• UKIP MEP William Dartmouth
, a long-time personal friend of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer
who was murdered in January 2011
for his action to stop the persecution of Christian minorities in Pakistan, met the Pakistani ambassador in Brussels today.
The UKIP MEP for South West England met H.E. Mr Jalil Abbas Jilani, Ambassador of Pakistan to the EU, Belgium, Luxembourg and NATO, and presented him with a special edition of speeches made by all the MEPs who spoke at a debate on Pakistan
on January 20th.
Ambassador Abbas Jilani described the book as a "wonderful gesture" and promised it would be passed onto the family of the murdered Governor.
MEP William of Dartmouth said: "As a personal friend of Salmaan Taseer, I hope others will now have the courage to continue the struggle for religous freedom in Pakistan. Salmaan was a great human being and a source of pride to his native country."
The Earl of Dartmouth who has been a UKIP MEP since 2009 handed the book entitled, "European Parliament debate on Thursday the 20th January 2011 - Pakistan. Murder of the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer," to the Ambassador on Thursday before proceeding to a private lunch with the ambassador and his wife.
The influential Governor of the Punjab, Mr Taseer was assassinated in Islamabad no January 4th 2011 because of his calls for tolerance and his opposition to the persecution of the Christian minorities of Pakistan. He led the opposition to the misuse of Pakistan's blasphemy laws to jail and murder Christians in his native country. He personally visited in prison a Christian lady held under Paksistan's blasphemy laws.
After his death, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared three days of national mourning and ordered flags lowered to half-mast. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the assassination, saying Mr Taseer's death was "a great loss".
Speech by William, Earl of Dartmouth; European Parliament - 20 January 2011
To make a personal statement, I spent a lot of time with Salman Taseer; when we were both in our 20s; indeed we were friends.
Salman was a man of charm, charisma, and intelligence, who was also highly capable. He represented the best tradition of Pakistan - a devout Moslem, but Not fundamentalist.
Salman Taseer strongly supported a Christian lady who had been sentenced under blasphemy laws.
Salman paid for that support with his life. He was assassinated.
Pakistan is not only a large developing country. It is a country with over 20 nuclear warheads.
I am here today first and foremost to express my profound sorrow, but I must also express my concern for Pakistan.
Salman Taseer wrote to William Dartmouth to invite him to stay at the Governor's House in the Punjab. The letter arrived after Governor Taseer's death by assassination.