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Topic - Salmaan Taseer
The assassination of a second high-profile critic of Pakistan's blasphemy law Wednesday snuffed out any hope that the government will amend the decree that prescribes the death penalty for those insulting Islam.
A Washington mesmerized by the dawn of a new domestic political era may not recognize it, but Pakistan should now be the major — certainly foreign — preoccupation for U.S. policymakers.
The Cypriot ambassador, a Christian of the Greek Orthodox faith, last week expressed his sympathy over the murder of a Pakistani Muslim politician killed for supporting religious tolerance.
Lawyers showered the suspected killer of a prominent Pakistani governor with rose petals when he arrived at court Wednesday, and an influential Muslim scholars group praised the assassination of the outspoken opponent of laws that order death for those who insult Islam.
The Obama administration has declared a "struggle against violent extremism," but it has little to say when it comes to extremism practiced by governments. Blasphemy laws in Pakistan and Afghanistan are being used to sanction judicial murder in the name of Islam. The United States refuses to condemn these practices, apparently believing this would amount to an unwarranted imposition of American values on foreign customs. Even in these backward countries, however, there are brave political leaders who are standing up to legal persecution.
The governor of Pakistan's wealthiest and most populous province was shot dead in the capital Tuesday by one of his own guards, who later told interrogators that he was angry about the politician's stance against the country's blasphemy law, officials said.
On Jan. 4, Taseer was shot dead by one of his bodyguards, who said he was angry about the governor's stance on the laws.