Taseer's assassin should be punished only for violating law, not murder: Qari Hanif

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Rawalpindi, Feb 15(ANI): Slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer's assassin Malik Mumtaz Qadri should be punished by the court only for violating the law, not on murder charges, Qari Hanif Qureshi has said.

Qari Hanif and Ishtiaq Shah, the two clerics whose sermons inspired Qadri to murder liberal politician Taseer, were present with over one hundred pro-Qadri supporters outside the Adiala Jail on the indictment of the killer.

Another dramatic scene was witnessed when a number of students belonging to the Peoples Students Federation (PSF) from the Asghar Mall College also came to the jail, calling for Qadri's release. Representatives of the Jamaat-e-Islami were also present there.

Reacting to the indictment of Qadri in the Taseer murder case, Qari Hanif, known for his emotional sermons, said that it was up to the court to decide Qadri's fate.

"The government should have taken action against the governor, but since it failed to do so, Mumtaz Qadri was compelled to take the law into in his own hands. He should be punished only for violating the law, not murder," the Daily Times quoted Qari Hanif, as saying.

During the investigation, Qadri had said that he decided to kill Taseer after listening to sermons given by Qari Hanif and Ishtiaq.

Qadri, who was one of Taseer's own elite security force protectors, had opened fire on him in January because of the governor's support for the release of Pakistani-Christian woman Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.

Both the clerics, who are on pre-arrest bail, were freed by the court after Hakim Khan, the officer investigating the Taseer murder case, told the court that they were not required for the inquiry. (ANI)

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