LAHORE - The tendency among the people to take the law into their own hands is on the rise. Instead of allowing the relevant institutions to decide cases, many people decide the cases on their own.  

This is a very unfortunate trend, which reflects people's lack of trust in the state institutions. And in case the government did not take necessary steps to discourage it, the contagion is likely to spread in the times ahead.

Recently, a mob of about 400 people attacked a Christian couple, thrashed them and later set them afire, alleging that they were involved in desecrating a copy of the Holy Quran in village Kot Radha Kashan – about 50 kilometer  north of Lahore.

The incident was horrifying which forced many to think why people kill others and do not bother to lodge an FIR with the police. There is a procedure laid down in the law to bring the blasphemy accused to justice.

Whenever people bypass the relevant institutions, the writ of the state stands challenged.

A similar incident of alleged desecration of the Holy Quran had been reported in 2009 in Gojra, which later proved to be false. Several people lost their lives and many houses were burnt down by charged mobs that could not be controlled by the ill-equipped, ill-trained and outnumbered police personnel.

Since then, around 14 other incidents of religious incitement of varying  magnitudes have been reported in several parts of the country.

In many cases the families take the law into their own hands even when their children, boys or girls, decide to contract marriages of choice.

The incident of Farzana is a strong evidence of this rising trend. Farzana just wanted to marry a person of her choice and was approaching the court for the purpose. But her own brothers and close relatives stoned her to death on the spot right at the gate of the high court.

Such unfortunate incidents could have been averted if the state institutions had performed their obligations well in time.

For example, if the people had approached the police to get a case registered against the Christian couple and the police had registered the case immediately, the lives of the husband and wife could have been saved. But, perhaps, people have little trust in the police.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Tariq Masood Yaseen says that illiteracy is the major reason behind this tendency; many factors are needed to be addressed while it is the responsibility of the state that it should educate people about their rights and respect of laws. “Unfortunately, on duty police constables are also fall prey of mobs’ violations,” says Yaseen.

Terming Kasur incident as an inhuman act, Professor Dr. Rukhsana Kausar, Director of Applied Psychology & Centre for Clinical Psychology University of the Punjab, says that the lack of awareness, illiteracy and misinterpretation of the religious thoughts, weakening joint family system and contradiction in words and deeds of both religious and political leadership are the major reasons of this rising ‘mob behavior’ in the society.

 Kausar believes the people of the subcontinent have been found more fanatic, emotional and comparatively more believers of hearsay which can only be controlled by applying theory of ‘Reward and Punishment. This theory, she said, means that a good doer must be rewarded for his good deeds and wrong doer must be penalized for his wrong doing to maintain balance in the society.

“Our Society as a whole needs education and training both otherwise, survival of the mightiest is the only way left,” she argues.

She further says psychological homeostasis is very important, because actions of a person reflect what he has inside. Patience, tolerance and confirmation of the facts before taking any step are the feature of a mature and behaviorally well-trained person. Kausar suggests that the state authorities should play due role for change; and should take serious measures to establish peace and harmony in the society.  

Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Rights Riaz Fatyana says  Kasur-like incident is the result of the state failure, because powerful easily escapes from the punishment while poor and common citizens are taken into custody and declared 'convicts'. Everyone should be treated alike according to the law, he adds.

“Practically, here is the law of rulers and not the rule of laws,” he criticizes the system arguably.  

Fatyana says the enforcement of laws with their true spirits can save the society from occurrence of such horrible incidents. If a person is found guilty in a case, the state should take strict action against him without caring what the status or background he has, hence, the supremacy of law could practically be established, he states.

Maulana Raza-i-Mustafa Naqshbandi, President of Tahafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz, strongly condemns the killing of Christian couple in Kasur saying that such incidents take place due to callous approach of police officers.

Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and people of the other religions were living together before the creation of Pakistan but no such incidents used to take place, he says, adding that there may be some other forces that are hatching conspiracies against the country for their vested interests.

Mustafa says Islam does not allow its followers setting humans or animals on fire, rather it teaches peace, harmony and love with the humanity.

“Quran is the biggest evidence that we Muslims respect all previous Prophets and Messengers of Almighty Allah,”, he states adding that till date no Muslim was found guilty of burning Holy Bible or disgracing beliefs and faiths of other religions in India and Pakistan both.