Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's wealthiest and most populous province was assassinated today by his own bodyguard, who pumped 26 bullets into his boss for opposing a law that imposes the death penalty for "insulting Islam."
Taseer vented his opposition publicly - even using Twitter - to hard-line blasphemy laws that effectively order death for anyone convicted of insulting Islam. The laws have come under greater scrutiny in recent weeks after a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Taseer said Bibi should be pardoned, earning him opprobrium from Islamist groups across the country and death threats, said Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minorities. "I was under huge pressure sure 2 cow down b4 rightest pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I'm the last man standing," Taseer wrote on Twitter on Dec. 31.
Taseer was a passionate defender of women and minorities. His was the only Twitter feed out of Pakistan that I regularly read. Yesterday he tweeted: "So Facebook the social networking site started by a 26 year old has been valued at $50bn Same as our foreign debt! Something 2 think about?"