Pak Guv`s body laid to rest in Lahore; 40 held over his killing
Last Updated: Thursday, January 06, 2011, 00:41
Islamabad: Pakistani investigators today probed the possibility of a larger conspiracy behind the killing of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer by his bodyguard as they arrested over 40 people, including 36 policemen.

In Lahore, Taseer, 66, was laid to rest with full state honours at the Cavalry Ground graveyard, with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other top leaders paying homage. President Asif Ali Zardari did not attend the funeral due to security reasons, PPP leaders said.

More than 40 people, including 36 policemen, have been detained by authorities probing the assassination of Taseer, even as it emerged today that a top official had issued an alert about the extremist leanings of the policeman responsible for the killing.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that investigators are trying to ascertain whether the assassin Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri the policeman, had acted on his own or at the behest of "some organisation".

Qadri's name was not on the duty roster of policemen assigned to guard the Governor till Monday night. He was included at his own request on Tuesday morning, Malik said.

Meanwhile, Pakistani police today charged Qadri with murder and terrorism even as he appeared to be unrepentant for his actions. He was booked under the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act. Qadri was presented before Judicial Magistrate Malik Naeem Shaukat, who granted transit custody to police for a day. He will be produced in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi tomorrow, officials said.

Officials and media reports said that Rawalpindi's former regional police chief Nasir Khan Durrani had noted in a file last year that Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri the policeman who gunned down Taseer and 10 other personnel had hardline religious or extremist leanings.

Durrani noted in the file that Qadri and the others should not be assigned to guard VIPs. Despite this alert, Qadri was deputed to protect Taseer on at least five occasions in the past two years.

A police officer told the Dawn newspaper that Qadri was deployed to guard Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on at least one occasion.

Senior Rawalpindi police officer Rana Shahid Pervez told CNN that intelligence agencies had warned officials in 2004 not to use Qadri after they uncovered connections between him and the religious group Dawat-e-Islami, a Sunni group that claims it has a closer connection to the Prophet Mohammed than other Muslims.

Qadri, 26, joined the Punjab Constabulary in 2003 and was deputed in 2008 to the Elite Force, an anti-terrorism unit that guards VIPs, despite the warning from intelligence agencies.


First Published: Thursday, January 06, 2011, 00:41

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