March 23, 2011

Daily brief: Zardari opens Pakistan's parliament

From The AfPak Channel by Katherine Tiedemann -
In his yearly address at the opening of Pakistan's parliament yesterday, which was boycotted by several opposition parties that staged a walkout as the speech began, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari offered "vague calls to combat religious extremism and violence" amid a "recitation of his government's domestic accomplishments" (Post, NYT, Dawn, The News, ET). Zardari also paid tribute to the recently assassinated Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who had both campaigned to change Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws, though Zardari's government has dropped its plans to revise the laws. Zardari, Pakistan's foreign ministry, and U.S. ambassador to Pakisan Cameron Munter all condemned the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor (ET/Reuters, NYT).
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