The PTI leader Imran khan allegedly utilized the blasphemy controversy to get support from the religious right. Imran Khan has been under fire for allegedly risking bloodshed in the general election on July 25 by vehemently defending Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws. Imran Khan is a former cricketer-turned-politician.
At a gathering of Muslim leaders on Saturday in Islamabad, the head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) declared, “We are standing with Article 295c and will defend it,” referring to the provision of the constitution that calls for the death penalty for any “imputation, insinuation, or innuendo” against the prophet Muhammad.
Imran Khan, 65, also expressed resentment at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the opposing party in the election, by bringing up the dispute surrounding its hastily abandoned changes to an electoral oath from the previous year Islamists view as sinful.
Sen Salmaan Taseer, the last senior politician to speak out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, was murdered in 2011. Since then, a new political party named Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) has emerged in his honor, entering the election race with almost as many candidates as the other parties.
Since 1990, at least 69 vigilante killings have occurred due to the growing hysteria surrounding blasphemy laws, which has led to targeting minorities and false accusations.
Polls show a close race, and Khan’s detractors accuse him of exploiting the blasphemy controversy to gain support from religious rightwingers, a common strategy in Pakistani politics.
According to Taseer’s son, Shahbaz, “My father was a hero and a crusader for change.” He demanded changes to this odious statute.
“Imran Khan is a coward; he is backing mob violence and killers. This law oppresses people and does not honor our prophet.
At a news conference on Monday in Islamabad, Khan unveiled the PTI’s platform, vowing to transform Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state, generate 10 million jobs, and provide employment for Pakistanis without “religious discrimination.”
The debate surrounding Khatam-e-Nabuwwat, the election oath taken by newly elected legislators that includes swearing on the authority of the prophet Muhammad, has appeared to be exploited by the PTI in recent weeks.
Islamists assert that the PML-N softened the oath’s requirements last year to ease pressure on the Ahmadiyya. This persecuted Islamic community holds the possibility of another prophet after Muhammad.
Several PTI candidates have brought up the matter in their campaign speeches, and Punjab’s religiously inclined lawmakers have flocked to the party.
Shahbaz Taseer said, “Ahmadis will be attacked and killed as a result.” Shooters attacked the Faisalabad home of the head of the Ahmadi youth community on Saturday, murdering both him and his wife. A community report from 2017 noted an increase in persecution, including four killings categorized as “hate crimes” and 77 arrests for violating discriminatory religious laws.
Imran Khan’s acceptance of the blasphemy laws opposes past claims.
The PTI leader bemoaned that no punishment was done against preachers who “probably incited murder in the era of fevered debate [around blasphemy] that led up to the shooting [of Salmaan Taseer]” in Pakistan: A Personal History, his 2011 autobiography.
Jibran Nasir, a human rights advocate and candidate for office, declined on Saturday to categorize Ahmadis as non-Muslims. He tweeted that “my politics don’t center around religion, even if it costs me votes,” and that “the change we expect from the PTI is not the conspiracy theories against the blasphemy laws.”
He continued, “It is terribly terrible that we are not moving past the Zia era.” During his administration in the 1970s, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq toughened blasphemy laws.
Analysts questioned the need for Khan to bring up the subject, given the prevalent claims that the military establishment is aligned against the PML-N. Khan is primarily predicted to become the next prime minister. Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N leader, was given a 10-year prison term for corruption on Friday.
A pundit named Fasi Zaka said: “I’m astonished he did it after the decision was announced.” It’s unnecessary now because his opponent is seriously disabled.
Imran Khan’s risky attempt to export the blasphemy laws of Pakistan
It looks like Imran Khan wants to impose Islamic blasphemy laws on the entire world. Khan said in a speech on Monday, “I want the Muslim countries to come up with a common line of action over the blasphemy issue with a warning of a trade boycott of countries where such instances will happen.” Imran Khan issued this warning last week while promoting his desire to start a worldwide movement and his love for the prophet of Islam: “There will come a time when people in the West will also be terrified of blaspheming against our prophet (peace be upon him).”
The Pakistani premier’s resurgent attempt to restrict insults to Islam came after he gave in to the demands of the Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a banned extreme Islamist organization that Imran Khan’s government had previously outlawed. After Charlie Hebdo released its Muhammad cartoons in September, the TLP organized violent rallies earlier this month, calling for the expulsion of the French ambassador and a boycott of French products.
Imran Khan has warned the TLP of the financial repercussions of moving too quickly against France. Still, he has also reassured the group that he shares their “same goals” despite only being delisted as a terrorist organization a fortnight ago. The TLP has advocated the use of nuclear weapons against France. This was demonstrated last week when Khan’s administration introduced a motion in Parliament calling for the expulsion of the French ambassador. However, it is not surprising that he has refrained from enacting a trade ban as a means of exporting Pakistan’s murderous blasphemy laws, given the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid that France provides to Pakistan and the billions of dollars in trade and support that the country receives from the EU.
Blasphemy is still an offense that carries a death sentence in 12 Muslim nations, including Pakistan. Unlike blasphemy laws in other parts of the world, which frequently tend to be redundant or apply to all religions, these blasphemy statutes are derived from Islamic sharia. In Pakistan, hundreds of people have been sentenced to death for “committing blasphemy” by sharing particular ideas with students, like a post on Facebook or drinking from a Muslim’s glass of water. Additionally, since the nation, Islamized its blasphemy laws to exalt Islam above other religions, at least 77 people have been executed extrajudicially.
Two Christian nurses were accused of blasphemy earlier this month after removing an Islamic-themed sticker from a Faisalabad hospital ward. The Pakistani Aurat [Women’s] March, which called for women’s human rights, has been charged with blasphemy. In 2020, Pakistan recorded cases of blasphemy involving a football maker and a three-year-old.
A Muslim woman from the blasphemously persecuted Ahmadiyya sect was also detained for blasphemy last year after donating to a mosque. At the same time, an Ahmadi male was fatally shot in a courtroom during a blasphemy trial. Assassinations of Ahmadis and the state-sponsored destruction of their mosques persisted in 2021, and groups like the TLP and the Council of Islamic Ideology, an advisory body to the Pakistani government, have called for the Ahmadiyya sect to be collectively labeled as blasphemers and apostates.
Pakistan engages in its own bloody “Islamophobia” against Ahmadiyya and Shia Islam while Khan loudly protests against it in the West. Blasphemy against Hinduism is commonplace in Pakistan, where even some of Imran Khan’s ministers openly make fun of Hindu deities. Most of the 1,000 Hindu and Christian girls who are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan each year are underage.
Imran Khan is more interested in battling “Islamophobia” elsewhere than addressing the needs of the people he was chosen to serve. In pursuit of this goal, he most recently joined forces with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mahathir Mohamad to co-found an “anti-Islamophobia TV station” in 2019. Mahathir Mohamad believes Muslims have the right to “murder millions of French.”
Imran Khan is aware that he is engaging in risky behavior by threatening the West and propagating Islamic blasphemy laws. He was forced to quickly apologize when accused of blasphemy in 2017 for telling a story about Muhammad without paying enough respect. Khan has acknowledged this concern of speaking about “anything believed to be sacrilegious” in Pakistan when addressing international audiences in the past. He wants to instill the same dread in the West today.