Epistemic Governance in the Discourse Around the Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan: A review of columns in Dawn and Daily Jang
Qureshi, Mohammad Ahsan (2017)
Qureshi, Mohammad Ahsan
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After visiting Aasia Bibi, a convicted blasphemer, Governor Salman Taseer criticized the Blasphemy Laws and sought amendments in them to make them more transparent. In a matter of weeks, his own body guard, Mumtaz Qadri, killed the Governor. This chain of events led to some cautioned debate across different segments of the Pakistani society. This study looks at the discourse around the Laws after Taseer visited Aasia Bibi till the execution of Qadri. Columns from Dawn and the Daily Jang were analyzed in the study using the epistemic governance approach. As predicted by the theory, the study found a wide array of imageries and objects of epistemic work throughout the narratives. Differences and similarities between the findings from the two newspapers were recognized and contextualized in line with their targeted readership. Interestingly, the forms of governance and imageries were very similar between the two papers even though they catered to different segments of the society. The study also recognized the clashing and integration of different world cultures within the discourse around the Laws. Further findings include the observation of heroism and mythification of historical figures in the narratives.
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