4th of January saddens Pakistani minorities because on this day seven years ago, they lost their beloved hero, Salmaan Taseer. He always stood against persecution of minorities in Pakistan. The cruel history of Pakistan has unfortunately very few examples of such figures who stood their ground despite threats. And Salmaan Taseer was one of this. With his blood illuminated the darkest sides of the social injustices and inequalities. The cascade of his blood washes away the hidden mines of hate, religious illiteracy, intolerance and human cruelty. The assassination of the Punjab governor was not only the loss of the immediate family but the nation at large. The death anniversary of the great human being refreshes the wounds of both the family and the Christian minority. There are millions in Pakistan who never speak for religious minorities but Taseer stood up for Asia Bibi. In the judgment against Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin, one of the judges wrote, Salmaan Taseer was not a religious man. If he was a person not meeting the Pakistani religious threshold, how he touched the heights of humanity for standing side by side with a minority faith prisoner? In this mortal world, people come and go but some occupy the place of an obelisk of humanity, thus was the destiny of Salmaan Taseer. His assassin will be remembered as a murderer who was hanged by the law but the history will cherish the sacrifice of the assassinated governor as a beacon of hope for the voiceless communities in Pakistan. In 2012 Asia Bibi wrote her memoir in collaboration with French journalist Anne Isabelle. On Salmaan Taseer’s murder, she wrote, “(the warder) Khalil makes me jump when he opens my cell to give me a meal. He stares at me; he is about the say something, laughs and tells me: ‘Your guardian angel has just been assassinated because of you. Your beloved Governor Taseer, the Muslim traitor, is now bathing in his own blood. He was killed with twenty-five bullets in Islamabad for defending you. Good radiance! You’d better keep your head down! My heart trembles and contracts, my eyes fill with tears. I implore God: Why? Salmaan Taseer was a good man, he was a humanist who was so quick to oppose the Taliban and the Islamic extremists. When he heard about my death sentence, he defended me in public.” To pay tribute to Salmaan Taseer, we need to pledge to continue the glorious legacy of the late governor, his courage, humanism and his determination and to stand up for Asia Bibi, the poor Christian woman languishing in jail In an Islamic country, it is certainly hard to criticise religious doctrines but is wrong to state that blasphemy laws are ‘divine documents’. Seven years after his assassination, the debate on the misuse of blasphemy laws continues. After his sacrifice, blasphemy law has so widely been discussed and criticised that it has lost its sanctity. It is now clear that the law is merely a weapon to terrorise political opponents, dissenters and target the religious minorities. Will Taseer’s sacrifice for a better Pakistan go in vain? While remembering his offering, the lawmakers of the country need to consider revising the blasphemy law. For sure, if this incident would have taken place in any European country, the law would have been changed or revised. Time and again, different International forums raise the issue of blasphemy law with the Pakistani governments. Though in the present political situation, where the ruling party is already suffering because of this law, we cannot expect the government to take any measures to find a solution. But sooner or later, Pakistan will have to find a viable mechanism to avoid the abuse of blasphemy laws. To pay tribute to Salmaan Taseer, we need to pledge to continue the glorious legacy of the late governor, his courage, humanism and his determination and to stand up for Asia Bibi, the poor Christian woman languishing in jail. Hearing of Asia Bibi’s case is expected this year, and if she is acquitted, it would be the completion of the unfinished agenda of Salmaan Taseer. Even after the great loss, the Taseer’s family stood firm for the rights of Asia Bibi and the Christian community. With their incredible commitment, sons and daughters of Salmaan Taseer have proved to be the keepers of the legacy their beloved father left behind. It is the nation’s responsibility to work for the well-being of the downtrodden in the country. There is need to negate the message that whosoever stands for minorities will be eliminated from the earth. Rather, this sacrifice must be taken as a last nail in the coffin of those forces who believe in division, intolerance and inequality. Let us resolve at this seventh anniversary of Salmaan Taseer that we will continue the passionate legacy of sacrificing for others like the one who stood for the voiceless Christian community. Let us hope that Asia Bibi gets justice this year. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, January 4th 2018.