The governor of Pakistan’s powerful Punjab province was shot dead Tuesday by one of his guards in the Pakistani capital, apparently because he had spoken out against the country’s controversial blasphemy laws, officials said.
The killing of Salman Taseer was the most high-profile assassination of a political figure in Pakistan since the slaying of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, and it rattled a country already dealing with crises ranging from a potential collapse of the government to Islamist militancy.
The suspected killer was taken into custody, and there were conflicting reports as to whether he was wounded.
Taseer was a member of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party and a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto’s widower. The governor was vocal on a range of subjects, and frequently used Twitter to get across his views.