I am not an advocate for capital punishment, but when I see people like Mumtaz Qadri , it is very easy to think differently. In fact, if I had my way, I would give suggestions on how to go about it too. And also set examples of the zoo of lawyers who represent him as well.

Then again in our country, if he is hanged, he might very well be turned into a shaheed/martyr by his cultist fanatics and then eventually be considered a saint down the years.

It is a tough call; I’ll go with the previous for now.

It all keeps coming back to the most used and abused law in Pakistan –the blasphemy law. Numerous people – all innocent – have been killed, tortured, hacked and even burnt alive in its name.

The story of Asia Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi) is well known but what is not known is that even though she was wrongly accused of blasphemy in our tolerant society, most people did not take her side. Because Muslims were accusing a Christian, they were surprisingly assumed right. She was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. Hard to believe isn’t it, but there were people rejoicing all around. Ok, maybe not that hard to believe.

Most did not care, as it did not concern them, while others refrained from saying anything lest anyone questioned their level of ‘Muslim-ness.’ There were and still remains two levels to gauge this and nothing else in between. Either you are an amazing Muslim or you are a Kafir.  That’s it. Putting it in a simpler way, it means “if agree with me, you are a Muslim. If you don’t you are a kafir.”

There is no room for the pendulum to swing.

However, in the midst of the quiet of the crickets, there was one man who raised his voice to speak up for Asia Noreen and questioned the law that had unfairly thrown her in jail. The man was the no-stranger-to-limelight, Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer.

The religious scholars and mullahs who have historically always remained asleep when women were being raped, when little children were forced to marry old men, when acid was being thrown on someone’s face, when murders were taking place in the name of honor, etc, suddenly awoke from their deep slumber. Loud speeches were made, screeching threats with fists in the air, and beards flying in the wind about what a blasphemer Mr. Taseer was to doubt a divine law of God.

‘Gustakh-i-Rasool!’ were the chants on every lips. Fatwas were passed around like candy on Halloween.

Then one day, as everyone knows, the guard who was being paid to protect Mr. Taseer pumped over 30 bullets in his body murdering him. Mumtaz Qadri said he was doing God’s work and had been chosen for it too.

I am pretty sure no voice came to him and certainly not the one of God, which said, “Dude, you go kill the man who pays for the food on your plate.” Perhaps he had been brainwashed as are many, but at the end of the day, it was him, a grown man who committed the murder. Even a child knows it is wrong to hurt another.

One would think that the country would have roared with anger about this. They did, but not the way you would expect.

After Mumtaz Qadri was arrested, not just the religious groups or religiously inclined people but even the ones with no previous affinity to religion, the ones who spent drunken nights waking up in strange places, the ones who spoke up for equality, the ones whose religion started and ended with Eid prayer and making new clothes for it, were suddenly the loud voices calling Mr. Taseer a ‘Gustakh-i-Rasool.’

Apparently when it came to such a murder, both sides of the coin – the liberal and conservative – seemed to think alike. Who’d have thought!

The few who thought it wrong dared not say anything. Qadri was showered with roses by his fans on Valentine’s Day. He was sent love letters while he was in jail. He was given wet ‘smooches’ by lawyers. Even his cell in jail was the size of a basketball court. He was and still remains a hero for many.

To this day, he does not repent and remains adamant that what he did was God’s work. As if God Himself is not capable of doing things and must rely on cowards like Mumtaz Qadri . Yes, coward. What else would you call a person who would face an unarmed man in a surprise attack and kill him the way he did?

Coward!

A brave man saves, not kills.

After a lot of delay, Justice Pervez Ali Shah eventually sentenced him to death. As a result, he was harassed on a daily basis and received numerous death threats from our fine population. The last straw was when Islamic lawyers trashed his office. He soon after left the country.

That was not a typo, you read it right, lawyers, actual lawyers trashed the judge’s office because they disagreed with his sentence. The same lawyers who said the Charlie Hebdo killers were heroes. The same lawyers whose main argument in court was that to murder someone in the name of religion is A-OK! *insert two thumbs up like Borat here* They argued that it was the right of every Muslim to do so. I suppose the police are there just for decoration then? The Supreme Court to hold family weddings in?

On a separate note, I do wonder what those said lawyers think of Junaid Jamshed and his ‘blasphemous’ past?

A plea was made to the Supreme Court to overturn Qadri’s death sentence. Justice Saeed Khosa showed them what justice actually means and upheld it. Mumtaz Qadri is to be executed and that too as a terrorist.

Putting all that aside, I thought when extremists/terrorists did things in the name of God, they didn’t care what happened to them in this life. The afterlife is everything so why is Qadri not ready to die? Why all the appeals? Should he not be in a hurry to go? Should he not be screaming in his cell, ‘Kill me now, the houris await me.’

He has officially done his bit to get them in heaven by murdering a ‘blasphemer’ so why the delay? Why does he want to live?

I suppose such people are willing to KILL for religion, but not die for it – because you know, the pain. It’s just better on the other person rather than yourself.

Like I said, coward.

Salmaan Taseer’s life was taken before his time while Asia Noreen with withering health, remains in jail in isolation. In isolation, because so many people have tried to kill her, she can’t be near anyone any more. She even has to cook her own food, lest someone put poison in it.  Everyone wants the (falsely accused) blasphemer dead, even in jail.

She is no longer on death row, but I do wonder what would happen to her if she is ever set free. Our people won’t let her live even then. There are too many out there who think they are God’s chosen one.

And that too strangely, only if it requires violence. 150 workers of religious parties have already staged an all night protest against Justice Khosa calling him a blasphemer and stating that he is now wajib-ul-qatal. To kill him would mean doing God’s work. See? Always with the violence.

Even social media has erupted with the hashtag #freemumtazqadri

I don’t know what is going to happen next, but I do think it is time that people started to speak up before it comes and lands in their own backyard and we should remember the words of Salmaan Taseer, “A man/nation is judged by how they support those weaker than them not how they lean on those stronger.”