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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Remembering Salman Taseer
By a New Worker correspondent
NCP leader Andy Brooks and other London comrades joined mourners in London on Monday for a last salute to Salman Taseer, the Punjabi governor killed last week by a religious fanatic. Well over a hundred members of the British Pakistani community gathered at the Pakistani High Commission to hear tributes from British and Pakistani politicians including former Labour minister Gerald Kaufman and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of the President of Pakistan.
The governor of Punjab province was a leading member of the social-democratic Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which leads the coalition government and is headed by Bhutto Zardari and his father. Taseer was gunned down by a bodyguard who claimed he was acting to defend Islam.
Reactionary religious leaders had denounced Governor Taseer after he publicly opposed blasphemy laws that the fanatics have used to sentence a Christian woman to death. Hundreds of Muslim clerics are now defending his assassination. But Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said those who supported the killing were “the real blasphemers”.
"Because of you, the message of Islam is distorted in the eyes of the world," said Bhutto Zardari, whose grandfather, the fourth president of Pakistan, was judicially murdered by a military regime and whose mother was killed by religious fanatics three years ago while campaigning for the presidency.
"Those who attack my religion, especially those who corrupt its peaceful message, you are what I call covert blasphemers and you will be defeated," Bhutto Zardari declared. "This will be our jihad”.
Bhutto Zardari further pledged to defend Christians and other minorities from the “dark forces of violent extremism, intolerance and bigotry”.
"We will defend you. For those who wish to harm you for a crime you did not commit, they will have to go through me first," he said.
The killer and those behind him believe erroneously that they will go to Heaven, Bhutto Zardari said. “But Allah has promised them Hell, and we will send them there,” he vowed.