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Indians condemn killing of Pakistan governor
Shock expressed at the death of one of the country’s more ’sane’ voicesA screenshot of Salman Taseer
- Jose Kavi, New Delhi
- January 6, 2011
â€śWe condemn the killing of a sane political leader, who rightly opposed the unjust blasphemy laws,â€ť Father Babu Joseph, spokesperson of the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of India, told ucanews.com today.
Salman Taseer, who was governor of Punjab province, was shot dead on Jan. 4 by his bodyguard at an Islamabad market.
The assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri told police he killed Taseer for criticizing the countryâ€™s blasphemy laws.
The assassination has silenced â€śan eminent political leaderâ€ť who worked for an inclusive Pakistani society that respected a secular ethos, Father Joseph said.
An Indian news channel reporting on the Pakistan Punjab Governorâ€™s assassination
Certain sections in Pakistan are â€śgreatly misusingâ€ť the blasphemy law to target religious minorities, especially Christians, the Divine Word priest lamented.
The ecumenical All India Christian Council said it is mourning with â€śall human rights defenders in Pakistanâ€ť the death of â€śone of the sane voicesâ€ť in that country.
â€śTaseerâ€™s lifelong opposition to the black laws of blasphemyâ€ť stood out â€śin the midst of the fundamentalist cacophony that has smitten human rightsâ€ť in Pakistan, said John Dayal, its secretary-general.
The council has urged the United States and â€śother international friends of Pakistanâ€ť to join human rights defenders in Pakistan to press for the repeal of the blasphemy laws.
The blasphemy laws make an insult to the Qurâ€™an an offense punishable by up to life imprisonment, while giving the death penalty to anyone convicted of insulting Prophet Muhammad. Church leaders have long charged that the blasphemy laws are being abused for personal gain and to harass non-Muslims.
More blood from blasphemy
Christian blasphemy law not needed, says bishop