Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer assassinated

Governor Punjab Salman Taseer was severely hurt in a firing incident on his convoy in Kohsar Market, and passed away from injuries. Reports indicated that the Governor was targeted and was hit by a few shots from the assailant, who happened to be a member of his own security guard.

It was reported that the Governor was in critical condition, but news sources – as well as a statement by the spokesman of the Governor’s House – indicate that the Governor has passed away. The asssailant was shot dead by other officials from the Governor’s security force.

The Governor was instrumental in fighting a case for Aasia bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death. The Governor faced a lot of pressure, especially from religious groups, for his stance and position on this issue. It is suspected that a religious militant with ties to extremist organizations like TTP, LeT, or SSP may be involved. The Governor breathed his last at Polyclinic Hospital.

There are also allegations that the Governor may have been shot by a member of his own security guard. The Elite Force is deployed with VIP and VVIP officials of the Punjab government. If an inquiry can establish that the Governor’s own guard was responsible for this security breach and assassination, then the protocol afforded to many senior officials and politicians – at least in Punjab – will have to be sensitively and immediately revised.

Salmaan Taseer was Governor of Punjab from 15 May, 2008 to January 4, 2011. He succeeded Lt. Gen. Khalid Maqbool as the Governor of Pakistan’s largest province. He was a member of the PPP since the 1960’s as a student leader during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s era. Taseer was known to be one of Benazir Bhutto’s trusted aides, and was frequently seen accompanying Benazir Bhutto during her trips to Lahore.

In the 1988 general elections, Taseer became a member of the Punjab Assembly from Lahore. In the 1990, 1993 and 1997 general elections, he ran as an MNA but lost.

In 2007, he was appointed the interim Federal Minister for Industries, Production and Special Initiatives.

Salmaan Taseer leaves behind a widow and six children.


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