Posted in Columns and Letters

Published on April 15, 2011

Salman Taseer was one of the leading members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). He was shot dead by one of his own guards on 4 January 2011 after he described the blasphemy law of Pakistan as a “black law” and had shown support to a woman condemned to death for blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad.

The killing has been condemned by many politicians, and the media portrayed Taseer as a martyr for liberalism. However the media is failing to understand the issue from a broader and correct perspective.
The efforts of the secular PPP government to repeal the blasphemy law are supported by Western backers as part of their ‘war on terror’. This is the reason why Hussain Qadri, the man who shot Taseer, has been charged with both murder and ‘terrorism’ offences.
But the reality is that the people of Pakistan are Muslims who simply have no interest in the secular notion that there should be no respect for religion or prophets, and these lame attempts by the Pakistani government to force the issue is the actual reason for this mess. Our readers do not need to be reminded about the insults that the West has directed towards Islam in recent times.
Pakistan is an inherently unstable country. People despise their rulers, and there is little respect for the system. Islam places a strong emphasis on the method and process by which its rules are implemented. It doesn’t encourage people to take the law into their own hands and become judge, jury and executioner. But such is the conflict between the Islamic values of the people and the secular system imposed on them that such incidents will occur.
And don’t get me started on the amazing hypocrisy and double standards within the Western media! Do not be surprised if the people of Pakistan view the condemnation of Taseer’s death by the West with cynicism.
The media claims that the people of Pakistan are divided over the death of this man. In reality the overwhelming majority are indifferent or even approve of his killing. Indeed, Taseer has been criticised by people from all walks of life in Pakistan, including the Berelwi school of thought which the West labels as “moderate”. It is only the secularists who have been ‘shocked’ by his murder.
The matter of blasphemy confuses people in the secular West. The respect and love for the Prophet is non-negotiable for Muslims. The idea that Muslims should accept insulting the Holy Prophet Muhammad as Europe has learned to tolerate insults towards the Holy Prophet Esa (Jesus) is abhorrent.
There is no comparison between Europe’s experience between the hegemony of the Catholic Church and its use of ‘religion’ and ‘blasphemy’ to endorse its power. The Muslim world sits under the hegemony of secular regimes that are colonial agents using ‘democracy’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’ to enforce their power.
Most importantly, if Aasia Bibi had not committed the blasphemy against the Prophet and was innocent, then it is the fault of the Western judicial system currently implemented in Pakistan and not the punishment system of Islam. In the Islamic judicial system, a person is sentenced only through definite evidences (bayyinaat) in which no doubtful or circumstantial evidence or proof can be used. As for the argument from certain quarters that the blasphemy law is being misused and hence should be repealed, then the same argument can be used for other articles of the penal code such as for premeditated murder and attempted murder.
These people who oppose the blasphemy law because of its misapplication should also work to explore the root cause and call for the replacement of the British colonial justice system with the Islamic system of justice in order to protect women’s rights instead of merely attacking Islam.
These rulers and NGOs, however, have regard neither for Muslims nor the sanctity of the honor of the Prophet, peace be upon him.