Tag Archive: Extremism

General Zia-ul-Haq, the most condemned military dictator of Pakistan’s history, had no idea that his amendment in the anti-blasphemy law will assume the status of a “divine law” within decades of his death. This amendment was made to please the clergy which was one of the sources of his strength and legitimacy and which he strengthened at the cost of the country. This was a man-made law by every definition and there were dissenting voices demanding to rewrite the procedure in order to minimize the chances of its misuse for personal reasons. However, with the spread of extremism in the country, any move to revise the procedure was deemed to be blasphemy itself. The first high-profile victim was Punjab’s governor Salman Taseer who was killed by his own bodyguard for seeking justice for a Christian convict under the law. Just after two months of now forgotten tragedy, Pakistan’s minister for religious minorities, who had opposed the blasphemy laws, was shot dead in Islamabad on Wednesday. Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of the cabinet, was thus, the second senior member of the ruling Pakistan People’s party to be gunned down in two months.

According to media reports, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has accepted the responsibility for this assassination. The killing was condemned by human rights groups, who say religious extremists are waging a campaign of murder and intimidation to expand their influence and create a climate of fear for minorities. The killing also raises questions about the level of security the state is able to provide to senior officials who might be at risk of attack. The government would investigate why Mr Bhatti did not have greater protection – including a bullet proof car. After Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination, someone like Shehbaz Bhatti, who was such an obvious target, should have had more security.

The bodyguard who shot Mr. Taseer said he had killed him for calling for changes to the country’s blasphemy laws. Human rights groups say the laws enshrine discrimination and render minorities second class citizens. An outpouring of popular sympathy for the Mr Taseer’s killer showed how tolerance of pluralism is shrinking in once moderate Pakistan as liberal politicians have increasingly ceded ground to religious hardliners.

Mr. Taseer had championed the case of a Christian woman who had been condemned to death under the blasphemy laws.

Please also read:

What is more disturbing in Salman Taseer murder, crime or its glorification?

Blasphemy law is responsible for extremism, says known Islamic scholar….


Two notable experts on taxation have recently made an interesting comparison of European and American Taxation Models and have concluded that our budget-makers, consciously or unconsciously, are following American Taxation Model while dealing with economic classes within the society. Please go to Business Recorder to read article by Huzaima Bokhari and Dr Ikramul Haq. According to these experts, European governments in general and Scandinavian in particular, deplore the idea that people should remain mired in poverty.

In order to address this issue, these governments have initiated a number of welfare programs to help those lagging behind enabling them to move up economically and socially. According to these experts, these European governments resent the sight of rich families staying at the top, and thus impose high taxes on them to redistribute wealth and income in their societies. In the European view, social stability is desirable and if a certain amount of inflexibility is needed to underpin it, that is a price worth paying to avoid the perpetual class conflicts and restless uncertainties of market-driven models. This is how they do not let the monster of extremism raise its ugly head.

On the contrary, we have not been able to eliminate, let alone control the menace of extremism because our successive governments since 1962, following the American approach of free-for-all meritocracy started benefiting the rich through their economic policies. Inequalities are growing; wealth is being transferred from the poor to the rich with skilful maneuvering of prices of the essential items of daily consumption by the rich. State also gets taxes by price hikes in petroleum prices and make up deficiencies by levying surcharge. Ordinary people cannot afford even every day food consumables – what to talk of sugar, which the ruling mafia has converted into “white gold”. What makes the situation worst is persistence of unprecedented wasteful non-development expenditures.

Although we are already lagging behind and have lost precious time to initiate action, it is not too late to start following European Model even today. The time-bomb of class discrimination is ticking and can explode anytime soon.