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Salman Taseer

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Salman Khan
سلمان تاثیر
26th Governor of Punjab (Pakistan)
In office
15 May 2008 – 4 January 2011
Preceded byLt Gen Khalid Maqbool
Succeeded bySardar Latif Khosa
Personal details
Born(1944-05-31)31 May 1944[1]
Simla, Punjab, British India (Now Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India)
Died4 January 2011(2011-01-04) (aged 66)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Political partyPakistan Peoples Party
Spouse(s)Yasmeen Sehgal

Amna Taseer (?-2011)
(till his death)
Domestic partnerTavleen Singh[2]
Children7 including Shahbaz and Aatish Taseer
Parent(s)M. D. Taseer (father)
Bilquis Taseer (mother)
RelativesAlys Faiz (maternal aunt)
Salima Hashmi (maternal cousin)
Muneeza Hashmi (maternal cousin)

Salman Taseer (Punjabi and Urdu: سلمان تاثیر; (1944-05-31)31 May 1944[1][3] – 4 January 2011) was a Pakistani businessman and politician, who served as the 26th Governor of Punjab from 2008 until his assassination in 2011.[4]

A member of the Pakistan Peoples Party since the 1980s, he was elected to the Punjab Assembly from Lahore in the 1988 election, however lost in 1990, 1993 and then in 1997. Taseer served as a minister in the caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro under Pervez Musharraf during the 2008 elections.[5] He was appointed as the governor of Punjab on 15 May 2008, by then-President Musharraf at the request of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.[6][7] During his governorship, he emerged as an outspoken critic of Pakistan's blasphemy laws and consequently called for the pardon for a blasphemy accused Asia Bibi.[8][9]

Born in Shimla in British India, Taseer studied at the St. Anthony's School and the Government College in Lahore before moving to London where he studied accountancy at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. In 1994, Taseer established a brokerage house backed by the Smith Barney and in 1996 he founded the Worldcall Group. In 2000s, he ventured into media, launching Business Plus and Daily Times.[10]

On January 4, 2011, Taseer was assassinated at the Kohsar Market in Islamabad by his bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri. Qadri disagreed with Taseer's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law,[11] perceiving Taseer's moderate views as an insult to Islam.[12] The Guardian described Taseer's murder as "one of the most traumatic events in recent Pakistani history."[13][14] A nationwide three-day state of mourning was held in Pakistan, Taseer's funeral prayers were held at the Governors House in Lahore.[15] Taseer's son, Shahbaz, was kidnapped by the Pakistani Taliban in 2011, before being released in 2016, a few months after Taseer's murderer was hanged.[16][17] Taseer's other son, Shaan, is a leading critic of the country's blasphemy law.[18]

Early life and family[edit]

Taseer was born on 31 May 1944, in Shimla, British India, to a mixed-race family,[19] being of Kashmiri descent on his father's side[20] and of English descent on his mother's side.[21]

His father was Muhammad Din Taseer (M. D. Taseer), who hailed from Ajnala near Amritsar,[22] and was a professor at Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Amritsar, having obtained his PhD in the United Kingdom. Taseer's mother was Christobel George, a British woman who, upon her wedding, converted to Islam and took the name Bilqis.[21]

Taseer's father died in 1950 at the age of 47, when Taseer was only six years old.[23] Taseer and his two sisters were brought up by their mother in relative poverty, in an environment with strong Christian influences. He had little immersion in Pakistani culture, because his mother didn't stay in contact with her late husband's family.[24]

Taseer attended St. Anthony's School, a school run by Christian missionaries in Lahore, where he was a classmate of Nawaz Sharif.[25] He then obtained a degree in Chartered Accountancy from London.[25]

Marital and extramarital relationships[edit]

Taseer was married twice, and also had two confirmed extra-marital relationships. With his first wife Yasmeen Sehgal, he had one son, Shaan, and two daughters, Sara and Sanam. His second wife, Aamna Taseer, is chairperson of an investment management company. They have two sons, Shahbaz and Shehryar and a daughter, Shehrbano.

Taseer had a brief extramarital relationship with the Indian journalist Tavleen Singh. Taseer met Singh during a book promotion trip to India in March 1980. Their son, Aatish (born 27 November 1980), is a writer and journalist. According to Aatish, the relationship between his parents was an "affair (which) lasted little more than a week."[2] Aatish is a freelance journalist in the UK and has written a book – Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey through Islamic Lands – about his estranged relationship with his biological father.[26][27]

Political career[edit]

Taseer started his political career in his student era as a member of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the late 1960s.[28] He was a part of the movement for Bhutto's freedom and opposed his arrest and death sentence.[28] He also wrote a political biography on Bhutto titled Bhutto: A political biography (1980).[28] Taseer was also known to be one of the trusted aides of Bhutto's daughter and political heir, Benazir Bhutto.[25]

In the 1988 general elections, Taseer became a member of the Punjab Assembly from Lahore.[28] In the 1990, 1993 and 1997 general elections, he stood for election to be an MNA but lost.[28] In 2007, he was appointed the interim Federal Minister for Industries, Production and Special Initiatives.[28] On 15 May 2008, Taseer was designated for the office of Governor of Punjab by the PPP-led coalition government.

