Another Blogger Silenced
Freedom of speech is the integral determinant of a free democratic country. The degree to how much one can speak freely in a country can help infer about the level of democracy prevalent there. However, with freedom of speech come critics who are deemed as a thorn on the side of those being critiqued. But due to their expressive demeanour the critics can be on the receiving end of an onslaught and aggression, especially when you criticise the “system” which can lead to a lot of chaos and bedlam. A similar case of the death of an outspoken blogger, Bilal Khan, has spurred a lot of protest against the heinous killing.
He had extremist religious views; many believe he himself supported violence against a certain sect. But disagreement should be dealt with argument, not with bullet. That is the actual dissent we and religious radicals have. If Bilal Khan supported violence it was wrong, but violence on him should also not be supported. Argument is the best weapon to fight with.
The death of Bilal Khan is a serious indicator of religious aggression which can be reasonably inferred from his recent blogs and from his right wing views as he had been criticising certain sects and factions. Attacks from religious zealots have seen a spike in number over the years in Pakistan. The attack and martyrdom of Mashal Khan carried a similar modus operandi. Being killed after blamed for “blasphemous” comments of whom no one had visual proof of clearly shows the narrow mindedness of our pro-Islamic masses and the fact that it is almost impossible to have a freedom of speech.
According to some assumptions and accusations, the murderer can be associated some influential leaders from the sect whom Bilal Khan had been criticising in the past, or even his own sect over few disagreements.
Also read: Democracy Behind The Bars
His recent tweets have also been the topic of controversy with what seemed as a direct opposition to some ‘strong internal powers’ as well. But the fact is, he used to support the establishment and was a hyper nationalist. His murder indicates that no one is safe in this country because of the deep-rooted intolerance in our society. It is a topic of hot debate that whether or not this is the case, but somebody being killed overnight for challenging and criticising influential personalities having control over a large organisation can be a possibility.
For now it has not been specified as to how and why Bilal Khan died and who was involved in the incident but can we actually get true justice for him? Do we think that we can honour his blood that was spilt so viciously without any remorse? Can we bring back the dead who never even deserved to die due to a mere fact that they just raised their voices?
A young blogger who supported violence became a victim of violence himself. But according to his videos, he was just exercising his right to freedom of expression. People spewing hate against others on social media is a common trend these days. Individuals from different organisations criticising others are also a usual aspect of social media. But every cloud has a silver lining. All the sects and factions of the society, which were criticised by Bilal, condemned his murder and are united in demanding justice for Bilal because “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The writer is a journalist and social media activist based in
Islamabad. He can be reached out on twitter @ShahabSpeaks