The governor of Pakistan's Punjab province was assassinated by his own security guard Tuesday, according to Interior Minister Rehman Malik, apparently because he spoke out against the country's controversial blasphemy law.
The security guard was arrested, Malik said. The shooting occurred at Islamabad's Kohsar Market, which is frequented by foreigners.
Malik told reporters the guard had confessed to killing Salman Taseer over the governor's describing the blasphemy law as a ""black law,"" the Associated Press of Pakistan reported. After the shooting, the guard -- identified by the APP as Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri -- immediately surrendered to authorities, according to the report.
Taseer was leaving the market when he was shot. The APP said he had had lunch with a friend at a cafe in the market. Earlier, Naeem Iqbal, spokesman for Islamabad police, said Taseer had gone into the market to make some purchases. He was taken to a hospital following the shooting, but died, apparently from blood loss, officials said.A spotlight was put on Pakistan's controversial law in November when a Christian woman, Asia Bibi of Punjab province, was sentenced to death for blasphemy. A court found the 45-year-old woman guilty of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with fellow Muslim field workers.
An investigation by a Pakistani government ministry found the charges against Bibi stemmed from ""religious and personal enmity"" and recommended her release. The government also said it would review the law.
In remarks to CNN in November, Taseer said Pakistan's President, Asif Ali Zardari, would pardon Bibi if the courts did not.
""He's a liberal, modern-minded president, and he's not going to see a poor woman like this targeted and executed ... it's just not going to happen,"" he said. ""The blasphemy law is not a God-made law. It's a man-made law,"" he said. ""... It's a law that give