In December 2010, Taseer was alleged to have left the country for several days without handing over charge to the Punjab Assembly Speaker. This meant that the province was without a constitutional head, and it also rendered the assembly speaker ineligible to preside over sessions. Leaving the province without informing his successor was in violation of the constitution and this led to Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal sending a letter to Prime Minister Gilani calling for the removal of Salmaan Taseer by the President.[29] Evidence provided by ICAO on the governor's travel abroad led to a case being filed in court for breach of the constitution.[30]

Business career[edit]

Taseer set up several chartered accountancy and management consultancy firms early in his career.[31] In 1995 he established the First Capital Securities Corporation (FCSC), a full-service brokerage house with equity participation by Smith Barney, Inc., USA, and HG Asia Hong Kong.[31]

Taseer founded the Worldcall group with a payphone network in 1996. The group has grown over the years to become a major private-sector telecom operator with a national and regional footprint.[31] A majority stake in Worldcall was acquired in 2008 by Omantel, the Sultanate of Oman's incumbent operator.[32] Taseer also owned an English news channel in Pakistan, Business Plus; and the first children's channel, Wikkid Plus;[31] and was the publisher of the English language Daily Times.[31]


In an interview with Meher Bukhari on Samaa TV, Taseer commented on his view about the country's blasphemy law and on filing a mercy petition for Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death by a court under the law.[33]

On 4 January 2011, one of Taseer's bodyguards, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, shot him 27 times with an AK-47 assault rifle at Kohsar Market,[34] near his home[35] in Sector F6, Islamabad, as he was returning to his car after meeting a friend for lunch. Kohsar Market is a popular shopping and cafe spot for the city's elite and expatriates.[11][34] Qadri perceived Taseer's defense of the rights of women and religious minorities as insulting to Islam.[12] Eight hours before his assassination, he tweeted an Urdu couplet by Shakeel Badayuni: "My resolve is so strong that I do not fear the flames from without, I fear only the radiance of the flowers, that it might burn my garden down."[36]

The next day, just hundreds of people turned up for his funeral in Lahore in spite of denunciations by some Sunni clerics and religious scholars against mourning Taseer.[37][38] Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and many supporters of the ruling PPP were seen attending the funeral prayer. The funeral prayers were finally led by Allama Afzal Chisti of the Ulema wing of the PPP after the chief cleric of the Badshahi Mosque, who had initially agreed to offer prayers, backed off at the last moment, saying he was going out of town.[39] Taseer was buried at a military cantonment in Lahore.[40]

The assassin Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri was from Punjab, and was part of the security detail provided to Taseer by the Elite Police. After the shooting, Qadri threw his weapon down. He reportedly pleaded to be arrested.[41] After the murder, more than 500 clerics voiced support for the murder and urged a general boycott of Taseer's funeral as he supported a blasphemer.[42] Supporters of Mumtaz Qadri blocked police attempting to bring him to the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi, and some supporters showered him with rose petals.[43] On 1 October 2011, Qadri was sentenced to death by a Pakistani Anti Terrorist court at Islamabad for murdering Taseer. Qadri was executed on 29 February 2016.[44][45]


