Police prepare for unrest after hanging of former commando, considered by his supporters to be a hero who defended Islam with the murder of Salman Taseer
Pakistan has executed a man who shot and killed the governor of Punjab province over his call to reform the country’s strict blasphemy laws.
Authorities nationwide were on alert in anticipation of protests by those who consider Mumtaz Qadri a hero who defended Islam with his murder of Salman Taseer in 2011 , Geo TV reported.
“At 4:35am, Qadri was sent to the gallows,” a senior police officer said.
Qadri, a former commando, was executed at a Adiala prison in Rawalpindi.
Dozens of Rangers and police in riot gear as well as ambulances were stationed outside Qadri’s home in the city early Monday, blocking the street and refusing to allow people to enter.
Cries could be heard from inside the house as around 20 people gathered, apparently family members, and mosques could be heard broadcasting news of the execution.
Senior local police officer Sajjid Gondal said: “We have beefed up security in Rawalpindi to maintain law and order and to deal with any untoward situation.”
He said the hanging took place after a final meeting between Qadri and his family late on Sunday, and that the body had been sent to his relatives.
Qadri shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in an upscale market in the capital Islamabad.
He later admitted the killing, saying he objected to the politician’s calls to reform Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws. Rights groups say these are frequently used to pursue vendettas, particularly against religious minorities.
Taseer had also been vocal in his support of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has been on death row since 2010 after being found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammed.