“The mullahs are spreading terrorism in the name of religion” – Asma Jahangir

    “The mullahs are spreading terrorism in the name of religion” – Asma Jahangir

    Q. Why have you been targeted by militants who have issued fatwas against you and distributed stickers declaring you “Gustakh-e-Rasul”?

    A. I do not think that I am the target of militant groups in my individual capacity. It is our organization, HRCP, which is the target. I am the lawyer in most blasphemy cases and I have often been warned to refrain from taking up blasphemy laws.
    Q. Why have the mullahs become more powerful in recent times?
    A. Simply because they have been given undue importance by dictatorial regimes. They have intruded into every department. They have to be included in the judiciary as three ulema must be on the panel of the judges of the Shariat Court. They are included in every syllabi committee formed by textbook boards in all four provinces. Mullahs are included if there is a move to make changes in criminal or women’s cases. Even worse, they are included as speakers in seminars on family planning. Undue importance has gone to the mullah’s heads. They are running every field of life. The only way to save our society from further destruction is to curtail the mullahs’ influence.
    Q. What were the motives behind the recent strike against the amendment in the blasphemy law?
    A. This strike was politically motivated and the opposition openly supported it. Everybody who is in the opposition uses the mullahs and when they come to power they seek their help. Nobody dares to control the influence of the mullahs. I have a feeling of satisfaction that some saner elements in even the politico-religious parties are changing their views about issues like the liberation of women, but some groups have gone to extremes and indulged in terrorism.
    Q. What are your comments on the working of the Shariat Court?
    A. The Shariat Court is considered to be a punishment for judges and that is why it was created. The other reason for its formation is to accommodate three ulema. In the presence of high courts there is no need for a Shariat Court because the high courts have all the authority and jurisdiction to hear all the cases of the Shariat Court.

    Samina Warraich in Newsline, July 1994.