ISLAMABAD: The suspected killer of Salman Taseer was produced before a judicial duty magistrate amid tight security and heated slogans on Wednesday. The judge gave police a one-day physical transit remand of the suspect.
The District Court Islamabad premises were sealed and the area was cordoned off with the help of police commandos before the suspect was taken out of the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC).
Initially, the police were reluctant to take the suspect to the court room and requested the judge to come to the police offices. However, not only the judge, Naeem Shaukat, declined the request but dozens of lawyers gathered outside the court room insisted that the suspect be made to walk through the lawyers to the court room.
With his eyes covered with a cap and his hands cuffed behind the body, the first thing Malik Mumtaz Qadri would have heard, the moment he stepped out of the APC, was a slogan ‘Namoos-e-Rasool Pe Jaan bhi qurban hai’ (roughly translating to ‘we are willing to lay down our lives for the Prophet’s honour’).
Rose petals were showered on him and heated slogans and roaring applause by dozens of people standing in the parking lot just outside the court room could be heard.
The concerned policemen quickly bundled Qadri into the APC, which soon vanished from the scene. So did Qadri’s supporters, the moment TV cameras stopped rolling.
Earlier some three hundred lawyers volunteered to represent Qadri in the court and defend his case. All of them put their signatures on the power of attorney to fight Qadri’s legal battle free-of-charge, even up to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
One of Qadri’s lawyers, Chaudhry Muhammad Ashraf Gujjar, talking to media, complained that the police did not allow the suspect to talk to his lawyers despite court orders and shifted him to an unknown location.
The city police will produce Qadri before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Rawalpindi, once they re-open after winter vacation on Thursday, for obtaining his physical remand.
He was booked under sections 7-ATA and 302/109 on the complaint of Taseer’s son Shehryar Taseer in an FIR registered in the Kohsar Police Station.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2011.