US mulling visa ban on supporters of Pak Punjab Governor Taseer's assassin

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Lahore, Jan 20(ANI): The United States government is considering a ban on the issuance of visas to anyone supporting Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of late Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer.

According to sources in Washington, the US Congress took a serious view of the cheering and supporting of Qadri, and publicly encouraging, directly or indirectly, the killing of "blasphemers."

They said the US government was preparing a list of Pakistani journalists, parliamentarians, lawyers and religious leaders, who would not be issued visas or allowed to travel to the US because they supported Taseer's assassination and lionised his assassin, the Daily Times reports.

The sources said that several journalists, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, MNA Shaikh Waqas Akram, several religious leaders including Maulana Muhammad Riaz Qadri and all leaders of the Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz might face the proposed ban.

A few days back, the Congress had termed Taseer's assassination as an "unspeakable tragedy" and a "heinous crime", and requested the US government to revoke the visas of Qadri's supporters.

In its letter addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Congress had said: "This tragedy has been compounded by the public reaction of significant elements of Pakistan's clerical, journalistic and law community, who have praised the murderer and threatened the lives of other officials, who refuse to comply with the terrorisation of Christians, Ahmadis and women."

Congressmen Steve Israel, Gary Ackerman, Peter King and Michael McCaul said they were aware that the people, who were praising Taseer's murder, were frequent travellers to the US and held American visas.

"We urge you to identify such Pakistanis and not issue them visas and applications for new visas from them should also be denied," they requested the US government. (ANI)

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