By Abdulla Wasti
On January 4, 2011, alleged blasphemer Salman Taseer was shot and killed by a ‘soldier of Islam’; Mumtaz Qadri had restored the pride of our beloved Prophet (P.B.UH). Around 3000 supporters gathered around to shower him with rose petals when he was first produced in court. More than two years later, the Islamabad High Court decided to take up the appeal against Qadri’s death sentence. The ATC judge who pronounced the verdict fled the country as his life was under threat. This really didn’t come as a surprise; perhaps the judge was naive to assume that the state would protect those who feel that it is their obligation to uphold the law. There is no place for such citizens in the land of the living dead.
Just to put things into perspective, last week at least 90 lawyers came to court to defend Mumtaz Qadri, while over 300 of his supporters gathered outside the court premises to offer moral support; on the other hand, less than 50 people turned up at Libery Chowk protest against the blast in Shikarpur that resulted in 61 casualties. And here all of us were thinking that the Peshawar massacre was a watershed moment which would unite the nation against terrorism. However, Qadri’s lawyers argue that he isn’t a terrorist as he has no past criminal record. Moreover, lawyers who came out in support of Qadri perceived it as their religious duty and obligation. It would be a futile exercise to ask those lawyers whether it is their ‘obligation’ to uphold the law, and how they can live with the irony that despite being representatives of the judiciary they are standing in support of a man who took the law in his own hands. Another one of Qadri’s cohorts, in his ultimate wisdom drew comparisons with Ghazi Illam Din and stated that the fact that he was represented by Jinnah justified the stance of all the lawyers who were standing alongside Qadri. If only, we did not pick and choose examples of Jinnah according to our convenience, and followed his vision through and through; the fortunes of this nation would have been turned around.