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Pak judge who convicted Taseer assassin 'sent abroad following death threats'

Lahore, Tue, 25 Oct 2011 ANI

Lahore, Oct 25(ANI): The Pakistani judge who had awarded the death sentence to Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the self-confessed assassin of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, has left for Saudi Arabia along with his family after receiving death threats from extremists.


Qadri, one of Taseer"s own elite security force protectors, had shot him 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.istrict and Sessions Judge Pervez Ali Shah had been receiving life threats since the hearing of the Salmaan Taseer murder case had started.


He had been on leave since he handed down the death sentence to Qadri, and earlier this month, the Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry had issued orders for the transfer of Justice Shah from the anti-terrorism court-II in Rawalpindi to the Child Protection Court in Lahore, but later repatriated him, according to media reports.


Advocate Saiful Malook, the special prosecutor in the Qadri case, said that sensing the gravity of the situation, the government had arranged the lodging of Justice Shah and of his family members abroad.


"The death threats have forced Judge Pervez Ali Shah to leave the country along with his family for Saudi Arabia," the Dawn quoted Malook, as saying.


"Although security was provided to the judge and his family members, the government on the reports of law-enforcement agencies opted for sending him abroad," he added.


Advocate Malook said the judge's decision was "absolutely according to law" but the reaction of lawyers of the Rawalpindi Bar to the verdict was unfortunate.


About three dozen religious parties, including Sunni Tehrik and the Jamatud Dawa (JuD), have been pressing the government to remove Justice Shah from his post. The clerics termed his decision of handing down death sentence to Mumtaz Qadri "un-Islamic" and demanded action against the judge. (ANI)


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