The biggest news in the last couple of days has been Punjab governor Salman Taseer’s assassination. Bloggers are shocked, the twitterverse is shocked and in general, everyone is shocked.

Sensational, yes. But shocking? Debatable.

His crime was supporting a woman’s pardon who was sentenced to death for blasphemy (she probably didn’t say anything more blasphemous than what I write here). The murder has rightly put the spotlight on the blasphemy laws. However, blasphemy laws can only be blamed for so much. Surely the assassinator cares less about what the law says about blasphemy, and more about what he feel is blasphemous and unpardonable. Therefore, while the blasphemy laws have no place in a modern society (although they’ll feel right at home in any country whose foundation is religious) and while they must go, the fight only begins at a point where they are banned. It doesn’t end there.

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Sadanand Dhume:

In a larger sense, however, the significance of Taseer’s murder lies in what it says about the future of nuclear-armed Pakistan. Carved out of the Muslim-majority provinces of British India in 1947, the country has long struggled to reconcile two competing visions of its reason for being. Is Pakistan, as imagined by its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah—a London-trained barrister with a fondness for pork sandwiches and two-toned spats—merely a homeland for the subcontinent’s Muslims? Or was it created to echo the far more ambitious formulation of Abul Ala Maududi, the radical Islamist ideologue born roughly a generation after Jinnah: for the enforcement of Islamic Shariah law upon every aspect of society and the state?

Read the entire piece here.

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Given the harsh blasphemy laws, Pakistan has the most perfect implementation of separation of church and state.

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