Pak Guv`s body laid to rest in Lahore; 40 held over his killing

Last Updated: Thursday, January 6, 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.

PTI




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