ON a freezing afternoon on January 4, 2011, in the subdued hum of post-lunch traffic in a quiet Islamabad neighbourhood, 27 bullets rang loud, clear, chilling. The 66-year-old then Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer’s smile froze on his face as his 26-year-old Elite Police guard Mumtaz Qadri emptied his gun on him. At point blank. With calmness on his face. Cold. Methodical. The killer stood smiling as the governor of the biggest province in Pakistan died in the capital of Pakistan, where his party, the PPP, held the reins of power of an inherently weak system. Salmaan Taseer’s death marked the emergence of the fanatical, radicalised, intolerant youth of Pakistan, which was created in the name of religion, and where religion has been used for anything but the creation of harmony between its different communities.
In a predominantly Muslim country what is the paranoia that the majority has when it comes to the people of other faiths? The word ‘minority’, the anathema to the unity of a nation, has been twisted in so many forms that it has surfaced as the connotation of an entity that by its very name is set to be isolated, and treated like an undesirable recovering TB patient in a room full of healthy children. Pakistan ka matlib kya…la ilaha ila Allah. The clergy that was vociferous and ruthless in its opposition to the creation of Muslim-majority Pakistan — which was to be carved out of a Hindu-dominated India — must have come up with this chant after they were done labelling the creator of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah ‘Kafir-e-Azam’.
Categories: Asia, Uncategorized
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