Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Salmaan Taseer murdered

Just a few days ago I wrote about the tensions building in Pakistan over the proposals to amend the blasphemy laws. I mentioned in passing high profile Punjabi governor Salmaan Taseer who was an outspoken advocate of the reforms. He was the focus of much bile and criticism from the religious right. Today he was murdered. Shot by a member of his own security detail.

Pakistan is in crisis. Caught in a vice like grip between the West and the East, between democratic values of equality and tolerance and murderous religious fundamentalism.

The government is both violent, weak and split. The economy is in a poor state and much of the country is still suffering badly from flooding. These are not happy times.

Although Taseer and Shahrbano Rehman, the outstanding woman moving the amendment, are both members of the ruling party the government has been at pains to distance themselves from the proposals and, it seems, that numerous death threats against themselves and their supporters have been ignored by the authorities - leaving reformers exposed.

But while the government has taken no action against leading religious figures condemning Taseer and Rehman it seems that one man did react. After Taseer's guard shot his charge dead he handed himself in. "The police guard who killed him says he did this because Mr Taseer recently defended the proposed amendments to the blasphemy law. This is what he told the police after surrendering himself."

Just a few days ago Taseer had spoken at a rally commemorating the third anniversary of the death of Benazir Bhutto at the hands of an assassin. There are strong forces for progress in Pakistan, but they have a huge mountain to climb. Meanwhile, good and principled people like Taseer are dying.

Post script:
“You live life once, you live it by your principles and you live it courageously — that’s what it’s about.”


saeed said...

agar governar sahab ne behurmati ki hai tu bohat acha hua hai aese logo ke sath aisa hi hona chaie t ke logo ko pata chale ke aisa kam nai karna jis se musalmano ki izhat ka masla ho.

richj said...

Did you intend to equate the West with "democratic values of equality and tolerance" and the East with "murderous religious fundamentalism"? Or are these meant to be independent statements? Independent axes of good and evil, to coin a phrase :-)

Jim Jepps said...

They're independent statements - but I can see where the confusion came in.

The West has, of course, a long history of supporting 'murderous religious fundamentalism' and there are plenty of home grown democrats who find themselves having to oppose the forces of the West.

I'm not linking the statements the other way either though - I think it would be far too simplistic to say that all of Pakistan's problems originated in the West... which is why the intention was for independent axes.

Tor Hershman said...

An all-powerful god that could shut-up a guy with one thought
a simpleminded ape with a gun?
I wonder how my Godless/Satanless video would play in Pakistan.....or India.....or the U. S. of A?

Taseer murdered, tell it to
John Lennon.