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Allama Tahir Ashrafi’s views on the blasphemy law and Taseer’s murder – Abbas Ather’s Column Kaar

Before watching the following talk-show, you may wish to read the following article:

Namoos-e-risalat or namoos-e-zia-ul-haq? – by Abbas Ather

Talk-show participants:

Allama Tahir Ashrafi (PUC), Azam Nazir Tarar (PBC), and Syed Mumtaz Shah (Analyst) in today’s episode of Column Kaar with Abbas Athar

Sentiments were exploited against Salmaan Taseer: Ashrafi

* Pakistan Ulema Council chairman says whosoever declared it was justified to kill Taseer should come on media to prove his claim before nation

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi has admitted that late Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was right in his claims regarding the misuse of the blasphemy law against minorities and said that sentiments were exploited against him, a private TV channel reported on Saturday.

Ashrafi maintained that there had been several statements of Taseer, in which he had condemned the blasphemy, adding that not only the late governor, but many Ulemas, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders had also spoken in similar manner.

He pointed out that none of them was a mufti, who decreed that Taseer had turned to be a non-believer, saying that it was the work of a mufti and Darul Iftaa to deliver such edicts.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman and Abul Khair Zubair, a few days back, maintained that no authentic mufti gave an edict of killing Taseer, the channel quoted Ashrafi as saying.

The PUC chairman questioned that why the blasphemy law was not implemented when on 12th Rabbiul Awwal of this Islamic year (in 2010), some 750 copies of the holy Quran and several books of Hadith and Tafseer were set on fire by unidentified people at late Allama Ziaul Haq Qasmi’s residence in Faisalabad and a footage of this incident was also present.

“After the incident, Sunni Ittehad Council Chairman Sahibzada Fazal Karim sought registration of an FIR under 295-C against Zahid Qasmi, son of late Qasmi. Both the sides, sects ‘Deobandi’ and ‘Barelvi’, requested police seeking FIRs against each other, but the issue was resolved later,” he recalled and questioned why such a settlement was not counted as blasphemy or profanity, the channel reported.

Ashrafi also questioned that the case of Aasia Bibi was in court and “if the high court releases her”, the clerics would, then, accept this decision or not. Adding to the same point, he said, “If the clerics accepts her release by the high court, then who would be responsible for Salmaan Taseer’s blood.”

He strongly criticised those who had been providing safety to the murdered the governor, the channel said.

Ashrafi further said, “If an accused says that he/she has not committed blasphemy, even Ulema-e-Ahnaf have the capacity to acquit him/her.” Salmaan’s matter was political, he added.

He questioned why this matter gained attention when Fazlur Rehman quitted the coalition. He also said that Mazhar Saeed Kazmi, brother of former religious minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, was now saying that it was not appropriate to offer the funeral prayers of Salmaan Taseer. “This is so unfortunate. Why Kazmi did not talk such thing when he was enjoying the ministry of religious affairs,” he added.

Neither Salmaan Taseer was Rajpal nor Mumtaz Qadri was Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed, the PUC chairman said and claimed that even the most impious person could not dare to commit blasphemy. Salmaan’s statement was on record and he could not even imagine doing so, he maintained.

He recalled that Taseer’s father MD Taseer was the person who provided a death-bed to Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed and Syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari called Taseer’s mother his sister. He said that the governor could be a bold person, offensive to a maulvi but he could not be a blasphemer. Ashrafi said that the one who declared that it was justified to kill Salmaan Taseer should come on media and prove it in front of the nation.

Senior Analyst Syed Mumtaz Shah, who also participated in the TV programme, said that, in 1981, there was a baton-carrying mob, in which two parties were raising different voices on Naara e Risaalat and were harming each other. One was saying Ya Rasool Allah and the other was saying Muhammad-ur Rasool Allah, he said, adding that cases were filed against each other.

