LAHORE -  The Punjab Assembly here yesterday unanimously passed a resolution to denounce the posting of derogatory images and remarks against the Holy Prophet (SAW) and other noble personalities of Islam on social media and demanded the culprits should be traced without delay and sentenced under Section 295-C of the PPC which warrants death on an offender.

Including the minority members of the Assembly, the House with one voice supporting the resolution presented by PML-Q, also decided to set up a committee of bipartisan members to monitor implementation of the resolution which addressed the federal government for evolving such a mechanism which would foreclose publication of any blasphemous material on social media with the help of religious scholars and the experts in information technology (IT). The members held that the blasphemous posts were another gruesome conspiracy intended to inflame the Muslims and test the level of their religious zest side by side belittling their respectable personalities. This is absolutely intolerable, they said committing to lay down their lives in the protection of honour of the Holy Prophet (SAW).

With Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair, the House took up the resolution suspending the routine rules of business of the Assembly.

“Certain indiscreet people flouting the blasphemy law are out to fulfill their ugly designs of igniting feud and fire in Pakistani society to push the country into anarchy. The Constitution of Pakistan though permits freedom of expression but strictly restricts humiliation and degradation of any religious personality,” mover Khadija Umar read from the resolution. “Yet certain elements have committed this malicious act which has hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslim all over the world but our institutions responsible to enforce law and take action against the perpetrators as well as the government machinery is quite passive and inactive,” the resolution stated further.

“The time demands very strict action against the culprits and those who facilitated their act. They be made example for others through the award of harshest punishment. Failure in this respect is filled with the fears of rift and civil war in the country,” it added.

The resolution called for immediately blocking all such websites which posted or contained the blasphemous material and for setting up a monitoring system at the federal level to check such publications in future.  Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said, “High respect and love to the Holy Prophet (SAW) is one of the rudimentary articles of our faith and no Muslim can stay aloof if any blasphemous act is done towards this sublime personality. The blasphemer on this count deserves not less than death as punishment.”

 “Muslims hurt by the blasphemous act, express their reaction which is natural to them and cannot be called retrogressive or extremist. The blasphemer must get death,” the minister said supporting the view of Minister for Minorities Khalil Tahir Sidhu, that death for committing blasphemy of other prophets can also be provided under section 295-C.

Sidhu, a minority member, fully backed the resolution saying the blasphemer deserves not only muzammat but also murammat (not only condemnation but thrashing as well). Maulana Ilyas Chinioti said the blasphemous posts are a conspiracy of the Qadiyani while Dr Waseem Akhtar of JI said the West has been making such nefarious acts to test feelings for the Holy Prophet (SAW) and religious mettle of the Muslims. But the rulers in the Islamic world are not taking note of this conspiracy. He said Pakistan is capable of blocking of such material as such establishment of a department to exclusively deal with these devilish moves is a dire need of the hour. Leader of the Opposition Mian Mahmudur Rashid termed the blasphemous posts a move to infuriate the Muslims. He said giving life in the way of protecting respect of the Holy Prophet (SAW) is a big credit for every Muslim. However, he regretted that the authorities come into action only when the evil characters have played their game. He asked the House to devise a mechanism that would monitor the following up action on the PA resolution and know what has been done to track down the offenders. 

Maulana Ghayasuddin, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Mian Muhammad Rafiq, Umar Farooq, Arif Abbasi, Dr Farzana and Majid Zahoor also spoke on the resolution.

On another resolution in the nature of public interest moved by Dr Najma Afzal Khan the House was told by Minster Mujtaba Shujaur Rahman that the government has included chapter about the rights of women and their importance in the nation building in the Urdu subject of class 8,9 10 and 11.

Earlier the House took up questions on the department of Labour, Human Resources and Information.

The House will resume the session at 10am on Wednesday (today).