News / Asia

Assassin of Pakistani Governor Driven by Belief in Blasphemy Laws

An intelligence official interrogating Mumtaz Qadri, Commando of Pakistan's Elite force, right, who allegedly killed Punjab's governor Salman Taseer, Islamabad, Jan 04 2011
An intelligence official interrogating Mumtaz Qadri, Commando of Pakistan's Elite force, right, who allegedly killed Punjab's governor Salman Taseer, Islamabad, Jan 04 2011

The man who allegedly killed the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, Salman Taseer, in broad daylight in the capital, Islamabad, on Tuesday has been arrested and confessed to the crime, according to Pakistani officials.

The assassin was Mr. Taseer's bodyguard. Once in police custody, officials say he defended murdering Mr. Taseer, a senior member of the ruling party and a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari, because the governor was an outspoken critic of Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws.

VOA's Sarah Williams spoke with Nafees Takar, chief of VOA's Pashto language radio broadcasts to the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, about Tuesday's assassination.  

Why are Pakistan's blasphemy laws so controversial?

"Pakistan's blasphemy laws are controversial in the sense that it is so easy for a Muslim to charge a non-Muslim of blasphemous acts or blasphemous comments.  For example, if a Muslim neighbor, for example, says that his non-Muslim neighbor has committed blasphemously about the Prophet or the Quran, he can easily be arrested.  The other problem with it is that even if he is released from police custody, even then, his life is in danger because members of the community know him, know that he has committed blasphemous remarks or acts."

The governor of Punjab was a member of the ruling party and the ruling coalition has just fallen apart. What impact might this have on the larger political situation in Pakistan?

"Of course thas a huge impact on Pakistan's security. Salman Taseer was the governor of a major province of Pakistan, Punjab, and he was one of the liberal forces of Pakistan. In the current political turmoil, where the ruling party has lost its majority in the parliament, it will give 'breathing space' to the party to rule for a few weeks.  Meanwhile, they will get a chance to get support for themselves from the other, minor political parties. The problem is that it has an impact on security in the sense that if gives the message to the people that nobody is safe in the country. If a bodyguard can kill a governor, so other people are also very worried about the overall security situation and, also, about the economic conditions of the country.  Of course, when the politicians are busy saving their government, they are not focusing that much on the war on terror that is going on in the northwest of the country or the overall security situation in Pakistan's major city, Karachi, the hub of the economy of the country.  So, of course, his murder has a huge impact on the political turmoil in Pakistan and the overall security."

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More