Salman Taseer assassinated; Pakistani governor spoke out against religious extremism

Salman Taseer, the razor-tongued governor of Punjab province, was killed Tuesday in Islamabad. Thousands of Pakistanis braved high security to attend his funeral Wednesday.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011; 12:18 PM

Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's largest province, was shot and killed by a member of his security detail Tuesday. As Karin Bruillard reported:

The governor of Pakistan's largest province was assassinated Tuesday at a genteel market in the nation's capital - allegedly by one of his own security guards, angered by the governor's support of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Police said Salman Taseer- a sharp-tongued supporter of embattled President Asif Ali Zardari and an outspoken critic of religious extremists - was shot multiple times at the shopping plaza, which is near his home in Islamabad and is frequented by foreigners.

A Pakistani news station quoted a witness who said he saw a security guard get out of Taseer's vehicle, raise a Kalashnikov rifle and fire through the window of the vehicle.

As AP reported this marks one of the most high-profile assasinations in Pakistan's history:

The killing of Punjab province Governor Salman Taseer was the most high-profile assassination of a political figure in Pakistan since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007, and it rattled a country already dealing with crises ranging from a potential collapse of the government to a virulent Islamist insurgency.

The killing could also add to concerns about inroads by Islamist extremists and fundamentalists into Pakistan's security establishment and represented another blow to the country's Pakistan's embattled secular movement.

Taseer was a member of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and a close associate of the president. The governor was vocal on a range of subjects, even using Twitter to get across his views.

Salman Taseer's legacy lives on not only in his record as governor, but also in the tweets which he used to speak out on a variety of issues, as BlogPost has compiled below, here are a few:

I was under huge pressure sure 2 cow down b4 rightest pressure on blasphemy.Refused. Even if I'm the last man standing

Religous right trying 2 pressurise from the street their support of blasphemy laws.Point is it must be decided in Parlaiment not on the road

My observation on minorities: A man/nation is judged by how they support those weaker than them not how they lean on those stronger

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