Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Assassinated for opposing blasphemy laws

"Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's most politically important province Punjab, was assassinated by one of his bodyguards in Islamabad on Tuesday, apparently for opposing blasphemy laws."

1 comment :

Iraqi Mojo said...

'In June 2009 in Punjab, Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a mother of five and a farmhand, was asked to fetch water. She complied, but some of her Muslim co-workers refused to drink the water, as Bibi is a Christian and considered "unclean" by them. Arguments ensued, resulting in some co-workers complaining to a local cleric's wife that Bibi had made derogatory comments about the prophet Muhammad. A mob reportedly stormed her house, assaulting Bibi and her family.

However, the police initiated an investigation of Bibi, not her attackers. She was arrested and prosecuted for blasphemy, under Section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code. She spent more than a year in jail. On Nov. 8, she was sentenced to death by hanging; she has since filed an appeal.

There is a need for broad legal and social reforms in Pakistan, and it can start with the repeal of this law. But the assassination Monday of Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, by one of his official security guards shows how difficult that will be. The alleged assailant reportedly gave a statement after his arrest expressing no remorse as he was ostensibly "protecting Allah's religion." Taseer was perhaps Pakistan's most brave, vocal and liberal statesman. He had met with Bibi in prison and subsequently lent his support to the campaign calling for the repeal of the blasphemy law."