Mufti Naeem, head of Jamia Binoria, on Saturday said ulema from all sects in the country should unanimously condemn acts of violence originating from the misuse of the blasphemy law.
He also said the ulema should issue a statement stating that killing an individual over blasphemy allegations is “against the Shariah as well as the law of Pakistan”.
He said this while speaking on a DawnNews programme regarding the murder of Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student who was stripped, shot, thrown from the second floor of the hostel and brutally beaten to death by an angry mob in Mardan over allegations of blasphemy.
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Incidents of violence over blasphemy allegations are becoming common in Pakistan, the religious scholar said. “The blasphemy law is being misused in the country.”
“People are losing the value of this (blasphemy) law,” the mufti added, saying that religious extremism could only be eliminated if the judicial system in the country is strengthened.
Naeem said if an individual is found guilty, punish them rather than dragging the case for years in court, and if they are innocent, let them go free.
The scholar further said the media needs to stop playing the ulema from different sects against each other.
“The [media] make them fight like parrots,” he added, saying unless there is unity among the religious scholars, such incidents will continue to happen.
Earlier, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Mohammad Yousaf said that though blasphemy by anyone cannot be condoned, no one will be allowed to take laws into their own hands.
The minister further said the government would ensure that the blasphemy law was not misused and those doing so were brought to justice.
At least 65 people have been murdered over blasphemy allegations since 1990, according to figures from a Center for Research and Security Studies report and local media, and dozens more convicted of the crime are currently on death row in local jails.
In March, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued an order for the removal of blasphemous content online, and said anyone who posted such content should face “strict punishment under the law”.