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Speakers praise slain governor

Jan. 19, 2011 at 2:09 AM

KARACHI, Pakistan, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Speakers at a condolence meeting for slain Pakistan Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer praised the liberal leader and called for rejection of extremism.

Taseer was assassinated by one of his security guards this month, allegedly because of the governor's efforts to change the country's harsh blasphemy law and his liberal views. Under the blasphemy law, a person can be sentenced to death for criticizing Islam, the Koran or Prophet Mohammed.

At the meeting Tuesday in Karachi, Fauzia Wahab, information secretary of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, said Taseer's killing had shocked progressive-minded people, the Daily Times reported.

"Where are we going, this is not our destination," she said. "Who gave them the authority to kill someone?"

She said enlightenment, education and democracy represent Pakistan's future, while extremism will lead the country to darkness.

Iqbal Haidar, former chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told the audience Taseer's death ought to be a lesson for the country. Qaisar Bangali, adviser to the provincial chief minister, said Taseer sought to stop extremism in the country.

Separately, the News International reported a huge rally Monday in Lahore opposed any moves to amend the blasphemy law and expressed support for Mumtaz Qadri, the accused killer of Taseer.

Rally leaders planned on more such events.

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