Saturday, February 24, 2018
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Death of a Pakistani governor

An outspoken secularist, Taseer's reputation was of a tough man willing to do whatever it took to succedBy Imran Khan

It was my friend Omar Waraich who introduced me to Salman Taseer for the first time. Before that all I knew was that he was one of Pakistan's more enigmatic politicians who I had seen on the television.

A Pakistan People's Party loyalist who had suffered under rival regimes, he was - following the party's election victory - back in the land he loved.

But the governorship of Punjab is a fraught post, particularly if you belong to a ruling party that does not control the province. Nawaz Sharif, the former Pakistani prime minister, and his brother hold real control of the province, and they were not fans of Taseer.

Taseer, however, was a man by all accounts not afraid of a challenge. This was a man who built a business empire under the toughest conditions. He set up media networks in Pakistan, yet was humble when you met him.
Like I said, it was Omar who really introduced us.
It was a breakfast meeting, which surprised me as most of Pakistan's elite have a reputation for late nights. Salman offered a traditional breakfast of hot Pakistani food and began to tell us of his visions of Pakistan.

He was a secularist who was an outspoken critic of the political rulers of Punjab. He worried about the how the Punjab rulers were siding with the religious parties, and therefore in his opinion allowing groups like the Pakistani Taliban a free rein within Pakistan.

He wanted Pakistan to be a free state, where one could believe in one's faith without prejudice.

But he had his critics. Some believed he was as corrupt as many Pakistani politicians. Others questioned his relations with Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president.

Taseer was a controversial figure.

He had a son, Aatish Taseer, who eloquently wrote a book about his estranged father. It's called Stranger To History. It's essentially about a man looking for a father he never knew.

I wanted to ask Taseer about the book, but I never did.

At that breakfast Taseer was impressive. A man that understood the turmoil his country was going through and who wanted  change.

His reputation, however, was one of a tough man willing to do whatever it took to succeed.

You can never know a man through one meeting, and in Pakistan reputations are tarnished before they are even made.

Perhaps the stories of his ruthlessness and his corruption are true; I don't know.

I think my own father put it best. When he heard I was meeting Taseer, he asked me to do one thing: Put on a suit. To treat this man with the dignity he deserved.
I  didn't. I wore a shirt, a blazer and jeans. I didn't regret it as Salman treated me with a huge amount of respect.
But for my father, I wish I had.

Imran Khan, a Doha-based correspondent, is reporting from across Pakistan.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Celebrating the Iranian Plane Crash

U.S. officials are undoubted...

Read More

The Veiling of Women

Many things may appear so absu...

Read More

The cherry pickers

We all know what “cherry pic...

Read More

No Due Process for Trump’s Assassinees

President Trump is making a ...

Read More

The Jewish Timeline – From Moses to Bibi

The Jewish timeline is a pec...

Read More

A somber revolutionary anniversary in Iran

The 39th anniversary of the re...

Read More


Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:



Login reminder Forgot login?


Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

From snowfall to sunshine

Gun violence in US