RAWALPINDI: Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the assassin of later Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, on Monday formally confessed in court to having murdered Taseer by gunning him down in Kohsar Shopping Centre in Islamabad last week.
According to an Associated press report, Qadri also provided a judge with the names of two men whose sermons inspired the assassination of Governor Taseer. The report cites Qadri as providing a written statement declaring he was motivated after attending a gathering hosted by Shahab-e-Islam, and specifically by Qari Hanif, and another member, Ishtiaq Shah.
Qadri appeared before court on Monday and was sent on judicial remand to Adiyala jail for the next fourteen days. He said he had committed the murder out of his own will. He said he had not planned or discussed the assassination with anyone and that he had been planning it for more than three days when he was deployed for the security of the governor.
Qadri admitted that he had carried out the assassination because of the statements Taseer had made about the blasphemy law.
Members of the main ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), to which Punjab provincial governor Taseer belonged, had suggested that his killing was part of a wider plot, and slammed security failures that led to his death. Questions have been asked about why no policeman or guard apparently made an attempt to overpower the 26-year-old gunman.
Police presented Qadri before Justice Malik Akram Awan in the Rawalpindi Anti Terrorism Court on Monday. He was brought into the court under a heavy contingent of police.
Qadri was not due in court until Tuesday, but officials said he was brought to a closed hearing in Rawalpindi a day early after officially confessing to the crime, infuriating defence lawyers who said they were not invited.
"The move was to avoid arguments from the defence," defence lawyer Malik Waheed Anjum told AFP. "None of our lawyers could attend the court because we didn't know about the proceedings."
But Joya told AFP, "They did not summon the defence lawyers because they did not feel the need. We did not deceive the defence, because we presented him in the court according to law."
Qadri will now be presented in front of the Anti Terrorism Court on January 24.