The occurring of public lynching and a murderer being celebrated for his crime is one of the lowest points for society—it represents a complete breakdown of law and order. This is why the incident that occurred in Punjab’s Khushab district, where a security guard shot dead a bank manager for alleged blasphemy is so horrifying.

It is relevant to mention that the victim had in all likelihood not committed blasphemy—the differences that arose between the murderer and the victim had to do with their different religious sects, or because of personal grievances. It is pertinent to mention this because it shows just what danger that misuse of the blasphemy law can lead to—these moral crusaders will go on murderous sprees not for blasphemy but just for belonging to a different religious sect.

Unfortunately, incidents of lynching for blasphemy are now commonplace in the news—there is one reported every few weeks. This is not an indication that incidents of blasphemy are arising—rather, the trend appears to be that the more cases of vigilante justice occur, the more this law keeps getting misused. The line for blasphemy keeps expanding and expanding; as seen in this incident, a mere example of disagreement on some religious matter is now seen as blasphemous.

Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a public letter addressed to the UN, where he asked the world to take incidents of blasphemy against the Prophet (PBUH) seriously. Yet if Imran Khan ever truly means to have some credibility on the issue, he needs to sort out our own mess of lynchings that occur in our own country, and how the concept is being exploited by radicals. The world will not follow our example when in Pakistan, accountability against blasphemy has not been confined within the ambits of the law and the courts, and rather has been taken over by extremists, criminals and vigilante crusaders.