The brutal murder of Salmaan Taseer , a former governor of the Punjab who was gunned down by his own bodyguard at the Kohsar Market in Islamabad six years ago, screams of societal ignorance at large. Taseer was murdered because he sought reforms in Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws. 

The late PPP stalwart also proved himself to be a champion of minority rights when he announced his open support for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who is alleged of blasphemy and is awaiting final verdict by the Supreme Court. Her case, which is the first such to be heard under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, dates back to 2009. 

Fast forward to January 4, 2017 and pro-blasphemy law demonstrators are clashing with security forces as Pakistan walks a line between upholding human rights and appeasing hardliners. Over 150 persons were arrested in Lahore after they attempted to hold demonstrations against the proposed amendments in the blasphemy law. There was no official permission, yet the protesters belonging to the Sunni Tehreek, Tehreek-i-Khatme Nabuwat and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah somehow managed to convey their message.

Call them what you me, but these religious groups are so well-organized that the state has no other option but to bow down to their demands. Despite all their internal differences, these groups feed on the very emotion of human mind that considers hatred above humanity.  Any sane person, who knows or practices any religion, is aware of the fact that every major religion in the world promotes humanity and tolerance. The idea of universal brotherhood is greatly stressed upon by major religions of the world. But these religious fanatics make sure that the society at large stick to their twisted interpretation of religion. 

Just two days ago, Senate's Functional Committee on Human Rights unanimously approved the Hindu marriage bill. The landmark move set a precedent that the state is willing to deliver if it wants to. It shows that Pakistan is willing to protect its minorities, but we still have a long way to go. 

It is a painful truth that the Zia regime destroyed three generations by implementing its twisted version of the religion. And we haven't been able to recover from that. We won't as long as we aren't able to understand the essence of religion, that is humanity. And as long as the state is governed by religious fanatics and hardliners who have forgotten that the Benevolent God indeed exists.