Pakistani lawyers, ‘moderate’ Muslim group fete governor’s assassin

To understand just how bad things are in Pakistan, read this Associated Press account of the treatment of the assassin who brutally murdered Punjab’s governor, Salman Taseer, for opposing Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy law. The lawyers showered the assassin bodyguard with rose petals, while Barelvi clerics, who are upheld as the caretakers of Pakistan’s moderate Muslims, said the murderer acted with “courage, bravery and religious honor and integrity,” and warned other Pakistani politicians against opposing the blasphemy law.

Lawyers showered the suspected killer of a prominent Pakistani governor with rose petals when he arrived at court Wednesday and an influential Muslim scholars group praised the assassination of the outspoken opponent of laws that order death for those who insult Islam.

Mumtaz Qadri, 26, made his first appearance in an Islamabad court, where a judge remanded him in custody a day after he allegedly sprayed automatic gunfire at the back of Punjab province Gov. Salman Taseer while he was supposed to be protecting him as a bodyguard. A rowdy crowd slapped him on the back and kissed his cheek as he was escorted inside. The lawyers who tossed handfuls of rose petals over him were not involved in the case.

As he left the court, a crowd of about 200 sympathizers chanted “death is acceptable for Muhammad’s slave.” The suspect stood at the back door of an armored police van with a flower necklace given to him by an admirer and repeatedly yelled “God is great.”

More than 500 clerics and scholars from the group Jamat Ahle Sunnat said no one should pray or express regret for the killing of the governor. The group representing Pakistan’s majority Barelvi sect, which follows a brand of Islam considered moderate, also issued a veiled threat to other opponents of the blasphemy laws.

“The supporter is as equally guilty as one who committed blasphemy,” the group warned in a statement, adding politicians, the media and others should learn “a lesson from the exemplary death.”

Jamat leader Maulana Shah Turabul Haq Qadri paid “glorious tribute to the murderer … for his courage, bravery and religious honor and integrity.”

The assassin belonged to Dawat-i-Islami, “a non-political and non-violent religious group close to a moderate Sunni Muslim sect.” From AKI:

Taseer’s self-confessed killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was associated with the moderate Barelvi sect, according to one his colleagues. The Barelvis originated in India in the 19th century to defend traditional Islam and many practices and rites associated with the mystical Sufi strand of the faith.

Five hundred Barelvi scholars warned that anyone who expresses grief over Taseer’s assassination could suffer the same fate.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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17 Comments

  • Paul says:

    Sick country full of sick people!

  • indus says:

    Islam in this version, it appears to me, is a two faced religion. It has one set of values for its own, and may be they include peace, tolerance and compassion. However, for those outside it, it has a face characterized by deceit, destruction and death. In a sense, it is a significantly more venomous variant of KKK of yore, except it is not based on race but faith and respects no boundaries, national or other. With this degree of intolerance and even praise for outright criminal behavior, Pakistan appears to be a lost cause.

  • Caratacus10ad says:

    It really is time for the West to consider the worst case scenario for Pakistan… It really is becoming as close to the edge of darkness as is possible, where hard line Islam is King.
    For the US to continue to provide military aid and civilian aid without full and comprehensive auditing of that aid money, is akin to paying a mobster protection within a neighbourhood where the inhabitants are the mobsters family.
    The US would be better spending tax payers money preventing Islamization elsewhere rather than throwing dollars away into a place where it is Islamicised solidly as a rock!

  • Charu says:

    A logical outcome to what’s been taking place in Pakistan from the time it was created. The moderates long ago ceded the national space to religious extremists. Look no further than what the Taliban did in Afghanistan when they were in power to see what’s in store for Pakistan. Pakistani lawyers will soon be throwing rose petals as they amputate limbs and stone women to death. Pakistan needs to be walled-off and allowed to self-destruct as it regresses to the 7th century. And if they ever use nukes anywhere, they will be sent back to stone age as Armitage had threatened.

  • Charu says:

    The video clips of Qadri’s court appearance were sickening. He was mobbed like a rock star, and he confidently strutted about in the throng secure in his knowledge that his life was never in danger. His assignment as a bodyguard to Taseer is very suspect and smells of ISI involvement. These things rarely happen by accident in Pakistan where the ISI has a tight grip on all security matters.
    Word to security profilers, any Muslim with a prominent bruise in the forehead should automatically be scrutinized carefully. This bruise comes from rabidly pressing the forehead to the ground in prayers 5 times daily without fail, and is a proudly borne mark of fervent devotion. Qadri shows this bruise, as does al Zawahiri, bin Laden, and most other fanatics.

  • mike says:

    Clearly, there is a major problem with waiting to see where the first nuclear explosion detonates before doing something about the problem. No one in Washington wants to contemplate a full-scale war against the Pakistani state and its nuclear capabilities, but I sure hope the plan is on the table, up to date, and that the Indians are on board to participate in picking up the pieces.

  • Villiger says:

    WSJ reports
    “Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, who was close to Mr. Taseer, vowed to bring those responsible to justice. He did not attend Wednesday’s funeral for security reasons.”
    Reckon that puts paid to Obama’s trip to Pakistan this year!? If the local President can’t attend a state funeral for his own Governor/friend…..
    One thing becomes clear, the CIA chief was smart to get the hell out of this odious country double-quick!
    Charu, i agree with you this country should be sequestered immediately. In every way. The UN needs to be brought on board with urgency and if China is the last man standing, this needs to be identified. Paks nukes need to be dismantled or relocated and escrowed, again under UN supervision. They can then be left to stew in their own pervert society and sort out their own schizo, diabolical mess.
    Last point: if a top Govt servant can be victim to an orchestrated inside job. Why not the same for some nuke material?

  • Villiger says:

    Mike, a full-scale head-on war is unnecessary,nukes or no nukes. Just start with pulling the Baluch rug out from under Pak’s feet. Play dominos rather than chess especially where there is an endless pipeline of pawns. That’ll also sort out a spanking new port and logistical supply line.
    Anyway to be clear there is NO WAY the pak army is geared up for a full-scale war.

  • Max says:

    I can’t add much to these comments as I agree 100%. I just wonder how widely the AP report was printed in major news outlets in the US. Political correctness is so rife that reading this account as is in most newspapers would be a surprise to me.

  • Villiger says:

    ‘Salmaan Taseer came here and he sacrificed his life for me’ is the heading of a heart-wrenching story on Aasia Noreen the woman that Taseer was supporting.
    //www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/salmaan-taseer-came-here-and-he-sacrificed-his-life-for-me-2179170.html
    Could anyone be in a worse place?
    I doubt, not even in Afghanistan. And Pakistan is going to help the world with a peace reconciliation in Afghanistan?
    And the world stands by and watches this charade. Whatever is the UN up to? Its a shameful existence and a shameful reality. The thing is the Pakistanis don’t know what shame is, but the rest of the world should know better.

  • Tim says:

    @Villiger
    I agree completely that time has come for us to disintegrate Pakistan…and Baluchistan is the provice to start with! Balochis are our friends. They are moderate and peace loving who have been caught us in this hell-hole-Pakistan. They are being systematically genocided by the Pakistan Army and are calling out for our help. Besides they have offered assistance by offering their Gwadar port. This will also lessen China’s influence in the Arabian Sea. India will fully support this decision as will other Arab states. This will also keep a watch on Iran!
    Indian intelligence is also suggesting the same:
    //ramanstrategicanalysis.blogspot.com/2011/01/need-for-more-us-interest-in.html
    Its time to change course in Pakistan. Lets hit them where it hurts!! and help the Balochis at the same time!

  • Charu says:

    Taseer has been portrayed as a liberal and moderate Pakistani. Yet, his non-Muslim son born out of wedlock wrote the following about his father:
    “I had begun my journey asking why my father was Muslim, and this was why: none of Islam’s once powerful moral imperatives existed within him, but he was Muslim because he doubted the Holocaust, hated America and Israel, thought Hindus were weak and cowardly, and because the glories of the Islamic past excited him…. The faith decayed within him…, became nothing but a deep, unreachable historical and political identity…. It was significant because in the end this was the moderate Muslim, and it was too little moderation and in the wrong areas…. ” Aatish Taseer, STRANGER TO HISTORY: A SON`S JOURNEY THROUGH ISLAMIC LANDS

  • Villiger says:

    Tim,
    Thanks for that link. Well articulated article. Everyone frustrated with the status quo with Pakistan should read that piece.
    Couple of additional factors:
    * One often understandably reads comments by people who feel intimidated by the sheer volume of Pakistan’s population of 180m or so. The beauty of Balochistan is that while it represents 45% of Pak territory, it has 5% of the population–under 10m.
    * As you say it can be anticipated that the large majority of the people are predisposed to US help.
    * The demographics and terrain make it easy to occupy, hold and most importantly develop rapidly. The new port is an absolute Godsend and China deserves a very big kiss for that.
    * ISAF controlling the Quetta to Qandahar axis will be a major blow to AQ/T and their sponsors, the PakMil. The PakMil’s popularity will take a massive dive and from that, combined with other initiatives in the north, it will hopefully never recover. I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture here but what remains of Pakistan then may have its best chance of revival. At least there may be a new-found realism.
    We spent 2010 with the US figuring out that Pak’s cooperation in their badlands is a prerequisite to going forward in Afghanistan. We will probably spend the whole of this new year figuring out that Balochistan holds the key. Let’s hope there’s some action in 2012 in Baloch and that the US starts preparing the ground for it forthwith.
    Pakistan needs to be cut to size–militarily, physically, figuratively, psychologically. Their chaos needs to be disaggregated. Peace in that area will only come from the pieces of Pakistan.

  • ramgun says:

    @Villager: “As you say it can be anticipated that the large majority of the people are predisposed to US help.”
    Cant think of too many places in the world where people want US interference. Even if they do, they very soon come to regret it. Make no mistake – anti US sentiment is pretty strong in all of Pakistan (and with good reason, in my opinion)
    As for India, the last thing we want is for US to carry out another muddling experiment in Pakistan, and leave it to us to deal with the aftermath. Other than sporadic terrorist attacks, we dont see Pakistan as a major threat today – it is embroiled in its own sectarian problems. We dont want US bungling to create a chaotic situation in our borders.
    You guys have caused enough mess – please back off. Btw, I am from India; in case that is not evident

  • Villiger says:

    Hello ramgun, the name is Villiger–there isn’t a Villager here, not that i have noticed. I thought thats the first thing they teach you in call centres!

    “You guys have caused enough mess – please back off. Btw, I am from India; in case that is not evident”
    Further, your assumption that i am American couldn’t be more of a misjudgment. Only your perception that India is immune from what is happening in Pakistan to spill over into India, demonstrates a profound lack of judgment and elementary understanding.
    Btw, how do you know i’m not Indian? One doesn’t to wear ones nationality on one’s sleeve as you negotiate the blogosphere you know. In fact you realise it carries the risk of appearing bigoted, especially when one is having a conversation on global issues.

    ” As for India, the last thing we want is for US to carry out another muddling experiment in Pakistan, and leave it to us to deal with the aftermath. Other than sporadic terrorist attacks, we dont see Pakistan as a major threat today – it is embroiled in its own sectarian problems. We dont want US bungling to create a chaotic situation in our borders.”
    And who is the “we” you represent here? Don’t fancy yourself as the only Indian who visits here. Or maybe you have a babu-complex?
    ( //www.thefreedictionary.com/babu )
    Whatever, let me not underline your naivety, for you are utterly at odds with the thinking of the Indian Govt. Do some research next time, before you are tempted to butt into other people’s conversations.

  • Villiger says:

    ramgun, i take it you read Raman’s analysis on Balochistan linked above.
    Now read another on Pashtunistan written by Shyam Saran, ex Foreign Secretary and the PM’s Special Envoy on nuclear matters. Effectively the key negotiator on the India-US nuclear deal. I hope this will help you un-muddle your thoughts.
    //www.iiss.org/whats-new/iiss-in-the-press/september-2010/shyam-saran-how-not-to-exit-afghanistan/

  • Charu says:

    “Other than sporadic terrorist attacks, we dont see Pakistan as a major threat today”
    After the brutal savagery in Mumbai, which revealed the extent in Pakistan of the blind hatred they have for India, it is nearly a given that a nuclear terrorist attack of a major Indian city is next in the cards. If this doesn’t constitute a major threat then I don’t know what does.
    The Israelis understand the existential threat that they face on a daily basis which is why they are proactive and united in their defense. India, however, is the classic soft state; reactive, divided, and behind the curve. If you will, the south Asian equivalent of France with its “impregnable” defenses or Poland with its magnificent cavalry while the Nazis perfected the blitzkrieg.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis