Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pakistan: Punjab governor's assassin a Sufi, 'linked to Islamic group' that defends 'traditional' Islamic values

Pakistani lawyers outside court to show support for the governor's killer.

Police also seized some religious books from Qadri's home overnight and sealed off the three-storey house.

They took religious books ~ it is clear they don't completely believe this Islam means peace story!

(AKI/DAWN) - The Pakistani Elite Force guard who on Tuesday shot dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer is said to be associated with ‘Dawat-i-Islami’, a non-political and non-violent religious group close to a moderate Sunni Muslim sect.

Taseer's self-confessed killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was associated with the moderate Barelvi sect, according to one his colleagues. The Barelvis originated in India in the 19th century to defend traditional Islam and many practices and rites associated with the mystical Sufi strand of the faith.

Five hundred Barelvi scholars warned that anyone who expresses grief over Taseer's assassination could suffer the same fate.

Pakistan was on high alert ahead of Taseer's state funeral taking place in the Pujabi capital, Lahore, on Wednesday.

Taseer - a senior member of the governing Pakistan People's Party (PPP) - had recently angered Islamists by appealing for a Christian woman, sentenced to death for blasphemy, to be pardoned.

Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared three days of national mourning and appealed for calm.

Qadri, 26, joined Punjab police and got Elite Force training in 2006-7. He was posted to the Elite Force wing in the northern garrison town of Rawalpindi in 2008. He is married and has a baby son.

A police officer was cited as saying Qadri had been assigned guard duty with Taseer during the governor’s visits to Islamabad and once with Gilani.

Police took Qadri's five brothers and father into custody from their house soon after he had confessed to the crime.

A total of 25 police officers and a Elite Force official who had prepared the list of personnel, including Qadri, for duty during the governor’s visit were also taken into custody and taken to Islamabad for investigation.

Investigators also confiscated the cellphones of the security personnel deployed for the governor’s security.

Police party also seized some religious books from Qadri's home overnight and sealed off the three-storey house.