- By David KennerDavid Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was gunned down by one of his bodyguards today in a crowded marketplace — the highest-profile killing in Pakistan since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the latest blow to the country’s beleaguered civilian government. Pakistan’s interior minister has suggested that Taseer’s killing was related to his support of repealing the country’s controversial blasphemy law, which earned him the ire of Pakistan’s religious parties.
Nevertheless, you’d think that those who supported Taseer’s assassination would be relegated to the lunatic fringe — or at least be reticent about shouting their praise for the act from the rooftops. Not so. Admirers of the gunman, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, have set up a Facebook page to commemorate the killer. In a few short hours, the page has been flooded with hundreds of posts by supporters lionizing their newfound hero.
"May Allah protect Malik Mumtaz; he has indeed made us very proud as Muslims," reads one representative post written by Kamran Qureshi who, if his Facebook information is to be believed, resides in Lahore. Sounds like the Pakistani security services just got the names of a number of individuals with whom they might want to have a conversation.