Karachi 09/03/2013: Bolo Bhi urges immediate action for the protection of citizens. Our rights, lives and property cannot be left at the mercy of an angry mob. The unfortunate incident in Badaami Bagh, Lahore, has resulted in over 40 homes being burnt down. This impacts over 40 families who have now joined numerous other victims of vandalism and terrorism around the country. These are not isolated incidents; similar attacks have been carried out in the past where alleged charges of blasphemy have resulted in lynchings, murder, arson and vandalism of public property. This needs to stop.
We urge religious scholars to speak out against the consistent abuse of the blasphemy law, which is being used to persecute and attack citizens, especially those belonging to religious minorities. The rampant violence on the pretext of blasphemy has only been met with deafening silence by our religious scholars.
As citizens, we demand that those involved in vandalism are arrested and brought to justice; that protection is provided to the Christian community of Badaami Bagh and their homes are rebuilt; and measures are taken to stem the tide of growing extremism. If religious leaders, political parties and the state don’t address the situation and take measures to curb such incidents and, instead, choose to play into the hands of lynch mobs, then they are equally responsible and party to the crime.
Bolo Bhi means ‘Speak up’, in Urdu. We are a not-for-profit geared towards advocacy, policy and research in the areas of gender rights, government transparency, legislation, Internet freedom, digital security, privacy and empowerment. We, at Bolo Bhi, believe it is crucial to bridge the gap between rights advocates, policy makers, media and citizens. It is by bridging this gap that one can move ahead to chart a way forward and resolve issues through consensus, in a way that is mutually beneficial.