Chaos as Pakistani Governor Assassinated in Islamabad

Punjab's Governor Slain Over Blasphemy Law Criticism

Governor Salman Taseer, member of the ruling Pakistani Peoples Party and governor of the Punjab Province, was assassinated today by one of his guards in the capital city of Islamabad. Taseer’s death adds yet more uncertainty at a time when the Pakistani political situation is in turmoil.

The assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, was a personal bodyguard and a member of Punjab’s Elite Forces. He confessed to the assassination and said he was prompted by Taseer’s condemnation of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law as a “black law.

Shops across the Punjabi capital city of Lahore were closed for much of the day in the wake of the killing, as members of the Pakistani Peoples Party protested and blocked traffic. The assassination drew strong rebukes from members of a number of opposition factions and long-time rivals.

Not from everyone, however, as Asadullah Bhutto, a top member of Jamaat-e Islami, responded to the announcement of Taseer’s killing during an ongoing press conference with barely restrained jubilation, announcing that “whoever has killed him is a pious man and will go directly to heaven.” Bhutto added that the PPP was to blame for Taseer’s death for not having replaced him sooner.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.