Two suspects detained for role in Taseer killing

Saturday, January 8, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani authorities have detained two suspects for their alleged role in influencing guard Mumtaz Qadri to assassinate Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, a media report said Saturday.

One was picked up from Lahore and the other from Rawalpindi, sources close to the investigation told Dawn News Friday.

Scrutiny by investigators of the killers mobile record led to their arrest, the sources said, adding that a few days before the crime Qadri had met one of them in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.

Taseer was shot dead Tuesday by Qadri, who was member of the governor’s special security squad. He fired nine bullets from close range as the governor was coming out of a coffee shop towards his vehicle in Islamabad.

The sources said that during the interrogation, Qadri had stood by his earlier statement that he was not under any influence and killed the governor for his remarks on the blasphemy law.

A three-member police team, formed by the Punjab government to examine a “security order” issued by Rawalpindi police for the protection of Taseer, arrived in Islamabad Friday afternoon.

The order, issued by Superintendent of VIP Security Wing Chaudhry Hanif, was shown to the inquiry team. According to the order, Superintendent of Police Sikander Hayat was in-charge of the governors security, but he was not with the squad when Taseer was gunned down.

Hayat appeared before the inquiry team Thursday night and recorded his statement. According to a source, Hayat categorically denied that he had received intimation for the governors security.

“There was no security lapse during the governors visit to Islamabad and security was provided in accordance with the plan,” Regional Police Officer Mukhtar Ahmed Gondal said, adding that it was not important for the in-charge to be present with the convoy.

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