The Daily Times is reporting on the murder of Jamshaid Nawaza Nayab – a writer and schoolteacher who advocated secular thought in Pakistan’s NWFP province. It is not the least bit surprising for me to read that someone who dissented from the hardliners was silenced in this most gruesome way. Nor is it surprising that the local religious leaders endorsed rather than condemned his murder. What’s ironic though – is that Jinnah, Pakistan’s founding father, much like the American founding fathers – was himself a liberal and wanted Pakistani society to evolve on decidedly secular lines: “You will find that in the course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.”
As Europe protests over the violent reaction to the Danish cartoons – the murder of Nayab should be instructional in understanding just how far Muslims are willing to go in order to quell political or religious opposition.