ISLAMABAD: An anti terrorism court (ATC) on Monday sent the self-confessed assassin of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer to jail on a two-week judicial remand.
Earlier, Malik Mumtaz Qardi, was produced before the court of Assistant Commissioner, Islamabad, where the accused formally recorded his statement in which he insisted that he acted “alone” and said that he took three days to plan the murder. He said that he had “manoeuvred to get himself deputed in the special police squad to serve as the personal guard of the deceased Punjab governor”.
The self-confessed killer, who appeared before Muhammad Ali Randhawa to record his statement, said that he was motivated to carry out the murder after listening to speeches of Maulvi Hanif Qureshi and Ishtiaq Shah at a religious congregation held on December 31 near his residence in Sadiabad in Rawalpindi where the two clerics delivered “rousing sermons”.
“These sermons not only moved me to act against (the man) who spoke against (the sanctity of) Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).’’
He said that the clerics had “compelled him to stand up against those (elements) who were demanding changes in the blasphemy laws, he added.
He said that he made the decision in his heart while being “surrounded by hundreds of people to shoot Salmaan Taseer after reciting a Naat “in my official uniform and holding my gun”.
Qadri told the court that the decision to kill Taseer was a personal one and denies being influenced by any political or religious group.
After recording his statement before the AC Islamabad, he was produced before the ATC in Rawalpindi, where police told the court that the accused (Qadri) had already confessed his crime, adding that the investigation team had recovered the murder weapon.
The police said that “there is no need for further physical remand” because the investigation had completed’ and requested the court to send the accused on judicial remand. In response to the request, Judge Malik Akram Awan sent the accused on judicial remand for two weeks.
Meanwhile, Dr Sher Ali Khan, the Medical Superintendent of the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ), Rawalpindi, submitted Mumtaz Qadri’s medical report before the ATC.
Later, the defence lawyer, Malik Waheed Anjum, criticised the police’s decision to produce the accused before the court a day earlier and said it had deprived him of an opportunity to justify the accused’s stance.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2011.