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Friday, December 4, 2015

Hark back to killing of Punjab Governor: Intolerance in Pakistan

Killing in the Name of the Prophet
The Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was shot dead outside a cafe, a few daysback,to be precise on 5 January 2011 in Islambad by his own bodyguard.The sad part of this eposode was that the killer was a member of the elite Police detachment sent to guard the Governor.This makes sad reading as Taseer probably signed his own death warrant by opposing the capital punishmentawarded to a Christian lady for alleged blasphemy.He also was a strong protogonist of amending the present Blasphemy law in Pakistan.
Recently, I met a Muslim friend of mine and asked him whether there was any justification in the murder of Salman Taseer. He made a revealing comment and stated that capital punishment for blasphemy was un-islamic, as its is neither sanctioned by the the Quran or any other reigious law of Islam. The Quranic verse dealing with Blasphemy is worth quoting.It says 'do not revile those they invoke instead of God,lest they,in their hostility,revile God out of ignorance.Thus to every people we have caused their actions to seem fair.To their Lord they shall return, and he will declare to them all that they have done'
The above verse is self explanatory and nowhere has the Quran justified killing or murdering people for their beliefs. 
Despite this Pakistan practices very stringent Blasphemy laws. These laws were given an impetus by General Zia-ul Haq , when he was in power.Known as the' Mullah General', he was a man devoid of pity and compassion, as is evidenced by his authorizing the judicial hanging of ZA Bhutto, his former boss and Premier of Pakistan.
The blasphemy law as it exists in Pakistan is heavily weighted against the minorities like the Christians, Sikhs and Hindus. Statistics show that in a country with 97% Muslim population, nearly 60% of the people charged under this law( blasphemy) are the minorities.
Salman Taseer was one man who stood against the Blasphemy laws and he was silenced. Its a sad tale as the main stream religious parties condoned this murder and the Imam of the Shahi Mosque, Lahore refused to head the funeral prayers. Here is a man of God , doing something unheard off. Thus Pakistan is in the throes of a voilent struggle.The minorities are not safe as the gun and the mullah have runamok. But there is a silver liniing to the cloud as a large numberof people turned up for the funeral.It is this silent majority that must face the hardliners who wish their views to prevail with the gun.
Have things changed in 2015? Certainly not.