Posted by lex, on January 4, 2011
Pretty rough and tumble, these days. You can’t even trust your bodyguard anymore:
The tightening grip of Islamist extremism in Pakistan was violently highlighted Tuesday with the assassination of one of the nation’s most outwardly progressive politicians by his own police guard, who told investigators he was incensed by his boss’s stance against a controversial anti-blasphemy law.
The killing of Salman Taseer, the razor-tongued governor of Punjab province, stunned the nation and further rocked his ruling Pakistan People’s Party, which is struggling to keep its government afloat following its key ally’s defection Sunday to the opposition.
The governor, an ally of embattled President Asif Ali Zardari, was assassinated Tuesday at an upscale market in Islamabad, the nation’s capital. Police said he was shot multiple times at the shopping plaza, which is near his home in Islamabad and is frequented by foreigners.
A Pakistani news station quoted a witness who said he saw a security guard get out of Taseer’s vehicle, raise a Kalashnikov rifle and fire through the window of the vehicle.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said one of the governor’s guards surrendered to police after the shooting and told them he was angered by Taseer’s recent public endorsement of a pardon for a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Ah, that would be the Asia Bibi case:
Bibi drew the ire of fellow farmhands after a dispute in June 2009, when they refused to drink water she collected and she refused their demands that she convert to Islam.
The women reported the incident to a cleric, who concluded that Bibi had committed blasphemy and then gathered a crowd that forced her to the police station, Bhatti said. He said that the police did not investigate and that a court, without hearing Bibi’s full account, handed down a death sentence four months later.
Bhatti said he has concluded that Bibi, a mother of five who has been in prison 17 months, never criticized Islam and is innocent.
It’s easy to see how endorsing a pardon for such a woman could drive a man insane.
So long as, you know: He was already most of the way there.