3 Mar 2011

Pakistani minister assassinated

2:15 am on 3 March 2011

Pakistan's Minister for Minorities has been shot dead in the capital Islamabad.

Shahbaz Bhatti had been calling for changes to Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, which can impose the death penalty.

He was travelling to work through a residential district when his vehicle was sprayed with bullets, the BBC reports.

The police say the assailants sprayed at least 25 bullets into the car, in broad daylight.

Following the killing, Christians gathered in the city of Multan to protest against the assassination.

Tyres were set alight and protesters chanted slogans.

Earlier this year, the governor of Punjab province Salmaan Taseer was killed by a bodyguard who said he was angry that the politician opposed the laws.