Candlelit vigil marks Salmaan Taseer’s 1st death anniversary
ISLAMABAD: Dozens of civil society activists lit candles in front of National Press Club to pay tribute to the Late Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer here on Wednesday.
On the first death anniversary of the slain governor, activists of several NGOs under the banner of ‘Citizens for Social Change’, a coalition of civil society representatives and human right activists serving in the federal capital, raised slogans against the killer and the forces behind the murder. They were holding placards inscribed with anti-extremism slogans like ‘We stand for peace’, ‘Mullahgardi na manzoor’, ‘Say no to extremism’, ‘Salute to Salmaan Taseer’, ‘A murder of an innocent person is killing of whole community’, ‘Silence is a crime’ and ‘Death penalty to killer’.
The participants of the vigil condemned the killing of Salmaan Taseer and demanded fair trial of the accused involved in the crime. They also condemned the supporters of Mumtaz Qadri and said ‘Mullah-military alliance is not acceptable’.
The noted human rights activists including Marvi Sarmad, Rehana Hashmi and Tahira Abdullah spoke on the occasion. They said the vigil had been organised to show solidarity with all those, who became the victim of religious extremism prevailing largely in the country. They said it was a responsibility of the government to award death sentence to the killer. They also flayed the religious leaders who were promoting extremist values that ultimately result in unfortunate incidents like the murder of Salmaan Taseer.
Marvi Sarmad said Qadri was not only involved in killing of the former Punjab governor but also other people. Islam does not allow the killing of innocent people rather it preaches forgiveness and tolerance, she said, adding, the people need a peaceful Pakistan in accordance with the aspirations of its founder and not religious bigotry and extremism. Marvi also condemned the lawyers who supported and garlanded the killer despite knowing that he killed an innocent man. She also condemned a noted anchor for supporting Qadri and employer of the TV channel for which she is working. She vowed to launch a signature campaign against the channel.
She said that Qadri committed terrorism and Chief Justice of Pakistan should take its notice.
Tahira Abdullah recited two poems of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Earlier, dozens of civil society activists lit candles at Kohsar Market, the place where Salmaan Taseer was assassinated one year ago, to pay homage to the deceased and to say no to religious extremism and terrorism. The participants, led by PPP activist Sheikh Mansoor, Salmaan Taseer’s friend Ali Qadir Gillani and social worker Dur-e-Najaf Zaidi placed bouquets at the site of assassination. They gathered at the vigil and offered prayer for the eternal peace of departed soul.
They said the killing of governor had distorted the image of the country and Islam at the international level and it is responsibility of quarters concerned to restore it by awarding death sentence to the killer. However, they did not stay at the site for longer due to some unknown fear.
It is pertinent to mention that Salman Taseer’s party PPP did not announce any special programme to observe his first death anniversary in the federal capital city.