Shahbaz Taseer’s abduction and the wave of religious extremism
August 26, 2011 § 18 Comments
Shahbaz Taseer has been kidnapped today. No one has claimed responsibility so far but it’s only obvious that this is the work of the religious fundamentalists. The same religious fundamentalists who want Shahbaz Taseer to forgive his father’s murderer, Mumtaz Qadri; the man who murdered his father because he dared to speak for human rights. The same religious fundamentalists Punjab government is in bed with and supports openly. The same religious extremists who have carried out a number of suicide blasts and killed many Pakistanis yet no religious party or madressah or mullah opposes or condemns them.
I came across the news hours after it had happened. I logged on to my facebook and read Ali Moeen Nawazish’s status which stated this piece of news. And there were then hundreds of comments below, hailing the act, calling for the immediate murder of the abducted fellow and other similar notions. What I fail to understand is that what has induced this into our society? Who has made us the thaikaydars of Islam? How we delude ourselves to believe that we have the right to punish someone or to forgive someone; to brand someone Muslim or otherwise? What makes us think we are at a moral ground higher than anyone else? Did God become so powerless that He now needs us mortals to carry out heavenly tasks on our own?!
Pakistani society, at large, has become so steeped in religious bigotry and extremism that it can no longer tolerate a difference of opinion. Say something against a person’s religious beliefs and you never know the next thing may be a dagger in your heart. Terrorists are at large, especially in Punjab where the government openly supports them, and many of provincial legislature members are best friends with acclaimed terrorists. The intelligence agencies, on the other hand, have some strange, convoluted notion of patriotism. This includes providing covert support to terrorist organizations and not doing anything to effectively disrupt their activities.
As a society, we have become so remote from humanity that we don’t mind killing a person or two or many just for the fun of it! As a precaution, we can always append a religious cause to it because in Pakistan, you can always get away with a murder committed on the name of Islam.
Many who, either out of cowardice, or because they secretly support this act of kidnapping, have used the age-old excuse: since hundreds of other people are dying in Pakistan, why should we care about the abduction of one person, merely because he’s a celebrity? To such dumb-head cowardly hypocrites, let me ask this: why should we give a damn to the killings in Kashmir when people are dying at Baluchistan at the hands of Pak army, a land which is much more close? Why should we give a damn about Palestine or Afghanistan when we have millions living below the line of poverty here at Pakistan? The fact is that you can’t negate one issue through another! That’s simply an excuse, a way out so that you don’t have to protest, to condemn or act in any way. That’s sheer cowardice!
It is about time for us to decide which way we want to go: do we want an Islamic state where Mullahs have the supreme powers which they will yield through crowds of religious fundamentalists, well armed by the terrorist religious organizations? Or do we want a democracy which is based on the principles of humanity? Do we want a nation where you fear your life just because of a sentence you utter? Or do you prefer a nation where all such issues are settled in courts which decide whether or not a person has infringed upon something illegal? Do you want to grow in fear, fear over your right to free expression, fear over your freedom of speech, fear over your right to act, speak and work? Do you want to live in a land where any Mullah, if he has a disagreement with you, can kill you and be hailed as a hero?
It is up to us that what you want. I have no hope in Pakistan’s youth as far as this is concerned. Our youth would wear jeans, dance all night, party crazily, indulge in all sorts of non-sense. Yet, at the end of the day, they would condone every murder on the name religion, every abduction on the name of religion. But this can’t continue. Either we will eventually give in completely to a reign where terrorism becomes rampant or we choose humane principles. The choice is ours. And this choice can only be made rightly if we choose to give up the garb of cowardice and dare to speak against any injustice, no matter how ‘saintly’ a person commits it and no matter what logic or argument he wields to justify it!