HRCP seeks strict action in Swat case

Published June 23, 2024
A view of Madyan police station in Swat on June 21. — Photo by Fazal Khaliq
A view of Madyan police station in Swat on June 21. — Photo by Fazal Khaliq

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) calls urgently on the federal government to take strict action following the recent mob lynching of a 40-year-old man in Swat, after he was accused of having desecrated pages of the holy Quran — a charge he reportedly denied while in police custody.

The savagery with which the victim was lynched, the mob’s violent articulation of moral self-righteousness, and the fact that this is the second such incident in less than a month (following the death of Nazir Masih in Sargodha), should make it clear that the state has, knowingly or otherwise, surrendered its writ in matters of faith-based mob violence, says a press release issued by HRCP.

Such incidents are no longer merely a question of problematic laws that are easily weaponized on grounds of blasphemy. Instead, they are a direct result of decades of pandering to, and deliberately cultivating, far-right religious groups and militancy, it says.

“The state has been directly complicit in this: it has accorded impunity to perpetrators of faith-based violence and appeared indifferent to such incidents where decisive action was necessary.”

Nor are mob lynchings confined to faith-based violence any longer. In at least three recent incidents in Karachi since March, aggrieved crowds caught and killed suspected criminals, it says.

“This reflects a near-breakdown of law and order, a deep mistrust of the criminal justice system and a general sense of economic and social despondency.”

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2024

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