For the love of sanity

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari paid a beautiful tribute to Mr Salmaan Taseer at a memorial service held for the martyred governor at the Pakistan High Commission in London. He started his message by quoting a hadith of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that said, “Beware! If anyone dare oppress a member of a minority or has usurped his or her rights, or tortured, or took away something forcibly, I will fight on behalf of the minority against the Muslim on the Day of Judgement.” Bilawal vowed that the PPP will defend all minority communities in Pakistan and anyone wishing to harm them “will have to go through me first”. He called Mr Taseer “one of the few heroic politicians left in the ever-depleting pool of brave Pakistani politicians” who laid down his life for justice and humanity. Bilawal’s strong public stand for the rights of minorities should send a clear message to all those who think they can continue to suppress them in the name of Islam.

The Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) on Sunday threatened all those who were taking out public rallies in support of Governor Taseer. Those present at the Tahaffauz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat conference warned that a Mumtaz Qadri would be present at each nook and corner of Pakistan to put a stop to all this. Such threats have got nothing to do with religion or humanism. It speaks volumes about the direction our society is taking when people are not just justifying Mr Taseer’s brutal assassination but praising the act and the killer. As Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, such people are the “real blasphemers”. If the government cannot put a stop to such direct threats, then it might as well declare that there is no rule of law in the country.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recently appealed to the government to file FIRs against those religious leaders who spoke at a rally held in Karachi in favour of the blasphemy laws and threatened the same fate as that of Mr Taseer to those who asked for amendments or repeal of the flawed law. Despite the presence of at least 3,000 policemen at the said rally, no one booked the hate-mongering speakers. Hate speech is a crime under our laws, yet the silence by our law enforcing agencies and the government is deafening. For the love of sanity, the government and all others must speak up now for a secular and democratic Pakistan. Our silence at this crucial juncture can eventually be fatal – Dailytimes