Another temple was burned down, this time in Larkana, by a mob that lost control over yet another fake blasphemy charge against a Hindu. The allegations regarding the desecration of the Holy Quran have yet to be verified, and it seems it might have been a rumour that caused the uproar. Any bored citizen of the country it seems, can mobilize a mob in the name of blasphemy from any couch in the country. Imagine being constantly scared, feeling vulnerable and alien in your own country, amongst people that have nothing but disdain for what you stand for. They are unable to celebrate religious festivals, to express or ascertain their identities for fear of being attacked by an ignorant mob. Once more, the blasphemy laws are to blame.

In a recent report, Pakistan was declared to have the most number of “prisoners of belief,” compared to any other country. This is a devastating conclusion. Blasphemy laws are in existence in various countries, but the judicial and social framework here aids its free use and exploitation to a level incomparable to any other.

The biggest problem with any democracy is that it can potentially establish a tyranny of the majority and oppress those that do not identify with the biggest group. Our country though divided along many lines, still calls itself an Islamic nation. Those that have different beliefs and even those who are perceived as deviating from the ‘norms’ (what these are, is debatable) are second-class citizens. This is not the first incident, nor will it be the last. When minorities are left completely unprotected by government, the people are free to exploit them in any way they see fit.

The only way Pakistan can begin to improve the status of minorities is through repealing a law designed to oppress freedom of expression, freedom of dignity and the sanctity of all life. Currently, 14 individuals in Pakistan are on death row for blasphemy charges, and many others serve life sentences. Where the courts do not carry out death sentences on blasphemy charges (they haven’t yet), impassioned individuals practicing their own private brand of vigilante justice will take care of it. At every level, the law is flawed. Its design, its manifestation, even court dealings with regards to the blasphemy law, are open to exploitation. We are no longer in the dark ages, and a law made to facilitate elaborate witch hunts has no place in the modern world.