News / Asia

Benazir Bhutto's Son Defends Slain Pakistani Governor

Fazlurahman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, delivers a speech to supporters of Pakistani religious parties during a rally to protest attempts to modify blasphemy laws, Karachi, Pakistan, Jan 9, 2011.
Fazlurahman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, delivers a speech to supporters of Pakistani religious parties during a rally to protest attempts to modify blasphemy laws, Karachi, Pakistan, Jan 9, 2011.

The son of Pakistan's slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto has condemed those who have praised the assassination of a provincial governor opposed to the country's blasphemy law.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said late Monday in London that the people who have voiced their support for the alleged killer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer were, in his words, "the real blasphemers."

Bhutto Zardari, whose father is Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, also pledged to defend Christians and other minorities in the country.

One of Taseer's bodyguards allegedly gunned him down in Islamabad last week after the governor had campaigned for changes in Pakistan's blasphemy law. The law attracted worldwide attention in November when it was used to sentence a Christian woman (Aasia Bibi) to death for insulting Islam, a charge she denies.

On Monday, Taseer's accused killer told a special terrorism court in Rawalpindi that he acted alone.  

In his confession, Mumtaz Qadri said he killed Taseer because the Punjab province governor had criticized Pakistan's blasphemy law that mandates a death penalty for anyone who insults Islam.   Qadri, who was assigned to Taseer's security detail, gunned down Taseer last week in Islamabad as the governor got out of his car at a supermarket.   

On Sunday, tens of thousands marched in the Pakistani city of Karachi in support of the blasphemy law.   

The murder of Taseer was the most high profile killing in Pakistan since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in late 2007.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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