6 Jan 2011

Pakistan in mourning for murdered governor

8:55 am on 6 January 2011

Three days of official mourning have begun in Pakistan for the slain Governor of Punjab province.

Salmaan Taseer, 66, was shot 14 times at close range by a bodyguard in Islamabad on Tuesday for his opposition to blasphemy laws.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani joined the mourners in the city of Lahore amid tight security.

After prayers at Governor's House in Lahore, Mr Taseer's coffin was taken by helicopter to a graveyard in a military zone.

Security was intense and the BBC reports the city was virtually shut down.

Killer praised

Although many have condemned the assassination, a religious party has praised the governor's killer.

Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat Pakistan warned that anyone who expressed grief over the assassination could suffer the same fate.

"No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salman Taseer or even express any kind of regret or sympathy over the incident," the party said in a statement.

It said anyone who expressed sympathy over the death of a blasphemer was also committing blasphemy.