Salman Taseer Case Study
In 2011, well known Pakistani politician and businessman, Salman Taseer, was killed by his own bodyguard in broad daylight. Taseer was governor of the politically-influential Punjab province of the South Asian country, when Mumtaz Qadri showered him with bullets. According to Qadri, he had murdered Taseer for the governor's opposition to blasphemy laws in relation to the Christian woman Asia Bibi's case, who had been sentenced to death by a Pakistani court in 2010 for desecrating the Quran.
The Pakistani civil society condemned Taseer's cold-blooded murder and demanded that Qadri be sent to the gallows. But the vast majority of the Islamic country's population actually lauded Qadri's act ; the religious group hailed him as a hero, …show more content…
According to data compiled by non-governmental organizations such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the National Commission for Justice and Peace, since 1987, the year when the stricter form of blasphemy laws were introduced, approximately 1335 blasphemy cases have been reported, while in more than 52% of the cases, the victims were part of religious minorities.
Rights groups say that most of the people killed for insulting Islam are victimized for other reasons – personal vendetta, petty arguments, stealing of property, etc. They get impetus from Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws.
The blasphemy laws were introduced by the British in 2 phases, in 1860 and 1927, when they ruled the undivided Indian sub-continent. They recommended punishments for insults to any religion practiced in India, not only Islam. The enforcement of these laws resulted due to various religious riots that took place in the sub-continent. However, they were hardly used to punish people.
It was in the 1980s when former Pakistani President and military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq amended the laws and added new clauses to it, introducing harsher penalties, such as the death …show more content…
In an open letter written by a solidarity network, organizations of the civil society called for a repeal of the laws: “Such intolerance is the result of decades of wrong policies where religious extremism is often patronized by the state. It is vital that the state remains neutral in matters of religion. The laws on blasphemy are a tool the hands of militants who exploit these easily to manipulate public sentiments for others they are a ready temptation of falsely accusing others of blasphemy to settle scores or to gain political mileage. These sections of the law have an element of persecution and must therefore be