No arrest warrant against clerics who inspired Taseer killer

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 23:01

Islamabad: An anti-terrorism court has
refused to issue arrest warrants for two clerics whose fiery
speeches reportedly incited the police guard who gunned down
Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer for criticising Pakistan`s
controversial blasphemy law.

Investigators probing the governor`s assassination had
submitted an application to Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism
court Judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan seeking warrants for the
arrest of the unnamed clerics.

The judge rejected the application yesterday though
investigators told him that Mumtaz Qadri, the Elite Force
personnel who killed Taseer, had said he was motivated by
speeches delivered by the two clerics at a religious
congregation held near Qadri`s house at Sadiqabad in
Rawalpindi on December 31.

The court was informed that investigators wanted to
question the clerics about their speeches in which they had
reportedly justified the killing of all blasphemers.

Though Qadri has claimed he was solely responsible for
the assassination, he has also admitted he was motivated by
the speeches of the clerics and killed the Governor as he
considered him a blasphemer.

Despite the arguments put forward by the prosecution,
the judge refused to issue the arrest warrants.

One of the clerics is employed as a teacher at
Madrassa Darul Uloom Zia at Chirah Road in Muslimabad,
Rawalpindi, while the other works at Amna Masjid in the same
neighbourhood.

Shortly after the Governor`s assassination on January
4, the clerics relocated to another religious seminary in
Rawalpindi to avoid arrest.

Investigators feared there would be law and order
problems if they raided this seminary to arrest the clerics
because over 2,000 students live in the madrassa, officials
said.

In a separate development, Islamabad Chief
Commissioner Tariq Mehmood Pirzada has issued a notification
for conducting Qadri`s trial inside Adiala Jail due to
security concerns and the law and order situation.

The notification was issued in response to a request
made by Islamabad Police.

Investigators are yet to determine whether Qadri acted
on his own or was part of a wider conspiracy.

Qadri was assigned to protect VIPs like Taseer, the
Prime Minister and the President despite being declared a
"security risk" in 2004 because of his extremist leanings.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 23:01

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