Taseer’s remarks about blasphemy law

Published: January 5, 2011

A vocal critic of the blasphemy law, Salmaan Taseer showed his overwhelming support for Aasia Bibi.

KARACHI: A vocal critic of the blasphemy law, Salmaan Taseer showed his overwhelming support for Aasia Bibi, the woman charged with making disrespectful remarks against the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and condemned the controversial law on several occasions. Here is a list of his quotes on Aasia and the blasphemy law that might have been the cause of his death.

On his twitter page hours before his assassination:

Mera azm itna bulund hae Parae sholon se dar nahin. Mujhe dar hae tu atish e gul se hae Ye kahin chaman ko jala na dein

In an interview with News­line published on December 23, 2010:

1.  “If you want my personal opi­nion, I don’t like this law at all.”

2. “Even people who are deeply religious have spoken out against this black law. Ghamdi, for example, has stated clearly that this has nothing to do with Islam – Islam calls on us to protect minorities, the weak and the vulnerable.”

3. “I have showed my solidarity with minority communities who are being targeted by this law and, in doing so, I have sent across a strong message.”

4. “The real problem is that the government is not prepared to face religious fanaticism head on. This also gives us a bad name in the world.”

5. “The thing I find disturbing is that if you examine the cases of the hundreds tried under this law, you have to ask how many of them are well-to-do? Why is it that only the poor and defenceless are targeted? How come over 50 per cent of them are Christians when they form less than 2 per cent of the country’s population. This points clearly to the fact that the law is misused to target minorities.”

6. “What I find particularly distasteful is that when you speak of amendment, people assume you condone the crime. If I am against the death sentence, it does not mean I condone murder.”

During a press conference with Aasia Bibi on November 20, 2010:

“The sentence against Aasia is inhumane. I have been handed over an appeal for a presidential pardon which I will take to the president and soon Aasia will be pardoned.”

In an interview with CNN in November 2010:

1. “If the High Court does not suspend her sentence we will pardon her.”

2. “The blasphemy law is not a God-made law. It’s a man-made law. It was made by General Ziaul Haq and the portion about giving a death sentence was put in by Nawaz Sharif. So it’s a law which gives an excuse to extremists and reactionaries to target weak people and minorities.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2011.

Reader Comments (27)

  • Tony Khan
    Jan 5, 2011 - 1:03PM

    Taseer upheld the truth.Recommend

  • Faizan Afzal
    Jan 5, 2011 - 1:20PM

    Again there theological MULLAHS have proved that these beared men do not possess an intelectual level to understand the essence of Islamic teachings. Talking about amending the law didnt mean that Mr. Taseer spoke anything against PROPHET (PBUH). I think state should seriously consider to closely monitor these MADRASSAHS. Which also act as FATWAH FACTORIES. Recommend

  • Umar khaliq
    Jan 5, 2011 - 1:23PM

    If we allow this law to amend or make the punishment less severe than the minorities will find excuse.i believe a true muslim cannot use his prophet(SAW) name to avenge somebody.what we could do is to strenthen the procedure for investigation to ensure that no innocent citizen fall a victim to this exploitation.Recommend

  • Farooq
    Jan 5, 2011 - 2:17PM

    I fear that these Mullahs will lead us to Dark Ages, they are powerful, self serving and take advantage of illiterates among the poor. I request them to have some mercy of this weak nation.Recommend

  • nayara
    Jan 5, 2011 - 2:48PM

    Umar.. get real you kill each other because you dont subscribe to the same sect. 1000s’ of MUSLIMS have been killed by FELLOW MUSLIMS becasue they are Shia and Sunni.. Khateebs shoot each other for controls of mosques.. and this is happening in MAJOR cities where the so called Educated live..

    at this rate all Christians and Jews must be taken to task becasue they don’t accept the Prophet as a prophet.. you telling me you going to kill half the world because they dont accept your prophetRecommend

  • Dr Muhammad
    Jan 5, 2011 - 3:59PM

    If Salman Taseer’s words were replied by bullets, I am prepared to take up the gun and fight these religious men on the streets. If they are looking for a bloody, brutal civil war, I say it’s about time for it to start.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:18PM

    Truth was upheld like a glass mushroob-e-maghrib.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:24PM

    Dr Muhammed

    Your words are scary and will turn Pakistan into an Algeria. The real cure to this is to educate our people and take control of education rather than hand it to madrassahs who teach nothing but hatred and intolerance. The decline in society is proportionate to the lack of secular govt. controlled education.

