His father was murdered after he had spoken up for Asia Bibi and against Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS – December 31, 2016) – First Shaan Taseer lost his father, Punjab governor, Salman Taseer, who was killed in a shocking 2011 assassination by his personal bodyguard, and now Shaan has been booked for alleged “hate speech” following his Christmas message.
In an outrageous turn of events, even by Pakistan’s standards, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered today (Saturday, December 31, 2016) at Islampura police station in Lahore after Shaan Taseer sent a greeting out to fellow countrymen on the occasion of Christmas.
According to media reports in Pakistan, the police station received an application from Nasir Hameed, its Station House Officer (SHO), and they subsequently booked Shaan Taseer under Section 295-A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) “without naming him in the report.”
Now, the fundamentalist Islamic organization Sunni Tehreek is pressing the police to register a case against Shaan under Section 295-C of the Penal Code.
According to the Nasir Hameed, he received a video message in which “a man” was wishing his viewers “Merry Christmas” and requesting fellow countrymen to pray for minority members being exploited by, what he called, the “inhumane blasphemy law.”
The “man” also requested prayers for blasphemy victims including Asia Bibi, Nabeel Masih and their families, and all other Pakistanis languishing in jails on charges of blasphemy, the SHO added.
According to the FIR, the “man” who made the speech in the video had made a mockery of the blasphemy law and hurt religious sentiments of Muslims.
Talking to The Express Tribune in Pakistan (http://tribune.com.pk/), Shaan Taseer said, “The state [seems to be] retreating whenever or wherever the mob appears to exact blood for imagined slights. Whereas the state should come into action when violent mobs arise [but] it retreats and even assists it.
“To find hate speech in today’s Pakistan, not in the ranks of the ASWJ [Guardians of the Prophet’s Companions, now renamed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, an extremist Deobandi Muslim organization in Pakistan] or the Lal masjid [translated: Red Mosque, located in Islamabad], but in a Christmas message is the stuff of satire. It reminds me of a 50-50 skit [Pakistani Comedy skit drama which was aired in 1980’s].”
Meanwhile, Sunni Tehreek Lahore chapter president Mujahid Abdul Rasool told The Express Tribune that he had filed an application at Mughalpura police station for registration of an FIR against Shaan under Section 295-C of PPC.
“He accused the police of trying to protect Shaan by registering FIR against an unidentified man despite the fact that the man in the video had introduced himself as Shaan Taseer,” said the newspaper.
Brutal slaying of Salmaan Taseer
Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was attacked and killed on January 4, 2011, in a hail of bullets in Islamabad’s Kohsar market. He was shot by one of his security guards, an elite force personnel, Mumtaz Qadri. Qadri, who confessed to the murder and was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court, had trained as an elite police commando and was assigned to Taseer as his bodyguard. He was sentenced to death later that year.
Qadri had claimed it was his “religious duty” to kill the governor, who was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws and had supported the freeing of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian mother-of-five who was sentenced to death in 2010 for alleged blasphemy. Taseer had said that Asia Bibi should not be forgotten and there was a need to make all-out efforts to get her justice.
Qadri’s appeal was rejected in December 2015, and he was hanged on February 29, 2016 at around 4:30 a.m. at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. His funeral was held on March 1, 2016 at Liaqat National Bagh in Rawalpindi and attended by huge crowds. Muslims are now said to be building shrine in his memory.
Taseer’s son Shaan Taseer said, “My father died for a great cause and we do not want this cause to end here. We will take it forward to try and save the lives of many innocent who are being killed in the name of religion.”
Now, he too is facing a dangerous situation in a country where the rule of law seems to be almost non-existent. There certainly was little Christmas spirit in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan this year.
Photo captions: 1) Shaan Taseer. 2) Salmaan Taseer visiting Asia Bibi, something that appears to have cost him his life. 3) Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of Salmaan Taseer following his arrest. 4) Asia Bibi. 5) Shaan Taseer appearing on a BBC Urdu program. 5) Dan Wooding with his BPCA award.
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About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria, West Africa, of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who then worked with the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as SIM. He now lives in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for some 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder/president of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of some 45 books. He has a weekly radio show, Front Page Radio, on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com), and two TV shows, Windows on the World (with Dr. Garry Ansdell), and Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding, which are both carried on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv). Dan has received an award from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) for his reporting on Pakistani affairs.
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