Transporters have endorsed religious parties’ nation-wide strike Dec 31 and there is huge pressure on the Pakistan government to make no changes to the controversial ‘blasphemy laws’. I believe the government wants to make the changes (though there are some within it who don’t) that all progressive Pakistanis want but is up against the wall; it is weakened and attacked on all sides. The ‘religious right’ has been organising massive demonstrations (they may not win at the polls but they have street power), and there is a country-wide shutters down strike tomorrow.
We have to take it one step at a time. First work together to stop the abuse – whether it’s through procedural changes or amendment to the law (and there are many among the religious right who agree); ensure enforcement of law and order any way we can (ie not allow vigilante action & not allow those involved with it to go scot free).
Meanwhile, prepare the ground and keep working towards the goal of repeal or at least substantive amendments that will now allow injustice. There’s a demo in Islamabad today, a seminar in Karachi. Another seminar in Karachi is planned as well as a demo in the second week of Jan, 2011. It is a long term struggle, there are no overnight solutions. Governmentt doesn’t have a magic wand it can wave. It may take years but it will happen one day, if there is a sustained struggle and the political process continues.