Islamabad: Pakistan President Asif Ali
Zardari on Thursday vowed to expose and punish those responsible for
the assassination of Salmaan Taseer and said that the Punjab
Governor was "killed to sharpen the polarisation in society to
derail the democratic process".
Zardari made the remarks when he telephoned Taseer`s
widow Aamna to convey his condolences.
Taseer was gunned down on Tuesday by police guard
Malik Qadri, who said he was angered by the Governor`s
criticism of the blasphemy law.
"Taseer was killed to sharpen the polarisation in
society to derail the democratic process using the fa?ade of
religion," Zardari said.
He pledged that "all the dirty hands behind the crime
will be exposed and punished in accordance with the law".
Qadri surrendered immediately after shooting Taseer.
Investigators are trying to determine if he acted
alone or was part of a larger conspiracy.
Zardari earlier said it was yet to be established
whether the assassination was a "conspiracy against the system
and the country".
Zardari praised Taseer`s courage and determination in
"espousing the causes of marginalised sections of society and
readiness to pay the highest price for it will continue to
He added: "His defiant cry against bigotry and his
loud and clarion call for defending marginalised sections of
society will echo in the annals of time."
Taseer was an asset of the ruling Pakistan People`s
Party and "wrote with his blood a new chapter in the history
of PPP`s continuing struggle for human rights, democracy and
no-discrimination," Zardari said.
"Few possess the courage of Shaheed Salmaan Taseer in
standing up to bigots and fanatics, and fewer still the
readiness to embrace martyrdom for it," the President said.