Pak Par panel asks govt to properly pursue Taseer murder case

Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Feb 20 (PTI) A Pakistani parliamentary panelhas demanded that the government appoint a competentprosecutor to properly pursue the case related to the killingof Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer by one of his police guardswho was angered by his opposition to the controversialblasphemy law.

The demand was made by the committee on minorities of theNational Assembly or lower house of Parliament, which alsoasked the government to ensure that the assassin is punishedaccording to the law.

Committee Chairman Mahesh Kumar Malani said the wholepanel condemned the killing of Taseer.

The panel strongly condemned the people who hadcelebrated Taseer''s murder and expressed dissatisfaction overthe fact that despite the existence of law, no one wasproperly following it in the country.

Taseer was gunned down in Islamabad last month by hispolice guard Mumtaz Qadri, who said he was angered by thepolitician''s opposition to the blasphemy law and support forAsia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death last year forallegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

Qadri has been hailed as a hero by religious hardlinersand some groups of lawyers.

No prosecutor appeared on behalf of the government duringQadri''s initial appearances in court, apparently due tosecurity concerns.

The committee on minorities observed a minute''s silencefor Taseer during a meeting yesterday and lauded his servicesto protect the rights of minority communities.

Addressing the meeting, Minority Affairs Minister ShahbazBhatti said Taseer''s vision was to promote harmony and providerights to every citizen of Pakistan.

Bhatti, a Christian, condemned the killing of theoutspoken Governor and said Taseer raised his voice for themarginalised section of society.

He said Taseer had the courage to raise his voice againstthose forces who wanted to oppress minorities.

The committee also unanimously passed a resolution askingthe government to increase the number of seats for minoritiesin the National Assembly in accordance with the censusconducted in 1998.

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