People who read this newspaper will have heard about the latest bout of anti-Christian violence in Pakistan. This time a Christian couple, Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi, were beaten to death and burned by an enraged Muslim mob, allegedly because of a desecration of the Quran. This comes on top of the case of Asia Bibi, condemned to death for supposed blasphemy, and who has appealed to Pope Francis. The case of Asia Bibi has featured in this newspaper for some time.
As I say, if you read the Catholic Herald, these stories will be sadly familiar to you. But if you read other papers, these stories will perhaps not register so much, though in fairness the story of Asia Bibi has made the Telegraph and the Guardian.
What is so awful about the stories is that Christians are not only in danger in Pakistan from Muslim mobs, they are also in danger from their own government, which seems keen to enforce blasphemy laws that are intrinsically unjust. In other words, Christians run the risk of being murdered by their fellow citizens, just for being Christian, and being judicially murdered by the State for the same reason. From which one can only conclude that the words ‘state’, ‘law’ and ‘citizen’ can not be applied to Pakistan as they can be applied to other countries. It is not a state, it is a criminal conspiracy; it has no laws, only tyrannical and irrational decrees; and its citizens are not citizens but either the perpetrators or victims of arbitrary and bloody murder.
Pakistan needs to be shamed by the international community. If the ‘international community’ does nothing, this is a sign that that phrase too is an empty fiction. Britain needs to cut off all aid to Pakistan, and to withdraw its High Commissioner.
Can you imagine if the boot was on the other foot? If a Christian mob murdered a Muslim couple in, let us say, Bradford for allegedly desecrating a Bible? Or if a British court sentenced a Muslim woman to death for supposedly speaking ill of the Blessed Trinity? Would not the United Kingdom be condemned by all? But, strange to relate, there are no Christian mobs in this country (thanks be to God) and there are no laws analogous to the Pakistani blasphemy laws. Any Christian mob would face the power of the police, and our death penalty is a thing of the past. And that is how it should be. The same rules should apply in Pakistan, and I am willing to bet most Pakistanis would like that too.
When I was a youth, the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square was the focus of constant round the clock protest. Would that the Pakistani High Commission were now the same. Pakistan’s government is a disgrace. Enough is enough.
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