The government’s ban on attending the rally commemorating Mumtaz Qadri’s death anniversary seems to have fallen on deaf ears – thousands defied the government’s orders and still attended the event at his shrine on the outskirts of Islamabad on Wednesday. There are however conflicting reports; a spokesperson from the Interior Ministry clarified that the rally itself was not banned, the government just wanted it rerouted in preparation for the ECO Summit in Islamabad. If this is actually the case and there was no ban, there should have been.

Even if we ignore the fact that this procession was taking place mere days before foreign heads of state are due to visit the country – the negative press from celebrating a murderer and a terrorist cannot be discounted – can the government really allow for more space to those who worship Qadri as a hero? Bear in mind that these are the very people who oppose any and all changes to the blasphemy law (and have full assurance from the government that it will abide by this), justify a murder on the basis of questioning the veracity of a law and stand for something at complete odds with the notions of peace and justice.

Making a martyr out of Governor Salmaan Taseer’s murderer was not going to yield any other results – the government’s inaction time and again has all but confirmed to Qadri’s supporters that they can do as they please in the name of a murderer.

Have we learnt nothing from the failed experiment of flirting with reactionary religious extremists and sectarian outfits? There are at best, cosmetic differences between Qadri supporters and the terrorists looking to undermine the writ of the state and kill innocent civilians in the process.

Maybe in cases such as this, going the prudent path and not allowing for the remains to be enshrined is the safest option. The state failed when it allowed for Qadri’s body to be entombed and enshrined close to the nation’s capital. It failed again when it allowed for his supporters to gather in the capital and make demands which included barring any changes to the blasphemy law. And on Wednesday, it failed once more when it allowed over 3000 Mumtaz Qadri supporters to commemorate his death, and claim that killing an innocent man, a governor no less, was completely justified and is something worth idolising a person over.