28 July, 2021

Godless Bullets

Salman Taseer’s killing reflects the fight over Pakistan’s soul

Godless Bullets

When Punjab governor Salman Taseer stepped out of the Table Talk restaurant after having lunch with hotelier Sheikh Waqas and walked to his car parked in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market on January 4, he must have been aware of the possibility of religious fanatics lurking around. Where in Pakistan haven’t the sinister, dark forces of militant Islam penetrated? But what Taseer couldn’t have foreseen perhaps is the precise visage of religious fanaticism—that it could come dressed in the uniform of the Elite Force of the Punjab police, one of those very men who were to protect him from the implacable Islamists forever sniffing around for enemies who don’t subscribe to their worldview.

As Taseer reached his car, a cry of Allah-o-Akbar echoed in the air. The voice was of his bodyguard, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who then calmly emptied the magazine of his AK-47 into the governor. As Taseer collapsed, Qadri reloaded the rifle and sprayed another 30 bullets. He then placed the rifle on the ground and surrendered before the...

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