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Pakistan’s moment of choice February 14, 2011

Posted by southasiamasala in : Guest authors, Pakistan , comments closed

Guest author: Peter Drysdale

This article was first posted in East Asia Forum on 7 February 2011.

The precariousness of Pakistan’s future political and economic stability was highlighted no more starkly to outside observers than by the assassination of Punjab’s Governor, Salman Taseer, by his own bodyguard, offended by Taseer’s public support for review and amendment of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws. It wasn’t the assassination itself so much, vile and treacherous though that would have seemed to many, but the outpouring of support for the assassin and the hundreds of legal volunteers that offered defence of him that shocked the rest of the world so deeply.

Sometimes we feel such dismay and anger at the expressions and acts of intolerance and hatred that confront us daily, so graphically in these sharp-focused digital days, in societies all around the world that we may be forgiven for despairing that such acts will render the prospects of peaceful or prosperous life impossible for the vast majority of humankind. Pakistan is a nation that currently induces such despair.