Mob pseudo-justice is a frequently occurring dilemma in Pakistan, unfortunately. Recently, a man was killed in Quetta while several others were injured after he was accused for desecrating the Holy Quran. Several pages from the Quran were allegedly found torn in a package of pomegranates arriving from Iran; this led to indignation among observers and spiraled into allegations as well as anti-Shia chanting. Before anyone could arrest the spectators, weapons were taken out and bullets began to rain. Prior to this, in June, a man was killed and more than a dozen others were wounded when a mob attacked a police station, demanding that a man detaining for allegedly desecrating the Quran should be handed over to them.

A glance at the modern day ‘defenders’ of faith make one despair. That such viciousness is in human nature is not a surprise. But the fact that a powerless state stands by and lets it happen, is a worry for us all. If the mob is to be judge, jury and sentencer, then what need for the courts or the government. If allegations are all that is required to eternally silence an innocent man, what use is legal procedure? And if all that it takes to ‘rile’ sentiment, is religious rhetoric, then what use is evolution and education.

We have seen before in blasphemy cases found in Punjab, the allegation of disrespect to the Quran has been used by those with other agendas in mind – often political. It is terribly convenient to entangle a vulnerable individual in such a whirlpool of violence when the law itself contains loopholes – and the allegations are considered to be made with every evidence intact and are considered to be – wrongly – indefensible. Until the government and legal scholars do not realize how fatal these allegations can be, self-righteous public vigilantism will go on. Unless the mob is to rule the streets of Pakistan, we will have to mend our ways and throw vigilantes into the gaols, where they ought to be.