LAHORE:A large number of people attended slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s qul at the Governor’s House on Thursday. Special prayers were offered for his departed soul while people remembered him as a brave and bold politician who was a true ‘jiyala’ of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Qari Muhammad Ejaz and Qari Muhammad Sadaqat recited Quranic verses and naat while Pir Qari Allama Muhammad Yousaf Awan led prayers for the governor’s departed soul.
A large number of people including PPP leaders, ministers, parliamentarians and workers, politicians, Taseer’s friends and associates, bureaucrats and others attended the event. PPP leaders including Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmad, Federal Law Minister Senator Dr Babar Awan, Federal Social Welfare Minister Samina Khalid Ghurki, State Minister for Communication and PPP Punjab President Imtiaz Safdar Waraich, Punjab Labour Minister Ashraf Khan Sohna, Punjab IT Minister Farooq Yousaf Ghurki, EPTB Chairman Syed Asif Hashmi, Aitzaz Ahsan, the PM’s advisor Mian Ayub, Punjab Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, PPP Punjab Information Secretary Dr Fakharuddin Chaudhry, Dr Hasnat Shah, Qasim Zia, Naveed Chaudhry, Munawar Anjum, Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas, Haji Azizur Rehman Chan, PPP Lahore Women Wing President Faiza Malik, Chaudhry Asghar Gujjar, PPP Punjab Finance Secretary Aurangzeb Burki, the governor’s political advisor Malik Hafizur Rehman, Afnan Butt, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan, Arif Khan, Sajida Mir, Zarqa Butt, Rana Aftab, PPP Punjab Secretary General Samiullah Khan, PPP Punjab Deputy Secretary General Malik Usman, PPP Punjab Deputy Secretary Information Iqbal Sialvi and former PPP MPA Mian Yousaf Salahuddin attended the event. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders including Ahmad Ali Aulakh, Ehsanuddin Qureshi, Pervaiz Malik, Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel, Mian Azhar and Mohsin Leghari were also present. Former Punjab governor Lieutenant General (r) Khalid Maqbool and former federal finance minister Salman Shah were also present while prominent minorities leader Sardar Bushan Singh, Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami and Anjum Rasheed were also present.
Taseer’s family members including wife Amna Taseer, sons Shan Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer and Sheheryar Taseer, daughters Sara Taseer Shoaib, Sanam Taseer and Sheherbano Taseer and sons-in-law Shoaib and Umar Salamat and other close relatives also attended the event. Strict security arrangements were in place at the Governor’s House to avoid any untoward incident. Quran Khawani was also held across Punjab by the PPP to pay homage to the slain governor. Taseer’s family members, federal and provincial ministers, PPP leaders and workers and people from all walks of life visited the governor’s grave at the Cavalry Grounds graveyard and laid floral wreaths on his grave.Separately, President Asif Ali Zardari made a telephonic call to the governor’s family and condoled his death. He expressed deep shock and sorrow over his close aide’s assassination. According to sources, the president, while talking to Taseer’s widow, Amna, said, “Salmaan Taseer’s sacrifice won’t go in vain and justice would be provided to the Taseer family”. The President also paid tribute to Taseer for his services for the party. Zardari expressed hope that all “dirty hands behind the crime” would be exposed and punished according to law. He said that Taseer was an asset of the party, as he was an undaunted political leader and true follower of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto and followed their in path to martyrdom.“Taseer’s courage and determination in espousing causes of marginalised sections of society and readiness to pay highest price for it will continue to inspire many. Few possess the courage of Shaheed Salmaan Taseer in standing up to bigots and fanatics, and fewer the readiness to embrace martyrdom for it”, President Zardari said. Zardari also prayed to God to bless Taseer’s soul and asked Amna Taseer to convey his condolences to other members of the family. Amna thanked the president saying that his words were a source of great strength in this hour of tragedy, party sources – PT