Renowned Journalist Abbas Athar said that Barelvi ulemas banned offering Salmaan’s funeral prayers, adding that they had also remarked on the funerals of Lal Mosque’s girls that they were against the state. He questioned that did Mumtaz Qadri, being on duty, showed his loyalty with the state by shooting the governor. He asked that why not his treachery be highlighted. He also said that the biggest problem in the blasphemy law was that “when anyone gets blamed for committing blasphemy then it suddenly becomes a mob’s law”. He said that whenever it would be exposed there would be money behind the assassin and conspiracy too, adding that Mumtaz Qadri was not alone in it.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) member Azam Nazeer Tararr advocate said that everyone was agreed on the punishment of blasphemy, but haste was used while imposing it. He said that an inquiry should be made for complaints against the government officials, adding that “our problem is that the law is handed over to those who don’t have any training to bear the public pressure and use to surrender in front of it”. He said that according to the constitution, everyone had the right to defend themselves, adding that Article 4 and 9 defended the basic rights of living. He further said that extrajudicial killing was the violation of the constitution and human rights, adding that Taseer’s murder was an extrajudicial killing, which could not be justified.

He further said that there was a decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) former chief justice, Khawaja Sharif, present in the light of a Hadith saying that “the Prophet (PBUH) said that 10 guilty ones can be freed but no innocent can be punished on the base of doubt”, the channel said.

Source: Daily Times, 9 Jan 2011

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Junaid Qaiser


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  • Saudi daily calls Taseer a martyr, justice crusader

    Outspoken Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was gunned down by own guard for criticising blasphemy laws.

    Saudi newspaper has lamented the assassination of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer whose bitter opposition to “extremism and violence cost him his life” and “turned him into a martyr”.

    In an editorial published on January 5, Arab News said that Taseer was murdered by “one or perhaps more bigots who believed that he wanted to repeal the country’s blasphemy law”. It called Taseer a martyr and his killer “a heartless, grinning murderer and an ignorant instrument of evil”.

    While calling Taseer a true Muslim, it said neither his murderer nor those “who celebrate this evil deed” should be counted among the faithful.

    The newspaper mourned the loss of “a bold campaigner for truth and justice” but drew comfort from the fact that Pakistan had a host of other activists “whose faith is generous and embracing” and who “refuse to be intimidated by the twisted advocates of hatred”.

    Rather than cowering under fear, Arab News called upon the country’s leaders to stand up and rally against the deviant forces that threatened to bring darkness to Pakistan and Islam.

    It advised those who see the proof of fanaticism in Taseer’s murder to look to the Islam he stood for and “a faith that pursues justice, truth and respect — the real Islam.”

    The newspaper said the killing of Taseer was more serious than the country’s current political crisis. For the moment, it said, the government of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is relatively safe, even safer as a result of the killing.

    (The editorial by Arab News can be read here: http://arabnews.com/opinion/article229917.ece)

    Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2011.

  • Zinda bad Allama Tahir Ashrafi:

    Allama Ashrafi also questioned that the case of Aasia Bibi was in court and “if the high court releases her”, the clerics would, then, accept this decision or not. Adding to the same point, he said, “If the clerics accepts her release by the high court, then who would be responsible for Salmaan Taseer’s blood.” He strongly criticised those who had been providing safety to the murdered the governor.

    “If an accused says that he/she has not committed blasphemy, even Ulema-e-Ahnaf have the capacity to acquit him/her. Salmaan’s matter was political.”

    “Taseer’s killer is a terrorist, not a Ghazi”.

    “Kissi bhi mazhabi party ne koi tehreek chalai hai un logon ke khilaaf jo yeh jhootay parchay kattay hain?”

    “Taseer ke jumlay se kisi maulvi ki tauhen tau hooi ho gi, leikin Rasool Allah ki tauheen naheen hoti!”

  • Isn’t it all a little too late? Did Allama Tahir Ashrafi issue a statement before ST was murdered? Did he go on TV to say the same things before the whispering campaign against the Gov. started? I am sure he did not not do any such thing. Still his coming out now can be be perceived to be helpful.

    There is one thing that we need to remember that the moderates would not beat the mullah in their own game. If you keep quoting the Quran, or some Islamic injunctions to condemn the murder, you will eventually run out of enough arguments in your favor. Mullah certainly is more ingenious in finding what he needs to find within the religious teaching.

    The best thing is to keep it simple and clearly state that the mullah incited person murdered the Gov. Keep the focus on Mullah and discredit him for supporting a murderer and in fact inciting a murder.

