Gunmen killed the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, a senior member of the ruling party, in Islamabad on Tuesday, his spokesman said.
“Yes, he has died,” said the spokesman for Salman Taseer.
to the attack.Police said earlier Taseer had been shot nine times and wounded near his Islamabad home in the F6 sector and close to Kohsar market, a popular shopping and cafe spot frequented by wealthy Pakistanis and expatriates.
Another police official, Hasan Iqbal, said a pair of witnesses told the police that as the governor was leaving his vehicle, a man from his security squad fired at him. Taseer then fell, while other police officials fired on the attacker.
In recent days, as the People’s Party has faced the loss of its coalition partners, the 56-year-old Taseer has insisted that the government will survive. But it was his stance against the blasphemy laws that apparently led to his killing.
Interior Minister Rahman Malik told reporters that the suspect in the case had surrendered to police and told them he killed Taseer because “the governor described the blasphemy laws as a black law.”
Taseer was believed to be meeting someone for a meal, Malik said. Other members of his security detail were being questioned, Malik said.
The security for Taseer was provided by the Punjab government.
“We will see whether it was an individual act or someone had asked him” to do it, Malik said of the attacker.
“He was the most courageous voice after Benazir Bhutto on the rights of women and religious minorities,” said a crying Farahnaz Ispahani, an aide to Zardari and friend of Taseer. “God, we will miss him.”