In the days following the brutal murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, the voices of reason have seemed absent. Compassion gone. Justice non-existent. But outside of the busy blogosphere and English print media, there are people getting out and making sure their fellow citizens see that there are Pakistanis willing to stand up for what is right and against what is wrong. They have neither been absent nor silent, just simply drowned out. They know that on the other side of the divide the screams are louder and come wrapped in threats and intimidation, but these concerned citizens have continued with peaceful protests in Islamabad, Karachi and Hyderabad.
Now there is one planned for Lahore.
This one is appropriately organised by “The People of Pakistan.” Promoting the “Rally Against Fear” on Facebook, one of the citizen organisers says, “Join hands to take responsibility for your country. Come out of your homes. Show that this is our country too.”
Due to take place on January 8, 2011 (details listed below), the event’s mission is to re-inforce that “living in a democratic state entitles us to debate this [blasphemy] law or any law passed by a Parliament in a safe and secure atmosphere. We have the right to debate laws and social issues without threat of harm or loss of life.”
The strongly worded and passionate mission statement for the event not only clearly condemns the glorification of the assassination of the Punjab governor and the “hero-worship” of the killer, but bravely points out the “mainstream bodies” that have contributed to the depravity playing out on television, in the courthouses and even in bank offices around the country where people have been celebrating the cold-blooded murder of a man with flowers and candies. The organisers stress their condemnation of the following:
– Lawyers showering the killer with rose petals on his arrival in court
– The Islamabad Bar Council, in an unprecedented move, offering the killer free legal representation
– Dozens of lawyers coming forward to represent him free of charge
– The Jamaat-e-Ahle-Sunnat Pakistan (JASP) the largest body of the Barhelvi group coming out in support of the killer by insisting that “no Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for the Governor or express any kind of regret or sympathy over the incident.” “We pay rich tribute and salute the bravery, valour and faith of Mumtaz Qadri.” Adding that ministers, politicians, so-called intellectuals and anchorpersons should learn lessons from the Governor’s death.”
Read the “Rally Against Fear” mission statement and get more details of the event on its Facebook event page.
What: RALLY AGAINST FEAR
When: Saturday, January 8 · 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Where: Outside Quaid-e-Azam Library, Lahore
Quaid-e-Azam Library is a research and reference library situated in Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan.