The smiling face of Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, a member of the Elite Force squad on security duty with Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer who turned his gun on the governor, continues to shock many in Pakistan.
Qadri never argued that he had not killed Taseer – shortly after he shot him dead, Qadri said his motive was Taseer’s apparent opposition to the country’s blasphemy law. But if the murder wasn’t shocking enough, it was the stringent defence put up by religious parties, whose activists showered rose petals on Qadri at his court hearing, brought him flowers on Valentine’s Day and set up Facebook pages glorifying him.
It came as a surprise, but the sentiment Qadri enjoyed has been prevalent in Pakistan for decades – it took Taseer’s assassination to expose it for what it is. He was eventually sentenced to death on October 1.
Quote: “By punishing one Mumtaz Qadri, you will produce a thousand Mumtaz Qadris!” – protestor outside Qadri’s court hearing.
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