A high ranking Pakistani governor was shot and killed today by one of the men assigned to guard him. The assassination allegedly stemmed from a recent controversy surrounding the blasphemy law of Pakistan, where a woman was given the death sentence for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad.

Salman Taseer, a provincial Pakistani governor, was known for his controversial stance on the issue, and has openly petitioned to have the religious law reformed.

This issue was the reason for the assassination, admitted the killer, who shot Taseer nine times in an Islamabad public market.

The death of this influential public figure marks yet another setback in the battle for reform in Pakistani religion laws. Many Pakistanis are in favor of a more liberal interpretation of what they consider “religious extremism”

Many officials keep quiet on the issue because of fear of political backlash, and now that Taseer was silenced by a member of his own guards, it doesn’t appear likely that many will speak out on the issue in the near future.

Taseer has long been associated with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and has been with the liberal-minded political group since the 1970’s. PPP leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated for similar reasons in 2007.