Samson Simon Sharaf Like most Pakistanis, I was stunned by disbelief to see the breaking news of the late Salman Taseer s assassination; not that I am a fan, but rather the direction in which Pakistan is headed. Like every citizen of this country, who believes in Jinnah s vision, I was disturbed and saddened by events that followed. None could have articulated the direction towards which Pakistan is headed, better than Imran Khan. In his interview to CNN, he related this unfortunate event into cause and effect. He said: In fact, Pakistan is imploding. This country is going down. Rather than his usual dynamic and imposing demeanour, he appeared tense, grim and sombre. His face, reminiscent of the first losing matches of 1992 World Cup, reflected the concerns of every Pakistani; betrayal of Jinnahs vision of a plural, progressive and communitarian society. The purpose of this article is not to write an obituary of an assassinated Pakistani politician, but instead assess what lies ahead for Pakistan and in appraising the future course of Pakistans politic body. Hours after the assassination, I formulated a hypothesis and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. As events have unfolded thereafter, my worst fears are coming true. Salmans assassination is beyond symbolic. This is the starting point of a struggle between the forces that bank on force for power and the so-called liberal forces within Pakistan. Does it bring an end to the era of the Punjab Progressives like Faiz, Mian Iftikhar and Dr Taseer, or will the pyre burn? Notwithstanding that the event is a criminal act in which an individual has taken law into his own hands; I am more concerned at the trends that this assassination is leading to. The religious right spearheaded by political parties has taken a position on the incident declaring the assassin a hero. During the entire run up to the assassination, political parties distanced themselves from the slain Governor and left him alone with few civil activists, minority leaders and opinion makers to fight the contest generated by his 'couldnt careless approach. Even the ruling PPP hierarchy distanced itself from him and its stalwarts like Babar Awan and the Prime Minister publicly distanced themselves from the doomed politician. A large segment of the Rawalpindi Bar Association has put its weight behind the assassin, garlanded, kissed and hugged him. The governments in power at provincial and federal levels have failed to take action against those who are justifying the assassination on religious grounds or offering head money on those condemned under PPC 295C. There are no measures in sight to contain this fervor. The internet media is flooded with admiration of the assassin. Facebook has numerous profiles and communities portraying him a knight. Elements of the government in power are screaming helplessly that police investigations are being interfered with. The security apparatus in Pakistan has shown its low motivational state, lack of training and commitment and non-seriousness in the security of VVIPs. But all this has not happened overnight. The story began with Jinnahs plural Pakistan, which was systematically replaced with political manipulations to sustain the emerging political elites and the establishment. It began with Jinnah abandoned on the roads of Karachi grasping for fresh air. Religious forces that opposed the creation of Pakistan and supported the Khilafat Movement under Gandhi slowly began to overawe the Muslim League that created Pakistan and opposed the Khilafat. As time passed, numerous Muslim Leagues that were created to suit the establishments, dishonoured Jinnahs Pakistan and proceeded into short-term expediencies that have now resulted in intolerance, violence and lawlessness; all in the name of religion. As this trend spread, many members of the minority communities, who worked in cahoots with Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah elected to either move back to India or to other countries. Even many war heroes, who served Pakistan in its two wars emigrated. As Raymond Durrani puts it: When it comes to win a game, whether that game is in a sports match, in politics and or in democracy, the winner requires only one extra point over its opponent. In the game of creation of Pakistan, that one point (actually four points) came from the Christian MPs and the Speaker of the House of the Punjab Assembly, who happened to be a Christian to make Pakistan a reality. Do the masses of Pakistan Muslims know who and where those members of the Christian Pakistani nation are? Similarly, the uprisings in Kashmir had the intellectual, military and political inputs from men like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Mian Iftikharuddin of Progressive Papers Lahore and Dr Taseer. Pathetically, these heroes of the Kashmir struggle were thrown into cages by the dictators for conspiring against Kashmir, and we in schools were forbidden from reading Faizs poetry. In yet another Shakespearean irony, a man who earned and paid honest taxes to Pakistan in its worst times, and one who turned anything he touched in business to gold fell to bullets and is labelled an infidel. Ever since, this trend has grown Pakistan was chosen as an Islamic containment bulwark against a so-called godless Russia during the cold war. The US called Pakistan to an international jihad against the infidel Soviets during the occupation of Afghanistan. The West and many Arab states created the sectarian outfits to fail Irans Revolution. Tragically, at each occasion military dictators seeking legitimacy obliged and plunged Pakistan deeper into the militant syndrome. The present war on terror serves to air and ignite these violent trends, with the conclusion that any moderate who speaks up for Jinnahs vision is called an enemy agent, infidel and traitor. Jinnahs Pakistanis are fast losing space and relevance and there is no one to challenge these forces of regression. I agree with Imran Khan when he says: In fact, Pakistan is imploding. This country is going down. The writer is a retired brigadier and a political economist.