A supporter of Pakistan People's Party mourns the death of Punjab's governor Salman Taseer who was shot dead by one of his guards, at a local hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Jan. 4, 2011.
"A Bad Beginning for Pakistan in 2011"
Op-Ed, Asia Society
January 5, 2011
Author: Hassan Abbas, Former Senior Advisor, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
Why Salman Taseer's murder is a setback for democracy
Amid political turmoil following key resignations from Pakistan's ruling coalition, the country received a jolt with the brutal assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer at the hands of a terrorist identified as Malik Mumtaz Qadri-his official security guard, who targeted Taseer on the pretext of his bold criticism of Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law.
Taseer called it "black law," and religious extremist elements misinterpreted this statement as anti-Islamic. His political opponents and some local media outlets also criminally used the opportunity to defame and discredit him with malice. Taseer was also a vocal critic of human rights violations, especially those pertaining to minorities. His barbaric murder is an attempt by bigots to silence all those who want free speech and are challenging intolerance in society. This is a setback for democracy in Pakistan.
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