Assassinations and abductions are increasingly a part of Pakistan politics as the Islamic republic descends into anarchy. Instead of public debate, politicians who take controversial positions are murdered and their killers treated like heroes.
Punjab’s governor and presidential hopeful, Salman Taseer, and the federal minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, have been gunned down. Both had come out in favor of repealing Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws.
In Pakistan, any Muslim can accuse any non-Muslim of blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed or the Koran — and the accused is doomed. Islamic shari’ah law bars the accused from testifying against his or her accusers. No defense is effective. “Extra-judicial execution” is increasingly common — meaning that if the courts find the accused innocent, the exonerated are likely to be gunned down by spectators in the courtroom.
Their families have to go into hiding — losing everything they own. Increasingly the law is used in property disputes. If a Christian or Hindu refuses to sell a key property, the buyer accuses them of blasphemy — and while they are in jail, just takes the real estate.
Pakistan is a key U.S. ally in the War on Terrorism, yet the insanity of its judicial system and the deadliness of political debate is mostly ignored by the American press.
“I was wondering about a reporter friend I met in Jerusalem,” writes Mollie Hemingway on Dr. Terry Mattingly’s website “GetReligion.”
“So I stopped by her Facebook page and was surprised to see a few links to stories about the abduction of the son of Salman Taseer. Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer was assassinated at the very beginning of this year by his own bodyguard. That bodyguard was upset about Taseer’s opposition to blasphemy laws carrying the death sentence for insulting Islam. Taseer was riddled by gunshots, shot in the back. The response to his assassination, the most high-profile one since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed a few years prior, was perhaps even more shocking.
“The 26-year-old assassin was showered by hundreds of supporters with rose petals and garlands when he appeared in court.”