Pope’s interference

Religious personalities like Pope Benedict XVI are expected to carefully weigh the implications of their views before going public with them. His Holiness is supposed to take care that his utterances do not go to offend members of another religious community. It is quite disturbing to note, therefore, that he has been reported to have told the diplomats, whom he addressed at an annual gathering at the Vatican City on Monday, that Pakistan should scrap the blasphemy laws. He has not only caused a great offence to the well over 1.5 billion people inhabiting different parts of the globe, but also entered into a dangerous ground, where, in the first place, he had no business at all. Interfering in a totally internal affair of Pakistan, and that too on an issue that is religious, is bound to provoke anti-Christian sentiments in the country.

His advice was entirely uncalled-for and unjustified. This kind of behaviour does not behove His Holiness by any stretch of imagination. But, secondly, if at all he had felt impelled to say something on the question of blasphemy laws in Pakistan, it would have been better if his words had been addressed to his own flock, counselling them not to create a situation that could unnecessarily create bad blood and lead to the flaring up of feelings of the majority religious community in the country.It seems that Pope Benedict XVI has not had a look at the laws, which he wants excised from Pakistan’s Statute Book. The blasphemy laws are all encompassing in the sense that they not only ensure against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being blasphemed, but also the whole line of Prophets that preceded the Last Messenger, and among them, obviously, figures Jesus Christ prominently. This is consistent with the teachings of Islam, the religion that brought the message of peace and harmony for all mankind. Since peace and harmony, an essential requirement of collective human existence, cannot be achieved without showing proper respect to the sentiments of communities subscribing to other religions, blaspheming had to be nipped in the bud – Nation