PML-N may be involved in Taseer killing: PPP

Ruling PPP has alleged that elements of PML-N might have been behind Salmaan Taseer`s killing.

Updated: Jan 07, 2011, 00:11 AM IST

Lahore: Leaders of the ruling Pakistan
People`s Party have held the government of Punjab province
responsible for Governor Salmaan Taseer`s assassination and
alleged that some elements in the opposition PML-N might have
been behind the crime.

PPP leaders in Punjab were not convinced Taseer`s
killer`s confession that the assassination was an "act of
faith." Some of them believe the murder was part of a plot to
pit the PPP against religious forces.

Taseer was gunned down in Islamabad on Tuesday by
police guard Malik Qadri, who said he was angered by the
Governor`s criticism of the blasphemy law.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Qadri
acted on his own or others were involved in the killing.

The PPP is refusing to accept that Taseer was killed
on religious grounds and party spokesperson Fauzia Wahab said
there were "political motives" behind the murder.

The killing appeared to be an "organised act" and the
Punjab administration was "equally responsible" for the crime,
she said. The Punjab government should explain why a policeman
whom senior officers had declared unfit for guarding VIPs was
included in the Governor`s security detail, Wahab said.

Qadri decided to kill the Governor three days before
Taseer visited Islamabad, when nobody was aware of the trip as
it had been kept secret for security reasons, she added.

"The question arises as to how Qadri got information
about the visit. Why did other personnel in the security squad
not act when Qadri fired at Taseer?" she asked.

The PML-N, which rules Punjab, could not be absolved
of the murder and there is a need to find out whether some of
party`s elements were behind the act, Wahab said.

Despite threats to the Governor, PML-N leader and provincial
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had refused to provide him a
bulletproof vehicle, she said.

Federal Law Minister Babar Awan, a close aide of PPP
chief and President Asif Ali Zardari, too described the
assassination as a political murder and told a meeting of
party lawmakers that the way the Governor was eliminated
raised many questions.

"Mr Taseer was made to leave his home for assassins,
he said, adding "some forces" were involved in such acts to
weaken the country.

The meeting of lawmakers adopted a resolution
demanding that the Punjab government should "unearth the
conspiracy behind the murder."

They rejected a perception that religion had anything
to do with the crime. Contending that the Governor was "in the
custody" of his police guards, Law Minister Awan even
described the assassination as a "custodial killing with
criminal negligence and political motives."