KARACHI: “Killers, killers!… [they] are killers,” read the placards outside the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday. Human rights activists, civil-society members and people of different faiths held a protest on the call of the Citizens For Democracy to protest the assassination of Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti in Islamabad.
Jamalud Din Rajput, the Pakistan Christians League president, broke into tears as he recalled the support of the Christians at the time of Partition. “We did not vote for Pakistan for this day.” It’s not one man or a few people, it’s the mindset that killed Salmaan Taseer and now Shahbaz Bhatti, he said. “Our villages are being burnt, our people killed. What justice is this?”
Former MPA Michael Javed demanded the Quaid’s Pakistan, the “Democratic Republic of Pakistan”.
Standing in line with the protesting Christians, Omar Farooq, a businessman, voiced what was going through everyone’s head. “Tomorrow if I say something that someone doesn’t agree with, I will also be killed. When people can kill with so much impunity in the capital, no one is safe.”
Sabeen Mahmud, the director of PeaceNiche T2F, said that unless more people come out and protest, there won’t be any change. “There are hardly 200 people here,” she pointed at the crowd. This is another attempt by the extremists to silence the truth and those who dare to work for the rights of minorities, claimed the protesters.
Activist Sherbaz Khan said the country is overwhelmed by religious extremism. “Anyone who speaks the truth is unsafe.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2011.