Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Brave Man (2)

Salman Tadeer, governor of Punjab in Pakistan, was murdered on 4th January by one of his own bodyguards for standing up for religious tolerance.

Governor Tadeer had been trying to obtain a pardon for a christian peasant who had been accused, almost certainly falsely, of blasphemy by her muslim neighbours as part of a dispute over drinking water. She had been sentenced to death under a law which made the death penalty mandatory for anyone who is convicted of blasphemy. Mr Tadeer had been arguing for reform of that law, too. His murderer gave this as his reason for killing the man he was employed to protect.

As the dreadful events in Arizona yesterday show, there is no country in which it is entirely safe to be in the public eye. But Pakistan desperately needs more good men (and women) of the calibre of Salman Tadeer if the country is to avoid sinking deeper into the mire of bigotry and violence with catastrophic consequences for all the people of the country.

Salman Tadeer will go down in history as a martyr for a better Pakistan. If the government wants to show that murdering politicians will not stop reform, they would be well advised to amend the law as proposed in the private members bill introduced by Mr Sherry Rehman which Governor Tadeer was killed for supporting - and they would be well advised to do so if they want to have any hope of making Pakistan the tolerant country which its' first President, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, wanted Pakistan to be.

1 comment:

Tim said...

And yet we still give this country foreign aid - No religious tolerance, no money.