Pakistan’s government and establishment.
Religious extremism is everywhere and entire political elite is facing this issue. Religious and right wing elements are engulfing political and economic arena. Victory of President Trump and Brazilian President elect Jair Bolsnario is example of rise of right wing. Let’s take the example of India where PM Modi led BJP government is about to complete its tenure. BJP is extremely right wing political party with armed wing RSS. RSS is killing Muslims on the name of cow slaughtering and burning houses of Muslim community in the different parts of India. BJP and RSS both have been involved in communal violence across India. Recently, a retired Indian Lt General Zameer Ud Din revealed in his book “Sarkari Musalman” that in 2002, Gujrat government under the then CM Modi was involved in anti-Muslim riots.
So religious extremism is international issue and it needs to be tackle through combine efforts.
In Pakistan’s case, acquittal of Asia Bibi is positive gesture and it shows that judiciary is working without any influence from establishment and Army. This verdict is victory for judiciary as well as. Acquittal of Asia Bibi has endorsed judicial independence and proved that judges are not working under any pressure. This verdict is slap on the face of those people who were of the opinion that Military establishment and ISI are influencing judiciary to get favourable verdicts.
International community should praise Pakistan’s judicial independence rather to criticize them. Agitations held everywhere not only Pakistan is facing this problem. Acquittal of Asia Bibi will pave the way for the security and rights of minorities in Pakistan. After the verdict of Asia Bibi, minorities will realize that judiciary is protecting their rights. International media and community should learn from Pakistan that how to protect the rights of minorities. Minorities are secure in Pakistan. Worship places of minorities are secure in Pakistan and they can follow their religious traditions freely.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of international media/ community to project the positive side of Asia Bibi’s case rather to create fuss and to build pressure on Pakistan’s government. UN and other human rights watchdogs should cooperate with Pakistan to eradicate extremism from society. Now it is the duty of International media that they should refrain itself from airing negative content on this issue as it will create anarchy and chaos in the society. UN and other rights watchdogs should pressurize other countries who have failed to protect the rights of minorities. There is a need to establish joint mechanism at international level to deal with growing extremism in the society. Further alienation of Pakistan from international isolation will create troubles for international peace.
Therefore, international community and media should support Pakistan’s effort to protect minorities and in tackling religious extremism. By mitigating extremism from society, Pakistan will be able to contribute in international peace. Alienation of Pakistan from international society and organization will put global peace in jeopardy. Pakistan is fighting positively to mitigate religious extremism. In that case, role of international and regional media is very important. Unbiased reporting of international media will pave the way for regional cooperation too. UN should actively perform to protect the rights of minorities and to bring global peace.