The murder of Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, by one of his own bodyguards has grabbed headlines around the world this past week. Taseer incurred the enmity of Pakistani religious conservatives by speaking out in favor of the rights of women and religious minorities.
Recently, Taseer has advocated the repeal of Pakistan’s hoary blasphemy law, which prescribes mandatory execution for anyone convicted of “insulting Islam” – most recently, a mother of four from Pakistan’s terrified Christian minority.
Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, inexplicably assigned to Taseer’s security detail despite being a religious whackjob, decided to please God by shooting his boss either nine or twenty-four times, according to varying reports. After earning his ticket to Heaven, Qadri gave himself up, and was showered with flowers from well-wishers on the way to the hoosegow. One of them even created a Facebook group in his support, which lists almost 300 members (who, I bet, immediately show up on a couple of other lists as well) and overflows with schmaltzy paeans to the heroic act of killing an unarmed man for the sin of trying to drag his country into the 18th century.
Unfortunately, the only way to leave a comment on the group’s wall of madness is to join it, so we are reduced to firing off blog posts into the ether, with sincere wishes that Qadri’s punishment fits his own medieval views.