Rawalpindi: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Pakistan has charged Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri with terrorism and the murder of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer.
Qadri has confessed that he killed the governor over his statement regarding the country’s blasphemy law.
“The judge examined the record and said that apparently the accused committed murder and terrorism. The judge read out the charges to the accused. The accused pleaded not guilty,” a newspaper quoted one of Qadri’s lawyers, as saying.
The lawyer also said that Qadri denied it was murder saying that he had acted on the directives of the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed “regarding an apostate”.
The next hearing will be held on February 26, when witnesses and evidence will be presented.
Qadri had shot Taseer in his chest and neck when he was coming out from a restaurant in Islamabad on January 4. The governor died on the spot.
It is the most high-profile political killing in Pakistan since former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007.
Earlier, in his official confessional statement, Qadri had claimed that he had acted alone and ruled out the involvement of any religious group in his actions.