….. For this monster does not only threaten the `bloody civilians`, it threatens all Pakistanis who might have a view different to the jihadis who, let me insist one more time (and mark my words), are readying themselves for a takeover of the Pakistani state, no less. For have our own soldiers — serving, retired, even their innocent children — been spared the wrath of the murdering terrorists? So depraved is their conduct in the quest for dominance that they do not even spare mosques and those who are in prayer as happened at Parade Lane, Westridge.
But back to Salman Taseer. He did not blaspheme by saying that the law on blasphemy was a faulty law which needed amending to make it more fair, under which innocent people would not be charged/ harassed/ killed as we have seen in umpteen cases. The government, which is now going blue in the face saying it has no intention of bringing changes to the law, should think again. The minorities too are citizens of this country and need the protection of the state.
Salman and I went back a long way, and even though I opposed vehemently his destabilising the Punjab government in which his own party was a coalition partner and then dismissing it — an act that was doomed to failure — I never quite lost a certain affection for him. He was brash; he was in-your-face; he was loud and brazen. But he was outside what he was inside.
When he was on the run during Ziaul Haq`s cruel dictatorship he hid in my home on Nisar Road for some days, always insisting that it was good the police and the intelligence agencies were as inefficient as they were so that people could hide from them for considerable periods of time. They did get to us one day but I had seen the three police vans parked near our house just as I drove out on an errand.
There were no mobile telephones then so I stopped at a neighbour`s and warned Salman of the impending raid. There was no acknowledgement from him, just silence. I drove back home to find the telephone off the hook where Salman had dropped it, the guestroom window open and no Salman. As he told me later, he dropped the telephone, jumped out the window and over the back wall, ran to the nearest road, flagged down a passing motorcyclist and vanished into thin air! That was the Salman Taseer I will remember. RIP. ….
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