Islamabad: Two men being hauled up for having soft drinks by the police under a Ramzan law has been criticised by a leading Pakistani daily that rued "how injudicious legislation emboldens those inclined towards intolerance and hardens their attitudes".
An editorial in the Dawn Tuesday said that bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.
"Two men have complained they were enjoying soft drinks in their car at a hill resort when they were challenged by a policeman. The constable told them that they were in violation of the Ramazan laws, which among other things forbid the consumption of food and drink in public places during the hours of fasting."
The men say they were beaten up by three policemen before being allowed to go.
The daily said that there are two points of concern here.
"First, regardless of whether or not the men were in violation of the law, nothing justifies the treatment they suffered at the hands of the police. The policemen need to be disciplined for what appears to be a serious loss of temper; applying the law, retrogressive though it is, would have been a comparatively better course of action," it said.
It went on to add that more importantly, "it needs to be pondered how injudicious legislation emboldens those inclined towards intolerance and hardens their attitudes".
The Zia ul Haq era saw a number of "problematic pieces of legislation being passed into law as the state oversaw an `Islamisation` drive, many of which have proved difficult to repeal", the daily said.
"Society has opened up in some respects and even the ulema promote Ramazan as a month of tolerance. So perhaps it is time to open up a debate on laws that help promote intolerance," it added.