Over 70 Indian Muslim groups, besides individuals from the community, among them journalists, artists and activists, have signed a statement condemning the killing of the Governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab, Salman Taseer, by a member of his bodyguard force.

Governor Taseer was killed in retaliation for the support he extended to Asia Bibi, who faces death under the blasphemy law of Pakistan.

The signatories said they were shocked as much by the killing as by the “cynical and vocal support” extended to the killer by extremist sections in Pakistan. Governor Taseer was one of the “liberal and democratic voices in Pakistan who have been fighting for the repeal of this reprehensible law.” Further, “We are worried by the trend of increasing religious intolerance in Pakistan and feel that if not fought with resolve and courage, it might lead to a deathly silence in Pakistan for a long, long time to come. While concerned for the safety of democratic and progressive voices, we are equally worried for the general wellbeing of the common people of Pakistan and express our solidarity with them.”

The signatories included, among others, the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan; Gauhar Raza, scientist, poet and filmmaker; Faroukh Sehikh, actor; Shama Zaidi, filmmaker; Hanif Lakdawala, social activist, Gujarat; Farida Khan, Professor, University of Wisconsin, U.S.; Mushir-ul-Hasan, academician; Aban Raza, artist; Imitiaz Hussain, civil servant, Srinagar; Kashif-ul-Huda, Editor, Two Circles; Hasan Kamal, Editor, Sahafat daily, Lucknow; Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad, Aijaz Ilmi, Aijaz Zaka Syed, Arjimand Hussain Talib, Haider Naqvi, Hassan Kazim, Nasiruddin Haider Khan, Nazim Naqvi, Seema Mustafa, Sadiq Naqvi, all journalists.

Keywords: Salman Taseer

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