From push to shove By Imran Shirvanee A political assassination is not something that the society should take lightly

. The Pakistan People’s Party lost another leader, Salman Tasir, to the monster of religious extremism when his official guard murdered him. The murderer says, he killed Taseer because of his stated beliefs on the blasphemy law. Is this the fate for all who believe that a moderate, tolerant society is the need of the hour of our country? Is anyone who espouses the beliefs that violent death is no solution going to die violently? Sometime back, a bearded, god-fearing, and panjwaqta namaazi friend of mine and I were having a discussion on the kind of society we need. He agreed that though the trend that nobody now wants to befriend the religious extremists was wrong, because that meant more intolerance in the society. He also agreed that on the other side, those who were not as zealots as he himself was also deserved to survive and not beheaded. The truce deal was a social contract of the sort whereby the progressive and the liberal sections of the society would not socially boycott the extremists and the extremists would not kill us. Just look at the equation: a social boycott is nothing as compared to assassination. But that is what it seems like the option. But we were discussing all this just before Benazir Bhutto was murdered and the blame was officially put on the extremists. Even if we do not believe the official version (how can we believe in anything that comes out of the establishment’s mouth?), there remains a firm belief among almost all (including me) that Benazir Bhutto was opposed by these zealots because in their myopic view, she did not deserve to rule simply because she was a woman, and all the more because of her western education. It was not just that they did not vote for her, which they did not, it was also that she was eliminated. Now that is extremism. Death of Tasir is another act of extremism. Is this act push us further into the kind of intolerant society the zealots want to create? Maybe a lot of people would start questioning the viability of that equation that I had suggested. Maybe they would say my hypothesis is now dated, now a time has come to go for the social boycott, because, hey they are killing us already. This time, intolerance would have a new supporter: the progressive and the liberal, the traditional ally of the tolerance. But tell me something: if this becomes a question of our lives, how will I sell my equation? My question is directed not towards the progressive people like I myself am. It is aimed at those who are the religious extremists in our society. I know there are other kinds of political extremists in our society too, but right now it is far easier to pinpoint the religious zealots among the society. The automatic solution—and it would not be a novel approach—would be to go for witch hunting, a kind of McCarthyism that the Americans practiced in the 50s, only this time, it would be against the religious right. And that would again take the society a step further towards what we do not want it to become: an intolerant, extremist people not willing to live with anybody who does not share their belief system.

Because. A death of a culture that is about survival. And the religious leadership should realize what they are doing to this society. Don’t kill the desire for life. albeit how horrific it is.This one act of intolerance. . we would suffer from it eternally but they would be sidelined immediately. is not just another push. That is what this assassination would mean. It is a big shove. it may kill you too. and it may actually succeed if we are not very careful. and not about death.

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