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Tags: Pakistan Governor killed

Pakistan's Punjab Province Governor Shot Dead

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 11:48 AM EST

The governor of Pakistan's Punjab province has been shot dead by one of his bodyguards.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik says Salman Taseer was gunned down in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, early Tuesday because of his outspoken opposition to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law. The minister says Taseer's killer is in custody and has confessed.

Taseer was a high-profile member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, and a close ally of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari. His position was largely ceremonial but his killing is the most high-profile assassination in Pakistan since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed in December 2007. Pakistan's government announced three days of official mourning following Taseer's killing.

Taseer opposed Pakistan's blasphemy law, and the attack on him comes days after religious parties staged protests against any government plans to change the law. Officials say the government has no plans to change the law.

The blasphemy law received international attention after a Christian woman was sentenced to death in November by a court on charges of insulting Islam.

Taseer's killing comes as the ruling party is struggling to form a new government following the defection of a coalition partner several days ago. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who heads the opposition Pakistan Muslim League party, said he would not call for a vote of confidence in parliament because to do so would add to instability in Pakistan. Sharif said he would give the government three days to agree to a set of demands, including a rollback of controversial fuel price hikes.

Meanwhile, police in southwestern Pakistan say a remote-controlled bomb has ripped through a school bus, wounding at least five children.

Authorities say the blast happened Tuesday in Turbat, a town in Baluchistan province near the Iranian border.

The bus was carrying children of paramilitary soldiers, and police said several of the children were seriously hurt.

Baluchistan borders both Iran and Afghanistan, and has been hit by violence from separatist insurgents.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pakistan Governor killed
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 11:48 AM
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