The Islamabad High Court’s heavy handed attack on the government for “allowing” social media to be used for posting of blasphemous content has kicked off a flurry of activity in the government ranks. Having taken several pro-tolerance and anti-terrorism stances that can be – and often are – treated as anti-Islamic and secular by hardline fringe groups, the government is wary of letting its image slide too far towards the left ahead of the elections. The IHC case was the perfect opportunity to set the record straight; in the face of a ridiculously zealous court, the government could pre-empt controversy by being proactive and stern against blasphemy while maintaining the logical standards of freedom of speech. It was a softball and the government wants to take maximum points from it.

The Interior Ministry, which faced the majority of the IHC’s ire, has been active the most. It has moved the law enforcement into action, promised an official framework to tackle the issue and given a lot of comments that tick off the right religious boxes. On Wednesday, the Interior Minister took this further sating: “I have called a meeting on Friday and have invited ambassadors of Muslim countries so we can tackle this very important issue of blasphemy as a united Ummah.” Envoys from Muslim countries will be asked to share their views on the matter and a united response will be drafted which is to be implemented and presented to social media sites. The IHC should be well and truly pleased now.

Objectively, there is nothing wrong with such a step; back home it caters to the vote bank that appreciates Pakistan displaying “leadership in the Ummah”, and an open discussion on the matter may streamline views on the issue. Pakistan, which has the strictest – and deadliest laws – may even benefit from hearing the less stringent responses of other countries. If any of this translates into actionable policy remains to be seen, and given the highly dissipated state of the problem – unlikely.

At the same time, this meeting must be put into context. Blasphemy on social media is one of the least problematic issues the nation faces – it is only bothering a few ultra-religious groups. The government’s time and diplomatic efforts should be reserved for the issues that matter the most, and there are plenty to choose from. The government must reorient its priorities – especially the Interior Ministry.