Pak panel asks govt to properly pursue Taseer murder case

A Pakistani parliamentary panel demanded to appoint a competent prosecutor.

Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 17:06 PM IST

Islamabad: A Pakistani parliamentary panel
has demanded that the government appoint a competent
prosecutor to properly pursue the case related to the killing
of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer by one of his police guards
who was angered by his opposition to the controversial
blasphemy law.

The demand was made by the committee on minorities of the
National Assembly or lower house of Parliament, which also
asked the government to ensure that the assassin is punished
according to the law.

Committee Chairman Mahesh Kumar Malani said the whole
panel condemned the killing of Taseer.
The panel strongly condemned the people who had
celebrated Taseer`s murder and expressed dissatisfaction over
the fact that despite the existence of law, no one was
properly following it in the country.

Taseer was gunned down in Islamabad last month by his
police guard Mumtaz Qadri, who said he was angered by the
politician`s opposition to the blasphemy law and support for
Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death last year for
allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
Qadri has been hailed as a hero by religious hardliners
and some groups of lawyers.

No prosecutor appeared on behalf of the government during
Qadri`s initial appearances in court, apparently due to
security concerns.

The committee on minorities observed a minute`s silence
for Taseer during a meeting yesterday and lauded his services
to protect the rights of minority communities.

Addressing the meeting, Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz
Bhatti said Taseer`s vision was to promote harmony and provide
rights to every citizen of Pakistan.

Bhatti, a Christian, condemned the killing of the
outspoken Governor and said Taseer raised his voice for the
marginalised section of society.

He said Taseer had the courage to raise his voice against
those forces who wanted to oppress minorities.

The committee also unanimously passed a resolution asking
the government to increase the number of seats for minorities
in the National Assembly in accordance with the census
conducted in 1998.