Hillary Clinton condemns assassination of Pak Punjab governor

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Washington, Jan 5(ANI): U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the assassination of Pakistan Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, calling his death "a great loss".

Taseer was shot dead on Tuesday in Islamabad by one of his bodyguards, who opposed his criticism of blasphemy laws.

"We strongly condemn the assassination in Pakistan of Punjab Provincial Governor Salman Taseer. I had the opportunity to meet Governor Taseer in Pakistan and I admired his work to promote tolerance and the education of Pakistan's future generations. His death is a great loss," the Dawn quoted Clinton, as saying in a statement.

"Our deepest sympathies are with Governor Taseer's wife and children. The United States remains committed to helping the government and people of Pakistan as they persevere in their campaign to bring peace and stability to their country," she added.

Taseer's bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Qadri shot him in his chest and neck. The governor died on the spot.

It is the most high-profile political killing in Pakistan since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination in December 2007.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik had earlier confirmed that Qadri had confessed to assassinating Taseer because of his support for the release of Asia Bibi.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, has been sentenced to death by a lower court for violating Pakistan's laws against blaspheming Muhammad. (ANI)

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