Incitement to murder

Although he is used to evoking strong reaction to his words, this time Rana Sanaullah’s loud mouth has cost him heavily. In utter horror and dismay, the Senate passed a unanimous resolution, introduced by the leader of the opposition, condemning the provincial law minister of PML-N for declaring Senator Babar Awan wajib-ul-qatl (liable to be killed) because he is a corrupt lawyer. Sanaullah made these remark after the presentation of budget in the Punjab Assembly. The war of words between the PPP and PML-N is a common thing, but Sanaullah has gone grossly overboard while reacting to Babar Awan’s criticism of his party’s government in Punjab. The Senate noted with concern that a few days after a similar proclamation, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was killed. The Senate urged the provincial government to remove him from his position and take disciplinary action against him. Supreme Court Bar Association and opposition in Punjab Assembly expressed similar sentiments.Sanaullah’s defence that he did not threaten Babar Awan with murder and that he was just presenting the stance of the lawyers notwithstanding, his statement constitutes incitement to murder. For a law minister to declare someone ‘liable to be killed’ should cause an alarm in the party that propped him up on this position. In a climate where jihadi elements are running amok and killing opponents to resolve difference of opinion has become a normal fare, statements such as these will further strengthen extremist tendencies and give justification to those who believe in extremist ideologies and violent means. Just recently, Khatm-e-Nubuwwat distributed pamphlets in Faisalabad inciting people to kill Ahmedis, calling them wajib-ul-qatl. What is the difference between Punjab law minister and Khatm-e-Nubuwwat? Is it just a coincidence that Sanaullah is alleged to have links with militant organisations?

The widespread reaction to Sanaullah’s statement is indication of a growing perception of these statements being followed up by action. The precedent has been set by the killing of Salmaan Taseer, followed closely by that of Minister of Minorities’ Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti. Their only crime was that they wanted reform in blasphemy laws. As these events have unfolded, the sensitivity towards the palpable threat has increased, hence this reaction. People get away with incitement to murder because no action is taken against them. The Punjab government should, at the very least, remove Rana Sanaullah from his post and take him to task for issuing such statements. – Dailytimes