Seminar conducted on “Intellectual Vigilantism in the name of piety”


Speakers at a seminar concluded on the other day that it was not for the courts or the governments to decide by which code of ethics we should live our lives.
The seminar titled “Intellectual Vigilantism in the name of piety” conducted at SAFMA auditorium was addressed by human rights activist Hina Jilani, columnist Kamran Shafi and South Asian Journal Editor Imtiaz Alam. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Director I A Rehman, Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Riaz Durrani, University of the Punjab Institute of Communication Studies Director Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz, South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK) founding Director Mohammad Tahseen and television producer Muhammad Azeem also shared their views.
Hina Jillani said, “Many people are trying to highlight a non-issue so that they may increase the sphere of their influence.”
She said that taking the issue to the Supreme Court will not work because the court has no right to define such a subjective issue. The government’s or the Supreme Court’s decision on this matter will not be able to satisfy everyone because not everyone will accept or follow it.
She said, “The spread of incitement and hate through news channels is also a very obscene and immoral thing but no one seems to act against those who do so.”
She said Pakistan’s biggest problem right now was not obscenity, but the crimes against women and minorities.
She concluded by saying it was not the courts’ or the government’s right to impose any subjective religious ideology. The government’s job was to facilitate the people and improve the overall situation of the country, not to tell us how to live, she added.
Kamran Shafi said, “The media is indeed indirectly helping in inciting hatred against the minorities. We have the example of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s interview with Amir Liaquat Hussain in which he made offensive statements against minorities.”
Kamran said such hateful statements reflect the mindset of the people who make them. He went on to say that not everything had to be decided by the Supreme Court as it was mainly the duty of the parents and society to teach tolerance and decency.
Imtiaz Alam said, “Yes there are many problems about the content. However, obscenity and immorality issue has been used as an instrument to intimidate and pave the way for religious intolerance and fascism.”