Run away or let's sit back and think

We can't compromise on the blasphemy law. It's a divine law and nobody can change it. Our belief in the sanctity of our prophet is firm and uncompromising and we cannot tolerate anyone who blasphemes. Whoever blasphemes will face the same fate as Salman Taseer. - Qari Ahsaan, from the banned group Jamaat ud Dawa, while addressing a rally in Karachi

What kind of love or respect for the prophet is it that instigates one to take life of some one? What is so divine about the blasphemy law? A law brought in place in 70’s by a person who had just one aim in life to be in the seat of power and maintain it by hook or crook. The person was General Zia-ul-Haq whose name is repulsive in minds with a metallic sour aftertaste.

Salman Taseer visiting Aasia Bibi

Late Mr. Taseer and family visiting Aasia Bibi at Sheikhupura jail near Lahore. Picture Courtesy: Salman Tasser via Flickr

The recent assassination of Salman Taseer is not an isolated incident and restricted only to the Pakistan’s cause. But it transcends all delineated boundaries of political imagination. Such incidents are raising the alarm every passing moment that next turn is yours or mine or whoever dares to speak freely and fearlessly without taking heed to institutions of intolerance, oppression, extremism, violence etc, be it state and its establishment or the frivolous non-state actors of the so called religious righteousness. Religion from being a matter of personal concern and practice, first came out on the streets, then in the name of same religion policing for ethical codes of conduct began and consequently it is becoming an asylum for religious extremism and intolerance.

What a tragedy South Asia is enduring? Tragedy of not being able to coexist, respect and sustain the most diversified zone in terms of culture, language, people, religion and so on. The terra firma of one of the oldest human civilisations, diverse ecosystems is finding difficult to breathe with itself and every other day is getting pushed closer to self annihilation. The region is confronting the acutest socio-economic and political problems of modern times which are eyeing for being immediately addressed but the religious fanaticism of the majority religious communities in this region is standing rock hard in letting them to surface up. Religion has become a trump card to seize the hot seat of power by fanning the emotions of people.

What an irony that Pakistan was carved out of India under the pretext that Muslims – a minority community in terms of population would not be safe in a secular-democratic nation of India, went on to become a theocratic nation itself where the other religious minorities were suppressed and looked down on. Now, in every decade of more than sixty years of formation of Pakistan State, the struggle for its existence went on intensifying. India on contrary was declared as a secular democratic state, nevertheless steadily progressed to prove the hunch that Muslims would be ill-treated under the shadow of majority religious community. And today, the situation in India is that every single Muslim is suspiciously looked upon as potential terrorist. It seems that in the relay race of struggle and strife of existence, Pakistan has handed over baton to India. And the challenge before India is whether it will be able to reverse the progression of religious extremism, taking cues from Pakistan where the journey leads and ends?

There’s a hope against the hope, yet a hope that region will be saved before being engulfed by the religious fanatics or else two decades down the line India will not be able to mourn the assassination of secular voices much like Salman Taseer. After all, any hatred towards other ‘self’ finally ends up eating the own ‘self’.