Yesterday marked the seventh death anniversary of the former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer. His demise highlighted two important facets of the Pakistani society; one was the growing religious fanaticism in the country and second was the need to do away with laws which are mercilessly used for personal benefit and end up taking lives of many innocent people and those who stand up for them.

Seven years is a long time for authorities to take meaningful action against both these facets but if we analyse the current dynamics in Pakistan, it is quite evident that even today we stand at the same point in history where we once were. The lynching of Mashal Khan at Abdul Wali Khan University in April last year and the failure of authorities to provide justice in his case, is a fresh memory in the minds of many. In the same month, another cleric had to save a person accused of blasphemy from an angry mob in Chitral. In 2014, a christian couple had their legs broken and were burnt to death in front of their children due to accusations of blasphemy.

One of the most important incidents of 2017 was the Faizabad sit in. A mere clerical error turned into a life threatening accusation, resulted in the lockdown of the capital and the government being absolutely helpless about the course of action they should take. This is all that we have achieved in these seven years, and it is a huge disservice to those who have lost their lives highlighting the dangerous path that the population is treading on.

It is not difficult to discern that the government cannot just do away with such laws given the sensitivities of the populace – although that should be the eventual goal. However, what can be done is ensuring strict punishments for those who falsely accuse others of blasphemy and strict training of the law enforcement agencies to not facilitate the perpetrators of violence.