Salman Taseer Sahib! We are ashamed of
By: Amir Hussaini
I was sitting with my two friends in a resturant one was Azam Khan and other was Syed Musadiq Mehdi Jaffary both are progressive and have long record strugggle against anti democratic and anti enlightened tradition .We were sipping coffee when suddenly a news broke out on T.V screen about attack on Salman Taseer in Islamabad and his death by his security guard Mumtaz from elite force.
My two friends and me all shocked to see that .Particularly Azam Khan who was very close to Salman Taseer and he had many notable things for sharing about his work with salman taseer during Zia Era in Lahore.
I was also remembering my first meeting with Tadeer sahib in 1988 when he was detained in police station of Sabzazar colony lahore due to political vitimization of Nawaz Sharif who was Chief Minister of Punjab.
Salman Taseer was acting as opposition leader in Lahore when no body was ready to oppose Nawaz Sharif .This was great crime committed by Taseer in Lahore so he had to face torture in Thana Sabza Zar.When i met him in lock up he was in sever pain but smiled to see me and other Jiyalas .We chanted Jeye Bhutto he also chanted Sada Jeye Bhutto .
Then we met many times but one meeting was so great when he was Governor. He called me and asked to write in his newly launched newspaper Aajkal.But I could not write due to my negligence but when Wajhat Masood became Editorial in-charge in that paper then he forced me to write regularly for daily AAJKAL Lahore.
To write regular column in Urdu daily AAJKAL Lahore proved very pleasant experience and brought me close more to Salman Taseer Sahib.Although he was very busy person but whenever he would read my column then he would send me feedback .
In fact Salman Taseer had a desire of revival of tradition in world of media set by Progressive Papers Limited in his heart and he mentioned his desire when he decided to issue a new English newspaper Daily Times from Lahore and after some year he started to publish Daily Aajkal Lahore and then started a T.V channel Business Plus.In all his media products he followed enlightened and progressive lines.
Urdu Daily Aajkal provided space for enlightened, progressive and anti rightist columnists and essay writers which was not for them in other Urdu dailies.
Actually Salman Sahib was very interested in revival of progressive traditions and waves in Punjab and he wanted to see Pakistan People’s Party as vanguard of enlightenment and progressive thoughts in Punjab particularly.
He approached many writers, activists and political workers and asked them to work for betterment of oppressed communities of Pakistan. And he himself never ignored this cause.
Salman Taseer was brought up in Lahore which was center of culture having different shades and colors of thoughts and practices.He was young when he joined Pakistan People’s Party and he wrote a book on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and a book lover Qayoom Bhutti who is old comrades of Bhutto and junior of Late Hussain Shaheed Soharwardi called it one of the best books were written on Bhuuto.
Salman Taseer was seriously feel legacy of Zia a cancer for Pakistan and cultural life of Punjab so he never felt shame in expressing his feelings in public.He always called so called Islamization introduced in constitution of Pakistan by Zia as Fraud and for victimization of religious minorities of Pakistan and for creating a serious divide among people.
He was breathing actually in old political culture of Pakistan when he was in MRD and whole leadership of MRD rejected so called Islamization of Zia dictator.And it was Waris Mir teacher in Punjab University had written a series of column on question of status of evidence or depone of women in Urdu daily Jang Lahore and Javed Ahmad Ghamdi wrote many essays on stoning till death Punishment and many lawyers and legal experts pointed out many defects and shortcomings in method of registering a case and investigation under Blasphemy Act in Zia era but nobody called them Wajib-ul-Qatal although followers of Syed Mudoodi gave Fatwas against them but nobody took serious them.
And second thing which played important role in sustaining diversity loving political cultural in society in those days was role of Secular, liberal and enlightened political workers,poets,writers,journalists ,lawyers, students and trade union workers .These all resisted whenever rightists wanted to impose their agenda on society and they never allowed theocracy dominating in society although its forced intervention in constitutions and state institutions.
When a poor Christian woman was falsely involved in Blasphemy case then he want to revive tradition of resistance against Mullah-ism and theocratization of society then his view was that he was well known enlightened Muslim and belonged to that family whose links with Islam remained always strong and despite all differences nobody had showed suspicion about his belief.
His view was also that Civil society would support him and comrades of his Party would stand behind him .But alas! all this proved an idealism and he lost his life.
I went next day after his killing Lahore and went in Governor House where Imam of Mosque of Governor House had refused to offer prayer of Janaza of Salman Taseer and all big names of PPP Lahore failed to bring any other cleric for this purpose.
It was Rehman Malik who convinced Allama Afazal Chishty to do that job. Chishty Sahib was President of PPP Ulema wing. Rehman Malik promised him that he would be provided fool proof security but when he offered the prayer then nobody from big names of PPP was there to bring along with him.
There was a young Jiyala of Lahore who picked Allama Chishty from Governor House and provided shelter for some days ignoring all danger and risks in that job and then he managed to bring Chishty Sahib safe and sound in Islam Abad from where Allama sahib shifted in London with his family.
I and Syed Karrar Haider Shah,Azam Khan,Shehzad Francis and some other organized a protest on day of killing of Salman Taseer and invited all those well known but so called progressive who sole propertied all rights of enlightenment but did not come in that protest and advised us not to put our lives in danger. Comrades of his Party also gave some cold response and newly appointed Governor even removed all portraits and hoardings of Salman Taseer and even he did not mention former Governor when he made a speech after taking oath as Governor.
Salman would have never thought that after his killing his family would face more troubles in hiring a lawyer and Rawalpindi Bar would made hero his killer and then former Chief Justice of Lahore High Court would be defence lawyer of his killer.
Yesterday Bilawal Bhutto again demonstrated of courage and showed himself a brave leader when he wrote on twitter a social net working site,
“ST was on right side of history and we were at wrong side”
“PPP and PML(N) both failed in recovering of Shehbaz Taseer”
I think leadership and workers of PPP should apologize in Public with Salman Taseer and his family.
Really Salman Sahib! we are all feeling guilty and ashamed in front of you.