Myths Blown Away by Taseer Killing
South Asia Analysis Group, January 2011
5 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2015
Date Written: January 12, 2011
The assassination of Pakistani Punjab's governor Salman Taseer has once again highlighted the existential crisis plaguing Pakistan today. While it is tautologically true that a solution to Pakistan's current troubles must be preceded by an accurate analysis of its current situation, we claim that such analysis is impeded by certain exogenous constraints - such as the dubbing of any critical analysis as being racially or religiously motivated - placed on any Pakistani observer. These constraints have led to certain viewpoints commonly found in western tracts that are unsubstantiated by any evidence on ground. In this short note, we take advantage of the extensive reporting by media sources in the aftermath of the Taseer assassination to shine a critical light on these shibboleths surrounding Pakistan and counteract them using illustrative newspaper reports.
Case Background: A Christian lady Aasia Bibi from rural Punjab had been accused of blaspheming Prophet Mohammed of Islam - a crime in Pakistani law invoking the death penalty. Salman Taseer was the governor of Punjab province, who has a member of the Pakistani People's Party and the publisher of a relatively liberal newspaper Daily Times from Lahore. Taseer had argued that Aasia Bibi was falsely accused of blasphemy, called for her pardon and proposed suitable modification to the existing statutes to prevent their misuse. Taseer was earlier in spotlight a couple of years back when pictures of his family caused a furor in conservative circles due to their perceived violation of conventional Islam-directed notions of modesty.
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