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Taseer assassin's supporters take to streets denouncing death sentence

Rawalpindi , Sat, 01 Oct 2011 ANI

Rawalpindi, Oct 1(ANI): The supporters of Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who has been sentenced to death in the Salmaan Taseer murder case by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Pakistan, took to the streets to denounce the verdict soon after it was handed down.


Qadri, one of Taseer's own elite security force protectors, had shot the then Punjab Governor dead on January 4 because of his vocal opposition to the blasphemy law that was recently used to sentence a Pakistani-Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death.


According to Qadri's statement, he had approached Taseer on the evening of January 4 and tried to talk to him about his very public support for Aasia Bibi and his advocacy of reform - not repeal - of the blasphemy laws.


During the in-camera hearing of the assassination case, the ATC said that it was a heinous crime and there is no justification to it, and awarded the death sentence to Qadri.


Police were deployed at the jail gate to prevent any break-in. After Qadri was sentenced, the judge left through the back door.


Several hundred supporters of Qadri blocked a road outside the jail and chanted slogans.


"By punishing one Mumtaz Qadri, you will produce a thousand Mumtaz Qadris!" The Express Tribune quoted a man, as shouting through a megaphone outside the jail.


Some people recited verses from the Quran, while members of the Sunni Tehreek group waved their party's green and yellow flags.


"This decision was made to please the Jewish lobby," Sahibzada Ata-ur-Rehman, a leader of the Sunni Tehreek, was quoted as saying.


In Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh area, where former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007, about 1,000 angry Qadri supporters blocked a main road with burning tyres.


Shouting slogans against the government and the judge who sentenced Qadri, they forced shops to shut down, while stick-wielding protesters attacked passing vehicles. (ANI)


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