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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid