Paper: Taseer died for 'questioning a law'

Jan. 6, 2011 at 1:51 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The twist in the assassination of Pakistan Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer was that while he broke no law, he died "for questioning a law," a Dawn editorial said.

The reference was to Taseer's efforts to change Pakistan's blasphemy law, under which a person can be sentenced to death for criticizing Islam, the Koran or the Prophet Mohammed. Taseer, a noted liberal, was gunned down allegedly by his own security guard in retaliation for his liberal views.

"That unprecedented motive for an assassination ought to be reflected on," said the editorial in Pakistan's leading English daily. "The country appears to have lurched to the conservative right even further and more abruptly than ever before in recent years.

"Clearly, the forces of extremism are on the march like never before and they are determined to bully and threaten people, with death even, to push them out of the public discourse," the editorial said. "What truly makes the societal war so frightening is the fertile ground the extremists have to plant their millenarian ideology."

The editorial warned that as long as the state ostensibly fights extremism "without even a semblance of a counter-extremism strategy, more tragic deaths like that of Governor Taseer`s may be inevitable."

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