January 7, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On Tuesday, Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, was assassinated by one of his body guards who pumped 27 bullets into his body. [see, South East Asian News Agency, http://www.sananews.net/english/2011/01/05 /elliot-force-cop-shot-down-governor-salman-taseer/]
The event, as with much news concerning the threat posed by Islamism, was immediately buried by the majority of the MSM or ignored entirely.
What makes this a religious based killing of special importance is the role that Mr. Taseer played in speaking out against Pakistan's Shari'a based "blasphemy" laws, which prescribe harsh punishment for those who are thought to have insulted Islam or its prophet, Mohammed. In this case "insulting Islam," was merely Taseer speaking out against a single aspect of Shari'a, with no apparent or consequent criticism of the religion itself. [note: Taseer's killer stated under interrogation that his motive was the governor's opposition to the blasphemy laws]
The degree to which Pakistan's legal code is imbued with these Shari'a concepts is extensive, covering numerous possible offenses including, "...Section 298-A: Use of derogatory remarks etc. in respect of Holy Personages, Section 295-B: Defiling etc. of copy of Holy Quran..." [see, Blasphemy Law, Dominance Without Toleration, Dr. Manan Ahme, http://pakistaniat.com/2010/11/26/blasphemy-law-2/d]
The blasphemy statutes have been used for decades as an agent of control and persecution against religous minorities. Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian and mother of four is currently facing trial for similar infractions, with the death penalty hanging in the balance. [see, Will Pakistani Asia Bibi Be Murdered Because Of Her Christianity Regardless Of Trial Outcome?]
Taseer belonged to the same political party [PPP] as former PM Benazir Bhutto, who was similarly assassinated in 2007, also by Islamists, most likely linked to the Taliban.
The fact that the politician fell victim to a member of his hand chosen security force demonstrates the extent to which the radical Islamic theology continues to exert its influence in the troubled nation and is predictive of just how difficult it will be for Pakistan to shake the influence of the powerful and growing movement.
Jihadist activity in Pakistan has taken an upward spike recently, with the country's first female suicide bomber having killed over 40 two weeks ago in the Bajaur region.
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