Loading
Pakistani governor’s murder causes shock, pessimism about end to blasphemy law
Pakistani governor’s murder causes shock, pessimism about end to blasphemy law

.- The assassination of a Pakistani governor who opposed the country’s blasphemy law will make it “virtually impossible” for anyone to speak out against it, the Archbishop of Lahore has warned.

On Jan. 4 Punjab governor Salman Taseer was shot by one of his own guards in Islamabad as he was leaving his car near a shopping center. The gunman told police he killed Taseer because of the governor’s opposition to the blasphemy law. According to Minorities Concern of Pakistan, police have arrested six others in connection with the crime.

Governor Taseer had sought a pardon for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death under the blasphemy law on what her lawyers say are fabricated charges. The politician's killer, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, also cited Taseer’s visit to Bibi and his declaration of her innocence as a motive.

Punjab is Pakistan’s most populous province, having about 56 percent of the country’s total population. About 80 percent of Pakistan’s Christians live in Punjab.

“We were very shocked to hear the news,” Archbishop Lawrence J. Saldanha of Lahore told Vatican Radio. “We feel that this is definitely a move against those who are opposing the blasphemy law.”

The governor was “a quite outstanding critic” of the blasphemy law and had called for its repeal several times.

The archbishop expressed the Catholic Church’s sadness at his murder. He reported that there is increasing intolerance of any form of dissent in Pakistan and less hope that the blasphemy law may be overturned.

He also characterized the government as “lame duck,” without the power to legislate after a main coalition partner of the Pakistani government left the coalition on Jan. 3.

Meanwhile, radical Islamic groups have called nationwide strikes to counter any effort to repeal the blasphemy law.

“Initially when the High Court sentenced Asia Bibi to death, many members of civil society spoke out against this law and there was a general sense that it needed to be repealed. Now that tide has turned,” Archbishop Saldanha said.

Catholics feel increasing marginalized, he explained, and have had to increase security around churches especially during Christmas.

“While there was some hope before that things may change, now with the government virtually a lame duck, that hope has gone,” he stated.

He said Catholics “live from day to day, hoping and praying and quietly going about their business. And not making any waves. Certainly the mood is very gloomy, and there is fear and tension. But at the same time, they come to church and they get an uplifted feeling.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
18

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Gospel
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Homily
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: