HOW FANATICS WIN – PAKISTAN’s BLASPHEMY

Assassin Malik Qadri presented with garlands as he appears in court

An assassin praised; the victim forgotten.

Radical Islamic terrorists’ responsible for this week’s assassination of Pakistani’s Punjab governor Salman Tasee could not have scripted a better result as cheers and rose petals greeted the 26 year-old killer of the courageous democrat as he entering an Islamabad courtroom. Conversely, many of the nation’s top politicians, including the deceased’s chief political did not attend the services. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Taseer political ally did not attend as well due to security concerns.

Worse, the country’s “moderate” religious leaders refused to condemn the assassination and some hard-line religious leaders seemingly condoned it. As if on cue, government ministers and party officials noted their intent to cease the campaign to change the blasphemy laws championed by Governor Taseer and for which he died. Senior officials classified the killing as politically motivated rather than religiously so. According to the New York Times, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureishi expressed only his condolences to the family when approached by journalists but said nothing else. Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, commented he would “shoot any blasphemer himself.”

As also reported by the Times, the assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, joined the Special Forces branch of the Punjab police in 2002 but officials declared him a “security risk” due to his extreme religious views and sectarian activities. Nonetheless, by 2008, the story continues with Qadri a full-fledged member of Punjab’s elite police force that guards the governor. His reinstatement might explain why he managed to shot Mr. Taseer more than 20 times in the back without any other member of the security detail firing off a round.

An April 2010 report on the December 2007 assassination of two-time former Pakistani prime minister and leading presidential contender Benazir Bhutto concluded that the fifteen-and-a-half-year-old suicide bomber who detonated his explosives near the reformists vehicle did not act alone.  While mystery shrouds the names of the conspirators, most now believe Al Qaeda or other radical Islamic terrorist group planned the attack. On December 22, 2010, Pakistani officials arrested two highly ranked Pakistani police officials in connection with Ms. Bhutto murder: Regional Police Chief Saud Aziz, who oversaw the investigation, and Khurram Shehza, who headed Bhutto’s security team. Both face charges concerning security breaches covering up evidence by hosing down the crime scene, and failing to conduct a postmortem examination on Bhutto.

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