    Our only real way forward is to become seclar and allow every faith and sect to live in peace and harmony – otherwise we ourselves will turn Pakistan into an Iraq or Afghanistan!Recommend

  • Amer
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:34PM

    @ Dr Muhammad: What a joke! You are a hero behind the keyboard. I dare you to fulfill your words, let’s hear about your brutal civil war on the news section not on the comments section.Recommend

  • Analyser
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:39PM

    Blind bigots bringing nothing but shame to Islam and Pakistan. If they have had enough of us liberal and moderate lot, we have now had more than enough of them. Dr M is right, it is time to fight them in the language they understand. Recommend

  • Dr Muhammad
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:54PM

    Amer, Pakistanis killing Pakistanis, with no judicial oversight. Let me guess, if this does not fit the definition of a civil war, then please enlighten me as to how you would describe it.Recommend

  • Yusaf Khan
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:54PM

    Enough is enough —- I am with you Dr. Muhammad. We will fight FIRE with FIRE. Either this government take a clear stand against extremism or the silent majority will take the law in its hands and things will get alot worse.Recommend

  • Dr Muhammad
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:58PM

    I would love for the constitution to be turned into a secular document, in a peaceful democratic way. Would the religious forces accept it being done in a peaceful democratic way? If yes, then I would gladly take back my words for a civil war. If not, then the religious forces must be fought in the only language they understand.
    I am sick and fed up of people being targetted in food distribution centers, none other but poor destitute civilians. When was the last time any Taliban militant was hanged for his crimes in the Swat valley?Recommend

  • Dr Muhammad
    Jan 5, 2011 - 5:04PM

    Dear Ali, have you ever asked yourself how the Taliban could service, maintain and fly Soviet built aircraft to bomb the Northern Alliance until the end of 2001?
    Pakistan has been responsible for sustaining if not creating the mess in Afghanistan.
    Talk about how you would respond if you are accused of blasphemy by a religious cleric’s kangaroo courts. If you want to go and try educate these religious zealots, ready to explode you by a suicide vest, then you can do so, I don’t trust any religious man anymore, after this murder of Salman Taseer.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Jan 5, 2011 - 5:07PM

    Yes The Taliban Are Coming…people of Pakistan it’s up to you to make your voices heard….or pay the price !Recommend

  • Bushra
    Jan 5, 2011 - 5:17PM

    It was not his remarks that were the cause of his death but the insanity that has seeped into the Pakistani mainstream that killed him. He was a martyr for he died for the truth, and did not shy away from saying it at his peril. But to say his wards were his undoing is wrong. words do not kill, bullets do.Recommend

  • Pakistani57
    Jan 5, 2011 - 7:00PM

    The extremists are getting our of hand so we will in turn become extremists and wage our crusade on their jihad!!!

    wow what a sane argument thus proved we all are extremists no matter what our intellectual or educational background .. Pathetic!Recommend

  • krishna
    Jan 5, 2011 - 9:28PM

    Certain section of Pakistani Media has big hand in fanning the fire, for money. Recommend

  • Anil
    Jan 5, 2011 - 10:00PM

    I have been reading different blogs on this issue, and it seems that the opinion on this issue is divided (not surprisingly), which only shows that to us a “Human” life is worth nothing. I am against this Law , I don’t think any state has a right to kill someone due to their view on a particular religion, there might be other punishments but not death. But my fellow countrymen would not spare a second to brand me kafir as well because of my views. We as a nation have been doing the same with other communities like Ahmadies for a long time, it only now that we have become a victim…Recommend

