by Lone Liberal
Kohsar market seems to be flickering back to life, but an unmistakable aura of dread and apprehension persists. This was the site of the tragic assassination that took place on the 4th of January. I visited the market yesterday, and it is no longer the place I recall. According to an employee at the Gloria Jeans cafe, the shop has lost much of its business since the attack. Many important customers (including Shereen Rehman, or so he claimed) haven’t returned since.
The moderate voices are being drowned by the cacophony of religious hate-mongers. It seems that the mullahpocalypse is finally upon us, and it’s a threat possibly greater than anything we’ve ever faced…and this is coming from a nation that has recently had three-fifths of its surface inundated by floods. We’re heading for a point where Qadris of this country are going to start shooting teenagers for playing loud music in public, and the Pakistani masses, being the Einsteins that they are, will applaud the killings because the teenagers had been “openly defying Allah’s law”. They will not use their brains to figure out whether the punishment fits the crime..or if a punishment is even prescribed! They’ll just nod mindlessly.
There is substantial support for the killer, and these supporters are making every possible effort to hinder the deliverance of justice. And I’m not talking about a small group of ignoramuses, but a clear majority of the Pakistani public is of the opinion that Mr. Taseer’s murder was understandable, if not fully justified.. Most of them are of the opinion that if the that is treating the killer as a hero. Ghazi, is what they’re calling him. This shows that Qadri was only the tip of the iceberg. The dagger of Islamism has penetrated way deeper into this country’s bosom.
On the 12th of January, a Christian woman and her mother were brutally beaten by a self-proclaimed aashiq-e-rasool mob that broke into their home, on charges of blasphemy. And what evidence did they possess to prove such an allegation? The word of a Muslim woman who had had a dispute with the Christian woman earlier that day.
At what point in the history of Pakistan did people decide to stop using their God-gifted frontal cortices?
A few days, while parked outside a market in Rawalpindi, I was approached by a number of persistent vendors offering merchandise like balloons, books, toys etc. I shooed them all away. But then came an equally stubborn man selling small plaques with Quranic verses engraved onto them. He hovered behind the car window, refusing to go away. His tone was acerbic, unbefitting of a good salesperson. But not only did I buy a plaque from him, but paid him way too much. Why? Because in this country, you never know when and where a devotee (or a plain miscreant) is going to slap with you a blasphemy charge. If people here can get charged for throwing Muhammad Faizan’s sales card into the bin, I see no reason why I can’t be charged for refusing to buy a plaque of Quranic verses.
I read the report yesterday by Baroness Warsi on how prejudice against Muslims has become a norm in UK. It is absolutely tragic, but with scores of Muslims around the world supporting people like Qadri and Anjem Choudary, does this prejudice come as a surprise? It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the moderate Muslims to defend their own faith and demand that they be left alone to live their lives in peace. We’re at a point where Muslims need to cease conveniently blaming everything from Israel to the United States, and consider their own faults for a change.
It is time for some solemn introspection..