On February 29, Pakistan executed Malik Mumtaz Qadri, an elite security commando who assassinated Punjab's liberal Governor Salman Taseer in January 2011 for advocating reforms in Pakistan's blasphemy laws. The title "Qadri" denotes a person's association with the Barelvi school of Sunni Islam, which approves of Sufism.
After Qadri's execution, noted Islamic cleric Mufti Muhammad Tahir Makki wrote an article in Urdu daily Roznama Ummat titled "Malik Mumtaz - a Hero of Muslims But..." Makki dropped the surname Qadri from his article to enforce the argument that Malik Mumtaz Qadri is a hero for all Muslims, and therefore should not be identified with any one doctrinal sect of Islam.
The cleric argued that the Pakistani government executed Malik Mumtaz Qadri because Islamic scholars are divided between various sects and the government estimated that the protests against his execution would be limited solely to Barelvi groups.
Following is the text of the column:
"Many Of Such National Heroes Of Ours [Like Malik Mumtaz Qadri] Have Been Hanged; And These Executions Will Not Lessen The Incidents Of This Type"
"After meeting with the blasphemer [jailed Pakistani Christian woman] Aasia [Bibi], former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer declared at a press conference [stating] that [Pakistan's] law on the blasphemy of the Prophet is a 'Black Law' and should be quashed. After that his closest security guard 'Malik Mumtaz' shot him dead. It is extremely sad that this great mujahid and lover of the Prophet was hanged at 4:00am on the last morning of February at the Adiala jail [in Rawalpindi, on February 29]. The sadness is not about whether he experienced pain or not; he has reached the highest level of Jannat-ul-Firdaus [the highest level of paradise]. But [rather] that our government and our President [Mamnoon Hussain] poured salt on the [wounded] hearts of Muslims by rejecting the mercy appeal. Instead of the government accepting that its governor was guilty by uttering the words [about the blasphemy law], our hero was hanged.
"Many such national heroes of ours have been hanged; and these executions will not lessen the incidents of this type, because the cruelty with which Ghazi Ilmuddin the martyr and other mujahideen were hanged [during the 1920s and 1930s for killing blasphemers] did not prevent subsequent occurrence of such incidents. After the execution of Malik Mumtaz, the nerve of the lovers of the Prophet will not weaken.
"Salman Taseer experienced what the Supreme Court of Pakistan wrote in its remarks in 1993 after observing the blasphemous sentences of the Qadianis [pejorative term for Ahmadi Muslims]: 'The blasphemous content Mirza Qadiani has authored, after reading it, listening to it, witnessing it - if a Muslim cannot control himself, what can be said about it?' What to speak of Qadianis, if any person commits a direct or indirect blasphemy of the Prophet of Allah, then [any] Muslim will be outraged; this is the sign of his belief. This is what happened with Malik Mumtaz, because the Punjab governor described the law enacted to prevent the occurrence of blasphemy of the Prophet as a 'Black Law'; in other words, he indirectly declared that the law that prevents the blasphemy of Allah's Prophet is wrong. In other words, the blasphemy of Allah's Prophet can keep occurring - and there's no problem? How can a Muslim tolerate this?
"When Ghazi Ilmuddin [who murdered a Lahore-based Hindu publisher for blasphemy in 1929] was kept in a dark lock-up at Mianwali [now in Pakistan], on the last night [before his hanging], a guard saw that the dark lock-up was suddenly filled up with light. He quickly went inside and the lock-up was filled with a pleasant fragrance but Ilmuddin was asleep. He woke Ilmuddin up, and after a prolonged debate and discussion, Ilmuddin replied: the person in whose name I am going to be sacrificed [i.e. be hanged], the Prophet Muhammad, the prophet of Allah peace be upon him, visited me [in my dream]... Anyway, I am certain that even if Malik Mumtaz did not tell anyone, nevertheless he had met with his dear beloved [Prophet Muhammad]."
"I Have Been Saying And Have Also Condemned In Media Statements [The Fact] That Malik Mumtaz [Is] Called A 'Barelvi'; He Is A Muslim And A National Hero For All"
"Hundreds of thousands of salutes to Malik Mumtaz. But with extreme sadness, I would like to convey to our Barelvi clerics: do not engage in [religious] doctrinal games on this issue. This will cause damage, in the future too. In other words, Malik Mumtaz [who was a member of Barelvi/Sufi movement known as Dawat-i-Islami] - it does not matter if he was Barelvi by hundreds of thousands of degrees, the place he has created in the hearts of Muslims is not due to Barelvism.
"As a 'Lover of the Prophet,' it should have happened that a movement could have been launched at the national level by declaring Malik Mumtaz as national hero... Such a movement should have formally included: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami, Aalami Majlis Khatme-e-Nabuwwat, Shaban Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, Majlis-e-Ahrar, Nawaz League [the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif], PP [i.e. Pakistan People's Party], Tehreek-e-Insaf [of Imran Khan], Wafaq-ul-Madaris, Millat-e-Jaaferia, and all big and small religious organizations. It could have issued a call to the nation: 'We do not know whether Malik Mumtaz is Deobandi or Barelvi, Shia or Sunni; only that he has assassinated a bad person and should be freed.'
"Ever since Salman Taseer was killed [in January 2011], I have been saying and have also condemned in media statements [the fact] that Malik Mumtaz [is] called a 'Barelvi'; he is a Muslim and a national hero for all. However, it was not heard. I consider the [organizational] disagreements within the Muslim Ummah to be the cause of his execution. Wherever a protest was organized on the issue of Malik Mumtaz, only Barelvi scholars were there. It became obvious that the government understood that there will not be a big problem on his martyrdom [i.e. execution], and the protests will be carried out only by the Barelvi clerics.
"It is extremely sad that when Malik Mumtaz was hanged, the Barelvi followers took up the flags of [Barelvi organization] Sunni Tahreek and came to the streets in my city [of Tando Adam to protest]; neither I nor any other important leader was informed. And they did not hold any discussion with anyone, nor invited other organizations to come with them to close shops [in order to protest]. The damage was such that many shopkeepers telephoned me to ask whether we should also observe hartal [protesting by shutting down businesses]. I told them: why not, it should be done. Then they said: well, isn't this a shutdown only by the Barelvis? I told them: whoever organizes, this is being organized for expressing unity with the lover of the prophet, this should happen.
"The city was open [for business] just after an hour [meaning that the protests failed]. What is this? This is the result of not working with unity. For future reference, I urge all of my friends - whether they are Barelvis or Deobandis, Ahle Hadith or Shia - any issue on which all Muslims are united, no one should raise it alone in order to shine their organization's name. This is because the real power is not in Barelvism, Deobandism, Shi'ism, Ahle Hadithism; the real power is in Islam and in Muslims. So why should we not use that name that has the power? The Koran has said [3:169], 'those who were martyred in the path of Allah, do not even consider them dead, they are alive.'"
Source: Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), March 3, 2016.