A nation doesn’t just become crazy and non-nonsensical overnight. Our laws, formulated under the guise of religion have become so ludicrous that sane people are embarrassed even trying to justify them. But because they were made under the name of Islam no one dared question them first out of fear that they would be considered non-religious and shunned from the competition of self-proclaimed righteousness and now with the climate being so oppressive, killed. One of those laws is the Blasphemy Law which was initially introduced by the British in order to prevent riling up religious emotions. Pakistan adopted the law in 1947, but the real set-back was when the Pakistan Penal code was introduced which was detrimental to freedom of religion, as it did not take into account intention and could easily be misused because of lack of checks and balances. It has been historically used to persecute minorities and settle personal vendettas. From 1967 to 2014, over 1300 people mostly Muslims have been charged with Blasphemy and several leading figures like Shaheed Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated because of people taking the law in their own hands. Our history has always shown that whenever religion has intermingled with the business of the state the consequences have been negative. The simple fact being that most people in power don’t have enough religious knowledge to construct laws and they have to rely on mullahs. Another setback came when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto declared Ahmadis non-muslim; pandering to the desires of the mullahs, eager to gain their political support.One of those laws is the Blasphemy Law which was initially introduced by the British in order to prevent riling up religious emotions. Pakistan adopted the law in 1947, but the real set-back was when the Pakistan Penal code was introduced which was detrimental to freedom of religion, as it did not take into account intention and could easily be misused because of lack of checks and balances. It has been historically used to persecute minorities and settle personal vendettas. From 1967 to 2014, over 1300 people mostly Muslims have been charged with BlasphemyThen Zia ul haq further added to the persecution of Ahmadis with the desire to be the greatest savior of Islam. Ordinance XX was introduced along with the hudood ordinance. These laws were brutally unjust because they restricted the activities of the Ahmadi community and made it illegal for Ahmadis to ‘pose’ as Muslims. The Hudood ordinance made no distinction between rape and adultery. A woman reporting rape who did not bring forth 4 witnesses could be imprisoned for life under adultery and many women are languishing in jail because of this.Pakistan needs a complete catharsis starting with our laws. If the laws are repugnant nothing can be expected from people because the law promotes hatred and injustice. If the law says there is no difference between rape and adultery, how can you expect an uneducated man to think any differently. The law is not meant to inflict pain and torture, laws are meant to protect and guide behavior. It has been proven time and again that whenever religion is used to legitimize a law, the religion has always been exploited and misinterpreted to create such grotesque laws that not only breed injustice but also put people off religion in general. That’s why it’s unbelievable the extreme dichotomies that have engulfed our nation. People are either obsessed with religion and its forceful implementation on others or they run away from it like the plague. All the fault of misuse of religion in our political set-up.These unjust laws were introduced because of political gains but under the cover of religion so that people wouldn’t dare question them. We need education and awareness of how these laws infringe on personal freedom. People need to wake up and take charge of the situation and apply pressure on political parties to bring back the original Pakistan which was based on the grounds of equality and freedom of religion. “When all the fireflies shine the way for one another, we will succeed at developing the country.” The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, February 24th 2019.