Who is responsible for the murder?

Mohammed Hanif asks who is responsible for the murder of Salman Taseer? (And who is responsible for the multiple deaths and critical injuries in Arizona? Who is responsible for the attempted assassination of a Congressional representative and the successful assassination of a federal judge outside a Safeway in Tucson? The questions are related. It’s not just a single assassin in either case – it’s also a society, a culture, a discourse, a world view, a rhetoric, a climate, a mindset, and the people who help to create them.)

When Pakistan’s television anchors and newspaper columnists describe Salman Taseer’s assassination [as] a tragedy, they are not telling us the whole truth.

Because many of these very anchors and columnists have stated, in no uncertain terms, that by expressing his reservations about the blasphemy law, Salman Taseer had crossed a line on the other side of which is certain death.

This kind of thing isn’t harmless, nor is it without any effect.

The same Islamabad where Salman Taseer bled to death in the middle of a pretty neighbourhood played host just a couple of weeks ago to a Namoos-e Risalat (Dignity of the Prophet) conference which was attended by individuals whose party manifestos include the death by murder of Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Jews.

Were some of our prominent politicians not in attendance?

Do these same people not inhabit our government corridors, media organisations and security agencies? Do we not break bread with them at weddings and funerals?

The same thing, mutatis mutandis, is true here.

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