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Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Key Pakistani governor killed in Islamabad shooting: police
Islamabad: Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab province, was killed Tuesday in a firing incident in the Pakistan capital, officials and media reports said.
The governor's limousine, which was accompanied by a police escort, was hit in the firing in Kohsar Market area in Islamabad's sector F-6/3.
Taseer was taken to Polyclinic Hospital in the capital where he died of wounds, officials said.
Dozens of supporters of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) took to streets in Lahore on Tuesday, burning tyres and blocking traffic in protest at the murder of Punjab's governor, witnesses said.
The protests broke out in the eastern city, the capital of Punjab province and the home town of Taseer.
PPP workers chanted slogans in support of the party, burned tyres and blocked traffic on the main Mall Road, witnesses said.
Shops were closed in most parts of the city, where people descended on Taseer's residence to mourn his death.
The killing was the most high-profile assassination of a political figure in Pakistan since the slaying of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in December of 2007.
Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was a high-profile member of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower.
Taseer was vocal on a range of subjects, including speaking out against the country's blasphemy law in recent days. Islamists in Pakistan have defended the controversial law and slammed those who oppose it.
Police official Mohammad Iftikhar said Taseer was gunned down by one of his own elite security force protectors after he reached Khosar Market, a shopping center in Islamabad popular with Westerners and wealthy Pakistanis. The suspected assailant was taken into custody, Iftikhar said.
Five other people were wounded as other security personnel responded to the attack.
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 two shots at him. Taseer then fell, while other police officials fired on the attacker.