Original Articles

“Ghazi” Mumtaz Qadri – by D. Asghar

Mumtaz Qadri: The footsoldier used to silence Salman Taseer's voice

The insane murder of late Salman Taseer was not enough of a shameful surprise this week. There was more in store for all of us. The blood of the slain leader had barely dried and there came an edict from 500 or so clerics advising people not to show remorse or sorrow for the departed soul. People were advised not to attend the funeral of Mr. Taseer and any one who attended his funeral was going to be fair game for the “Ghazis” like Mr. Qadri.

May the soul of Mr. Taseer rest in everlasting peace. Ameen. Personally, I did not agree with some of his politics in the province of Punjab. That’s the beauty of democracy, not all of us agree on everything. We all have our positions and leanings. We can engage in a dialogue and either resolve our differences or at least agree to disagree amicably. My hat is off to him for his bold stance on Asiya Bibi’s case. Of course his conviction was commendable and even though he knew the peril, he stood firm.

In our deeply misguided society, where a murderer is celebrated as a hero and has a facebook following honoring his heinous crime, any thing can be expected and quite possible. Our slain leader, was not even buried and people were referring to his personal life and criticising his lifestyle.

To add insult to the injury, when the accused Mr. Qadri, was brought to the Islamabad Court, he was welcomed by some lawyers who showered rose petals on him.

If that was not enough, our valiant soldiers of law, chanted slogans in favour of Mr. Qadri. Arguably, in a free society, all have a right to express an opinion. But the legal fraternity has an obligation to uphold and respect the law and the basic writ of the law.

The accused of course has committed the crime in front of witnesses and confessed to such an atrocious act. Here our legal fraternity, was siding with the wrong guy. Understood that this was just a fraction of the legal counsels, but it is definitely wrong.

These were the same lawyers, who were supported by the people in droves, when General Musharraf’s was crushing their movement to restore the Chief Justice.

But like many things in our nation, that are upside down, this callous and insensitive behaviour will be remembered for time to come. Have you noticed that we yell the loudest on things that we are absolutely clueless about. The question(s) that I want to raise in the end are:

A) How could a person who attacks an unarmed person become a Ghazi?
B) How could a person, who uses deception to kill another person become a Ghazi?
C) How could a person who dis obeys his duty and hit someone potentially from the back, become a Ghazi?
D) How could someone, who should be chastised becomes a hero and a Ghazi?

I am a totally ignorant person, when it comes to the faith, but I know one thing for sure, if my Prophet PBUH was with us, he would not call characters like the accused a Ghazi. My conviction stems from the historical events where Prophet PBUH was abused, ridiculed and even showered with filth by the non believers and he was the Messenger of Almighty. If he did not order his companions to kill any of those people in retaliation, then who the heck are these clerics to pass such judgements. Lopsided isn’t it.

About the author

D. Asghar

D. Asghar is a Pakistani American. A Mortgage Banker by profession who loves to write as well. He blogs frequently at popular South Asian websites. A repository of some of his scribbles is http://dasgharspoliticalprism.blogspot.com/. He can be reached at dasghar@aol.com.


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  • Minutes after the murder of the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province Salman Taseer I saw a veteran Urdu columnist on a news channel. He was being what, in breaking news jargon, is called a “presenter’s friend”. “It is sad of course that this has happened but . . .”

    I watched in the desperate hope that he wouldn’t go into the ifs and buts of a brutal murder in the middle of Pakistan’s capital. By this time we knew that Governor Taseer had been shot dead by a man in police uniform, probably one of his own police guards. The news ticker on screen informed us that the postmortem was under way. Later we would find out that he took 27 bullets. Not a single shot was fired by his security detail. It seemed too early for analysis, but the presenter’s friend looked mildly smug, as if he had been mulling over arguments in his head long before the governor was shot. Although it wasn’t required, the presenter egged him on. “But you see these are sensitive matters. He should have watched his words. He shouldn’t have spoken so carelessly.”

    What were the late governor’s words? I knew about his outspoken stance on the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in a blasphemy case. In a village near Lahore, she served water to some Muslim women who refused to drink it from her glass. (This is quite a common expression of prejudice against lower-caste Christians in Pakistan.) They argued. A couple of days later, the village mullah filed a case saying she had insulted our Prophet.

