In 2011, Salman Taseer, a governor in Pakistan, challenged Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and supported Asia Bibi, a Christian woman falsely accused of blasphemy. In response to Taseer’s declaration, one of his bodyguards assassinated him. Taseer’s assassination was shocking and some writers and activists hoped that his death would cause Pakistan to reexamine their laws and how they treat religious minorities. Not so. Pakistan has become more radical and dangerous for religious minorities and those who stand up for human rights. At this pace, will Pakistan eventually become lost forever?
01/04/2018 Pakistan (Daily Times) – It has been seven years since Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own security guard for raising his voice against Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws and for a Christian woman who remains incarcerated over blasphemy allegations.
Taseer knew about the implications of his principled position on blasphemy. He was well aware that a number of clerics were issuing fatwas against him, and even putting a price on his head.
As such, it is necessary to look back and observe the trajectory taken by Pakistan on the issue of religious extremism since then. Taseer’s death shocked the world, but did it inspire change or introspection in Pakistan?
Unfortunately, it appears that Mumtaz Qadri and his ilk are stronger today than they were in 2011, despite the fact that Qadri was executed in February 2016.
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