Qadri indicted, says has no regrets for killing an `apostate`

Mumtaz Qadri has already admitted gunning down Taseer outside a restaurant in Islamabad on Jan 4.

Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 00:16 AM IST

Islamabad: A Pakistani police guard said on Monday
he had no regrets for gunning down Punjab Governor
Salmaan Taseer, calling him an "apostate", as an
anti-terrorism court indicted him for the assassination.

Mumtaz Qadri, 26, who has already admitted gunning
down Taseer outside a restaurant in Islamabad on January 4,
was indicted on a murder charge during in-camera proceedings
at Adiala Jail in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, his lawyers
said.

The judge said Qadri had committed terrorism and asked
him if he had intentionally killed Taseer.

Qadri claimed his action was not illegal as he had
dealt with "an apostate" according to the Quran and Islamic
laws, a member of the policeman`s defence team told the media.

There was confusion on whether Qadri had pleaded
guilty, with some members of his defence team telling the
media that he had "pleaded not guilty".

The judge scheduled the next hearing for February 26,
when evidence and witnesses will be presented by the
prosecution.

Prosecutors had stayed away from several earlier
hearings in Qadri`s case, apparently due to security concerns.

Qadri had surrendered after firing at Taseer and said
he had been angered by the politician`s opposition to the
blasphemy law and his support for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman
sentenced to death last year for allegedly insulting Prophet
Muhammad.

Qadri was part of the security detail for Taseer, who
was hit by 27 bullets.

The assassination of the liberal politician divided
Pakistani society after religious hardliners and even groups
of lawyers hailed Qadri as a hero.

The developments also showed how religious extremism
had penetrated society, and many analysts blamed this
phenomenon on laws and policies introduced by the regime of
late military ruler Zia-ul-Haq.

Some persons came to Adiala Jail with Valentine`s Day
cards and flowers today to express their support for Qadri.

At earlier court appearances, Qadri was feted and
showered with rose petals.

PTI