Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Islamists Cheer As Assassinated Pakistani Governor Laid to Rest

Pakistani Islamists are cheering the assassination of a Pakistani governor, Salman Taseer, who championed a moderate course of action.

Taseer was laid to rest in a funeral ceremony earlier today:

Salman Taseer was assassinated by his bodyguard yesterday because Taseer opposed imposing a death sentence for blasphemy against a Christian woman who was alleged to have dishonored Muslims.
Mumtaz Qadri, 26, made his first appearance in an Islamabad court, where a judge remanded him in custody a day after he allegedly sprayed automatic gunfire at the back of Punjab province Gov. Salman Taseer while he was supposed to be protecting him as a bodyguard.

Later Wednesday, a political adviser to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said an assessment of Qadri by the Punjab police force months before had deemed him a security risk and said he should not be assigned to protect high-profile figures because of his "extremist views."

Qadri has already become a hero in Pakistan among Islamist fundamentalists who have a growing sway in this South Asian nation. A rowdy crowd slapped him on the back and kissed his cheek as he was escorted inside the court. The lawyers who tossed the rose petals were not involved in the case.

As he left the court, a crowd of about 200 sympathizers chanted "death is acceptable for Muhammad's slave." The suspect stood at the back door of an armored police van with a flower necklace given to him by an admirer and repeatedly yelled "God is great."

More than 500 clerics and scholars from the group Jamat Ahle Sunnat said no one should pray or express regret for the killing of the governor. The group representing Pakistan's majority Barelvi sect, which follows a brand of Islam considered moderate, also issued a veiled threat to other opponents of the blasphemy laws.

"The supporter is as equally guilty as one who committed blasphemy," the group warned in a statement, adding politicians, the media and others should learn "a lesson from the exemplary death."
Reports are now indicating that Qadri was considered a security risk because of his extremist views, and yet he was allowed to remain Taseer's bodyguard.
Another senior police official involved in the case said Qadri had claimed he was determined to stand by his confession that he was proud to kill a blasphemer.

The official said Qadri had looked for a chance to kill the governor since joining his security squad on Tuesday morning, but did not get the opportunity at the presidential or senate buildings.

His chance came when the squad was called to escort Taseer from a restaurant on Tuesday afternoon, the official said. After the attack, Qadri threw his weapon down and put up his hands up when one of his colleagues aimed at him, pleading to be arrested alive, the official said.
It once again exposes the serious problems facing the Pakistani government in stamping out the Islamists and extremists who want to impose a harsh theocratic state based on their view of the Koran and its harsh punishments. The Islamists are fully and well entrenched in the security and political apparatus of the Pakistani government, and are trying to expand their reach.

The anti-blasphemy law is an assault on the rights of non Muslims and violates human rights. The law offers little projection and mob justice often metes out lynchings even if the official sanctioned death penalty is not imposed. The law has the effect of terrorizing the minority religious groups in the country and those who do not adhere to the fundamentalist view of Islam.

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