LAHORE: Slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was laid to rest at the Cavalry Grounds graveyard in Lahore after being flown in on an army chopper from the Governor House where funeral prayers were offered on Wednesday.
Air force and police personnel were also present at the graveyard to offer the former governor full state honours during his burial. His coffin was wrapped in the national flag and was lowered to the ground by uniformed rescue workers. Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers which were led by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Ulema wing General Secretary.
Several PPP leaders including Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and other party leaders gathered at the Governor House to participate in the prayers. Other senior leaders present at the funeral included Law Minister Babar Awan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Military officials also gathered at the Governor House to participate in the prayers. A six-member MQM delegation was also present at the Governor House.
High security was put in place in Lahore ahead of the governor’s funeral prayers. All roads leading towards the Governor House were closed and a large number of security personnel were deployed at the Governor House and the Cavalry graveyard.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday chaired a meeting to finalise the security plan for the funeral of late Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer. Senior Advisor to the Chief Minister Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, MNA Marghoob Ahmad, Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Acting IG Police and other senior officials attended the meeting. The participants condemned the assassination of the Punjab governor and also discussed arrangements for his burial.
The Punjab government has also formed an investigation team, led by additional DIG Nasir Durrani to probe the killing. DIG CID Mushtaq Sukhera and Shoaib Dastageer are also included in the team.
The PPP has announced a two-week mourning, while ceremonies to mark the birthday of PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto have been cancelled.
The national flag will also be put at half mast for three days. PPP workers have staged protests in various cities of Punjab to condemn the assassination. Markets and shops shut down in the province as the news of the murder spread.
Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, who recently angered religious zealots with his statements against the controversial blasphemy laws, was assassinated by one of his own guards in an upmarket neighbourhood of Islamabad on Tuesday.