Pak judge who convicted Taseer`s assassin flees to Saudi

The Pakistani judge, who gave the death sentence to Salmaan Taseer`s assassin, received death threats from extremists.

Last Updated: Oct 26, 2011, 00:21 AM IST

Lahore: The Pakistani government has packed
off the judge, who gave the death sentence to Punjab Governor
Salmaan Taseer`s self-confessed assassin, to Saudi Arabia
after he received death threats from religious extremists.

Anti-terrorism court Judge Pervez Ali Shah, who awarded
the death sentence to Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri on October 1,
had gone on leave after a group of lawyers ransacked his
courtroom even as several hardline religious groups were
reported to have offered a bounty to anyone who killed him

"The death threats have forced Shah to leave Pakistan
along with his family for Saudi Arabia," Saiful Malook, who
served as special prosecutor during Qadri`s trial.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, the government had
arranged for lodging Shah and his family in Saudi Arabia,
Malook said.

"Though security was provided to the judge and his
family, the government, acting on reports from intelligence
agencies, opted to send him abroad," he said.

Malook further said he too had been receiving threats.
"The government has deployed only two policemen for my
security, which by all means is not adequate," he said.

In his verdict against Qadri, Shah had said: "No one can
be given the license to kill anyone in any condition,
therefore, the killer cannot be pardoned as he has committed a
heinous crime."

27-year-old Qadri, a police commando who was part of
Taseer`s security detail, has tried to justify the murder by
saying that he pumped 27 bullets into the outspoken politician
for criticising the controversial blasphemy law.

Some 40 religious and hardline groups, including the
Sunni Tehrik and Jamaat-ud-Dawah, have been pressuring the
government to remove Shah from his post for giving the death
sentence to Qadri.