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Frontiers of expression have shrunk in 'democratic' Pakistan: Shehrbano Taseer


March 14, 2011 - Islamabad

The boundaries of expression have shrunk in Pakistan, Shehrbano Taseer, daughter of slain former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, has said.

Both Taseer and Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were assassinated within a gap of two months for their vocal support for reforms of Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws.

"In a country that calls itself a democracy, the frontiers of expression have shrunk," The Express Tribune quoted Shehrbano, as saying on an Express 24/7 show, commenting on the murders.

She said that everyone is to be blamed collectively for the assassinations of Taseer and Bhatti, adding that if it were not for the current or the previous government appeasing terrorists, these shocking incidents would not have taken place.

Shehrbano said that she felt the media was also responsible for Taseer's assassination because it acted irresponsibly by giving undue space to "hot-headed right wingers, screaming bloody murder," instead of starting a debate on the controversial blasphemy laws.

Shehrbano revealed that her family had received several threatening letters after her father's assassination, and vowed to continue living in Pakistan despite requests from friends, urging her family to leave the country.

"We are Pakistanis; we will build our lives in Pakistan; we will live to better the lives of Pakistanis. We will not go anywhere," she maintained.

The slain governor's daughter said that she does not live in fear because that is what the terrorists capitalise on.

"I am not going to give my country to them on a silver platter," she said.

On a positive note, Shehrbano said she sees "unwavering hope in Pakistan," and if everyone was to work for a better Pakistan, they would see the fruits in the next 20 years or so.

ANI

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