Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of the ex-governor of Punjab, was executed about two weeks ago. As a secular and agnostic Pakistani, I saw it as a great move on the part of the Pakistani government. I couldn’t be happier. However, the sad truth is that no matter what the government decides to do, the civil society, by and large, considers Mumtaz Qadri to be a hero.
His funeral procession was attended by millions of Pakistanis and it took forever for his body to reach the graveyard. Rose petals were thrown at the ambulance carrying his body.
As if this wasn’t enough, ‘[f]renzied mobs clashed with police, attacked a media office in Karachi and a press club in Hyderabad as protesters took to streets after Friday prayers against the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri… Angry protesters vandalized shops in Karachi’s electronics market while a Police Station was attacked during a rally in Lahore Lower Mall area.’
Religious feelings were all flared up. The good news is that nobody was killed during these protests. The bad news is that there is anger amongst the Pakistani masses on the execution of Mumtaz Qadri. In an earlier blog-post, I had discussed about the rock-star status Mumtaz Qadri enjoyed after assassinating the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer.
Things have hardly changed since then. Fears grow for Asia Bibi – the Christian woman on death row for blasphemy – who was the reason Salman Taseer was killed in the first place. I just wonder if things will ever improve in Pakistan. Will Pakistanis be forever stuck with their half-baked religious beliefs? Will they ever be able to see beyond the Islamic tunnel-vision? I can only hope for the best. In reality, however, I just dread the situation and wish my family and friends get an opportunity to get out of Pakistan as soon as possible.