The debate around the clerical mistake in the Khatam-e-Nabuwat clause in the Election Reform 2017 has come to an end after the clause has been restored to its original form. This was done to placate actors who had the time to associate it to a larger propaganda. The government was forced on the back foot and forced to play the appeaser from then onwards.

However, the issue still features in government considerations despite the vitriolic uproar– as it should A parliamentary committee on Thursday urged that it was necessary to devise a way to prevent the misuse of the blasphemy law. And they believe that this can be done without hurting the sentiments of the masses or making amends in the central law itself. The reason why they believe it is important to keep a check on the misuse of the law is that several innocent lives have been lost merely because of unproved accusations.

This effort by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights is a ray of hope for those who wanted a strict check on controlling the masses from taking laws into their own hands. And this time around, the committee seems to have on board the support of several ministries and political parties. Important to mention here is the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the efforts being made to include the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in the consultations. This is a sensible step on part of the committee after the clause debacle. It shows that amid the crisis, the real problem – misuse to the law – is not overlooked

However, great challenges lie ahead of them. The government needs to have a coherent policy that is consistently propagated by the top leadership and the ministries.  It would have to be head strong in this case, and also convince the masses that the move is not a threat to the religion but merely an effort to ensure that lives are not lost so casually. It cannot let missteps like the clause controversy happen again.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is already having a difficult time in trying to find a strong foothold in the government. Many parties will be ready to grab this cause for political point scoring and malign the effort forneagtive propaganda. The situation is the capital is already a proof of how religious parties, which have largely remained dormant during the four year tenure, have jumped to grab attention right before the upcoming general elections. Anything can be a trigger at this point, which means that back door diplomacy in this case is highly important before a bill is actually introduced to the parliament and opened up for discussion.