Pak Punjab Governor's assassination points to religious extremists' mounting power

Karachi, Jan 5(ANI): Pakistan Punjab Governor Salman Taseer's assassination has come out as an act that violently highlights religious extremists' tightening grip on the country.

According to the Washington Post, Taseer was a razor-tongued governor, who was known for speaking out on behalf of women and religious minorities.

Taseer's killer, his own security guard, has cited the governor's stance against a controversial anti-blasphemy law in justifying his actions.

The 66-year-old had called for pardon of a Christian woman, who was sentenced to death in November last year for allegedly criticizing the prophet Muhammad.

His actions had led religious groups to denounce him as an "apostate" and burn his effigies during a nationwide strike last week in support of the law, the paper said.

One Muslim cleric has offered 6,000 dollars to anyone who kills the woman, who remains in jail.

Taseer's assassination is now a grim reminder of the risks that Pakistani leaders take to oppose religious extremists, the paper added. (ANI)

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