Pakistan is not dead yet
NEW DELHI – Many seem to think that the recent assassination of Punjab’s Governor is a sign of Pakistan’s imminent doom. But this perception overlooks good developments underway in this country.
There is, of course, reason for concern.
For Salman Taseer was killed for criticising Pakistan’s blasphemy law. And his bodyguard, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who shot him to death, is a Barelvi Muslim and not from the extremist Deobandi-Wahhabi-Salafi sects.
Qadri is from an anti-terror police force.
Thus far only the Armed Forces were believed to be infiltrated by extremists. Moreover, Qadri is being seen by some Pakistani Muslims as a hero.
However, the worry need not lead to complete pessimism.
Dawat-e-Islami, the Barelvi group Qadri was member of, has no known terror links. Therefore, we should wait for investigating agencies to establish the role of a terrorist group behind it, if any, before ascertaining wider implications of the assassination.
That the killing of a liberal Muslim was condoned by some is deplorable, but not shocking. For, there has been a struggle between modernisers and fundamentalists in the Muslim world for many years.
But Muslims with a fundamentalist worldview are in a minority as compared to the modernisers. This was evident in the victory of the Pakistan People’s Party represented by President Asif Ali Zardari who is not only Shia in a Sunni-majority country but had promised to repeal the blasphemy law during his campaign for the 2008 election.
This story was orignally published at Lapido Media, a U.K. consultancy that focuses on religious literacy in world affairs.