  • Anil
    Jan 5, 2011 - 10:05PM

    I have been reading different blogs on this issue, and it seems that the opinion on this issue is divided (not surprisingly), which only shows that to us a “Human” life is worth nothing. I am against this Law , I don’t think any state has a right to kill someone due to their view on a particular religion, there might be other punishments but not death. But my fellow countrymen would not spare a second to brand me kafir as well because of my views. We as a nation have been doing the same with other communities like Ahmadies for a long time, it only now that we have become a victim…Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Jan 6, 2011 - 12:58AM

    You know I would suggest that some of the videos of Mr. Taseer’s interviews may be included in the links, people can judge by themselves about what he was clearly saying .. its insane the things we’ve done in this country on heresay.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU2KBkMvfj4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AunDRF0bEFw

    http://videos.onepakistan.com/videos/7203/news-beat-with-meher-bokhari—25th-november-2010.html?__arrayRecommend

  • hasan raza
    Jan 7, 2011 - 9:09PM

    worthy participants….. im not very clear on the blasphemy law and islamic history etc. but, i oftenly think that in a fragile society like pak where terrorism and extremism is one of the menace that has made ingress to peoples minds and actions, what could have been the most suitable way of handling this particular issue? surely a comprehensive dialogue followed by suitable ammendments. Moreover, conservative minds oftenly found mr governor in a western and levish life style which they probably didnt like and accepted him as a person with good influence on the society. having said that i feel his support instigated those conservative elements and resulted in his cruel assassination. he could have asked scholars to get into the issue and solve the matter because a normal pakistani thinks what mr governor contributed to the society so far? was he over with all prime duties he had to do? was he done with what he had to deliver…. anyways, your comments will surely make me educated,please. Recommend

  • xyz
    Jan 11, 2011 - 4:15AM

    After reading all the opinions on the case of Mr Taseer and also his assasin one reaches to a conclusion that though we appear to be liberal and up to date with the modern world but we are really dwelling in the stone ages maybe even worse where there was no value for human life .Lets ask our self, we take pride in the fact that we are the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) how would he have dealt with these issues?how did he protect the weak and the poor ?how did he fulfil the rights of the minority?he is the best example for us let him guide us,let the Holy Quran guide us. Instead of taking lives of innocent Ahmadies , Christians and other minorities lets show the real face of Islam and the beautiful teachings of the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him).Recommend

  • U S
    Jan 11, 2011 - 3:53PM

    If we allow this law to amend or make the punishment less severe than the minorities will find excuse.i believe a true muslim cannot use his prophet(SAW) name to avenge somebody.what we could do is to strenthen the procedure for investigation to ensure that no innocent citizen fall a victim to this exploitation.Recommend

  • waqa
    Jan 14, 2011 - 10:05PM

    I would like to say that we have our own country so we make our own laws, rules and regulations.
    no person other that a pakistani needs to give a speech on it whether it should be changed or not…
    When it comes to other countries no on debates whether its a right law or not. take the example “the denial of the holoucaust” In several countries, including Israel, France, Germany and Austria, “Holocaust denial” is against the law, and “deniers” have been punished with stiff fines and prison sentences. Some Jewish community leaders have called for similar measures in North America.

    No one has made a debate on it.
    Also many innocent kashmiris are being martyred daily, without any laws… no has made a debate in it ..
    And when it comes ot Islam and Pakistan everyones paying full attention in our internal issues, u need not to comment on our issues and problems.Recommend

  • Muhammad Imran
    Feb 14, 2011 - 7:41PM

    In ideal conditions, Taseer should have been tried and punished by the court of law in accordance to Islamic law. Muslims in Pakistan will not let any such ill-fated soul to act the way the West wants them to act.

    Protecting the sanctity of Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the most vital issue of any muslim around the world. Anyone with a single bit of Iman is honoured to defend it with his or her life, a million times over. Recommend

  • Anwar Dar
    Feb 16, 2011 - 8:53PM

    i think in our society there should be freedom of speech to everybody and if salman taseer had spoken in such a manner it is his own saying and everybody in this world is responsible for his actions and sayinngs so why we are interfering in a matter of a person to his god …………… Recommend

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