Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Rose petals for a killer! The moral decline in Pakistan continues...

It is not exactly clear what can I really say here. A Facebook page was created in praise of the guy (Qadri) who yesterday killed the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer. The page got 2000 likes before it was taken down.  The mainstream religious organizations in Pakistan have applauded the murder. In fact, in a rare show of unity, both the Barelvis and Deobandis have come together to condone the murder. What kind of religion do these guys (and yes, these are mostly guys) follow??
"Salman Taseer was himself responsible for his killing," Munawar Hasan, the head of Jamaat-e-Islami, one of the two big religious political parties, said. "Any Muslim worth the name could not tolerate blasphemy of the Prophet, as had been proved by this incident."
Qadri was in the Barelvi sect, which is followed by most Muslims in Pakistan. However, on the issue of the blasphemy law, the Barelvi clerics had joined hands with the pro-Taliban Deobandi. The issue was sparked by Taseer's championing of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy late last year.
"No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salmaan Taseer," a statement from Jamaate Ahle Sunnat Pakistan, one of the biggest organisations of the Barelvi, representing 500 religious scholars, said. "We pay rich tributes and salute the bravery, valour and faith of Mumtaz Qadri."
And if this is not enough:
Qadri appeared in court, unrepentant, where waiting lawyers threw handfuls of rose petals over him and others in the crowd slapped his back and kissed his cheek as he was led in and out amid heavy security.
A few months ago I had a post about a lynching of a guy in Pakistan in broad day-light after a minor traffic incident (it was only a near-accident, but the driver was bludgeoned to death by two lawyers - yes, lawyers - on a motorbike). This was preceded, only a month earlier, by the lynching of two teenage brothers mistaken for robbers in Sialkot, and a broad day-light beating and then burning of three robbers in Karachi - in front of a crowd of onlookers.

It is no surprise then that prominent members of the same society are now applauding a murder of someone they disagreed with. And there is no shame in it. They are okay to send a press-release with their name on it.

There really are no words to describe it. This is now what we call Pakistan. Yes, of course, there are elements of the Pakistani society that are appalled by all this. But it is becoming clear which way the tide is moving. I will give the final words on this to Huma Imtiaz, reporting from this abyss (tip Faithworld):
Taseer’s assassination; even though assassination is too mild a word to describe it, the correct term should be cold-blooded murder at the hands of a Pakistani who has grown up and is continuously spoon-fed state and the right-wing religious lobby’s propaganda about Islam, blasphemy and secularism, is not the beginning of the end. This is the end. There is no going back from here, there is no miracle cure, there is no magic wand that will one day make everything better. Saying “enough is enough” does not cut it anymore, I think we can all agree that enough was enough ages ago, when the first murder under the garb of protecting Islam took place. With each bullet that deranged gunman pumped into Taseer’s body, with each person celebrating Taseer’s murder, with each person who has approved or justified his death on national TV, with each politician who promised that they would not change the law or allow it to be changed, the rape of humanity has been carried out, repeatedly.
(emphasis is mine in the above quote)

This is indeed the end of the hopes for a progressive and liberal Pakistan. But forget about that. Lets hope that people first stop applauding murder. The issue of rights will come later.


Don said...

This has been a very tough story to follow... applauding murder is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

this country has no future!
you reap what you sow!
it will be very heartening to see it's complete destruction -just like iraq and taliban during my lifetime!

Atif Khan said...

Curse of religion!

M. Akbar Hussain said...

From murder of a woman in court for weariing hijab in Germany to assassination of a governor in Pakistan for speaking against the blasphemy law and death threats for wikileaks founder for speaking the truth, the moral decline continues indeed.

Kate said...

(I am trying so hard to not comment on a comment...trying...) Oh, the whole thing - so sad, so horrible. And yes, the FB page with 2000 "likes" is stomach-turning, as is the support of the murder. I agree, it is incredibly disheartening. And to Mr. Hussain, I must of course add: the recent shootings in Arizona, as well as the continued rhetoric of violence from some members of the "Tea Party" towards Democrats and liberals and whoever else appears to be a threat.
(Of course, the solution is not to destroy a complete country, since that's like cutting off your own foot because you stubbed your toe, but that view may not be shared by everyone.)
Anyway, I think it's completely reasonable to feel despair, and Salman, I know this must be incredibly difficult for you. I can only offer this quote, from someone who was far more articulate and wise than I (and yes, I know how one could respond re: the irony of my using a Gandhi quote to make a point for hope, but his work definitely lives on):

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it -- always." Mahatma Gandhi

Epiphenom said...

There's a dreadful parallel with the shootings in Arkansas. I wonder if we are moving from a world where the terrorists were left wing/anarchists, to a world in which terrorism is the preserve of right-wing/fundamentalists.

Salman Hameed said...

Thanks Kate.

I think these tactics are becoming more common. But a big question also is of tone and rhetoric - which probably also played a role in the AZ shooting over the weekend. The thing that is really despicable is people cheering for the murderer. A parallel in the US is the remorseless killings of (or attacks on) abortion doctors (yes, right wing nut-jobs) and to a lesser degree, those that attack animal researchers. Of course, a common factor in all of this is not necessarily religion, but rather the feeling of self-righteousness. Terrible...

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