In a clear indication that the law of the land is not taken with utmost seriousness in Pakistan, the grave of Elite Force commando Mumtaz Qadri, executed in March this year for killing former Punjab (Pakistan) governor Salman Taseer, is being turned into a shrine.
An article in the Dawn says it is chilling in the sense that Qadri’s shrine is becoming more than a place of burial for some and believed to be a haven for those subscribing to the ideology that led to the governor’s murder.
According to Qadri’s confession, Taseer’s statements in support of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman charged with blasphemy, and criticism of the existing blasphemy law had provoked him to commit the crime.
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The shrine, which is under construction, is frequented by visitors and is supervised by the ‘Mumtaz Qadri Shaheed Foundation’. According to the foundation on the first day after Qadri’s funeral, Rs 80 million came in the form of donations with a steady stream continuing since then.
“To pray at his grave is a guaranteed way to have it answered, for Qadri has earned a place at the side of the Prophet (PBUH) through his sacrifice,” said one of the visitors.
This belief is linked to the miracle of intercession granted to saints (awliya) in the popular imagination of the subcontinent. This is what makes going to their mausoleums (ziyarat) such a widespread phenomenon, says the article.
It has hardly been a year since his execution yet the process of his canonisation is utterly complete. While the outcry against his trial and execution and the subsequent construction of this shrine might bewilder some, Qadri’s saintly status is beyond question in the hearts and minds of his sympathisers, says the article.
The article adds that this development is a mirror to a dark reality that people do not believe in the law of the land.