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High on Fanaticism

January 8, 2011

A lot has been written about the assassination of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who got killed by his bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a member of the Elite Force, on January 4th.

I couldn’t muster up courage to write about it earlier because I was stunned by the sequence of events that took place in the past few days. The assassination itself was a very sad occurrence but more disturbing was the reaction of an educated and internet savvy people. Within hours of murder a facebook fan page honoring, praising, congratulating and celebrating the killer’s gruesome act surfaced. In no time, 2000 plus people joined that page saluting their hero. Shocking!

The next day on January 5th, Qadri was showered with flowers by the lawyers in Islamabad when he was taken to the court. Around 300 lawyers offered to fight Qadri’s case for free. More shocking!

The clerics endorsed the act of Qadri and provided him with the full religious cover. They issued edicts refraining people from offering funeral prayers for the slain governor. Why? Because he was declared a blasphemer for calling Pakistan’s blasphemy law, codified in sections 295 A-B and C a ‘black law’.

Taseer called that law a black law which was neither ordained in Quran nor in Sunnah but he was declared a blasphemer by the religious bigots and eventually got killed for that. How ironic and sad!

The gradual divide in the society between the minority liberals and the growing religious zealots had been evident since sometime. However, the killing of Taseer further pushed our society to the limits where there is a clear line of division between the liberals and the rightists. The obsession of rightist with religion has reached the level that if X doesn’t agree with Z’s version of Islam no problem; issue a death fatwa and bump him off. If B’s words are misconstrued, intention deduced and twisted. Call him a blasphemer or an infidel issue a fatwa and bump him off. The religious groups will justify the killing in the light of their own twisted faith.

Sometimes I feel Salman Taseer was a mere victim of misplaced anger, that had been brewing since 2005 onwards after the Danish caricatures, the facebook contest that led up to facebook banning last year. Anyone speaking against blasphemy law was taken as the perpetrator, playing in the hands of west and the enemy of Islam and the Prophet (PBUH).

The state’s apathy and luke-warm response to Taseer’s killing was felt by all. The feeling lingers that the government has caved in to the religious extremist that are multiplying like anything. Its unfortunate to see the rightists being high on fanaticism. The ‘opium of religion’ that General Zia fed in abundance is showing its signs. No reasoning is accepted. No debate allowed. My way or the highway is the rule of the day.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Aamir Bilal permalink
    January 8, 2011 5:29 pm

    I agree to what you wrote. A handful liberals are at stake. At some points( like this one) number really matters. Image of the Faith these days has really morphed into a blackhole taking lives. Awesome writing!

  2. Uljalool permalink
    January 8, 2011 7:04 pm

    Salman Taseer’s murder in cold blood is very sad commentary on horrible state of affairs in Pakistan. The root cause of all this lies not in misplaced anger but misplaced identity. We simply do not know who we are. There has been a delibrate effort on the part myopic leadership right from August 15, 1947 ( the legally correct date of the birth of our nation)to disconnect ourselves from our legacy the history we share with India and make a fast connection with the middle-east and eventually create an Arab indentity for ourselves. This is the outcome or result of that failed experiment. The worst is yet to come (tears in my eyes)

  3. January 9, 2011 5:25 am

    It’s incredibly sad, and I’m afraid I will never look at Pakistan in the same way. Salmaan Taseer was most probably one of the noblest men ever to come from the country and they treat him like a criminal instead of the innocent victim. I hope Malik Mumtaz is put into prison for a LONG time.

  4. neel123 permalink
    January 9, 2011 11:42 am

    Pakistan’s biggest problem is that the all powerful mullah-military nexus is at work against the liberal and democratic leadership.

    Otherwise the problem of religious extremism can be solved in a few days, by throwing all the mullah’s inciting extremism behind the bars, and throwing the keys in the ocean.

  5. January 9, 2011 9:31 pm

    I agree with neel123 – the problem soon will get out of hand.

  6. January 9, 2011 10:31 pm

    I saw the program on Samaa news regarding this and I was shocked how Fareed Ahmed Paracha was distorting the facts.

    Read my post for a brief insight

  7. Kabir Das permalink
    January 10, 2011 1:28 pm

    neel123 :Pakistan’s biggest problem is that the all powerful mullah-military nexus is at work against the liberal and democratic leadership.
    Otherwise the problem of religious extremism can be solved in a few days, by throwing all the mullah’s inciting extremism behind the bars, and throwing the keys in the ocean.

    I reckon throwing all the Mullahs in the ocean will be a better option.

  8. January 12, 2011 4:39 am

    Pakistan has come to a point where thousands believe they are righteous and have divine authority to carry out God’s acts on this earth. The repugnant response by the supporters of Salman Taseer’s alleged killer has truly been mesmerizing. Qadri’s fan base has distorted Islam to such an extent that it has become laughable to comprehend how they perceive themselves to be protecting the sanctity of Islam. To read this article:

  9. Kabir Das permalink
    January 12, 2011 12:00 pm

    Laugh or cry as you wish.

  10. loneliberalpk permalink
    January 17, 2011 2:37 am

    Qadri was the tip of the iceberg. The overwhelming support for Qadri (or the silence of Pakistanis on this matter) shows that the dagger of Islamism has penetrated way deeper into this country’s back than what is ostensible right now.

  11. Kabir Das permalink
    January 17, 2011 12:39 pm

    I won’t take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth.
    Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967)

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