Mumtaz Qadri Admits Killing Governor Salman Taseer

by
aliciawesly2
The bodyguard accused of shooting Pakistani governor Salman Taseer has confessed in court to the killing. Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri told the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi that he had acted alone in the attack. He was whisked into court a day earlier than scheduled to prevent supporters showing up, correspondents say.

(BBC)

The bodyguard accused of shooting Pakistani governor Salman Taseer has confessed in court to the killing.

Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri told the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi that he had acted alone in the attack.

Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri has become a hero to many in PakistanHe was whisked into court a day earlier than scheduled to prevent supporters showing up, correspondents say.

It comes a day after a huge protest in Karachi against proposed amendments - backed by the slain Punjab governor - to the strict blasphemy law.

After his arrest following last Tuesday's assassination in Islamabad, Qadri said he had been angered by Mr Taseer's backing for reforms to the law.

There has been speculation that other guards in the governor's security detail agreed with Qadri to turn a blind eye to the attack.

Police have been investigating how he was able to empty two magazines of a sub-machine gun at the governor without being challenged by colleagues.

Protesters at a huge rally in Karachi on Sunday held placards supporting QadriIn Monday morning's court appearance, which was a day earlier than scheduled, Qadri said in a written statement he had acted alone.

At his first court appearance in Islamabad last week, he was showered with rose petals by sympathisers, including a number of lawyers.

The blasphemy law returned to the spotlight in November when a Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. She denies the charge.

Governor Taseer had angered hardline clerics by visiting the mother of five in jail, and by supporting proposed reforms to the legislation.

A private member's bill which seeks to remove the law's mandatory death sentence and lessen the likelihood of miscarriages of justice has provoked a wave of conservative fury.

In a news conference on Sunday evening, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reiterated the government did not plan to amend the law.

But Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti said the blasphemy law should be amended to avoid its misuse.

Earlier that day 50,000 protesters marched in the southern city of Karachi against the proposed reforms.

Protesters hold a placard with the image of the guard arrested for the killing of the governor of Punjab

The rally was attended by all major Muslim groups and sects in the city, including moderates and conservatives.

Many of the demonstrators held banners in support of Qadri.

Although no-one convicted under the blasphemy law has ever been executed, more than 30 accused have been killed by lynch mobs.

BBC