DAILY TIMES – VIGIL DEMANDS JUSTICE FOR TASEER
LAHORE: The Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) organised a candlelight vigil in collaboration with other human rights organisations at the Liberty Roundabout on the first death anniversary of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer to commemorate his sacrifice and fearless stance on the rights of minorities, also demanding justice in the form of strict punishment for his murderer, Mumtaz Qadri.
The vigil was attended by various sections of society, including youth peace activists, to express solidarity for the cause of a diverse, tolerant and peaceful Pakistan.
Shehryar Taseer and Shehrbano Taseer also participated in the vigil. However, both of them being emotionally charged with the memories of their bereaved father were unable to talk to the media persons. Nevertheless, Shehryar managed to express his grief and admiration for his father by saying that he was proud of his father who scarified his life for the sake of human rights. “Even though a year has passed since the tragic incident, yet we feel he is still with us,” he added.
Syeda Deep, Irfan Mufti, IA Rehman, Malik Hafeezur Rehman Shahtaj Qazalbash, Saleema Hashmi, Najam Sethi, Jugnu Mohsin, Najmi Saleem, Imtiaz Aalam, Salman Aabid, Faiza Malik, MPA Sajida Mir, MPA Riffat Sultana Dar, MPA Sagheera Islam, Maria B (BG), Ayesha Gohar, Amna Malik, Abdullah Malik and PPP worker Shabnam Kalashankov and several others were also present on the occasion.
The participants of the vigil were holding various banners and placards inscribed with various slogans like, “Punish Qadri, Give us Justice”, “Salmaan your blood will bring a revolution”, “Zulam Ke Ye Zabtee – Hum Nahin Mantee”, and “Bhuley Shah Assan Marna Nahin Gor Paya Koi Hoor”. The participants lighted candles and holding pictures of Taseer in their hands raised slogans hailing his efforts.
Speaking on the occasion, PPP Lahore Women Wing President Faiza Malik said that the government must hang the murderer of Salmaan Taseer. The court must decide the case immediately and must not allow Mumtaz Qadri to enjoy a relaxing life in the jail.
IPSS Director Syeda Deep demanded the government to take firm stand on defending human rights and uphold the rule of law by strictly dealing with people who take law in their own hands.
The vigil was meant to highlight the cause of justice championed by Salmaan Taseer, for which he also sacrificed his life. The purpose was to emphasise the abuse of the blasphemy law, and the increased intolerance.
MPA Sajida Mir said that Qadri not being punished for what he did violates the rules of justice, as a result of which a culture of fear is being promoted in society. She said Taseer was a human-loving person and always spoke against all kind of extremism and extremist elements in society.
MPA Riffat Sultana Dar said that Taseer taught them the lesson of socialism. She said that the retired LHC judge Khawja Muhammad Sharif was defending Qadri and by supporting a murderer, religious extremism was being promoted in the already troubled society. Such a practice will further damage the social fabric, she added.
Jugnu Mohsin said that Salmaan Taseer was a well-educated person, an intellectual as well as a human rights activist. Although he was a successful businessman, love of human rights activism was in his blood because of his father MD Taseer and his contemporary studies in the 1960s when various movements were in full swing.
Imtiaz Aalam said that Salmaan Taseer sacrificed his life for the rights of people, while fighting against extremism and intolerance. Pakistan must not allow religious zealots to enforce their creed on the people of Pakistan, he said, adding that extremists were the biggest threat for the citizens as well as the state.
Human Rights Network Pakistan President Abdullah said that Taseer was still alive in their hearts and they would continue to strengthen the cause for which Taseer sacrificed his life.