By Zia Ur Rahman
Murderer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in 2011 and hanged for his heinous crime, Mumtaz Qadri, has become one of the major topics of discussion in Pakistan. The religious extremist groups or fundamentalists consider him a ‘hero of Islam’ while for the rest of Pakistanis, his maliciously cruel act of killing a human being was completely insane and nasty.
Taseer was murdered by Qadri just because he expressed his opinion about the country’s ‘so-called’ blasphemy laws. Taseer’s statement about the need to reform blasphemy laws became Mumtaz Qadri’s reason to murder the former governor. The constitution of Pakistan gives freedom of expression right to the citizens but it seems that, in Pakistan, the laws are usually made just to ensure that we are an independent nation. Nothing is practicable here when it comes to the religious school of thoughts.
Is Qadri really a hero? Is this right to declare a person your ‘hero’ who has unlawfully killed a man? Usually people do not like to indulge themselves in debates that have some religious aspects, being afraid of unexpected consequences, but today I want to highlight where we are headed when it comes to the question of religion.
There is no Surah or Hadith which says that the convict of blasphemy should be sentenced to death. Then why has Pakistan, established in the name of Islam, knead some self-originated blasphemy laws in its constitution (295-C that say: use of derogatory remarks etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet(SAW): – who ever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation innuendo, or insinuation, directly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable for fine”.
From 1986 to 2010, 1274 cases of blasphemy have been registered in Pakistan. Whatever Qadri did to Taseer was a clear indication of his religious school of thought. He did not feel the need to ask any religious scholar or preacher of Islam about what was going on in his mind before he murdered the later. I could not forget what his brother said when he met Qadri the last time before he was hanged. According to his brother, Qadri just said, “I have no regrets. God is great.”
According to extremist religious circles, Qadri’s satisfaction about what he did to Salman Taseer was due to his right decision being a Muslim. Qadri just thought that it was his religious duty to kill Taseer for uttering impious about the Islamic laws without paying a heed to the reality he was going to kill another human being.