By Sajid Raheem
Hundreds of moderate Lahories were doing candle vigil on the death anniversary of Salman Taseer on January 4 at Liberty market Lahore. They were peaceful and just gathering their to remember late Governor Punjab Salman Taseer who was shot dead by his police guard in Kohsar market Islamabad on the name of blasphemy law. This group of people gathered for silent and peaceful vigil was harassed by supporter of Malik Mumtaz Qadri who killed Taseer and these supporters were harassing participants of vigil for dire consequences on the name of blasphemy. A group of beard people appeared on the scene snatched and tore up placards and photos of Salman Taseer before beating up the participants of the vigil. The attackers indiscriminately kicked women and other participants. They also subjected the reporters covering the event to torture and hit threw their cameras on the road and also damaged their DSNG vans.
Taseer was killed because he voiced against blasphemy law made by Gen. Ziaul Haq. Taseer was of the view that this man made law needed amendments and this man made law must be reviewed. He never talked against punishment to a person who is involved in the act of blasphemy and he never talked in favour of those who deliberately try to (God forbids me) defame Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). His opinion was against the clauses of law of evidence, process of registration of blasphemy cases etc. In an interview Taseer criticized blasphemy law reference to filing a mercy petition for Asia Bibi who was sentenced to death by a court under the Blasphemy Law.
Taseer was killed on January 4, 2011 by his bodyguards, Malik Mumtaz Qadri who shot him 27 times with an official MP5 sub-machine gun at Kohsar Market, Islamabad. On 1 October 2011, Qadri was sentenced to death by a Pakistani Anti Terrorist court at Islamabad for murdering Taseer but government is afraid of executing this death sentence due to support from radical cadres sitting within the establishment of Pakistan.
Judgments of a number of many cases have shown and confirmed that blasphemy law is being abused instead of being used only by ruthless people to settle their vendettas and enmities within localities and families. Many cases have been quashed by honest investigators also but stigma on a person who has been tagged as a blasphemous is so big that this stigma gets his or her life. Blasphemy law has become an atom bomb used by radicals against moderate writers, thinkers, philosophers, poets and politicians. Once someone is tagged as a person involved in blasphemy –then his place is either in grave or outside Pakistan. A number of human right activists are killed and many are facing death threats.
Main stream media is also reluctant to talk much about this issue because of threats. Society is harassed by radicals using many psychological tools including this blasphemy law. Religious parties are silent and religious scholars who can talk for amending in the law in private meetings are afraid of commenting publicly and they are somehow or other justify to keep their mouth shut because their lives are also under threat. Everybody knows Mualana Fazul Rehman has survived at least 3 life attempts because he talks against Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and consider acts of TTP against basic teachings of Islam.
Radicalism and extremism have become major component of Pakistani society since Islamisation of Ziaul Haq. Now this purist Islamist system is eating out Pakistan everyday but governments are (whosoever in power) are so much afraid that no amendment has even been moved to the parliament against Hadoud Ordinance /Laws. Moderate Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had been in power three times but even this party kept away from touching Islamic laws made by Ziaul Haq.
Since Pakistan is showing resolve against extremism that brings terrorism in Pakistan, this is time to review what we did during Islamisation of Ziaul Haq. We should review everything to give a safe Pakistan to our next generation otherwise many Muala Fazulullah will born and will keep harassing our next generations. TTP is not a name of a group of people rather a mindset that believes that discussion and review of man-made Islamic laws (not divine Islamic Laws that clearly indicated in Holy Quran rather those who are explained by human being that this is this and this is that. Those laws that are clearly indicated in Holy Quran are Divine laws and must be accepted and honored as they are).
Unfortunate to say that Pakistani society is not ready to give property share to daughters that is Clearly written in Holy Quran but enjoys to harass and kill people over such laws that are not written in Holy Quran and that are related to human explanation and historic perspectives.
I believe this is time to overhaul our religious thoughts if we as Pakistani really wish to make a Normal Pakistan for generations to come.