Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Jan/11

23

Sherry Rehman

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Via the Guardian, another story that only should only increase fears for the future of Pakistan:

All Sherry Rehman wants is to go out – for a coffee, a stroll, lunch, anything. But that’s not possible. Death threats flood her email inbox and mobile phone; armed police are squatted at the gate of her Karachi mansion; government ministers advise her to flee.

“I get two types of advice about leaving,” says the steely politician. “One from concerned friends, the other from those who want me out so I’ll stop making trouble. But I’m going nowhere.” She pauses, then adds quietly: “At least for now.”

It’s been almost three weeks since Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was gunned down outside an Islamabad cafe. As the country plunged into crisis, Rehman became a prisoner in her own home. Having championed the same issue that caused Taseer’s death – reform of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws – she is, by popular consensus, next on the extremists’ list.

Giant rallies against blasphemy reform have swelled the streets of Karachi, where clerics use her name. There are allegations that a cleric in a local mosque, barely five minutes’ drive away, has branded her an “infidel” deserving of death. In the Punjabi city of Multan last week opponents tried to file blasphemy charges against her – raising the absurd possibility of Rehman, a national politician, facing a possible death sentence.

Absurd? Not in Pakistan, a country where madness is clearly in the ascendant.

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1 comment

  • Contemplationist · January 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    In the ascendant? Really? The cauldron of sectarian violence, hatred of all non-Muslims, and ritual political self-purification on the altar of Islam is the defining characteristic of Pakistani society. The issue was confined to the hyphenation of India-Pak “kashmir” problem in the international arena for decades and hence localized. But now that the national export of the disgraceful, disgusting country – jihadism, is decreasing world GDP, foreigners notice.
    Well, better late than never.

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