The initial fear when the Mashal Khan incident came forth was the influence of the radical forces within the country that would curb the voices standing up against the misuse of the blasphemy law and eventually pushing towards an amendment. Every activist was aware of the fact that if radical forces are given time to contemplate, they will corner people into supporting their stance.

Despite an outcry in the media, ordering of a judicial probe by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government, discussion of amendment of the blasphemy law in the National Assembly; the situation has gotten very tricky. Anti-Mashal rallies are being organised and the extremist factions are slowly gaining ground in the matter. Religious parties condemned the discussions of amendment in the law, even if it saves lives. Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) provincial chief, Amir Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, said on Monday that he will cut the eyes and tongues of those wanting to amend the blasphemy law – language that if used by a party with a non-religious base would result in mass condemnation and censure by all sections of society.

If, even after his innocence has been affirmed by the initial investigation, parties like the JI accept the killing of an innocent person without any proof as something good, then there is no doubt that they should not be the torchbearers of religion in the land.

Imran Khan was praised for condemning the incident and promising to end misuse of the law. His party has however changed their official stance on the matter. From promising justice, they went on to claim that there is no need or time for the amendment and now the debate has died down.

The issue was not one to be played politics with; an innocent life was lost at the hands of impatient and intolerant criminals. It will be a hard law to improve, but in the long run, if even one life is saved from the mob, it will be worth it.

Extremist outfits should not be allowed to influence the investigation in any manner, or end the talks about amendment in the law. There are demands of the activists of a speedy trial, which should be catered to, because otherwise all the effort and the space that was created will be in vain and no precedent will be created to deter such attacks. An official statement of Mashal’s innocence will weaken the position of the apologists and those standing in way of the amendment.