World scorns slaying of Pakistani governor

Jan. 5, 2011 at 12:58 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The British government is "appalled" by the assassination of the governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, the British foreign secretary said.

Salman Taseer, a veteran member of the Pakistan People's Party, was gunned down Tuesday in Islamabad, allegedly by a member of his security team.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a Wednesday statement that the assassination was a terrible loss for a Pakistani people deserving of a stable and democratic future.

"I'm appalled by the assassination yesterday of Salman Taseer who was an internationally respected figure and someone who regularly spoke out against extremism," Hague said.

Taseer's views stirred controversy in November when he challenged Pakistan's blasphemy law, which provides for a death sentence for speaking against Islam, the Koran or the Prophet Mohammed.

Party loyalists and members of the Pakistani government attended Wednesday's funeral for Taseer, which Islamabad said would be followed by three days of mourning.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the government in Ankara condemned what he described as a "despicable attack" on a leader for the democratic transformation of Pakistan.

"On this sad occasion, we would like to reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the friendly and brotherly government and people of Pakistan," he said in a statement.

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