Pakistan's Blasphemy Law

We look at the fallout from the murder of Salman Taseer ... the governor of Pakistan's largest province and an outspoken critic of Pakistan's powerful religious conservatives.


Blasphemy Law - Mosharraf Zaidi

We started this segment with a scene from yesterday, after Salman Taseer -- the governor of Pakistan's largest province, Punjab -- was assassinated. Taseer was shot 26 times -- each bullet hitting him in the back. He was killed by one of his own elite personal guards who reportedly told other guards of his plan and asked them not to shoot him. Police say he told them he did it for The Prophet.

And, according to police, the secular Mr. Taseer was targeted because of his very vocal criticism of Pakistan's blasphemy law. Critics say the law is used to settle vendettas and persecute religious minorities in the name of protecting Islam. But it is popular with many religious conservatives. And now the murder of Salman Taseer has raised concerns about the power those religious conservatives wield within Pakistan's security forces.

For the latest on the story, we were joined now by Mosharraf Zaidi. He's a columnist with Pakistan's The News. He was in Islamabad.

Blasphemy Law - Junaid Ahmad

Pakistan's blasphemy law has been the source of bitter debate in the country. The current version of the law dates back to the 1980s and the military rule of General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq. And Junaid Ahmad says it's time to do away with it. He is a Professor of Law at Lahore University of Management Sciences. He was in Lahore, Pakistan.

Blasphemy Law - Shuja Nawaz

Shuja Nawaz met with Salman Taseer while he was in Pakistan last month. He believes the consequences of Salman Taseer's murder could be catastrophic. Shuja Nawaz is the Director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council - a bipartisan think tank that does a lot of work on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was in Alexandria, Virginia.

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