THIS is with reference to the news item “2,000 booked for burning ‘blasphemer’ to death” (July 4). According to reports, the person who was beaten by a lynch mob and was set alight perhaps when he was still alive was mentally ill. A mentally ill man was lynched by a large crowd on the allegation that he desecrated the Holy Quran. I wonder how sane were those who took part in this brutal, barbaric and cruel act and the silent onlookers who just wanted to view the event for the sake of thrill and did nothing when he cried for help.
Islam’s message of peace and tolerance is certainly not the message which was given to the rest of the world by that act.
If the alleged blasphemer had done anything wrong, it was the law which should have decided his fate. Courts specially take into account the mental state of an accused. Even in the court of the Almighty, insanity is treated compassionately.
A collective show of such a high degree of extremism by some 2,000 odd people towards a helpless individual displayed the abject sense of mob brutality.
Every now and then, the media reports about dacoits having been caught red-handed and then brutalised by mobs. Two such cases have been reported in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Karachi, while we still remember lynching of two brothers in Sialkot.
In such situations the reaction of the crowd is up to an extent understandable. However, no one still has a right to beat and burn someone at his will. The public can only hold the alleged culprit until the police arrive to take the accused in their custody. There is no justification to beat someone to death.
The radicalisation of the Pakistani society is a major and foremost threat to the entire nation and as it seems it is gripping the nation into extremism and fanaticism.
This collective behaviour is frightening and detrimental to the very foundations of the country. Pakistan’s intelligentsia and civil society as a whole have a responsibility to facilitate a change to this attitude. The nation itself has to mend ways from extreme and radical behaviour towards moderate conduct to make a prosperous, modern and civilised Pakistan.
ANAS A. KHAN Canada