Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC, who incidentally, holds Hollywood as the sole purveyor of immorality and responsible for promoting pornography and violence in Pakistan, had asked for the draft of proposed amendments to the highly controversial and superfluous Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) 2016 seeking to reproof false accusations of blasphemy.

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Where an amendment to reproach false accusers can hardly blunt the unconscionable severity of the Blasphemy law, a testament to the intolerance and religious dogmatism prevalent in our culture, it acknowledges the malevolence of the flagrant misuse of this law that has become a norm in our society. While the draft amendment might be nudge in a conciliatory direction, it still pays homage to permanence of the law itself. What is desperately needed is an overhauling of this diktat that promotes persecution of religious minorities in a country that is home to a myriad of religions, beliefs and opinions.

It is further problematic that the IHC is vesting dictatorial discretion to Bills like PECA, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and PEMRA to censor and chastise media content that it deems unsavory. What the IHC does not realize is that such Orwellian regulation only gives rise to clandestine channels of dissemination of taboo content. Where child pornography is a social horror that needs to be unequivocally dealt with, it needs to be recognized that it is a social illness rooted in misogyny, patriarchy and psycho-sexual disorders that breeds in repressive, authoritarian cultural settings like ours. Not only does censorship further encourage and legitimize extreme ideologies in our society, it  creates a parallel illicit paradigm, where such prohibitions become beguiling, further contributing to the problem.

An amendment to the law is far from taking a step towards abolishing it and only serves to offer a sop to the recent vocal criticism of the use of the law to serve personal grievances, quell political dissent and gag the free press. Any punishment allotted to sanctimonious accusers will be borne in celebration rather than penance, much like the jihadist caricature of the concept of self-imposed martyrdom.