Shaan Taseer, son of the late governor of Punjab in Pakistan and a known human rights activist in the country, confirmed that he is receiving plenty of death threats from a militant group of clerics as a result of his recent Christmas message.
He said that he is getting plenty of death threats from Sunni Tehreek, an extremist cleric organization which is gunning for his blood. The group is reportedly commissioning people to kill Taseer, reports Carbonated TV.
Taseer delivered a Christmas message during the holidays through social media and asked his Pakistani countrymen to make a special prayer for everyone who has suffered religious persecution in Pakistan.
Apparently, it did not sit well with several Islamist groups including the Sunni Tehreek, who all claim that it was an insult to their religion and beliefs.
Six years ago, Taseer’s father, the former governor of Punjab, was shot dead for voicing his opinion on the controversial Blasphemy Law in Pakistan.
The law would have sent to the gallows an illiterate Christian peasant woman, Aasia Bibi, who was accused of blasphemy by her Muslim neighbors.
But the killer of the governor, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, is revered in certain circles in the Islam communities.
A brave statement
Some political analysts believe that Shaan Taseer was brave enough for trying to question and bring to light the injustice that the nation gives out.
Pakistan is not very tolerable for people who voiced their thoughts on something they believe to be fundamentally wrong in the foundation as well as in the implementation.
Taseer made his Christmas message via a video he posted on social media, where he criticized Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law, the same way that his father did more than six years ago.
He said that the issue has been shut down at the barrel of a gun after his father’s death and claims that the law of the land states very clearly that every citizen has the right to talk about not just the blasphemy law but every law.
The son of the late Punjab governor also demanded the repeal of what he called the inhumane blasphemy laws, a longstanding demand of international human rights groups who say the laws are widely abused by people who level false allegations to settle personal scores.
Already in the market for death
Taseer’s video post on social media prompted Sunni Tehreek to issue a Fatwa, or religious edict, saying the activitist was marked for death because he had supposedly committed both blasphemy and apostasy.
It was Taseer who confirmed the threats against his life when he said that there are now calls on social media for another Mumtaz Qadri to deal with him and that some people are offering to be the successor of his father’s killer. He also said that some groups are already engineering another Qadri-like assassination on him.
Mujahid Abdul Rasul, a Sunni Tehreek cleric who demanded the police take action, said Taseer’s support for Bibi meant that he was equally involved in the crime of blasphemy like his father. Rasul said that he does not know why Taseer’s family keeps on choosing the same path.
The police declined to comment, and a copy of the police report on the complaint did not mention Shaan Taseer at all.
But the police report did reference the Christmas message and opened an investigation on the blasphemy law’s Section 295-A, which bans hate speech against any religion.
More than 200 people in Pakistan were charged under blasphemy laws in 2015, many of them minorities such as Christians, who make up one percent of the population.
Critics say the laws are often used to settle personal scores, and pressure for convictions is often applied on police and courts from religious groups and lawyers dedicated to pushing the harshest blasphemy punishments.