Pakistan: Women’s Action Forum condemns murder of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer
Women’s Action Forum condemns in the strongest terms the brutal murder of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, whose principled stand for justice was deliberately and maliciously distorted by extremist elements in the country in the pursuit of their own political ends. Incitement to violence in the name of religion has become widely prevalent in the country and the state has failed in its duty to curb this mischief. The murder of Salman Taseer is part of a strategy adopted since the time of Zia ul Haq to misuse religion in order to undermine democratic dialogue and to establish religious autocracy. This is unacceptable in a Muslim majority country no particular group should be allowed monopoly over religious views.
This must stop now! There must be a strong and effective law in this country to hold accountable elements that are deliberately provoking and inciting violence in the name of religion. This is critical for safeguarding the right to life and security of the people of Pakistan is safe guarded.
It is high time for political forces to play their expected role and not avoid responsibility to steer the nation on a saner path rather than succumbing to pressure from mischievous elements. No nation can survive in an environment where debate, discussion and dialogue are not possible because of fear, and where intimidation is used as a political tactic for the furtherance of interests harmful to the country.
The real issues before us are those of economic stability, peace, security and well being of the people. These issues are being overshadowed by campaigns of hatred that are pitting citizens against each other.
The media has a great responsibility to adopt policies encouraging freedom of expression and public debate. At the same time, they must restrain elements within themselves who are misinforming and misleading the public on events and issues.
We appeal to the Pakistani nation not to be influenced by destructive forces that use religion or politics to further lower the potential for peace and prosperity in our country.
6 January 2011