Hum ne gulshan ke tahfuz ki qasm khae hae”
(I have taken an oath to protect this garden)
This phrase is from one of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s Tweets about Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who was imprisoned after being accused of blasphemy.
In his struggle to ensure her right to a fair trial, Taseer was gunned down and his assassin, Mumtaz Qadri garlanded in the very garden he vowed to protect.
In the months before his assassination, Taseer tweeted his hopes of a progressive Pakistan, campaigned for minorities’ rights and lauded those who, like him, called for a repeal of the draconian blasphemy law.
As the criticism from extremist elements grew against him, Taseer grew bolder, funnier and more unguarded, vowing not to cow down to fundamentalists even if he was the “last man standing.”
The following list of select Twitter updates from the late governor’s profile encompass his views on Aasia Bibi’s case, minority rights and the blasphemy law till the day of his death.
(Tweets have been proofread for readability)
TASEER ON AASIA BIBI & BLASPHEMY LAWS
- The sentencing of Asia Bibi for blasphemy by a magistrate is more damaging to Pakistan’s image than the attack on CID HQ in Karachi.
- Aasia Bibi's appeal has been filed in the High Court. I am personally supervising the case. Inshallah I will ensure she is not victimized.
- Leaving for district jail Sheikhapura to see Aasia Bibi with mercy petition for President Zardari. Hum ne gulshan ke tahfuz ki qasm khae hae.
- Held press conference in Sheikhpura jail with Aasia Bibi. Got her clemency petition signed to forward to President Zardari. Said we want Jinnah’s Pakistan.
- Said the White strip in our flag is for minorities. Our religion commits us to their protection. She is a poor woman who could not defend herself.
- Said we want a progressive Pakistan not hostage to religious fanaticism Vaaris of Jinnah Benazir & Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
- Very positive and encouraging response on my stand on Aasia Bibi case. President has clearly stated that Aasia will not be punished.
- In 1992 the enlightened Nawaz Sharif introduced mandatory death sentence to Blasphemy Law (295-c) after which after which surge in cases.
- Maulvis have given a fatwa against me!!! It gets better and better.
- Before my visit to Sheikapura jail people were afraid to talk of the black blasphemy laws. Now it's open season. The glass wall has been broken.
- Just watched Imran Khan on TV opposing the Blasphemy law! I want to see how his friends the mullahs react. Will he be branded apostate?
- Imran Khan supporting my contention that on a non-party basis we should re-examine the blasphemy law. Before I took up the issue no one spoke.
- Javed Ghamdi Islamic scholar says blasphemy law is against Islamic tenants.
- Sherry Rehman has filed amendment to blasphemy laws. Well done Sherry!
- My observation on minorities: A man/nation is judged by how they support those weaker than them not how they lean on those stronger.
- The worst thing about a society permeated with religious fanatics, fundamentalists and extremists is that they make you ashamed of being normal.
- Covered in the righteous cloak of religion even a puny dwarf imagines himself a monster. Important to face. And call their bluff.
- I'm ok with my effigy being burnt and Fatwas against me but I’m really angry that I'm not mentioned anywhere in WikiLeaks!
- Tomorrow mullahs are demonstrating against me after Juma. Thousands of beards screaming for my head. What a great feeling!
- So the much hyped Juma call against me flopped badly. Barely a few hundred that's it. Threats proved empty.
- Really? And when was that? RT @ISuckBigTime @SalmaanTaseer You disrespected Holy Prophet PBUH so I hate you from deepest chambers of my heart.
- It took Maulana four weeks to realize I oppose blasphemy laws. Perhaps Swati being sacked for corruption was the wakeup call?
- Aasia Bibi case mobilized public opinion against extremists like Rosa Parks in US South. Babar Awan DOES NOT represent PPP stance thank God.
- Religious right trying to pressurise from the street their support of blasphemy laws. Point is it must be decided in Parliament not on the road.
- I was under huge pressure sure to cow down before rightist pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I'm the last man standing. (December 31, 2010)
- 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. Significant? (January 4, 2010 – the day of his assassination)
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