There is no quibble with the words used to condemn what Dr Mirza said. But to not condemn even more strongly, and separately, what the MQM activists did to the lives and livelihoods of innocent people across Sindh in response, is far more dangerous.
There is a strange undertone in editorials and commentary condemning Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s racist remarks made on July 13 against the Urdu-speaking community of Karachi.
Pick up any recent comment on Mirza’s outburst and you will notice he is being criticised not for the views or prejudices he aired per se, but for being ultimately responsible for setting the city of Karachi ablaze on that day. More than a dozen innocent lives were lost and much property was destroyed — the city was in the grip of fear again. …
….. Take, for example, the most common explanation offered in Governor Taseer’s defence: that he did not actually blaspheme and that therefore his killer, Mumtaz Qadri, should not have been offended in the first place. This is a sorry apology by those who lack the courage to say outright that any kind of insult, whatsoever, does not justify physical violence or punishment.
Even if Governor Taseer had blasphemed (for argument’s sake only), and hurt people’s religious feelings, there was no justification for his killing. Even if Dr Mirza had hurt ethnic feelings, there could be no justification for killing innocents.
And this recognition is largely missing from national commentary and discourse on the Mirza episode. It is a frightening sign of how this society submits to violence.
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