Salmaan Taseer was assassinated by his own security guard on 4 January. He had been critical of Pakistan’s blasphemy law and of the persecution of a Christian woman in the name of that law.
Shehrbano Taseer is his daughter. Entering the fray herself, and risking an inheritance of the same murderous attention (“does it even matter? If the governor of Pakistan’s largest province can be shot dead by a policeman assigned to protect him in broad daylight in a market in the federal capital, Islamabad, is anyone really safe?”), she argues that assassination and the threat of violence must not deter the good and the reasonable voices from speaking out.
According to the postmortem report I read, they recovered 27 bullets from his body, which means the gunman actually reloaded his weapon so nothing would be left to chance. Each one of my father’s vital organs was punctured by the hail of bullets, except his heart and larynx – his mighty, compassionate heart and his husky, sensible voice.
The assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, had reportedly asked others in the governor’s temporary security detail to take him alive. Almost a dozen, including security personnel, are now under arrest. Speaking to camera crews the same day from jail, 26-year-old Qadri said he had killed my father because he had criticised the country’s draconian and often misused blasphemy laws. It seems that Qadri was also inspired by the rally against my father on 31 December, at which rabid protesters demanded his blood. Yet no arrests were made over this brazen incitement to murder.
… In Pakistan, the voices calling for reason and tolerance are in danger of being wiped out. The fear is palpable. The militants have issued a warning against further vigils for my father. Yesterday, a rally in support of the blasphemy laws was held in Karachi, at which mullahs incited violence against former information minister Sherry Rehman – my mother’s close friend, and the brave woman I was named after – who tabled a bill in the National Assembly in November proposing blasphemy-law amendments. The politician and former cricketer, Imran Khan, and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain – both conservatives – have also come out in support of my father’s position: amending the blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse. The ruling party – my father’s party – continues to equivocate.
My father’s assassination was a hate crime fuelled by jihadist fervour, abetted by some irresponsible sections of the media and sanctified by some political actors. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing. The loss of one good man must not deter others. Pakistan’s very future depends on it.
Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/salmaan-taseer-assasination-pakistan-blasphemy-laws