Pakistan must repeal its blasphemy law

Section 295C was introduced into the Pakistani legal system in the 1980s by the military dictator Gen. Zia ul-Haq as part of his broader effort to Islamize laws in Pakistan. It stipulates that “derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet … either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly … shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”…

The blasphemy provisions were an important component of a social engineering campaign devised and implemented by Zia during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. The ostensible objective was to Islamize the Pakistani state. But the goal was also to tailor the social and legal system of the country to aid the mujahedin (loosely, the contemporary Pakistani Taliban) by making them appear to be indigenous freedom fighters…

Zia’s Islamization efforts played a significant role in today’s global war on terrorism because of his social engineering, aimed to deliberately introduce ethno-centrism and intolerance into the moral fabric of Pakistani society. This, in turn, aided in the rise of the Taliban in the region, particularly the Pakistani Taliban.