Law in a theocracy

Apparently in Pakistan, if you’re a lawyer and you think a case might not go your way, the thing to do is to muse aloud about people who got murdered in similar circumstances if you know what I mean wink wink nudge nudge. At least if you see yourself as a lawyer for Team God.

A lawyer representing the man who accused a Pakistani Christian girl of blasphemy has claimed that if she is not convicted, Muslims could “take the law into their own hands”.

Rao Abdur Raheem, who appeared in court for the first time at a bail hearing on Tuesday, cited the example of Mumtaz Qadri, the man who last year gunned down a senior politician who had called for the reform of the much-abused blasphemy law.

Because a girl of 11, with possible learning difficulties, may or may not have thrown out or burned or carried in a garbage bag a few pages from the Koran or a guidebook on reading the Koran – if she doesn’t get convicted, never mind the evidence or the age or the who cares about a few pages from a mass-produced book anyway growthefuckup, then let’s hope somebody murders her.

Really? Really, Rao Abdur Raheem? The case is so good? The “crime” is so horrendous? That you want her convicted (and executed, I take it?) or else murdered?

What a profoundly horrible person you must be. I hope you get over it.

The girl, Rimsha Masih, whose family says she is 11, was arrested earlier this month and charged with desecrating the Qur’an after a neighbour, Malik Hammad, claimed that he saw her with burnt pages of the holy text in a bag she was carrying.

Her family had hoped that she would be granted bail on Thursday after a medical report this week found that she was a minor – thus eligible for bail – and has learning difficulties. But those hopes were dashed when Raheem challenged the report in court and the hearing was postponed.

According to Raheem, the medical report on Masih was illegal, as it followed the orders of a civil servant and not the court, and went beyond its remit of determining her age. He accused the government of supporting her and manipulating court proceedings.

Speaking outside the Islamabad court after the hearing, Raheem said: “There are many Mumtaz Qadris in this country … This (medical) report has been managed by the state, state agencies and the accused.”

Later, sitting in his office beneath a large poster of Qadri, Raheem told the Guardian: “If the court is not allowed to do its work, because the state is helping the accused, then the public has no other option except to take the law into their own hands.”

Sometimes it’s actively unpleasant living in a world with so much obsessive stupid malice in it.









  1. says

    And why was the neighbor paying any attention to her bag of garbage anyway? Is that normal in Pakistan – if your neighbor is of The Wrong Religion, you get to monitor her every move? You get to look in her garbage?

    Ugh ugh ugh it’s just so hateful.

  2. Albert Bakker says

    I don’t think it matters if someone accused of blasphemy actually did anything or not. The accusation is sufficient. It seems you only survive immediate death by torture and immolation if you get caught. Then the mob is going to kill you anyway, only now by proxy. There is no justice, no fairness, no civilization and almost no pretense of it, no mercy, no humanity, no nothing. This is Pakistan, a place burning with hate, where islam created it’s hell.

  3. says

    I doubt Rimsha would get justice. I shall be happy if she is unconditionally freed by the courts. BTW, there is a petition on Avaaz from her father, petitioning Pakistan President Zardari to intervene – please sign it if you can.

    The thinly-veiled threat from this lawyer-goon reminds me of that odious Sharron Angle, the Tea Party candidate turned Republican primary winner in Nevada, remember? She spoke of the public taking up “Second Amendment Remedies” against an “out-of-control” Congress, and later, against her political opponent, Harry Reid.

    Gaaah! The closeness of the parallel makes me decidedly uncomfortable.

  4. Albert Bakker says

    Damn, double damn and triple damn. With survive I meant escape and confusing its for it’s. That must have hurt, I’m sorry.

  5. Jet says

    I love how they required a ‘medical report’ to determine that a freaking 11 year old is a MINOR. Can’t they tell with a look? Do they really think she’s a legal adult? What is that age in Pakistan, 8?

  6. vel says

    Theocracies always have one major problem: If you outlaw doubt, then you will always wonder who “really” believes.

    this leads to ravening paranoia and doubt among the “believers”.

    Primitive screwheads.

  7. peterh says

    @ #2:

    Haven’t you seen Albert Finney’s little Murder on the Orient Express trick with ladies’ hat boxes & an alcohol lamp?

  8. Stevarious says

    I love how they required a ‘medical report’ to determine that a freaking 11 year old is a MINOR.

    The answer that popped into my head upon reading this question actually made me nauseous. After all, isn’t 11 ‘old enough to get married’ in Pakistan? The question of ‘whether she is a minor’ may have nothing to do with her age for these… people… and would explain why a medical examination was necessary.

  9. Stevarious says

    these… people… and

    And upon re-reading what I just wrote I realized that it could be VERY easy to see a racist or bigoted undertone to the way I phrased that sentence.

    That’s not what I meant. My intention was to imply that anyone who could be considering murdering an 11 year old over a book is barely worthy of the term ‘person’. I did not mean to refer to any broader ethnic or religious group in a derogatory manner.

  10. says

    If I’m reading this right, he isn’t so much advocating a lynching as saying the court needs to convict her for her own protection, which is still an asshole move.

  11. Snowshoe the Canuck says


    Female, poor, wrong religion, minor. And they needed a medical report for age? What a country.

  12. 'Tis Himself says

    The dominionists would look at Pakistan and Iran as models for the theocracy they want to impose on us.

  13. lorn says

    If this was about pages from an ancient, historic, or rare copy of the Koran, or other historically significant text, they might have a case for punishing her actions. But, of course, they would need to demonstrate that she knew, or should have known, she was destroying a historical artifact. Of course historical artifacts, to the extent they are known, tend to be protected to prevent accidental destruction. You just don’t leave them laying about.

    It is hard to see how any of that applies. The materials were both common and inexpensively produced and entirely pedestrian mass produced copies with no historical or cultural significance. They were never owned or held by anyone of any import. Nor were they present at any pivotal historical moments. These were not holy relics or historical artifacts.

    The source of their specialness seems to be entirely centered on the fact that the words of a guy many people venerate were printed upon them. It is hard to imagine how merely printing the words of a presumed holy man onto a sheet of paper makes the paper special. If a prophet squats over a hole in the ground to relieve himself does that make the hole holy? Why not? Certainly it should be holier than any inked piece of paper that never had any contact with the prophet. Why not?

    Do the words of the prophet make everything holy? Would devout Muslims be made powerless against a person who printed passages from the Koran on their clothing for fear that any attack might harm the ‘word of God’. Would it be improper, possibly even blasphemy, to shoot at a machine of war if it was inscribed with Koranic verses?

    Carried through its logical progressions it all slides into absurdity.

    But then again it could all be less about protecting the word of the prophet, and more about oppressing and controlling another human being. And doing it in public to demonstrate power and control. Even to the point of having the power of life and death. Essentially men, powerful men, playing with dolls.

    Of course, the first aspect potentates the second, just one example of how religion projects its malign power to manipulate and control people into all areas of human endeavor, so they are not separate. It is all of a piece and the piece is just one small part of the cruel legacy of religion.

    Saving Rao Abdur Raheem is a noble cause but tomorrow, right now, there are thousands of others. There is a cruel and heartless beast lose that destroys the minds of entire nations. Millions murdered, mangled, enslaved and degraded by people driven mad with superstition and myth.

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