Libel is a common practice in Pakistani society. People blame others of anything so easily without any fear of punishment and without any feeling of responsibility. The society lacks the norm of asking their accusing authorities to prove their allegations and thus, absence of such practices paves the way for libel.
If we see the religious perspective on libel taking into account that we are talking about an Islamic state, libel is a practice which is strongly condemned, disliked and prohibited. As we see in the Nobel Quran Allah Almighty says:
“O believers! Let no man laugh at other men who may perhaps be better than themselves; and let no woman laugh at another woman, who may perhaps be better than herself. Do not defame through sarcastic remarks about one another, nor call one another by offensive nicknames. It is an evil thing to be called by a bad name after being a believer, and those who do not repent are the ones who are the wrongdoers.”
In these verses social rights and interpersonal etiquettes are described. Here Quran forbids three behaviours; laughing at someone, passing sarcastic remarks and calling someone with a defamatory nickname which he doesn’t like.
One serious problem in our society in the context of libel is that everyone defines things in the way he/she likes or the way suits to him/her. This leads to hatred because people have become too rigid to accept or to even listen to others opinion. A recent example in this regard is the incident of death of Hakeemullah Mehsud, when the society was divided in deciding who was right and who was wrong. The reason why this division occurred is the rigidness of people in their point of view whether it will be due to hatred against one group or it be due to the personal or political benefits. Intellectual views or sincere stances were missing throughout and therefore, libel was largely used by different groups to show that they are right and others are wrong. It was the “hot” topic of all channels. Every party had its own stance on the definition of Shaheed. Even religious parties had difference in opinions on this topic. They were called by some channels to give their remarks and media caught up one sentence said by a religious leader and did a lot of talk shows on it. In these talk shows Army was continuously taunted and defamed by certain groups of leaders and anchors, Until the Army took action against the allegations and defamation done to them. This whole incidence is a clear example of how badly our society has fallen prey to libel because this particular incident defames our army and their cause.
Even our political leaders imposed allegations in order to defame one another. For example Imran Khan held MQM leader Altaf Hussain responsible for the murder of PTI leader Zehra Shahid, who was murdered a week after the national elections. So, MQM filed a defamation suit against PTI chairman Imran Khan. All these libels by the religious as well as political leaders have a very bad influence on Pakistani society.
There may be different reasons behind defamation of a person such as personal enmity or jealousy as well as difference of opinion either religious or political.
This whole practice leads to an overall divided and problematic society. The only solution to address this issue is to support only the truth, be sincere with self and others and lastly, even if there exists some weakness, it must be conveyed to the respective person or a group in a confidential way so as to protect their self respect and integrity. This is what we are told by our religion also this is what the great nations do. Weaknesses are to be addressed instead of being used as weapons of defamation if we see the greater benefit of the society as a nation.