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Pakistan on high alert ahead of assassinated governor's funeral

Reuters/Adrees Latif

Pakistan is on high alert on Wednesday ahead of the state funeral of one of the country's most liberal politicians, Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer, who was assassinated in Islamabad on Tuesday.  


Taseer, who was outspoken against the Taliban and Islamic extremism, was gunned down by a member of his own security force.

There has been widespread international condemnation over the killing.

"I had the opportunity to meet governor Taseer in Pakistan and I admired his work to promote tolerance and the education of Pakistan's future generations," said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "His death is a great loss."

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the assassination calling the governor “a prominent leader whose death is a loss for Pakistan”.

Taseer's body was flown overnight from Islamabad to Lahore for a state funeral ordered by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Authorities have braced themselves for unrest after dozens of supporters of the main ruling Pakistan People's Party took to the streets on Tuesday to protest against the killing.

Investigations are focused on whether the gunman, named by the government as Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a government-trained commando, acted alone or as part of a wider conspiracy.

"He confessed that he killed the governor because he had called the blasphemy law a black law," said Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

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