Aasia Bibi verdict came down precisely as expected. If this point has not been driven home after many such judgments by the superior judiciary on blasphemy, let me state it frankly in black and white. Since the advent of the UN Human Rights Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the idea that anyone can be awarded capital punishment on the basis of an opinion, no matter how offensive, is a non-starter.It so happens that in Aasia Bibi’s case there was clearly no real credible evidence of blasphemy, but even if there was such evidence, the result would have been the same. Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, therefore, is a dead letter law if the expectation is that the state would actually execute anyone under it. What it does do however is malign the reputation of Islam, Muslims and Pakistan. Add to that the fact that many accused under this law either die at the hands of the mob or are made to languish in prisons for years. Since 1986, when the law was first introduced, there has never been a single conviction that has not been overturned at the appeal stage but more than 60 people have been killed by the mob or even Law Enforcement Agencies. While the European Court of Human Rights has chalked out the fact that blasphemous remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), if not for public or academic debate, do not fall under freedom of speech, we need to realize that by insisting on capital punishment for offensive speech we are not going to find allies in the world, willing to listen to our genuine concerns about hate speech and Islamophobia.What is more disturbing is the violence and chaos that we saw on the roads, motorways and streets during the last few days. It is time we buried this notion that the right to break things, destroy private and public property and harass ordinary citizens is a constitutionally protected fundamental right. No one grudges the right of people to gather together and protest but when this spills over into civil disobedience, non-cooperation and outright obstruction of the normal course of life, it ceases to be constitutional and becomes criminal. Indeed this was the biggest objection one had to Imran Khan’s Dharna 1 in 2014. The courts function and if they are slow, the way forward is to improve them. Slowly but surely things will get better. The reason for the falling out between Gandhi and Jinnah in 1920 was on the former’s insistence on civil disobedience and non-cooperation which were unacceptable to Jinnah. In this day and age when social media provides better outlets for protesting against any injustice and when today we have our own country, our own government, our own constitution and our own legislature, there is no occasion for allowing civil disobedience of any kind, violent or non-violent, which aims to block roads and paralyse day to day lives of ordinary people trying to get on with their lives.The Information Minister, MrFawad Chaudhry, has very rightly pointed that the agreement reached between the protesters and the government is at best a firefighting attempt. Anyone who read the agreement could see that the government was hoodwinking the protesters. After all there are absolutely no chances of a review being accepted by the Supreme Court bench, which has already handed down a detailed opinion. Making Aasia’s name ECL subject to legal process was also smart because ECL law does not allow arbitrary listings. Nothing in the agreement precludes the government from taking appropriate legal action against those responsible for naked terrorism and violence. Indeed as I write these lines, many FIRs have been entered on precisely this point. The optics are bad though because the perception is that the government has surrendered. The Information Minister, MrFawad Chaudhry, has very rightly pointed that the agreement reached between the protesters and the government is at best a firefighting attempt. Anyone who read the agreement could see that the government was hoodwinking the protestersThe solution to this long standing problem in our politics i.e. mobilization through protests and thievery is legislation regulating and defining protests. All actions that are aimed at creating mayhem and chaos should be banned by the National Assembly. Places like UAE and Singapore do not allow violent and disruptive protests of this kind. These countries realize the centrality of economics to modern governance. For us it is even more significant because anyone can be riled up in the name of a religious slogan. The only acceptable politics in Pakistan should be constitutional politics through parliament and elected legislatures.This is the one takeaway from our history of the last 100 years. The chaos, disturbance and economic loss of disruptive protests ultimately undermines democracy itself. A cleric calling for mutiny in the Army, murder of Supreme Court judges and an overthrow of the government is precisely the thing we want to avoid. It is the responsibility of Pakistan’s entrenched state institutions to ensure that the said cleric is brought to justice under Article 6 of the Constitution, Anti-Terrorism Act and the Army Act. The country now wants fulfillment of the promises made by the Prime Minister during his speech this past Thursday. The way out of these closures is to once and for all close the door on all unconstitutional protests by bringing in specific legislation to this end. The writer is a practising lawyer and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School in Cambridge MA, USA. He blogs at http://globallegalforum.blogspot.com and his twitter handle is @therealylhPublished in Daily Times, November 5th 2018.