Courageous Sherry Rehman and Salmaan Taseer

Published: January 3, 2011

LAHORE: It is a sad day indeed for this country, that the mere introduction of a private member’s bill, in this case by Sherry Rehman of the PPP, should be made the cause of a countrywide strike. If this bill is indeed so horrific and repugnant, then presumably our legislators will exercise their democratic right and strike it down. But who gave the right to our so-called ‘religious’ parties to cause economic and social disruption to the country by calling for and sponsoring a general strike, particularly at a time when the country is already in a parlous state? Even worse, who gave them the right to sit as both judge and jury and pass the death sentence on certain individuals just because they disagreed with their views?

The power to pronounce a death sentence on any individual in our country lies solely with our courts of law. The mullah’s call is tantamount to incitement to commit murder, and should be treated as a criminal offence. I hope our judicially active chief justice will take due notice and apply the law vigorously and fairly on these self-appointed guardians of our spiritual well-being.

Whatever one may feel about their politics or their opinions, we must all admire people like Salmaan Taseer and Sherry Rehman for having the courage to stand by their convictions and for speaking up for our long-suffering minority communities. The country would be richer for more of them.

Mian Haroun Rashid

Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (30)

  • ismaeel
    Jan 4, 2011 - 12:21AM

    I agree with you….
    These mullahs should be put in their limits….
    & i appreciate Sherry Rehman for taking a step & i support her…Recommend

  • Bilal
    Jan 4, 2011 - 7:22PM

    This is another instance of the state of law in the lawless state of Pakistan. God. is there no good news to come out of this forsaken horrible country ? All these so called mullahs should be shot in an open area, they are not religious learned pious men but uneducated riff raff remnants from the age of Jahiliya which the Prophet came to abolish. This is the price of appeasement to the saudi inspired wahabhi doctrine that these dogs have now come to the stage where the whole existence of the state is threatened. This is not what Jinnah wanted and the government has to stand up bravely to these scum mullahs like the few brave people who have or be eliminated by them. I see a bleak picture of Pakistan, it is the most reviled and hated country and one symptom is that we dare not admit we are from there as the eyes say it all!Recommend

  • Ben
    Jan 4, 2011 - 7:30PM

    Salman Taseer has paid dearly for his right to comment on a man-made law. The price is his own life. May his soul rest in peace. The government should take effective steps to protect Sherry.Recommend

  • Umair Khan
    Jan 4, 2011 - 7:41PM

    But what will you do when you stand right in front of Allah answering him? (When this illusion ends we call earth). Please read Quran, it shoes the correct path in everything what you come across. Punishment is severe if we ignore it or if we do not understand. I do not agree with the author. I don’t think we should support any of our politicians because they all commit negligence to Allah. Courage should come out only for Allah, it should not belong any ones ideas, thoughts, political parties, or any other wordly affairs.Recommend

  • Sleepless in Karachi
    Jan 4, 2011 - 7:47PM

    All brands of political mullahism should be immediately and categorically banned. Mullahs who preach anything other than piety must be reported to and taken to task. This is grotesque!Recommend

  • Muntazir Mehdi
    Jan 4, 2011 - 7:51PM

    May God forgive his all sins because of his sacrifice and this will remain a very under rated sacrifice.
    I think this is just like “janwar extremists k samne kalma-e-haq kehna”.
    May his suol rest in peace.Recommend

  • Fus
    Jan 4, 2011 - 8:15PM

    @Umair Khan
    Open your eyes, we are committing sins by making laws and killing ppl in the name of Allah (swt). We are killing ppl in the name of a person (PBUH) who showed mercy to the ppl who treated him badly. Recommend

  • Jan 4, 2011 - 8:19PM

    Recall a few days back,ppp ladies in Karachi, demonstrated out-side the house of its leader,former information minister, Ms Sherry Rahman, because of her airing an opinion not in tune with party’s top leaders. What a mockery of democracy.Sherry is, no doubt, one of the best spokesperson and highly learned member of party and very near to Mohtarmah Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.It is a fact that Ms Sherry Rahman, is really an asset in the male-dominated party/society. Recently, with genuine concern and in real spirit of Islamic concept of justice anf fair play, she has placed a private members’ bill in the National Assembly, with an highly noble aim that no one could mis-use the blasphemy law, with ulterior motives of wordly disputes or to extract material/monetary gains. The sole purpose of the said bill is valid,noble and desireable one and ppp high command must adopt a positive line on it and should not ignore or sideline it by calling it merely a private member’s bill. The ppp government/its law minister, must stand on the side of bill’s initiator in the parliament. And especially now,in view of the latest delicate, emotionally charged situation, arising out of the most henious, criminal act of assasination of Punjab Governor, Mr.Salman Tseer, a founding-member of Bhutto’s party, ah! One can only condole with the grieved family and all must condemn such a barbaric act.The concerned authorities must now do the needful and provide required protection to all with sense of full responsibility and dedicated commitment. Recommend

  • Atif Malik
    Jan 4, 2011 - 8:20PM

    Umair Khan, the tone of language you use worries me, and illustrates the miserable state we find our country in. A man has been murdered in cold blood for holding a view, a view that I and others may share, of freedom and equality for all, but let’s say for argument it was the wrong view. For anyone to suggest a cold-blooded murder is righteous and in accordance with the Holy Quaran, is deeply disturbing. This article is not in support of a political view but for the basic human right of freedom. Islam means Peace and Submission, not punishment which seems to be your central premise for action/inaction. Islam in its early period showed the most tolerance to all other religions, whereas today it is the West, which used to be barbaric, that opens it’s doors to everyone and it is our newly formed Islamic state (Pakistan) that takes the barbaric path of exclusion and intolerance? The debate on Quaranic teachings is a long one, but it in no way does it advocate physical violence against those that are causing non-physical damage to you or your views. We all should live our life in accordance to our beliefs/interpretations-of-Islam and then let Allah pass judgement on the Day of Judgement. It seems very wrong for any human to assume Allah’s role as Judge and Jury. Recommend

  • Humayun Saif
    Jan 4, 2011 - 8:47PM

    Haroun Rashid Shaib, Sir you are very right.
    We pray that voices like you will be always heard in Pakistan.


    Humayun SaifRecommend

  • saher
    Jan 4, 2011 - 8:52PM

    Sherry Rehman should be careful now :S…Recommend

  • Sonia
    Jan 4, 2011 - 10:39PM

    What a scourge on our nation. Fanatics and their sick ideologies have tarnished our nation.
    Its not Sherry, but even an ordinary secualr person can be targetted by these people. The irony is the idea of reward in heaven. What are we teaching? Can it save us?Recommend

  • FK
    Jan 4, 2011 - 11:06PM

    Salman was brave and so is Sherry. The government should ensure her protection. This amendment must be passed. Its time to stand up and be counted.Recommend

  • Illusion
    Jan 5, 2011 - 12:54AM

    Come on PAKISTANIS… dont you see the reality???
    Look at the current political scenario….
    1.PPP government in turmoil….about to fall
    2.Only PML(N) can save the government from falling…but their biggest dilemma is Mr.Taseer
    3.Religious parties striking…further destabilizing the government
    4.Government had already rolled back its stance on Blasphemy law….EXCEPT….Mr. Taseer
    5.Media was grinding on the government fall scenario 24/7
    6.All political parties were hyper-active discussing the number game in parliament…

    Now, think about implications of Death of Salman Taseer

    1.PPP will get immediate sympathy….they are already cashing on “the sacrifice” of Mr.Taseer
    2.PML(N) has no dilemma in giving the goverment closeted support.
    3.Religious sentiment will cool down, as the face of anti-blasphemy law has been removed
    4.The government can divert the focus from the heat it was getting from blasphemy issue.
    5.Media has got a new topic to grind on…all the talk of government fall has stopped
    6.All political meatings have been cancelled or postponed in the wake of death of Mr.Taseer

    CONCLUSION: 6 birds killed with one stone.Recommend

  • Muhammed Ali
    Jan 5, 2011 - 1:29AM

    Such barbaric law should be abandoned asap we will take salmans cause forward long live secular PakistanRecommend

  • Siraj
    Jan 5, 2011 - 2:15AM

    Upto some extent agreed ILLUSION. There might be the issue of supporting Asia Bibi behind this assassination. Recommend

    Jan 5, 2011 - 2:57AM

    I blame all these so called religious parties for giving fatwas for no reason but only for their own political motives. And sadly we have idiots like that guard who don’t use their brain but depend on what others say.
    this is not the way islam was spread so why are we choosing this way?
    black day for whole nation!
    islam’s well wishers should be crying today and they should cry until people like this guard get some sense.Recommend

  • Mansoor Ahmed
    Jan 5, 2011 - 3:52AM

    Taseer was the only person who had courage to visit Ahmadiyya Mosques after attacks by terrorists back in May 2010. After that attack, he called blasphemy law a “black law”. He was one of the moderate forces which can counter the fundamentalists. Other politicians, like Muslim League has soft corner for these Mullahs and will never be able to change this “black law” against humanity.
    A two-week period of mourning has been declared by President Gilani. Pakistan should use that time to decide whether they’re ready to fight the Islamist movement responsible for the murder, or just sit back and wait for the next period of mourning. Time to change the LAW, if we would like to save Pakistan. Otherwise this country will be burn out by the fire of its own people.Recommend

