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Security tight for Pakistan funeral

Thousands have gathered under tight security in Pakistan for the funeral of a provincial governor allegedly shot dead by a bodyguard.

The suspect said he was enraged by the politician's opposition to laws ordering death for insulting Islam.

Punjab governor Salman Taseer, 66, was a senior member of the ruling party regarded as an outspoken moderate in a country increasingly troubled by extremism.

His assassination on Tuesday added to the turmoil in nuclear-armed Pakistan, where the government is on the verge of collapse and Islamic militancy is on the rise

A group of more than 500 Muslim scholars have praised the bodyguard and said no one should pray for the governor.

The scholars and clerics group known as Jamat Ahle Sunnat also made a veiled threat against Mr Taseer's supporters in a statement: "The supporter is as equally guilty as one who committed blasphemy."

Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other senior ruling party officials joined up to 6,000 mourners at a ceremony at the governor's official residence in the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan, before Mr Taseer was buried at a nearby cemetery.

Mr Taseer was a close ally of US-backed President Asif Ali Zardari and the highest-profile political figure to be assassinated since former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was slain three years ago.

Khusro Pervez, the commissioner of Lahore, said city authorities had deployed additional police to keep the peace. Thousands of police guarded the governor's residence and other key sites.

"Police are on maximum alert. Police are guarding all important installations in the city," Mr Pervez said.


From Belfast Telegraph