    I knew about his habit of making fun of his political foes, mostly through Twitter. But I still wanted to find out what his exact words were. If a billionaire who is also a governor and enjoys the highest level of security imaginable in Pakistan, can be shot for saying something, it’s in everyone’s interest to find out what those words were. I mean what if you were to utter those words by mistake?

    The presenter chipped in helpfully. “Yes, he did call our blasphemy law a black law.” Thoughtfully, the presenter’s friend nodded his head in agreement.

    Murder solved.

    Only last month I had followed another blasphemy case. A pharmaceutical salesman walked into a well respected paediatrician’s clinic in the city of Hyderabad and tried to sell him his company’s medicines. The good doctor was in a bad mood. He tossed the salesman’s visiting card in the bin. The very next day the salesman got together some local religious party activists and got a blasphemy case registered against the doctor.

    How did the wily salesman manage to achieve that?

    You see, Mohammed was part of salesman’s name, as it is with half the male population of this country, including this scribe. So if you toss away a piece of paper with the word Mohammed written on it, you are obviously committing a blasphemy against our beloved Prophet. And there is a law against that in this country, introduced by Pakistan’s military dictator and part-architect of the global jihad industry, General Ziaul Haq. The law is popularly known as the Namoos-e-Risalat Act; the law to protect the honour of the Prophet, and there is only one punishment: death by hanging. A number of non-Muslims as well as Muslims have been awarded this punishment, but nobody has actually been hanged yet. Higher courts usually overturn the punishment. In many cases a mob, or motivated gunmen, have carried out the punishment themselves.

    Taseer had obviously not committed any blasphemy against the Holy Prophet or any namesake of his. As coverage progresses, politicians and pundits lectured the dead governor about the importance of choosing one’s words carefully and respecting the sensitivities of one’s fellow Muslims, especially if one lives in a Muslim country. A couple of liberal TV journalists almost stumbled over their words trying to explain that the governor had never committed any act that could be called blasphemous, he had only criticised a law. It is a man-made law, we were reminded by an occasional sensible voice. And the governor only criticised that man-made law, “because no true Muslim,” every single politician, journalist, pundit was at pains to point out, “can even think of committing blasphemy against the Holy Prophet.” As if it were a proven fact that all non-Muslims have nothing better to do than thinking of devious ways of maligning our Holy Prophet’s name. They were careful to add “may peace be upon him” every time the name was mentioned. Some of them offered to sacrifice their own lives to protect the honour of our Holy Prophet.

    It sickened me to think that the honour of the Prophet of the second largest religion in the world needed protection from these people. And then it occurred to me that they were actually sending secret signals to any would be killers that said, “Look we speak the same language, we are not blasphemers like that governor guy. We watch our words. We know about the sensitivities of our Muslim brothers. In fact we are as sensitive as you are.”

    Taseer’s body was still in the morgue when I started to find out more about the sensitivities of our people. Whereas most people rushed home and sat glued to their TVs, probably agreeing or disagreeing with those TV presenters, many of those interviewed at random seemed to approve. “Well, murder is wrong, but he did say bad things about our Prophet,” one man said. Another claimed that if he had got a chance he would do the same thing. When asked how they knew that Taseer had committed blasphemy, they just shrugged as if saying they just knew. As if they had decided that he just seemed like the kind of guy who would do something like this.

    by Mohammed Hanif

  • Very Well argued piece questioning the mindset, based on enthusiasm and emotionalism, rather than reason and arguments. The mindset which has considered it an all out war and every step is fair in this regard.
    Where Question and dissent is the crime which can not be forgiven.

  • I study history extensively and I make it habit to study the different aspects of Islam in lights of different schools of thoughts. As far as I know that dishonoring our beloved Master (PBUH) in anyway, saying or implying to tarnish his personality is a mortal sin. Most of us these days are not concerned whats a mortal sin or not. Adultry,drinking we soon be dominating norms of our society. They exist and they happen and our society tolerates it. Well thats a pity.