    In the final analysis, who besides God can be the arbiter or authority, in the question of what is, or isn’t blasphemous? It seems abundantly clear that the charge of blasphemy, being absolutist in its essential nature, is a convenient weapon that ruthless people can use to permanently silence their enemies.

  • That was one good program. Abbas Athar sahab is doing a very good moderation job. As they say, wisdom comes with age as well as want of having it.

  • @Hoss, stop being so deliberately obtuse. The media is clearly in the hands of the establishment and they promoted only the hate spouting mullahs. Meher Bokhari practically made the case for the murderous jihadis. My sources tell me that there were many mullahs from across the sectarian divide who wanted none of this hate mongering stuff. However, they have all been silenced after the brutal murder of Gov. Taseer. Abbas Athar is one of the few sane voices left in the media and most of them including Meher Bokhari are fascist Islamist twits!

  • All those who instigated the people to kill and murder and those defending the killer must be prepared to defend themselves in the court of Allah SWT

  • This morning I got another cruel joke—yes, I call it a cruel joke. An imam masjid and his son (both Deobandis) in Dera Ghazi Khan were sentenced to life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court.

    The charge: blasphemy!


    In this case the ‘crime’ was that the father and the son tore up an Eid Meelad poster that the Barelvis had put up on his property without his permission—most likely to annoy him because it is known that Deoband adherents do not like to celebrate Mawleed. This was considered a ‘serious offence’ by the Barelvi stalwarts who wasted no time to run to the Police station and have the complaint filed for blasphemy. The imam and his son were arrested about 8 months ago and this morning they were greeted with the news of life imprisonment.

    What is happening to our brain cells in Pakistan? Are we waiting for some—God forbid—heavenly punishment to befall us? Why are we so ignorant about the basic teachings of the Holy Book?

    Friends, I find all this pretty nauseating. We definitely need a break.


  • پوری قوم کو ٹرک کی بتی کے پیچھے لگا کر خود تماشا دیکھا جا رہا ہے ، پاکستان میں ٢٥ سال سے زائدہ کے عرصے میں ١٠٥٦ کیس رجسٹر ہووے ، جن میں صرف ٦٤٧ افراد پر الزام لگا، اور کسی ایک ملزم کو بھی سزاے موت یا عمر قید پر عمل نہیں ہوا سب عدالتوں سے بری ہووے . دوسری طرف اغوا، قتل، ریپ ، جیسے سنگین جرم کے ملزم قانونی سقم کی وجہہ سے بری ہو جاتے ہیں ، لیکن ان پر بات کرنے کو چھوڑ کر پوری قوم کوغیر ضروری بحس میں الجھا دیا گیا ہےکہ آپس میں لڑ مر کر گلے کھنچ کر نہ صرف اپنا مقصد حاصل کیا جائے بلکے معاشرے میں مزید تقسیم پیدا کی جاتے .پہلے جن چیزوں میں اختلاف نہیں ہے اور جن کی وجہہ سے سب کو مسلہ ہے کیا وو مسلے حل ہو گئے؟ جو ایک یہی سب سے برا مسلہ اور انسانی حقوق کی میراج پر پوھنچننے کی سیڑی یہی رہ گی ہے ؟ کتنی عورتیں جیلوں میں پڑی ہیں کبھی آواز نکلی کسی سلمان تاثیر کے گلے سے ؟ کتنے بچوں کا احتحصال ہوتا ہے کبھی بولا کوئی بلاول ؟ کبھی ان لوگوں نے زحمت کی جیلوں میں حالت دیکھنے کی؟ ایک بیگناہ ایک جاہل اے ایس آی کی تفتیش پر سولی چر جاتے لیکن کبھی سوچا کے یہاں بھی تفتیش کے ماڈرن ترکے استعمال کریں عوام کا ہی پیسا لگا کر ؟

    Just typed it for BBC, pasting it here too, can’t write the whole thing again in English. Sorry about that.

  • Dear Blog Owner

    Please don’t take this page off as it provides video proof of Salman Taseer saying only a mad Muslim would think about insulting the Messenger!!

    Let people see the proof and then decide whether somone one was murdered in error or not.

    Thanks in advance.