Execution of Salman Taseer’s assassin leads to protests

Supporters of Mumtaz Qadri (inset) protest following his execution in Lahore on Monday.   | Photo Credit: K.M. Chaudary

Pakistan on Monday executed former police commando Mumtaz Qadri, who in 2011 brutally assassinated former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for seeking reform to the country’s controversial blasphemy law.

Qadri, who had shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in an upmarket locality of Islamabad, was hanged in Adialia jail of Rawalpindi city at around 4:30 am, officials said.

Within hours, Qadri’s supporters — who consider him a hero for defending the faith and had threatened violence if he was executed — began street protests in several cities.

Rangers and riot police were deployed outside Qadri’s home in Rawalpindi where hundreds of supporters had gathered and also in nearby Islamabad.

In Rawalpindi, a mob ransacked a vehicle belonging to a local TV channel and attacked reporters. In Karachi, Qadri’s supporters clashed with police.

Activists of Sunni groups blocked main intersections in Rawalpindi, cutting off the main link with capital Islamabad.

A senior police official said that high-alert had been issued in Rawalpindi and in the Punjab Province to tackle any untoward situation.

After assassinating Taseer in January 2011, Qadri admitted the killing and said he objected to the Governor’s calls to reform the blasphemy laws.

Taseer, who died aged 66, had come out it in support of a Christian woman charged with blasphemy and termed the regulations as “black laws”, drawing the ire of extremists.

An Anti-Terrorism Court had convicted and condemned Qadri to death in the same year, a ruling upheld by the Islamabad High Court and the Supreme Court.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 6:19:46 PM |

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