Two separate incidents - one in Islamabad and the other in Lahore - shook Pakistan last Sunday. In Lahore, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded public park where Christians had gone to celebrate Easter, leaving at least 70 dead and hundreds injured.
The same day, thousands took to streets in Islamabad and indulged in violence to protest the execution of a man they consider a hero for assassinating Punjab province governor Salman Taseer over his criticism of the country's blasphemy laws.
Why was governor Taseer shot dead by his own bodyguard, Mumtaz Hussain Qadri? A little recall here will be helpful.
In 2009, Aasia Bibi, a 45-year-old Christian mother of five, making her living as a farm worker, was accused of "insulting" the Prophet and was arrested under Article 295-C of Pakistan's criminal law, under which, to blaspheme the Holy Prophet Mohammed is punishable by death.
A year later, a session court in Sheikhupura sentenced Aasia Bibi to death and fined her Rs 1,00,000. On November 20, 2010, governor Taseer visited the Sheikhupura Jail to meet Aasia Bibi. There he termed the blasphemy law a "black law", provoking the Islamist groups in Pakistan to declare a war against the governor.
On January 4, 2011, when he was stepping into his car after visiting a restaurant in Islamabad, Mumtaz Qadri, one of his bodyguards, sprayed nine bullets at him.
What followed the killing was even more bizarre. On January 5, 2011, thousands of lawyers, police and other government officials showered rose petals on the killer when he was produced at an Islamabad court. Ulemas issued statements hailing the assassin and asking Muslims not to offer namaz-e-janaza.
|A suicide bomber in Lahore on March 27 was the end product of this very mindset. (AP)|
On October 1, 2011, the accused was sentenced to death and subsequently, judge Syed Peraiz Ali Shah, who convicted the assassin, was sent abroad by the Pakistan government - obviously to help him escape an assassination bid at the hands of those who regards Qadri as an icon of their faith.
A suicide bomber in Lahore on March 27 was the end product of this very mindset which had motivated thousands of "faithfuls" hailing Qadri as a hero during his trial and a martyr following his hanging on February 29 this year.
The line of distinction between those who hold the hanged assassin as a model Muslim and the "faithful" who turned into a suicide bomber to kill and maim hundreds of innocents in Lahore last Sunday, is really thin, if not non-existent.
Apart from Pakistan and a good part of the Middle East, the victims of this doctrine of hate have been Brussels, Paris, Mumbai, Delhi, New York - the list is endless. Islamic State (ISIS) is the most visible manifestation of this menacing mindset today, threatening civil society at a global level.
Here one needs to find out the difference between those who march in protest against the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri in Pakistan and the ones in India shouting slogans at JNU and elsewhere glorifying Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon. Both groups support terrorists and empathise with their cause and implicitly support their actions.
Interestingly, while in Pakistan such supporters are known as Islamist fundamentalists, in India, they are seen as progressives, liberals, human rights activists, intellectuals and even "secularists"!
In the case of Pakistan, the problem of terror goes deep, for the establishment in the country and the terrorists draw inspiration from a common doctrine - that is, the rejection of all that is pre-Islamic and non-Islamic.
In fact, this was the genesis of creation of Pakistan. Pakistan, no wonder, considers itself a successor state to all the Muslim invaders (Turks, Arabs, Mughals and Afghans) and has named its missiles after them - Mahmud Ghazni, Mohammed Ghori, Timur, Babur and Ahmed Shah Abdali. In contrast, India has named its missiles after elements of nature: Prithvi, Aakash, Agni, et al.
So, Pakistan will continue to suffer till it doesn't just cut its links with Islamist terrorism, but also curbs its obsession with being the vanguard of global Islam.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)