Bilawal Bhutto Zardari assured Christians and other minorities in Pakistan that they would be defended
The LUBP commends Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PPP chairperson, for his bold and timely rejoinder to the Islamofascists. At a time when the PPP government is being besieged on all fronts, it is important not to loose focus and address issues clearly and in that regard, we have nothing but the highest praise for Mr. Bilawal. In one strong gesture, he demolishes the narrative that is being carefully crafted in GHQ and its various supporters which blames the PPP for the murder of Taseer, therby deflecting attention away from the real murderers, their supporters and their apologists.
Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pays tribute to Salmaan Taseer, pledges to defend minorities in Pakistan
The son of Benazir Bhutto compared the death of a prominent Pakistan governor to his mother’s assassination at a memorial meeting tonight. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, now chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, told those gathered at the Pakistan High Commission in London that the bravery of liberal Punjab governor Salman Taseer will “never be forgotten”.
Mr Bhutto said: “My mother embraced martyrdom while defending our faith. She was martyred doing her jihad against those who had hijacked our religion. On January 4, Shaheed Salman Taseer was assassinated because he too refused to be silenced. He too was assassinated in defence of our religion. He died defending the message of Islam.”
Those mourning Mr Taseer were told that the 66-year-old, who had a British-born mother, was “the real lion of Punjab”.
Oxford University-educated Mr Bhutto condemned those who have praised Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard who said he killed the politician for criticising blasphemy laws.
Addressing Qadri’s supporters, Mr Bhutto said: “You, along with the killers of Shaheed Salman Taseer, are the real blasphemers. Because of you, the message of Islam is distorted in the eyes of the world.”
He stressed he spoke “not as a politician” but a student, and added: “Those who attack my religion, especially those who corrupt its peaceful message, you are what I call covert blasphemers and you will be defeated. This will be our jihad.”
Echoing the words he spoke following his mother’s death, he said: “Democracy is always the best revenge.”
Mr Taseer had become involved in the case of a Christian woman who he said was wrongly sentenced to death for insulting Islam’s prophet, Mohammed.
Mr Bhutto promised Christians and members of other minority groups in Pakistan: “We will defend you. For those who wish to harm you for a crime you did not commit, they will have to go through me first.”
Bhutto, who is studying in England, said “the dark forces of violent extremism, intolerance and bigotry are intent on devouring our country and our faith” and Taseer’s killing was meant to cow its opponents into remaining silent and frightened.
“Our party’s struggle to uphold the values of Islam and democracy will continue,” Bilawal pledged. “An egalitarian, tolerant and a just order, which serves all the people, remains our goal. Taseer was targeted for pursuing these noble goals and we will honour his memory by continuing the mission, which he joined as a student and served until his death,”
He said he would uphold the legacy of his mother and his grandfather, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged in 1979. “I will not be silenced by fear.”
He also condemned clerics who warned against mourning Taseer’s death, saying of those who threatened Muslims who prayed or grieved for him: “You too shall be defeated.”
“The assassination of Shaheed Salman Taseer is not about liberals versus conservatives or moderate versus radical Islam. It is about right and wrong,” Bhutto said.
Other speakers at the meeting included MPs Gerald Kaufman and Sadiq Khan, who spoke of their sorrow at the politician’s death.