`My father lived and died for Pakistan`: Taseer`s daughter

Assassinated Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer`s daughter says her father lived and died for Pak.

Islamabad: Assassinated Punjab Governor
Salmaan Taseer`s journalist daughter says her father lived and
died for Pakistan and that the family has buried a brave man,
not the courage he inspired in others.

Referring to her father`s assassin, Shehrbano Taseer
wrote in an article in The New York Times, "Mr (Mumtaz) Qadri
and his supporters may have felled a great oak that day, but
they are sadly mistaken if they think they have succeeded in
silencing my father`s voice or the voices of millions like him
who believe in the secular vision of Pakistan`s founder,
Muhammad Ali Jinnah."

January 4, the day Taseer fell to 27 bullets fired from
his bodyguard`s assault rifle, was also his son Shehryar`s
25th birthday.

Taseer`s other daughter Sara Taseer Shoaib, who had
"nihari" with her father last Sunday, wrote on Twitter today
that her heart was aching and that she missed him.

"Today I wait for the morning knock on my door saying
sahib is calling you. I`m in bed still. No one calls," she
tweeted.

Taseer`s wife Aamna tweeted that she was proud of her
husband.

"I hold my head up high and am proud of my brave and just
husband Shaheed Salmaan Taseer."

In her article Shehrbano, a journalist with the Pakistani
edition of Newsweek, wrote that her father`s life was one of
struggle and he was a self-made man "who made and lost and
remade his fortune".

Shehrbano recalled that Taseer was imprisoned in a
dungeon at Lahore Fort for opposing military ruler
Zia-ul-Haq`s regime.

"My father was held in solitary confinement for months
and was slipped a single meal of half a plate of stewed
lentils each day. They told my mother, in her early 20s at the
time, that he was dead. She never believed that."

Her mother made friends with the man who swept Taseer`s
cell and asked him to pass a note to Taseer.

"My father later told me he swallowed the note, fearing
for the sweeper`s life. He scribbled back a reassuring message
to my mother, `I`m not made from a wood that burns easily.`

That is the kind of man my father was. He could not be
broken." Shehrbano wrote that her father believed that the strict
blasphemy law instituted by Zia had been frequently misused
and ought to be changed.

"His views were widely misrepresented to give the false
impression that he had spoken against Prophet Mohammad," she
wrote.

"There are those who say my father`s death was the final
nail in the coffin for a tolerant Pakistan. That Pakistan`s
liberal voices will now be silenced. But we buried a heroic
man, not the courage he inspired in others...this week two
leading conservative politicians former Prime Minister
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the cricket
star-turned-politician Imran Khan have taken the same
position my father held on the blasphemy laws, they want
amendments to prevent misuse."

Shehrbano wrote that she could not imagine her father
dying in any other way.

"Everything he had, he invested in Pakistan, giving
livelihoods to tens of thousands, improving the economy. My
father believed in our country`s potential. He lived and died
for Pakistan. To honour his memory, those who share that
belief in Pakistan`s future must not stay silent about
injustice. We must never be afraid of our enemies. We must
never let them win."

PTI

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