“The thing I find disturbing is that if you examine the cases of the hundreds tried under this law, you have to ask how many of them are well-to-do? Why is it that only the poor and defenceless are targeted? How come over 50 per cent of them are Christians when they form less than 2 per cent of the country’s population.”

–Salman Taseer - Newsline December 23, 2010.

More than 25,000 supporters of MumtazQadri — a former Punjab Elite force commando executed last month for the self-confessed assassination of the then Punjab governor, SalmaanTaseer in 2011 — have besieged Islamabad and Rawalpindi in the days to commemorate Qadri’schehlum ceremony. The protestors, largely buoyed up by Sunni groups, the Sunni Tehreek and Tehreek-e-LabbaikYaRasool, have even resorted to breaching Islamabad’s high security Red Zone. The abolition or reform of blasphemy laws is a highly controversial debate in the Muslim-majority Islamic Republic of Pakistan. However, in the wake of an overwhelming population — largely under the influence of religious clerics — endorsing the law codified in the 1980s, as an outright derivation from the Quran, an extensive resistance could be easily predicted. The escalating sway of religious clerics over local population is the main motivation behind an extensive politicisation of every social issue. The vigour with which holy doctrines are used to justify radical behaviour serves no religious agenda other than the one posited by these religious leaders themselves.