ISLAMABAD – The governor of Pakistan's most dominant province was shot and killed Tuesday by a bodyguard who authorities said was angry about his opposition to blasphemy laws carrying the death sentence for insulting the Muslim faith.
Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer, regarded as a moderate voice in a country increasingly beset by zealotry, was a close ally of U.S.-backed President Asif Ali Zardari. He is the highest-profile Pakistani political figure to be assassinated since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto three years ago, and his death underscores the growing danger in this country to those who dare challenge the demands of Islamist extremists.
Taseer was riddled by gunshots while walking to his car after an afternoon meal at Kohsar Market, a shopping center in Islamabad popular with Westerners and wealthy Pakistanis. He was shot in the back, said Shaukat Kayani, a doctor at Poly Clinic Hospital.
Initial reports indicated the suspected gunman, a police commando guarding Taseer, unloaded up to 26 rounds from a Kalashnikov automatic rifle. The gunman could have fired that number of rounds in a matter of seconds. (Read more.)
Think other moderates are lining up to become active in the Pakistani government?