Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer, 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.
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.
The suspected gunman, a police commando guarding Taseer, unloaded up to 26 rounds from a Kalashnikov automatic rifle.
Among Muslim-majority countries, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws. § 295-A of Pakistan's Penal Code forbids outraging religious feelings. § 295-B punishes defilement of the Quran with life imprisonment. § 295-C prescribes the death penalty or the death penalty with a fine for the "use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet." § 298-B and § 298-C prohibit the Ahmadiyya from proselytizing or from behaving in any manner as Muslims.
The blasphemy laws are part of a system which fosters injustice, sectarian violence, and violence between religions. The usual victims are Shia, Ahmadiyya, Christians, and Hindus. Persons accused of blasphemy as well as police, lawyers, and judges are often subject to harassment, threats, attacks and murders when blasphemy is the issue.
In November 2008, Pakistan's government appointed Shahbaz Bhatti as Federal Minister for Minorities, and gave him cabinet rank. Bhatti has promised that the Asif Ali Zardari government will review Pakistan's blasphemy laws.Pakistan has been an active supporter of the campaign by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to create global laws against blasphemy.