World condemns Pakistan governor’s killing

LONDON: The United States, Britain, France and the United Nations on Tuesday condemned the assassination of the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province in the capital city.

British Foreign Minister William Hague said he was shocked by the assassination of Salman Taseer, adding that it was loss to the leadership of the country.

Taseer was shot dead at an Islamabad market by a bodyguard who was opposed to the politician’s criticism of blasphemy laws, officials said.“I am shocked to hear of the assassination of Salman Taseer,” Hague said in a statement.

“His death will be a loss to the leadership of Pakistan. On behalf of the British government I send my condolences to Mr Taseer’s family, friends and colleagues.”

The United States termed the assassination a “great loss” because Taseer was trying to stabilise his country.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will offer Washington’s condolences to Hussain Haqqani, the Pakistani ambassador to Washington, when she meets him later Tuesday, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

“From our standpoint, his death is a great loss. He was committed to helping the government and people of Pakistan persevere in their campaign to bring peace and stability to their country,” he added.

France also condemned the murder, hailing Taseer as a man known for his “courage in defending democratic institutions.”

“France firmly condemns the assassination on Tuesday of the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer. Governor Taseer was a political personality of the highest order,” deputy foreign ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the murder a blow to the country.

“The secretary general condemns the assassination today of the governor of Punjab province,” said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.Ban called the governor “a prominent leader whose death is a loss for Pakistan” – Dawn