Pakistan: Governor Punjab has been killed

ISLAMABAD: Governor Punjab Salman Taseer was dead after one of his guards, named Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, opened fire on him when he was going towards his car in Kohsar Market here today.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed to the media that the guard has been arrested. He has confessed that he opened fire on the governor because of his support to Asia Bibi, he added. Asia Bibi was convicted on blasphemy.

A policeman of elite force opened burst on the governor. He received bullets on his chest and neck. He was rushed to Poly Clinic but succumbed to the injuries.

The police have also arrested six suspected people from the spot.

Salman Taseer, 66, appointed governor of Punjab in 2008, was killed by one of his bodyguards opposed to his public criticism of controversial blasphemy laws.

"He was a very good friend, a politician and a businessman. He was a national hero we have lost him," said interior minister and PPP stalwart Rehman Malik.

He named the assassin as Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a guard assigned to the governor from the garrison city of Rawalpindi on at least five or six previous occasions.

"He confessed that he killed the governor because he had called the blasphemy law a black law," Malik said.

Police and anti-terror forces surrounded the area and closed the market after the attack. A silver Toyota car with a flat wheel was parked on one side.

Blood was smeared on the road in two places, said a reporter.

The body of deceased has been shifted to PIMS hospital where autopsy is underway. According to initial post-mortem report there were 27 bullet wound on the body of Salman Taseer, adding that 22 bullets have been removed from the body.

Meanwhile, PPP Punjab senior leader Raja Riaz while talking to media said that the body of deceased would be brought back to Lahore tonight. The funeral prayer of Salman Taseer would be held at governor house tomorrow.

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