A former bodyguard for a regional governor whom he assassinated is the focus of Pakistani protests against the assassin’s death sentence. Mumtaz Qadri, the former bodyguard for regional governor of Punjab province Salman Taseer, was convicted of murder and terrorism for which he received two death sentences. Former Governor of Punjab Province, Salman Taseer is notable for his outspoken support of reform for Pakistan’s controversial anti-blasphemy laws. Mumtaz Qadri assassinated Salman Taseer as the 66 year old man left an Islamabad cafe, spraying some 20 rounds into the governor with Qadri later proclaiming that he believed Taseer should die because Qadri believed Taseer’s efforts on the behalf of Aasia Noreen to save her life after she had been sentenced to death for blasphemy were indications that Taseer himself was guilty of blasphemy. The trial has underscored deep divisions within Pakistani society, with the more conservative elements cheering Qadri’s actions. Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws were established while Pakistan was still under British rule and strengthened by General Zia-ul-Haq.  On December 2, 1978 General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq addressed the nation of Pakistan and called for the formation of an Islamic system of government or Nizam-e-Mustafa. Upon assuming power, General Zia-ul-Haq had Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir Bhutto, executed and abolished Pakistan’s somewhat parliamentary system in favor of what he called an Islamic government. General Zia-ul-Haq was akin to the Wahabi sect of Islam in their drive for purity in the religion and call for purging impure elements. Under Pakistani law, Qadri has the right to appeal the death sentences and everyone expects that to happen. In fact, few expect the death sentence to ever happen at all and the true matter of justice in the case of Salman Taseer may be lost to political demagoguery.

[The Independent]

  • I especially like your last paragraph – and I did start a blog – two in fact – just a few months ago! I always write letters to my children at Christmas – sometimes more often, but at least once a year. They know their letters will be in their stockings! Probably wouldn’t do anything you said not to – just a little bit inhibited! But that’s just me. Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  • I especially like your last paragraph – and I did start a blog – two in fact – just a few months ago! I always write letters to my children at Christmas – sometimes more often, but at least once a year. They know their letters will be in their stockings! Probably wouldn’t do anything you said not to – just a little bit inhibited! But that’s just me. Congratulations on being freshly pressed!