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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs