ISLAMABAD: Around a dozen female parliamentarians on Friday took the lead in the National Assembly to condemn Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s murder by a religiously-motivated assassin, pushing their reluctant male counterparts to speak out as well.
There has not yet been an official condemnation from the National Assembly on the assassination that took place on Tuesday, though the house has met twice since then.
While no official reason was given for the unwillingness in condemning the coldblooded murder of the constitutional head of the country’s most populous province, the religious controversy attached to the assassination seems to be the reason for the inertia.
Taseer’s murder is linked to his support for a Christian woman from a Punjab district, convicted for insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and calling a Zia-era legislation that deals with blasphemy, a ‘black law’.
His assassin Malik Mumtaz Qadri, one of the elite police commandos in his security detail, said in his confessional statement that he killed Taseer because he believed him to be a ‘blasphemer.’
Political parties and lawmakers are careful in their reaction to the murder and avoid talking about it publicly. But a small group of women members of the National Assembly, led by Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid’s Marvi Memon, said they were not afraid of the threats by the clergy and submitted a condemnation resolution.
It is still to be seen how political parties will respond to it when the house meets again next week to approve it.
Calling for the condemnation of the murder, the resolution, signed by two dozen parliamentarians, said Pakistani society must not be allowed to be divided into liberals and fundamentals. It also assailed the role of politicians and clerics for their ineptitude in dealing with the aftermath of the assassination.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2011.