October 7, 2015 carries enormous significance for our country, for it marks the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s landmark ruling of maintaining the capital punishment of Mumtaz Qadri, who continues to remain a hero for some and a cold-blooded murderer for others.
Mumtaz Qadri’s case holds before us a mirror bearing a clear reflection of a nation that is miserably fragmented and still millions of miles far from being called one solid unit.
In any other society which holds supreme the value of a human life and where rule of law is present in its true spirit, this decision would not have caught as much attention of the common people as it did here.
For a civilized set of people, this ruling would have gone completely un-noticed. Why? For a simple reason: a man in uniform took the law into his own hands and murdered an unarmed fellow country man he was morally and legally bound to protect. Such a culprit would be hated indiscriminately by all, regardless of where that man comes from. His religious beliefs, colour, cast, or creed would not have mattered at all. The chances of escaping a punishment in his case would have been as remote as Salman Taseer getting another chance to live.
But, here the SC ruling came as a pleasant surprise to some and at the same time as one big shock to a very large number of souls. This decision once again accentuated the fissures that persistently blot the fabric of our society.
The observations made by the learned judges during the course of hearing come as a breath of fresh air, as it rekindles hope for our future; or, at least, for the future of our coming generations.
During the course of hearing, Justice Dost Muhammad Khan expressed his observations that should put to rest questions about whether or not blasphemy laws can be freely discussed and criticized by the people.
He minced no words in calling blasphemy law a man-made legislation which is passed by the parliament that is composed of public representatives. Therefore, any legislation made and okayed by the parliament is a man-made thing, thus, the nation has a right to criticize it.
He said the deceased governor only pointed at the flaws in the blasphemy law, which were sometimes exploited for achieving personal agenda.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who headed the bench hearing the petitions said: “Will it not instill fear in the society if everybody starts taking the law in their own hands and dealing with sensitive matters such as blasphemy on their own rather than going to the courts.”
Mumtaz Qadri is now left with just one avenue to seek mercy from – the President of Pakistan.
Will Mumtaz Qadri be punished?
Even at this stage we are unsure of his fate. What a pity!