Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pakistani Governor Killed by His Own Guard, A Muslim Extremist

This is absolutely crazy, but another excellent example of just how hard it is to separate religion from state once they're allowed to be one and the same. 

The governor of Pakistan's central Punjab province, a senior member of the ruling party, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards in Islamabad on Tuesday, plunging the country into a new political crisis...Salman Taseer was killed because of his opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Is there really a place on this earth this fucked up?  Is this what happens when you give a fundamentalist Muslim a firearm and expect him to protect a man who supports freedom of speech?  The killer/bodyguard/coward Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri surrendered and is quoted saying "Salman Taseer is a blasphemer and this is the punishment for a blasphemer."

The Times of India is calling it a "warning to Pak's liberal politicians," and proof of "the insidious spread of radical Islamist sentiment, infiltrating even the elite security services in Islamabad."  The Times also emphasizes that Taseer was an advocate of free speech, a vocal proponent for minority secular rights, and strongly against the blasphemy law: 

In the Aasiya Bibi case, which has polarized Pakistani society, Taseer, as governor of Punjab stood up publicly in her defence. Aasiya Bibi is on the threshold of a death sentence under this law. Taseer, in an interview last week defended his stand.

"Aasiya Bibi ... has been incarcerated for a year-and-a half on a charge trumped up against her five days after an incident where people who gave evidence against her were not even present. So this is a blatant violation against a member of a minority community."

Taseer drew a lot of fire from religionists and Islamists who want Pakistan's blasphemy law to remain tougher than ever and have been agitating in the streets for this. "The mindset got to him," said Vikram Sood, former RAW chief.

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