Feb 1, 2011 - religion    14 Comments

No room for dissenting voices

Pakistani society has taken vigilantism to epic proportions. As if cases under blasphemy ordinance against people for taking off milad posters and offering water were not enough we now have a brand new blasphemy case against a 17 year old high school student for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in three of his answer sheets – Urdu, Islamiat and Physics – in his intermediate exams.

Unlike the above mentioned cases which were filed in rural Punjab by semi literate maulanas, this one was filed in Karachi by the controller of examinations of the Intermediate Board of Education, Karachi. The 17 year old is now in juvenile prison. He has pleaded guilty and appealed to the judicial magistrate for pardon. He has apologized and promised that he would never commit ‘such a sin’ again.

For starters, this kid is obviously troubled. He is a teenager dealing with existentialist anguish which is quite common in young people who think. What else would explain his supposedly blasphemous answers in a Physics paper! If anything, this kid needs to be listened and if possible counseled by professionals, not thrown in jail with common criminals.

Secondly, if I am not mistaken, a teacher is only supposed to grade the paper. Passing judgment on the contents of the paper and moral policing has never been part of an instructor’s duties. In fact they cannot even fail the students or take actions against them if what the students have written is against their religious or moral ideology. They most certainly have no right to instigate criminal action against an underage kid on the basis of his answer sheet.

In addition, an answer sheet is a private document and the controller of exams, Professor Agha Akbar had no right to make it public or use it as evidence against the boy in this case. If anyone needs a quick lesson in Ethics 101, it is the professor sahib, not the high school kid. The Intermediate Board is using the blasphemy law to coerce a student to form opinions as deemed fit by the institution.

This incident also gives a clear message to other conflicting souls; you stay quiet and suffer in silence instead of debating the questions that trouble you. It also indicates that young people have cannot express their genuine opinion in their papers and will only be saved if they write answers memorized by rote learning. Critical thinking, in anyways, is over rated in the land of pure. We want to produce assembly line products for human being with no room for dissenting voices.

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  • Agreed and agreed.

    I love this kid, though. He opened a can of epic whoopass on dogma.

  • This is ridiculous! Facebook arguments with well-educated Pakistanis and incidences like these make me realize how much this backwardness is ingrained in people! A 17 year old child sent to jail based on his comments on examinations?? Did no one think twice about the fact that he is a CHILD—and like you said, clearly a troubled one who needs help rather than jail! Even absurdity has its limits!

  • Our parents and teachers need a rehab ASAP!!

  • One of my friends told me about this kid’s case yesterday and the first thing that came to me mind was “verily, we are fucked”.we surely are.

    The more religion we dragging in our soical and legal issues the stupidier we are becoming.


  • Totally unrelated question – why is PBUH always written after the mere mention of Prophet Muhamed? Is it a compulsion that muslims feel? The guy is dead, so wishing peace upon some one who is no more, is technically pointless, right?

  • I totally agree with you, but our society member’s mostly radical thinking so I can’t realize for minor positive change in this ………..
    sorry to say …..
    آگ یونہی بڑھتی رہے گی
    آرزوئیں یونہی جلتی رہیں گی
    انسانیت دم توڑدے گی
    مذہب کے بیوپاریوں کی ایڑیوں تلے

  • It seems unbelievable, that people could do this. Scary!

  • Teachers/Professors and moral policing has always been part of the Pakistani educational system- raise your hands girls if a teacher has either told you you are slut and then unkindly told you what you should do to undo your sluthood, or the teacher has run straight to your parents to let them know that thier daughter is a slut and what they can do to beat it out of her.
    Obviously our educators were bored in just repressing sexuality and have found another avenue to make right the wrong in society 🙂
    Poor Boy! I wish someone could tell him he’s perfectly sane and Pakistan that is mad.

  • Reminds me of the inquisitions of the middle ages where a person could be tortured based on any suspected blasphemy reported by their neighbors anonymously.

  • Tazeen,I have just noticed in this article that u have written PBUH after Prophet Muhammed.Have u “reverted” back to Islam?LOlzz.

    Well,faith is a personal matter but honestly, going through ur blog i have never got the feeling that u r even remotely religious(islamic).u sound pretty much “agnostic” kinda “leftish” leftist to me.ain’t u?(just curious).If u are then i am afraid “Qadirism” is already creating its impact…lolzz.
    Qadiris caravan is pretty much on the move.verily, we are screwed.


  • Professor Agha Akbar: “Ethics 101? What the hell is THAT?”

  • @Anonymous: You’re a idiot. lolzz.

  • everyone in the society believes it is their business to fix everyone religiously and morally. Religion should be personel business, look around only nations that keep religion and everything else separate are sucessful.

    soniah you are right i know some cases where someone on the street thinks you are not behaving decently (like talking to a guy) and these people will actually follow you all the way home to tell your parents soo.

    i would say it is an example of sick society

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