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.