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Pakistan increases security for Sherry Rehman

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities on Wednesday increased security for former minister Sherry Rehman, a vocal critic of the country`s blasphemy law, in the wake of the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer for opposing the controversial statute.

The number of policemen deputed to guard Rehman`s home in Karachi was increased.

Security cover for Rehman was increased on the order of the Karachi police chief, officials said.

Taseer was gunned down in a market in Islamabad by one of his guards, who said he was angered by the Governor`s criticism of the blasphemy law.

Taseer had backed calls to repeal or reform the law and spoken out in the defence of a Christian woman sentenced to death for insulting Prophet Mohammed. Rehman, a senior leader of the ruling Pakistan People`s Party, has called for changes in the blasphemy law.

In November, she submitted a private bill in parliament that seeks to drop the mandatory death sentence for blasphemy.

Since then, she has faced criticism from religious hardliners and clerics. Fears for her safety had increased after Taseer`s assassination.

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