Sunday, November 4, 2018


   While many Pakistanis expressed relief that relative calm had returned after days of unrest, the stunning capitulation drew widespread condemnation Saturday. Many critics called it a dangerous surrender to the forces of religious extremism and hatred against minorities, who are often targeted on trumped-up charges of blasphemy against Islam.
   Faisal Siddiqi, a lawyer writing in Dawn newspaper, said the court ruling had set the tone “for a much larger, existential issue facing the country: whether Pakistan is actually becoming a theocratic state in which vigilantism prevails,” or whether the ruling is a “watershed moment” that will allow the Muslim-majority country to move ahead as a “modern constitutional state.”
  “The boundaries of hate have continued to expand in Pakistan without any pushback from the state or society,” Babar Sattar, a lawyer in Islamabad, wrote in the News International newspaper Saturday. “Clerics see this verdict as the state interfering in their exclusive domain.”

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