The assassination of Punjab’s Governor Salman Taseer by Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri returns Pakistan’s thoughts to the days of the political killing in 2007 of Benazir Butto, as well as that of India’s Indira Ghandi. The assassin, whose photograph was taken moments after the killing by Sabir Khan reportedly shows “one of self-satisfaction-certainly not a portrait of anxiety or distress,” according to Khan.
As reported in the New Yorker, what caused Salman Taseer’s death was his support of “progressive amendments to the country’s retrograde blasphemy laws”. According to the BBC, he issued a statement December 31st in which said he would “not cow down”…”Even if I am the last man standing.”
Pakistan’s warring government factions are causing unrest in the country where the International Money fund had hoped to encourage Pakistan to broaden the tax base and cut the deficit. President Asif Ali Zarkari, even with the aid of Taseer, has been finding it difficult to comply because he had already lost the majority in Parliament. With the loss of such an important man from his political base, Zakari will find the up-hill struggle even harder to achieve.
Amnesty International has reported that the out-dated blasphemy laws have been used against religious minorities. The New Yorker further states that the recent unrest in Pakistan’s government is bound to cause distress to the American Government who reportedly has expressed little concern with Pakistan’s security standards.