    Salman Taseer may have committed blasphemy and he may not have. Asia Bibi may have committed blasphemy and then she may not have, she might just be another victim of minority oppression in our country. From what I have been able to gather, when she was charged with blasphemy, a mob gathered outside her house, broke in, savagely beat her and her family up. Now i speak keeping in the light the example of my Master (PBUH)’s life. Didnt he tell us that our etiquette (Ikhlaq) should be of the highest quality, so that people who arent muslims, would be short of impressed by our mannerism and demeanor. And they dare beat up a woman, a woman on whom lifting a hand is forbidden, in my Master’s name.

    If either Salman Taseer or Asia Bibi committed blasphemy or not, we live under pseudo-Islamic law, and are an Islamic State. Therefore the right to punish or execute lies with the Judiciary of the government. Asia Bibi or Salman Taseer had to be convicted of the crime, and it is the job of judiciary to appoint the executioner. It inarguable that a blasphemer is Wajib-ul-Qatl. But he is not Farz-ul-Qatl, he is Wajib-ul-Qatl. So right to execute remains with those who have the responsibility of maintaining the law and enforcing it, which is the judiciary. What this man did was just plain murder, in the light of ignorant belief. Such idiocy is expected of uneducated and unknowing. Remember the right to execution remains with the State under Islamic Law as was in the time of the Four Caliphs

  • The statement that i quoted is my interpretation of the hadith i read is as follows
    Abu Umamah al-Bahili reports: Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:I guarantee a house in the lower portion of Jannah for whoever gives up arguing even if he is right, and a house in the middle of Jannah for whoever gives up lying even if he is joking, and a house for in the highest level of Jannah for whoever perfects their akhlaq. [Abu Dawood]“Spreading Hadith One Post Per Day” series.Hadith # 24.27/Ramadan/1430 AH.

  • ISLAMABAD: A planned court appearance for Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the killer of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, ran into chaos on Thursday as extremist supporters prevented an attempt to re-locate the session, witnesses said.

    Mumtaz Qadri, who was assigned to Salman Taseer’s security detail and confessed to the killing, was charged and ordered to appear before the Anti-Terrorist Court in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

    But as a growing crowd of extremist lawyers and madrassah students descended on the building in support of Qadri, authorities instead drove him to a makeshift court hastily set up in a heavily protected building in Islamabad.

    But the crowd in Rawalpindi set up a cordon in protest, preventing the judge from leaving for Islamabad, lawyers and an AFP reporter said.

    “We requested the judge that legally he cannot go to Islamabad to hear the accused and he accepted our request,” lawyer Malik Waheed Anjum told reporters.

    “The judge ordered Islamabad police to present the accused in his court in Rawalpindi,” he added.

    More than seven hours after journalists first gathered at the Rawalpindi court for the expected hearing, Qadri finally arrived and was feted with rose petals by supporters for the second day running.

    Police officials in Islamabad were unavailable for comment.


  • @Ali Murtaza,

    Your study of the progress of Islam through history is interesting, and I agree that only a country’s judiciary has the authority to hand out a punishment. However, I’m afraid you are confusing hadith and its interpretation by historical scholars with the Quran.

    Nowhere in the quran does it say that someone insulting the prophet, or the holy book itself, is to be killed. The current position on blasphemy is based on historical figures who have, for various reasons, adopted this position. Individuals’ say-so does not make something Wajib.

  • I am afraid if something i will say somebody would kill me . Without freedom of expression and freedom to think independently ,how can dream about a civilized Islamic society . May Allah gives us Knowledge and power to think.
    Power to think about humanity.

  • @Javed I was not connecting the hadith to blasphemy, I was merely remarking that blasphemy or not, our treatment with such people should not be like savages. We should not beat them, rape their women, destroy their property in the name of our Prophet (PBUH). We should treat them as our Prophet (PBUH) treated his enemies, with dignity and respect that did not befit them.

    The argument in your second paragraph is well founded. A lawyer friend of mine has been doing some research in the matter and he has verified what you have just stated. But, I heard Zakir Naik say once that the penalty for blasphemy according to the Quran and Sunah is either Crucifixion, decapitation, or exile. Now he is renown scholar so i don’t think he would make such a bold claim without proof. Still, we need to see these sources with our own eyes before we can say with something like this with conviction. Because the Shia school of thought believes in the death penalty for blasphemy, so do the mainstream Sunnis, and so do the Wahabbi majority in Saudia Arabia, so I think there is something to it. You should check it out, i know i will.