Central & South Asia
Pakistan's Punjab governor killed
Police say Salman Taseer, an outspoken member of ruling party, was assassinated by an elite guard in capital Islamabad.
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2011 12:25 GMT
Salman Taseer, an outspoken critic of the country's blasphemy law, was killed by a member of his security detail [EPA]

The governor of Pakistan's most politically important province of Punjab has been killed after shootings in a popular market in the capital Islamabad.

Police said Salman Taseer, a high-profile member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was killed by a member of his security detail.

The shooting took place near Kohsar market, popular with wealthy Pakistanis and expatriates, and close to the governor's home in the capital, Islamabad.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent, reporting from Islamabad said Taseer received nine bullets and was killed instantly.

"The policeman has been taken into custody and was reported to have said that he did shoot the governor and that it was because of his views."

Five other people were wounded as other security personnel responded to the attack on Tuesday afternoon.

Blasphemy critic

Taseer recently spoke out against the country's blasphemy law.

An active user of the social media platform Twitter, he said in one of his last posts: "I was under huge pressure 2 cow down before rightest pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I'm the last man standing."

Al Jazeera's correspondent added that the shootings happened in an area populated by embassies and frequented by foreigners, and is considered to be a fairly safe part of the city.

"Taseer has been very vocal against the TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan].  It would be speculative to see who could have gained from this attack. The government is under pressure," our correspondent said.

Al Jazeera and agencies
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