Punjab governor’s assassination a wake-up call | Pakistan Today

Punjab governor’s assassination a wake-up call

KARACHI – Condemning the brutal assassination of Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) and the Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) on Wednesday termed the incident a wake-up call for the society to the alarming threat of religious fanaticism which is gnawing away at the roots of the country.
PILER and the PPC said that Taseer’s murder by his own security guard to avenge his bold stand on blasphemy laws is not a single-day development. There is history in promoting this menace with direct and indirect contributions by the state, non-state forces, civil society, media and the political parties while ignoring its repercussions.
The state’s official and unofficial policy of projecting religious fanaticism as means of crafting a national identity and preparing an army of civilian forces to counter perceived threats from India and the West has led the country to a point where its own citizens are dying at the hands of extremists, they said.
Over the years, the state has played with religion as a policy tool. Both military-led and civilian governments have actively or indirectly promoted religion as an instrument to prolong their rules; pursuing it as a state policy or bowing down under the religious forces to follow anti-human rights provisions.
The government demonstrated cowardice last week when it pleaded the religious parties to call off their strike against amendments in blasphemy laws and to appease the non-elected, undemocratic religious lobby, even disowned an amendment bill moved by its own party member.
The organisations demanded that those who issued death edicts against the Punjab governor, MNA Sherry Rehman and Aasia Bibi be immediately arrested and tried for harming the lives of Pakistan’s citizens. “It is a test of the independent judiciary to pursue action against fatwa-issuing individuals and organisations as it is a serious attempt to create a parallel justice system while the government needs to enact a law to ban issuance of edicts by the religious lobby,” they asserted.

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