Salman Taseer, the then Governor of Punjab was gunned down by a religious fanatic on 4th of January 2011. Mr. Taseer was a gallant exponent of a very controversial cause.
Daring Mr. Taseer cast the die that country’s blasphemy laws should be re-examined. He boldly expressed his outlook of the blasphemy law; which he deemed to be daunting, minorities of Pakistan. The Blasphemy Law is rather only one of its kinds – as death being the minimal penalty.
Mr. Taseer became contentious in the eyes of the religious quarters when, he publicly visited a Christian woman; imprisoned on the grounds of committing blasphemy. Asia Bibi an illiterate Christian peasant lady was charged of Blasphemy by her Muslim neighbors. Mr. Taseer resolutely raised his voice as an expression of concern for a valuable human life. He was well aware of the divisiveness that his voice would cause amongst the religious sphere of the country. In this frame of reference, this lionhearted campaigner of human rights was awarded with 26 bullets- by his own security guard Malik Mumtaz Qadri, while others were mere silent spectators.
Asia Bibi for whom Mr. Taseer raised his valorous voice, is still behind the bars; after receiving a lifetime imprisonment sentence from a local court. Nevertheless, Mr. Taseer received a death sentence without any trial, and that too much more vicious than hanging on gallows. Moreover, in these circumstances, the lamenting Taseer family received another blow when Shahbaz Taseer son of Salman Taseer was abducted in all probability by remorseless Qadri’s cohorts.
Justice Pervez Ali Shah, dared to pronounce death sentence to the assassin of Governor Taseer, but the public reaction to the inhuman murder of Mr. Taseer was deplorable. The moment, the news of his murder was aired nation-wide celebrations erupted in various areas. The callous murderer was named a “national hero,” the Imam of Badshahi mosque Lahore, refused the government to lead the funeral prayers for the assassinated Governor. The religious parties of country did not hesitate to overtly express their satisfaction over Salman Taseer’s murder. Television Anchors on the other hand were busy trying to influence their audience that Mr. Taseer had undoubtedly caused ill to himself.
In the face of this entire high-profiled episode, today marks second anniversary of the vile and abysmal murder of a man who dared to express his concern for a Human life.