RAWALPINDI: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) is likely to formally charge sheet Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed assassin of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, on February 14.
During the hearing on Friday at Adiala Jail, the station house officer (SHO) Kohsar police station submitted the copies of statements of six Elite Force men who were on duty with Qadri on January 4.
Judge ATC-II Raja Ikhlaq Ahmed put this matter off till February 14, when Qadri will be formally charge sheeted. On February 1, the court had deferred the indictment of Qadri because the SHO did not submit copies of six police officials’ statements to the court.
Earlier, police submitted interim challan in the court, since the two clerics suspected of provoking Qadri, wanted by the police under Sec-109, were granted bail by the ATC. However on February 1, the court acquitted Mufti Qari Hanif and Syed Imtiaz Kazmi because police failed to come up with any evidence of their involvement in Taseer’s murder.
Earlier police had booked Mufti Qari Hanif and Imtiaz Kazmi under section 109 “for provoking Qadri to kill Salmaan Taseer”. However after their acquittal by the court the Section 109 will be dropped and the challan will be rendered complete.
Police said they have to submit a comprehensive inquiry report to the court before next date of hearing, and hoped that the suspect will be formally charge sheeted on the next date of hearing.
Qadri, in his confessional statement, had said that he decided to kill the governor for criticising the blasphemy laws after hearing speeches of the two prayer leaders in a mosque in Rawalpindi’s Muslim Town on December 31 last year.
Salmaan Taseer was assassinated on January 4.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2011.