Islamabad: A top Pakistani police officer
had issued a direction for conducting a fresh security
clearance of all personnel of the Elite Force less than a
month before Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was assassinated
by one of his bodyguards from the anti-terrorism unit.
The Additional Inspector General of the Elite Force,
in a letter sent to Rawalpindi`s Chief Police Officer on
December 11, had issued an order for conducting the security
clearance of personnel assigned to guard VVIPs and senior
The letter, which was accessed by Geo News channel,
noted that a large number of Elite Force personnel were
assigned to guard the Prime Minister and other VVIPs.
"Before their deployment on security duty with any
VVIP, the security clearance must be carried out through the
concerned agencies," the letter said.
The Chief Police Officer was asked to carry out the
security clearance of personnel currently deployed with police
officials and other VVIPs "through the concerned agencies in
bare minimum time".
Only personnel who had received security clearance
should be deployed with VVIPs and they should be "rotated
periodically", the letter said.
Taseer, a leader of the ruling Pakistan People`s Party
and a close confidant of President Asif Ali Zardari, was
gunned down by 26-year-old Mumtaz Qadri, a police guard from
the Elite Force.
Qadri said he killed the Governor for criticising the
Qadri had been removed from the Special Branch some
years ago after a senior official determined he was a
"security risk" because of his extremist leanings.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Qadri
had acted alone or was part of a conspiracy.
Reports have said Qadri had told several colleagues of
his plan to kill Taseer.
Questions have been raised as to why other members of
Taseer`s security detail did not stop Qadri or fire at him
when he began shooting at the Governor.
In the wake of the assassination, authorities across
Pakistan have been conducting background checks on policemen
assigned to guard VIPs.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which has been hit by
a Taliban insurgency, the Special Branch is vetting 400
policemen who guard VIPs, officials said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said the government
will make psychiatric evaluations mandatory during the
recruitment of security personnel to "check their mental
health and leanings".