  • Sonia
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:12AM

    @ Illusion: come out of illusion. This is called shading technique to make the reality obscure. This fanaticism has seeped deep in the minds of ordinary people. They are calling the mirderer of Taseer Gazi. We are finishing.Recommend

  • Muhammad Asif
    Jan 5, 2011 - 4:33AM

    For God sake be realistic, enough is enough everyone is commenting with emotions but not as realistic. First of all i dislike such incidents specially in a Muslim State. Mumtaz Qadri dishonoured laws. We need rule of law, our ruler should pay regards to law and courts by implementing judgments as soon as possible. And when they going to legislate any law, they should take each stake holder and every segment of society on board but not dictatorial manner. Recommend

  • Cry Freedom
    Jan 5, 2011 - 6:35AM

    In reply to last response Muhammed Ali Sahib it me correct you ‘Long Live Islamic Republic of Pakistan” There is no justification for such sensless murder. Recommend

  • Hammer
    Jan 5, 2011 - 7:13AM

    @ IllUSION

    Your article matches you media name, I dont know what it is but sure seems to work up your imagination, The killer is just a misguided believer of Islam, He has been brain washed by some Islamists group to take this action. Sherry Rehman Please get away from the Mad House and live to fight another day.Recommend

  • Sonia
    Jan 5, 2011 - 8:45PM

    @ Cry Freedom: We all are crying for ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ since 1947. Instead of getting long our life is growing shorter and shorter. Can’t you really see what the problem is? Or you will hook to your blindness always.Recommend

  • Musalman
    Jan 6, 2011 - 10:18AM

    guys be in peace… n think for a moment if somebody abuse your parents … what will you do with him???? i guess you people would do nothing cause it needs courage to face the reality….
    ( i think u all would have heard About this Hadees?? if not then PITY)… WE HAVE become more selfish then ever!!! Recommend

  • Zareen Malik
    Jan 6, 2011 - 7:16PM

    Mian Haroun Rashid’s letter appearing on the day that Salman Taseer was killed makes it prophetic. Salman Taseer was a courageous man who spoke his mind on a man made law that is somehow considered sacred. Speaking against a man made law is what he did, yet the mullah element who considers itself synonymous with our great prophet have decided to equate ordinary mortals with the prophet. I think the blasphemy law should be used against them.

    I would also like to know what Pakistan does for those people who blaspheme against other religions. Is Islam the only religion you cannot talk against and attacks on all other religions are justified. I want to know what is the punishment for statements against Jesus Christ, Abraham or the Hindu Religion, to name a few.Recommend

  • Jan 6, 2011 - 11:30PM

    the government seems to have been forced by the latest situation/circumstances and has allowed ms. sherry rahman to withdraw her private-member bill aimed to improve the existing blasphemy law so that no one could mis-use it for selfish greedy purpose. a wise step. but when the interior minister opines that if he saw anyone insulting ? the holy prophet ( peace be upon him) he will kill the accused and thus take law in his own hand. if this statement is correctly reported in the press then the minister has approved the act of the assassin in killing punjab governor, salman taseer, because the killer alleged the governor committed a similar act.
    I feel such thinking/acts will never enable pakistanis to improve their existing social system or institutions for an honorable way of life in the 21st century.Recommend

  • Sonia
    Jan 8, 2011 - 11:09PM

    @Anwar,,, I agree. We are not ready for the new world. The irony is we are keeping the western civilization in halt because of this madness.Recommend

  • Jan 9, 2011 - 11:53AM

    As expected, the news today is that a cleric in Karachi has passed a death sentence on Ms Sherry Rehman. Our Interior Minister one would have hoped would have the man arrested and assure the good lady of full and proper protection by the State. Instead, he has “advised” her to leave the country for now. Je despaire !Recommend

  • IZ
    Jan 9, 2011 - 3:52PM

    @Umair Khan – you wrote “Please read Quran, it shoes the correct path in everything what you come across.” Please be aware that under our current law you are can be found guilty for blasphemy for the typing error you have made, since the law does not regard intent (ie you can be convicted even if you say or do or write something by mistake). So Mr Umair please think about that fact that anyone who reads your comment and does not like you can have you imprisoned and sentenced to death. lucky for you most people here are more liberal than you in their views and feel that a mistake is a mistake and not an attempt at blasphemy.Recommend

  • M Sheraz
    Jan 10, 2011 - 1:37PM

    these sort of “MAZHABI JANOONI” should be thrown out of every profession. these are the disgrace to our Country and Islam.Recommend

More in Letters