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Asia Bibi case verdict, fallacious arguments and our national mindset


Zain Ullah Khattak |

Supreme Court of Pakistan, a leading judicial body of Pakistan, announces Asia Bibi case in Islamabad; as soon as declaration has been made the news spreads in the whole country and world. Asia Bibi case was interesting due to two factors, the first factor was she was a first-ever woman facing charges of blasphemy in Pakistan and second due to her case Ex-Governor Punjab Salman Taser and Ex-Minister of Religious affairs Shahbaz Bhatti were killed.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines blasphemy as reverence for God something considered sacred or inviolable or irreverence toward the act of insulting or showing contempt.
Blasphemy
 came into the English language in the 13th century, and for the first several hundred years of its life had but a single meaning, “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.”

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By the early 17th century it began to be applied figuratively to irreverence for things held in the great respect that was not necessarily divine in nature, as in the phrase, “a blasphemy against friendship.”

Blasphemy shares a root with blame; both words may be traced to the Greek blasphēmein (“to speak ill of, blaspheme“). Despite the fact that these words are connected, they have diverged sufficiently over the centuries that the meanings are now quite distinct.

Three members bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan under Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday acquitted Asia Bibi, accused of blasphemy charges, after 8 years trail. The dispute had started over a cup of water with Muslims women when she was working the field in 2009.

Supreme Court in verdict noted that there was no substantial proof or the evidence against Asia Bibi. The court observed the following points: a) Who informed the complainant about the occurrence of such; b) Who was present at the time of disclosure regarding the allegation made against the appellant; c) How many people were present at the time of the public gathering; d) Where did the public gathering took place; e) What was the distance between the place of the public gathering and the house of the appellant; and f) How and who brought the appellant to the public gathering.

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Being a student of linguistic and logic I was enjoying reading the public response over social media. I observed that 99% people responded to the case without knowing the case and Judgment of the Supreme court of Pakistan hence, 99% public committed the argument from ignorance.

The fallacy is an error in reasoning or arguments. ‘The Argument from ignorance’ is a fallacy in which conclusion is drawn by an illegitimate appeal to ignorance. The first fallacy, arguments of public were out of sheer ignorance, rejecting the Supreme Court verdict.

Second fallacy committed by the public was, ’the appeal to emotion’; when we support some judgment due to emotions; fear, force, threat, pity, likeness etc. The religious segment of our society relies on emotion rather than reasoning.

By means of they are against reasoning consequently, public follow blindly their religious leader’s statements, announcement, justification, explanation etc.

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Third fallacy committed by the public was, the argument against the person is an attack rather than matter. In Asia Bibi case the major problem was in the case matter, Chief Justice of Supreme court categorically explained those points which were weak and suspected in the case but public directly attacked the Chief Justice and committed the fallacy of “The argument against the person”.

The emotional and abusive language used against PM of Pakistan Imran Khan and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan as consequences of Asia Bibi case verdict are examples of  “ the argument against the person”.

Fourth fallacy committed by the public was, ‘false cause’, the fallacy in which mistake arises from accepting the case which is not really the case. For political purposes, foreign involvement in Asia Bibi case, the American role in the verdict, etc.

Fifth fallacy committed by the public was, “The Straw Man” fallacy committed when the position of one opponent is misrepresented and it is often political in nature. It misrepresents an opponent more extremely and unreasonably than his or her justification. It is for exaggeration of the matter on the political ground.

These fallacies were committed due to our mindset.  The Mindset developed through the education system and curriculum plays the role of catalyst in the education system. It is need of time to change our mindset through restructuring our education system and design new dynamic and progressive curriculum.

Read more: TLP protest: Did government place Asia Bibi’s name on ECL?

Logic and critical thinking prepare the youth generation for future challenges by correct and effective uses of the language. Edification is the influential vehicles through which socio-economic changes can be brought in our society. Currently, nations are judged by their Literacy and ability of decision that affect their lives and future so, Logic and critical thinking play an imperative role in bringing reforms and advancement in any society’.

The aforementioned will prepare the nation for better decision making and will empower them, polishing their skills in critical thinking to face the challenges of a new era. It is widely realized in our educated circle to introduce Logic and critical thinking at the High school level to root the seed of thinking in our new generation.

The habit of reasoning should be developed by studying logic and critical thinking as induced subject,  in order to train human resources for better reasoning skills and challenges of the future and convert our society into more rational, tolerant, peaceful, and moderate.

Zain Ullah Khattak is Research Scholar in Areas Study Centre (China, Russia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia) at the University of Peshawar, Peshawar. He is visiting fellow at International Islamic University Islamabad. His research interest and focuses on linguistic analysis, Political speeches discourses, Socio-Political thoughts, Peace, Sufism, Geo-Political economy, CPEC, Socio-Politico and Cultural dynamics, Afghanistan and FATA. He has extensively published his articles on socio-political thoughts and issues, education reforms, Sufis thoughts, and different Philosophical issues. He can be contacted at zainkhattak@gmail.com.The Views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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