  1. ^ a b "Salmaan Taseer". The Governor House Lahore, Punjab. 29 February 2016. Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b A Correspondent Date: 6 January 2011 Place: Mumbai (6 January 2011). "A son in search of his father". Mid-day.com. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Salmaan Taseer: 1946–2011 Archived 24 May 2012 at archive.today, Daily Times, 5 January 2011
  4. ^ Maqbool, Aleem (5 January 2011). "Taseer's death exposes fissures in Pakistani society". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Salmaan Taseer". Pakistan Herald. Archived from the original on 8 November 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
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  8. ^ "Taseer to take Aasia's clemency appeal to president – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 21 November 2010. Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  9. ^ Boone, Jon; Baloch, Kiyya (11 October 2016). "Asia Bibi blasphemy case to be heard by Pakistan supreme court". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Who were Salmaan Taseer and Mumtaz Qadri?". Daily Pakistan Global. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  11. ^ a b Haider, Zeeshan; Georgy, Michael (4 January 2011). "Pakistan's Punjab province governor shot dead". Reuters. Archived from the original on 9 March 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  12. ^ a b Ullah, Haroon K. (2014). Vying for Allah's vote: understanding Islamic parties, political violence, and extremism in Pakistan. South Asia in world affairs series. Washington (D.C.): Georgetown University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-62616-015-6.
  13. ^ Boone, Jon (12 March 2015). "Salmaan Taseer murder case harks back to 1929 killing of Hindu publisher". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  14. ^ Walsh, Declan (5 January 2011). "A divided Pakistan buries Salmaan Taseer and a liberal dream". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  15. ^ Masood, Salman; Gall, Carlotta (4 January 2011). "Salman Taseer, Punjab Governor, Shot Dead in Islamabad". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Salmaan Taseer's killer Mumtaz Qadri executed". Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  17. ^ Khan, M. Ilyas (9 March 2016). "Shahbaz Taseer: Why was murdered Pakistan governor's son released?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Fatwa, police case against Shaan Taseer for 'hate speech' on Christmas". Archived from the original on 2 January 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  19. ^ Basheer, Tariq. "Blog: Salmaan Taseer: the future waits by Tariq Basheer". The Friday Times. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2015. Although born in colonial Simla to prominent Anglo-Indian parents (a Kashmiri father and a British mother), Salmaan Taseer never rolled in millions until he made them himself.
  20. ^ "'To Hell Where They Belong': In conversation with Salmaan Taseer, governor of the Punjab". Newsweek Pakistan. 4 January 2012. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012. "Kashmiris in Pakistan are not only in Azad Kashmir, they are spread all over. I am a Kashmiri. There are thousands and thousands of Kashmiris in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Lahore, and there's huge amounts of sympathy for the Kashmiri cause across Pakistan."
  21. ^ a b "Once upon a time..." The Indian Express. 8 March 2009. Archived from the original on 8 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  22. ^ Usman, Ali (5 January 2010). "Remembering the man: The lesser-known side of Salmaan Taseer". The Express Tribune. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  23. ^ Malik, Muhammad Amin (22 December 2011). "Remembering a Personality". Greater Kashmir. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013.
  24. ^ "Stephen Sackur Interviews Shehrbano Taseer". BBC. 30 April 2011. Archived from the original on 25 December 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  25. ^ a b c "Profile of new Punjab Governor". APP. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  26. ^ "Present in Our Memory Games". outlookindia.com. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  27. ^ "Clash of Civilisations?". newslinemagazine.com. July 2009. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
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  30. ^ "The News". Archived from the original on 22 December 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  31. ^ a b c d e "Profile of Salman Taseer". Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  32. ^ "Omantel acquires 65 percent shares of WorldCall". Daily Times. Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  33. ^ Wright, Tom (5 January 2011). "Leading Pakistani Politician Killed". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  34. ^ a b "Punjab Governor Salman Taseer assassinated in Islamabad". British Broadcasting Company. 4 January 2011. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  35. ^ Wergeland, Paal; Auestad, Gunn Evy (4 January 2011). "Pakistansk guvernør drept" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 10 January 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2011. Skytingen brøt ut i nærheten av Kohsar, et marked som er populært blant rike pakistanere og utlendinger. Guvernørens hjem ligger i det samme området.
  36. ^ Mohammed Hanif (6 January 2011). "How Pakistan responded to Salmaan Taseer's assassination". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 January 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  37. ^ Sana Saleem, "Salmaan Taseer: murder in an extremist climate" Archived 18 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 5 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  38. ^ Aleem Maqbool and Orla Guerin, "Salman Taseer: Thousands mourn Pakistan governor" Archived 8 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine: "One small religious party, the Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat Pakistan, warned that anyone who expressed grief over the assassination could suffer the same fate. 'No Muslim should attend the funeral or even try to pray for Salman Taseer or even express any kind of regret or sympathy over the incident,' the party said in a statement. It said anyone who expressed sympathy over the death of a blasphemer was also committing blasphemy." BBC News South Asia, 5 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011.
  39. ^ Clerics refuse to lead prayer at Taseer's funeral, Omer Farooq Khan, TNN, 6 January 2011, 01.48 am IST.
  40. ^ "Pakistanis bury Punjab governor". Al Jazeera. 5 January 2011. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  41. ^ Pakistan governor's suspected murderer showered with roses, praised by scholars, Babar Dogar, Lahore – The Associated Press, Published Wednesday, 5 January 2011
  42. ^ R. Upadhyay, Barelvis and Deobandhis: "Birds of the Same Feather" Archived 4 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Eurasia Review, courtesy of the South Asia Analysis Group. 28 January 2011.
  43. ^ "Demonstrators Prevent Court Appearance of Alleged Pakistani Assassin". Voice of America. 6 January 2011. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  44. ^ "Former Governor of Pakistan's killer punished – A – पाकिस्तान के पूर्व गवर्नर के हत्यारे को सजा-ए-मौत". bhaskar.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  45. ^ "Taseer's killer Mumtaz Qadri hanged". Dawn. 29 February 2016. Archived from the original on 16 September 2019. Retrieved 29 February 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Punjab
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Federal Minister for Industries, Production and Special Initiatives (acting)
Succeeded by