26 shots that sent Pak on edge
At a fashionable plaza in this serene Pakistani capital, a few dozen people gather in the evenings at the spot where provincial governor Salman Taseer was gunned down on Jan. 4. More than the man, their candlelight vigils mourn the open debate and religious compassion that have been lost with the assassination of the politician.
In a working-class alley of Rawalpindi, thousands flock each day to the home of Mumtaz Qadri, the elite police guard who killed Taseer. Qadri is in jail, but the site has become a shrine to many Pakistanis, who see it as a heroic act against a blasphemer. There are even posters of Qadri riding a white horse to heaven.
Since Taseer's death, Pakistan has become a different country. A crucial US ally in fight against terrorism seems incapable of stopping a tide of intolerant Islam at home.
Qadri has little chance of being convicted. Instead of suffering ostracism, he was greeted with garlands by courthouse lawyers, who offered to defend him pro bono. "There is no justice in our country for the common man, but Qadri's act against a blasphemer has made all Muslims feel stronger," a shopkeeper in Rawalpindi said. "They can punish him, but what will they do with a million Qadris who have been born now?"
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani has assured the restive Muslim masses that not a word of Pakistan's blasphemy law will be changed. The law makes any purported slur against the Prophet Muhammad, grounds for execution.
Taseer had proposed softening the law. Another legislator who did the same has received death threats.
Pakistani commentators have expressed shock at the demonisation of Taseer, who did nothing worse than criticise the blasphemy law and commiserate with a Christian peasant woman who was sentenced to death under it. The atmosphere is so charged most clerics refused to officiate at Taseer's funeral.
(In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post)
As international officials and journalists waited for the world leaders at the NATO summit venue on Tuesday, what baffled them was to find 'Russian Salad' on the in-house restaurant menu -- especially as at the summit, Russia was expected to be labelled as a 'security threat' due to its invasion of Ukraine. The dish was also sold out within hours.
Two days after at least 18 people were killed after Russian missiles struck a shopping mall containing more than 1,000 people in the central city of Kremenchuk in Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russian president of becoming a “terrorist”. The war between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for over four months now. He further urged Russia's expulsion from the United Nations.
The Biden administration unveiled a new plan to vaccinate eligible Americans against monkeypox, prioritizing those who have been exposed to the virus in states with the highest infection rates. Hundreds of thousands of doses of the Jynneos vaccine from Bavarian Nordic A/S will be made available under the administration's new plan through a tiered-allocation system, the US Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.
Meet the "zombie star." The star at issue, observed with the Hubble Space Telescope, is a kind known as a white dwarf, an incredibly dense object with about the mass of the sun crammed into the size of Earth.
NATO ally Turkey lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden's bid to join the Western alliance on Tuesday after the three nations agreed to protect each other's security, ending a weeks-long drama that tested allied unity against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The steps for Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO will be agreed on in the next two days, Finnish President Niinisto said. U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the deal.