Candlelight vigil: Taseer remembered

Published: January 5, 2012
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Slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s children Shaheryar Taseer and Shaherbano Taseer hold candles during a vigil for their father in Lahore. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer’s children Shaheryar Taseer and Shaherbano Taseer hold candles during a vigil for their father in Lahore. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: 

“What I will remember from 2011 will be the repulsive images of my father’s murderer on television,” Shehryar Taseer, son of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, said on Wednesday.

Shehryar was talking to The Express Tribune at a vigil at Liberty Market roundabout in honour of his late father. Shehrbano Taseer also attended the vigil.

Shehryar said that 2011 was one of the darkest years in the history of Pakistan. “Where is that judiciary and democracy we fought for?” he asked.

Remembering his bother, Shahbaz Taseer, who was abducted in August 2011 from Lahore and has still not been recovered, Shehryar said, “I pray that God gives him the strength and courage to get through this day all alone.”

The vigil was attended by a number of civil society activists. The participants carried placards with slogans against the blasphemy laws and demanded that the state step up action against militants.

Imtiaz Alam, the South Asia Free Media Association president, said that ‘progressive’ people in Pakistan had become insecure.“One can only hope that the Pakistan government will enforce court orders and not allow citizens and militias to take the law in their hands,” he said. Social activist Rab Nawaz Rai condemned lawyers who openly supported Taseer’s self-confessed killer, Mumtaz Qadri.

“These lawyers who openly support Qadri are a black spot on the collective conscience of our entire nation. They should be ashamed of their attitude,” his placard read.

PPP MPAs Sajida Mir, Faiza Malik, Riffat Sultana Dar and Kishwar Qayyum were also present. Mir told The Express Tribune that they were participating in the vigil as a part of civil society and not a political party. She said Taseer was a brave man and should be honoured. She criticised the PPP Punjab for “forgetting” Taseer.

“He had kept the doors of Governor’s House open for everyone. Now that he is no more, no one arranged a prayer for him there,” she said.  Columnist Raza Rumi said he was disappointed by the PPP presence at the vigil. “The PPP is in such disarray that they could not gather a few hundred workers to remember a brave man.”

A year on from the assassination that increased polarisation in the name of religion, minorities continue to feel vulnerable. An attendee at the vigil, who identified herself as a Christian citizen of Pakistan and wished to remain anonymous, said “Our lives as minorities are not safe here. What happened was not right.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • FJ
    Jan 5, 2012 - 3:45AM

    RIP Brave man!!

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  • Iron hand
    Jan 5, 2012 - 4:55AM

    So sad that the decent people of Pakistan must live in fear of the fanatical savages, who unfortunately seem to be in the majority and growing with each brainwashed generation.

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  • Sindhvoice
    Jan 5, 2012 - 5:14AM

    In this land of pure, few dare to stand up against extremist and fundamentalists.That’s why every segment of society is under control of brute minority which propagates hate, violence, and fundamentalism. Silent majority is under fear of violent forces. Such dark forces should be defeated.And Shaheed Salman Taseer was one brave person who raised the voice against such extremist elements and injustice. He will always be remembered as great soul who scarified his life for progressive and tolerant society. People of Pakistan and especially of Sindh held you high with respect Mr.ST. May you rest in peace. RIP!

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  • Fasih Khan
    Jan 5, 2012 - 9:53AM

    May his soul rest in peace. Ameen. My Condolences to his family and I feel really saddened how they are being victimized. Shahbaz Taseer is being abducted on the same year and there’s no news from him. May he gets recovered and rejoins his family Ameen. May the terrorism filth gets vanished from my land. Recommend

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