5 Jan 2011

Punjab governor killed by bodyguard

9:48 am on 5 January 2011

The governor of Punjab Province in Pakistan has been killed by one of his bodyguards in the capital, Islamabad.

Salman Taseer, 66, was killed when he got out of his car in a busy market area. The BBC reports he was shot nine times at close range.

The BBC reports the suspected killer has been taken into custody.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the guard had told police that he killed Mr Taseer because of the governor's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has declared three days of mourning.

Unconfirmed reports say up to five other people were wounded when other bodyguards opened fire following the attack.

Mr Taseer was a close associate of President Asif Ali Zardari. He had previously been to the presidential palace, the Senate and the interior ministry.

The BBC reports he made headlines recently by appealing for the pardon of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy.