Taseer`s assassin also guarded Zardari and Gilani: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 16:03

Islamabad: The police guard who gunned down Punjab Governor Salman Taseer was assigned 509 times to protect key personalities, including Pakistan`s President, Prime Minister and foreign delegations and has heightened security fears among the country`s elite.

Self-confessed killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was detailed on
protection duties on as many as 509 occasions in the past
three years, including for US delegations who are prime
targets, according to a media report today.

The reports attributed to police investigations have
also cast suspicions that other elite bodyguards may have been
radicalised.

The media reports said this could be alarming as the
police force is part of the frontline in the war against
terror groups, specially Taliban and al-Qaeda. The report
highlights the dangers of radicals infiltrating into the
security agencies of unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan.

US has long worried about the loyalty of Pakistan`s
security forces, especially the powerful army, given the
publicly known links with terror groups fighting in
Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Qadri, 26, who surrendered after gunning down Taseer
in a market in Islamabad on January 4, has told police he was
angered by the Governor`s criticism of the blasphemy law.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Qadri
had acted alone or was part of a conspiracy.

Qadri was assigned to protect VIPs and VVIPs on 509
occasions despite being declared a "security risk" in 2004 due
to his extremist leanings, The News daily quoted a report
compiled by intelligence agencies as saying.

The policeman was also part of a team that was used by
Military Intelligence and Inter-Services Intelligence to
conduct raids against terrorist groups in 2008.
Among the prominent personalities he was assigned to
protect were President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani and Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

He was also part of the security detail for a foreign
delegation on two occasions last year.

Qadri had also been part of the security detail for
several politicians, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik,
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif
and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Leader of Opposition in
parliament.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 16:03

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