How much should we celebrate the Supreme Court’s verdict on Mumtaz Qadri?
There is a Chris Rock quote I like sharing whenever someone seeks positive strokes for completing a responsibility they believe is a grand achievement. In his standup, the comedian speaks of fathers who are proud of sending their kids to school or staying out of jail,
“You’re supposed to, you dumb m*****f*****! What kind of ignorant s*** is that? ‘I ain’t never been to jail!’ What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having m*****f*****!”
Well, Chris, as it turns out, after years of disappointment, the good people of Pakistan now carry desperately low expectations.
Today, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by the brave Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, threw an appeal from bodyguard turned murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, out of court, upholding his death sentence. Undoubtedly, this is a gutsy move from the trio of judges, considering how the law enforcement officials, prosecutors, intelligence personnel, and judges themselves, who dare to fight against injustice, are repeatedly targeted by the violent sociopaths lurking in the shadows of this country. But although it is certainly a landmark moment, excuse me while I don’t bring out my party gear.
On the January 4, 2011, the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was shot dead by a man hired to protect him.
Shot 27 times with an AK-47.
Shot at a commercial area near his home with enough eye witnesses.
His shooter, the man in question, Qadri, undoubtedly had sufficient gunshot residue on his body.
His shooter did not deny killing him, in fact, he openly admitted to the crime. Had this been a case on an hour long episode of CSI, the investigators would have solved it without breaking a sweat, leaving the ending credits rolling one minute after the opening theme music. Had it been on the reality court show, Judge Judy, Qadri would have been a source of nutrients for soil by now.
Yet here we are, closing on five years since the murder, and Qadri and his fundamentalist clown posse have made a mockery of the Pakistani justice system. The murderer remains convicted, yet not punished.
Qadri claims he murdered Taseer because the governor questioned the validity of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law, which has been used as a weapon by many nam kay Musalmaans (Muslims by name only) to target minority groups. Taseer, of course, was speaking up for Aasia Bibi, a Christian lady convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.
Ideally, the deranged bodyguard should have been punished after a speedy trial. The way Qadri and his fundamentalist clown posse were allowed to hijack Pakistan with their warped interpretation of religion and the blasphemy law, only encouraged other numskulls to target more minorities. If the blasphemy law had been controversial before, it was now untouchable.
What’s more, had Qadri been punished without being allowed to spread his nauseating propaganda, the case Taseer had been fighting for could have gained the momentum it deserved.
Dawn estimates that from 1986 to 2010, 1,274 people have been charged under the blasphemy law, which was added into the constitution by General Ziaul Haq, the dictator who keeps on giving. Prior to 1986, only 14 cases were reported, which is a startling disparity.
The saner members of the Pakistani public have always questioned the logic behind the blasphemy law, yet their voices have been drowned by the extremely vocal minorities who championed it.
When Qadri shot Taseer, he immediately became the loon to lead the lunatics, the joker of this gallery of rogues. He would have become a martyr regardless, but by punishing him quickly, at least Pakistan would have set an example for others. Qadri should have met a disgraceful end, instead he was allowed to become the tube light to which flocked the frolicking moths.
As it has been with dictators, militants, and terrorists, we allow far too many jackals to assume the role of lions in this country.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.