The brutal murder of a 21-year-old female seminary teacher in DI Khan over alleged blasphemy, by three of her colleagues, raises the same difficult questions that the government always stops short of answering when it’s done with its customary condemnations every time there is an ugly murder in the name of religion. Initial reports are still sketchy, but according to the DI Khan police, it appears that a 13-year-old relative of the murderers, who are 17, 21 and 24 years of age, “saw a dream last night” in which the suspect’s alleged blasphemy was revealed to her, along with an order to “slaughter her”. The police report also says that knives and other sharp objects were used in the attack, and the victim was found lying in a pool of her blood with her throat slit open. Some reports also say that a number of witnesses simply looked on as the murder took place. This does not put the government in good light at a time when it is taking credit for raising the issue of Islamophobia at the international level and even getting the United Nations (UN) to nominate a specific day to counter the phenomenon. Because all the while it was busy making noise about the evils of Islamophobia abroad, it failed to start a debate on the threats of religious extremism, especially misinterpretation, at home and never bothered to erect an overarching national narrative on religious tolerance. Successive governments have, on the other hand, repeatedly pandered to the interests of the religious right regardless of how many lines they crossed as long as they played the religion card; and this particular administration is no exception. That has made not just things like debating and diluting the blasphemy law impossible, it also made the state irrelevant, even complicit, in the matter of rising extremism and religiously inspired violence. The result is that its writ is not taken seriously anymore, especially when it comes to violence related to allegations of blasphemy, and every incident turns out to be more gruesome than the last one in some way. The government must immediately take all religious and academic scholars on board and begin a comprehensive debate on blasphemy and Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Everybody must be told in crystal clear terms that neither the law of the land nor any religion allows, much less orders, murder for the crime of blasphemy; especially when it’s not even proved. Then it must also take legal experts on board and initiate just as transparent, and urgently needed, a debate on the country’s existing blasphemy laws; especially how often and how easily they are misused and exactly what price how many people and communities have paid for such things. This exercise must be carried out in a manner that it leaves no room for extremists to manipulate and brainwash commonfolk any longer. This would be the first step towards regaining sanity. The sate must also make sure that whoever crosses the line is punished strictly and promptly in keeping with the law. Since the DI murder is the latest in a string of crimes related to alleged blasphemy, maybe this will finally jolt the state into taking the kind of action that can be expected to deliver results.