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    » 01/04/2011, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Punjab governor assassinated, he had called for Asia Bibi’s pardon

    Jibran Khan

    Salman Taseer was killed by a member of his security detail. Interior minister says that the murderer acted because the governor had described the blasphemy law as a “black law”.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was assassinated today by a member of his security detail at a popular market in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. His assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, said he killed him because the governor had described the blasphemy law as a "black law".

    Unlike other Pakistani leaders, Taseer had openly opposed the blasphemy law. He had recently called on President Zardari to grant a pardon to Asia Bibi, a Christian woman from Punjab sentenced to death after she was accused of blasphemy.

    “He has confessed his crime and surrendered his gun to police after the attack,” Interior Minister Rahman Malik said about the assassin, explaining that he is a police officer from Rawalpindi and had been recently added to the governor’s staff. This was the third time he worked in the security detail.

    President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and other political leaders condemned the murder. Various human rights groups expressed their gratitude to Taseer for his efforts towards the abolition of the blasphemy law and for his defence of Asia Bibi’s life.

    In the meantime, police is on high alert fearing more attacks against government officials and political leaders.

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    See also

    20/10/2011 PAKISTAN
    Judge who sentenced Salman Taseer’s murderer removed
    A powerful Muslim lawyers’ association forces High Court to replace judge who sentenced Mumtaz Qadri. Islamabad priest says, Islamic religious groups “are becoming powerful each passing day.”

    12/01/2011 PAKISTAN
    Blasphemy law: Pope’s call highlights split in Pakistani society
    Radical leaders and Islamic movements incite crowds and warn Christians against forming a party to repeal the law, a step that would bring chaos. The government denies it plans changes to the law. Civil society leaders appreciate Benedict XVI’s speech. Bilawal Bhutto defends minorities. Muslim intellectual calls for full religious freedom and a secular state.

    10/01/2011 PAKISTAN
    In Karachi, 50,000 rally behind blasphemy law
    Fundamentalist leaders organise rally and praise Salman Taseer’s murderer as a “hero of Islam”. The Pope appeals to the Pakistani government to repeal the law because it is a “pretext” for violence and injustice. Pakistani Christians pray for the governor of Punjab, a “martyr” according to Saudi newspaper Arab News.

    05/01/2011 PAKISTAN - INDIA
    Christians honour Salman Taseer, a courageous victim of the blasphemy law
    For Fr. James Chennan, Vice Provincial of the Dominicans in Lahore, the country has lost a promoter of human rights, loved by minorities. Indian Christian leaders condemn Taseer’s murder, one of the few credible voices of Pakistan.

    09/03/2016 13:23:00 PAKISTAN
    For Pakistani Catholics, Shahbaz Taseer’s release after five years gives hope for the future

    After almost five years of captivity, the son of the former governor – killed for his opposition to Islamic extremism – was released. Now he is in a safe place with his family. “Perhaps this release is a sign of the times, mature enough for a necessary change of course strongly advocated by Pakistan’s civil society,” said a Justice and Peace official. For a human rights activist, “authorities seem to be on the right path, but they have a long way to go”.





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