By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)
The murder of Salman Taseer has not only completely exposed the difference of viewpoint between extremists and liberals but it also uncovered the wildness of fundamentalists. The movement started by the radicals after the issue of cartoons in Denmark is now on the peak in Pakistan. The episode of Face Book and the issue of burning of Holly Quran have also given momentum to this problem. The extremists are exploiting the situation to enforce their self-made explanation of Islam, but I think the West has also equally set off this flame of fundamentalism.
It seems that the aim of Salman Taseer to revise the blasphemy law will now be left unfulfilled. Though the liberal sections of Pakistan seem active in carrying on the mission of Taseer but the bending down of the government in front of religious circles has discouraged them. The role of civil society is also not encouraging at this occasion. Despite the fact that English print media is trying to draw attention to the consequences of this incidence however the vernacular press and Electronic media are not brave enough to guide the public.
Not only the aim of Taseer is left unaccomplished but even now it seems that his murder case may become a religious issue. The history of Pakistani judiciary regarding military coup d’état and Blasphemy cases is well known to all. The government inability to make out a distinction between Taseer murder and the issue of Blasphemy law may cause the judiciary to work under stress. The court decision under stress may not fulfill the demands of justice. Therefore the government and judiciary must bring out some solution before the decision of the court.
The confession of the killer and a smile of triumph on his face will give good reasons for the court to sentence him to death but this death will make him hero of fundamentalists. Will it be the triumph of Taseer’s mission? Of course not. The liberal circles are of the opinion that the reaction of fundamentalists shows that the court may not be able to give exemplary punishment to the killer but I have a different opinion. I think that the fundamentalists may wish to see the killer as martyr. They may prefer to describe him as sacrificial victim. In the case of Afia Siddique neither these fundamentalists tried to provide legal help to that lady nor they managed to guide her how to get justice from the American judicial system. And today after the court decision they are trying to make her the role model for other Muslims. If it happens in the case of Mumtaz Qadri it will be the real victory of fundamentalists.
Liberals have already announced that the killer is only the representative of those extremists who do not believe in debate and tolerance. Their intention is not to put the killer to death but rather they wish to make Pakistan a state free of religious extremism and fanaticism. The death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri will not result in eliminating the extremism from Pakistan. Correcting the society by severe punishments is the doctrine of extremists. Extremism can only be eradicated by making our culture egalitarian, tolerant and progressive.
But the question is what to do with Mumtaz Qadri? He is a killer and also confesses his crime. He is not regretful for his deed. His this behavior reveals the dangers faced by our society. Though it may appear idealism but in in my opinion the best option to handle Mumtaz Qadri is to educate him. He is misguided and induced to kill Salman Taseer. Finding the roots of conspiracy in this case will not help accomplishing the mission of Taseer. The best way to stop our youth to follow Mumtaz Qadri is to guide him. Mumtaz Qadri must feel sorry for his action. Only his regret will make our youth to think about the issue of fundamentalism.
Our target must not be Mumtaz Qadri. It will only disrupt the process of eradicating fundamentalism and extremism. Religious fundamentalism and fanaticism are today the main threats to our security and society. Islam – the religion of harmony – is in the incarceration of extremists. Liberating the religion of humanity, tolerance, and forbearance must be our top priority. Today the extremists are using Islam as a tool to safeguard their vested interest.
We will have to snatch the tool of religion from the extremists. Pakistani society is religious in nature and only through true religion we can detach our people from these religious extremists. It is our misfortune that secular parties like People’s Party, Awami National Party and Mutahida Quami Movement do not have their strong religious wings. These secular parties must try to accommodate the liberal Ullema of Pakistan to interpret the real picture of Islam. The eradication of extremism is the real vengeance of Taseer.