By Joseph Hannan – Area 14/8
Pakistan is not just inhabited by Muslims – there are Pakistani Christians and Pakistani Hindus too, among other faiths, religions and denominations. But for long, they have been suppressed by a specific brand of strict Islam, which is not mainstream, but a fringe minority. Now, this minority has also started targeting and killing Muslims, who are the majority in Pakistan. They have started by silencing the liberal, open-minded Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer.
This video will help every person who understands Urdu to realize what Salmaan Taseer’s views on the blasphemy law were, and how great a Muslim he was.
Salmaan Taseer says that any Muslim – including himself – who commits blasphemy against the Holy Prophet PBUH would be a ‘mental case’. He clearly says he is not in favour of blaspheming the Holy Prophet PBUH or His Great Name. He was just against the misuse of any man-made law – which is true, because as far as I know, Allah Almighty did not reveal the Constitution of Pakistan, the PPC or the CrPC.
Does that make Mumtaz Qadri the real blasphemer? Didn’t Mumtaz Qadri kill all of mankind by murdering one human being? Didn’t he take the law into his own hands, despite being an enforcer of the law – which still considers blasphemy a sin?
When Aasia bibi was jailed, I was contacted by a lot of my friends, and most of them supported Aasia bibi. They said that they respect the Holy Prophet salle-Allahu alaihi was-salam, as do I, and that they can’t tolerate a poor innocent woman being tortured in His name. “This is a travesty to the glory of our Great Prophet”, said a Muslim friend.
“I am a proud Pakistani and I cannot allow my sister to be tortured and oppressed like this”, said another. “My religion does not allow the persecution of other people on the basis of faith. Islam means peace, not discrimination. The Holy Prophet was a source of mercy for all mankind, not just Muslims”.
I am sad that for supporting a poor Christian woman, the Governor of the most powerful province of Pakistan was gunned down.
I am sad that in every city of Pakistan, while there are people who are shocked and in mourning, there are people who are celebrating and distributing sweets. “No Muslim can celebrate the death of any human being. How can these people call themselves Muslims when they’re celebrating the death of another Muslim? This is the height ofjahaalat and insensitivity. This is exactly what the Holy Prophet PBUH fought a jihadagainst. He rid Arabia of jahaalat just so that the Saudi Wahabbi’s could re-instill it into Pakistan. Didn’t Salmaan Taseer have a wife and children too?”
All of this is very, very complex. I can’t really understand this, being a Christian. But I am a Pakistani. And this is my country.
If a mullah says Pakistan was made for Islam and Muslims, I will definitely agree. But I will also say that Pakistan was made for me too. And for thousands of other Christians who call themselves Pakistani.
Salmaan Taseer, I am a Pakistani Christian. And I am proud of you. As are all other kinds of Pakistanis across cities, across religious and ethnic divides. You were – and still are – the sole progressive voice of sanity and rationality. You embodied the hope upon which Pakistan trudged forward. You have shown us how we can cancel out our divisions and develop new bonds of unity across all these constructions and differences. You had the unwavering courage to not back down in front of countless enemies and challenges. You resolved to be the “last man standing” against the forces of injustice, ruthlessness, backwardness and ignorance.
You said that you will continue your struggle even if you were the last man standing.
Today, I will continue your struggle. Even if I am the last man standing.
Even if it takes a hundred years to rescue Pakistan from ignorance, to correct the loopholes which make the misuse of the blasphemy law very easily, it will always be remembered that you, Salmaan Taseer, took the first step.
It wasn’t a Christian who fought and died for Christians in Pakistan. It was a Muslim, by the name of Salmaan Taseer. He wore the Ayat-ul-Kursi in a chain around his neck, and carried a miniature Quran as well. For that, he was gunned down; 26 bullets in his chest, just a few inches away from these holiest of Islamic sacraments.
Salmaan Taseer’s boldness and determination is clearly seen in his interview with the aggressive – and somewhat offensive – Meher Bokhari. But of course, she is doing her job, and he is doing his. As a Christian, I don’t judge people. Many of my Muslim friends also don’t; they say Allah is the Best of Judges. And I agree.
Aamna Taseer, I am sorry that we were silent when your husband was fighting for us. We are responsible for his murder. The only thing we can do now is continue his fight and honour his memory.
On behalf of all rational, sane and open-minded Pakistanis – Muslims or non-Muslims – we must now reclaim the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for true Islam – the Islam that never had irrational insecurities of being “in danger” as the mullahs so often put it to be. In my upbringing, I have always been told how Medina under the Holy Prophet PBUH was the first nation-state where all faiths lived freely and interacted in a friendly manner. I have long believed that Christian nations and the West inherited the ideas of “secularism”, “freedom of speech”, “human rights” and many other progressive social concepts from Islam – specifically from the teachings of the Holy Prophet PBUH (Ahadith).
Despite my lack of knowledge and basic information about Islam, I am proud of the fact that I respect the Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH because of the great teachings He has bestowed upon humanity, and for His message and His example.
My Muslim friends say Salmaan Taseer died to preserve the honour and respect that people have for the Holy Prophet PBUH. They say that Salmaan Taseer is a “Shaheed-e-Rasool” because he could not tolerate innocent people being persecuted in the name of Islam or of the Holy Prophet PBUH.
Again, this is a very complex and complicated matter.
My reply was simple: Say what you want to say. Salmaan Taseer died for me. And as a Christian, that outweighs any moral, psychological, or social quandary that you can present to me.
Salmaan Taseer Shaheed, Rest in Peace. You will not be forgotten.