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Why did Mumtaz Qadri Kill Governor Salman Taseer Facts

Posted by on Thursday, January 13, 2011, 13:17
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Mumtaz Qadri
Mumtaz Qadri

The killer also revealed that he was persuaded to carry out the murder after listening to the ‘rousing sermons’ delivered by Maulvi Hanif Qureshi and Ishtiaq Shah at a religious gathering, on December 31 near his residence in Rawalpindi. He said in his statement: “These sermons not only moved me to act against the man who spoke against the sanctity of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) but compelled me to stand up against those who were demanding changes in the blasphemy laws.”

Mr Qadri also exonerated “any political or religious group” of involvement in the governor’s assassination. Several religious groups have of late been protesting against what they claim is a conspiracy to change a law considered sacred.

In this context, it is also claimed that the aim of this alleged conspiracy is to change the blasphemy law, an act which will encourage people to commit acts of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (pbuh). This, of course, is not true and nothing can substantiate such a serious allegation, which is made with much impunity by the clerics.

Following Taseer’s murder, a debate has arisen with protagonists arguing that Qadri and the governor represented two extremes. This is where the Pakistani mind needs to be concentrated.

It is entirely wrong and self-serving on the part of those who lean on extremism to say that ‘religious extremism’ and ‘liberal extremism’ are equally bad. Regrettably, the country has for some time regarded liberalism as a borrowed or imported value, serving the interest of ‘foreign powers’ hostile to Pakistan.

The hidden message is: put an end to liberalism and you will see Pakistan moving away from ‘religious extremism’. Liberalism, alas, will always remain a minority reaction among those who fear some kind of endgame in ‘religious extremism’. Equating the two is not a wise thing to do because no one will ever say that Pakistan is threatened by ‘liberal extremism’ or that liberal extremist suicide bombers are roaming the streets killing innocent people.

The religious speakers who affected the thinking of Governor Taseer’s killer say they are not to blame for what happened. According to their statements, they simply said that a blasphemer had to be dealt with in accordance with the law and that “Sherry Rehman should not bring an amendment bill to parliament but should take recourse to the court of law”. The statements betray a lack of knowledge of the country’s institutional working. But Mr Qadri could not have stood up to say that the courts in Pakistan adjudicate in accordance with the laws as framed or amended first by parliament.

What the religious parties are getting wrong is the difference between the law itself and its abuse. Any law, divine or human, can be abused and this can be set right not by removing the law but reformulating it in such a way through procedural readjustment that the aspects of its abuse are minimised.

Was not the Hudood Law misused on a daily basis by the police which took money to book the accused under Hudood, rather than the normal law, to make the process more punishing? What Maulvi Hanif Qureshi and Ishtiaq Shah should have noted is that poor, illiterate and unprotected persons belonging to minority communities are often trapped under the blasphemy law.

It takes long years for them to be exonerated by the higher courts and the wrongful accusers are never called to account. What happened to Mumtaz Qadri is happening to most of us falling under the influence of the campaign of misplaced outrage led by clerical parties.

The court may not find them directly guilty of having plotted to kill Governor Taseer through him, but any rational person will agree that the atmosphere of extreme reaction deliberately created in the streets and mosques of Pakistan is responsible for Mr Qadri’s actions.

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