Perhaps when people say you realize someone’s worth when he/she is gone, they are right. Salman Taseer had never been a man I admired but he is an inspiration for me after this death. His death came to me as a surprise at first and a shock later. That he was attacked by his own security guard is what surprised me and the reason behind the attack is what shocked me. Many people in our society have closed doors to any debate or dialogue and have seemed to find a remedy for dealing with anyone with a different opinion. That is by killing him. All that our religion teaches us about using reason to acquire truth has gone down the drain and all the things our religion advises us against are seen to be stuck with us. The death of Salman Taseer is meant to act as a deterrent for those who wish to speak out against such injustices. It is meant to scare us with the fear of silencing us forever.
I only knew Salman Taseer as Governor Punjab. Like everyone else he wasn’t a perfect man. He had done and said things which had angered many. However, to justify his death on the basis of his views on a man-made unjust law and difference of opinion is barbarianism. There are many questions which come to one’s mind looking at the killing. Did Salman Taseer not know what he was saying could lead to his death? Was he so immature of a politician that he would say something so politically incorrect? Was he stupid enough to not realize that very few in his own party are behind him on these words? He knew everything. He knew about the dangers he had dived into. He did it because it was the right thing to do. Salman Taseer spoke the truth and died for it defending it.
More shocking for me was to see the reaction to the assassination. While anyone’s murder cannot be justified on any grounds, it was upsetting to see a section of the society rejoicing the murder just because his views differed from theirs. Many embraced the killer as a hero. So much that the fan page of the killer on facebook had 2500 fans only in the space of an hour. Let’s not forget these people were from the relatively well educated section of the society. Unfortunately outside facebook many more sympathizers for the killer are present in other places of the society. There has always been a presence of such people in our society but this recent incident shows their extent of infiltration. Today these people are all around us. This should come out as a big challenge to the very few balanced and rational people of the Pakistani society but what these people find comfort in and what the jahil forget is that a lie told by a billion people a billion times remains a lie while a truth spoken by a single person remains the truth. These people are well aware of how much reason and logic their arguments lack. This is why they are trying to silence anyone and everyone with opinions different than their own.
When women in our society are forced to turn to prostitution to feed their dying children, no one finds it blasphemous. When children die on the streets because of malnutrition, no one finds it blasphemous. When the poor of this country are left without a roof in the shivering cold, no one finds it blasphemous. When suicide becomes the only option for the oppressed and unemployed in our society, no one finds it blasphemous. When the riches of this country are looted away by corrupt politicians, no one finds it blasphemous. But as soon as a sane man raises his voice against an unjust law, Mullahs are the first ones to be passing fatwas against that person. What has happened to our society? Quran sanctifies the human life and values it so much that on one occasion in the Holy Quran, Allah says “If a Muslim kills one man it is as if he kills the whole humanity.” (Quran 5:32) We have stopped using reason to acquire truth and relied on certain people to interpret the Islamic texts for us. The true message of Islam is peace. Killing a person for having an independent opinion is a blasphemous act. Having an independent opinion is not.