Pakistan

Protests erupt in different cities after Mumtaz Qadri’s hanging

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: The religious parties took to the streets on Monday in different cities against execution of Mumtaz Qadri, killer of governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, prompting authorities to beef up security across major spots.

In Karachi, protesters blocked main intersections and some petrol stations were closed after Qadri supporters ordered them shut.

Protests have been recorded in many areas; Traffic disruption and road blockage are reported from U.P More North Karachi area due to protest while Malir 15, National Highway Karachi are also blocked, Hub River road leading to Baluchistan is also facing protest.

Jamaat-e-Islami said it will hold protest demonstration at 4pm outside Baitul Mukarram mosque in Gulshan-e-Iqbal area.

“We have enhanced security in Rawalpindi to maintain law and order and to deal with any untoward situation,” senior police officer Sajid Gondal said.

Islamabad police spokesman Zia-ul-Qamar said security has been tightened all over the capital.

“Islamabad police are on high alert to deal with any situation in the wake of the hanging,” he said. Reports said Islamabad Express Highway remains blocked at Faizabad interchange, alongside 9th Avenue. Golra More Bhara Kahu Athal Chok road blocked.

“Riot police have already been deployed in all sensitive areas and the Red Zone.”

In Gujranwala, a major thoroughfare was blocked by protesters. Law enforcement agencies have been put on high alert in the city.

AFP adds: Some people on Twitter were hailing the execution, calling it “justice served”.

“A death should never be cause for any celebration but it’s really difficult to feel any sympathy for this man or his vile supporters. #Qadri,” wrote user Hasan Zaidi.

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.

Qadri’s lawyers drew on Islamic texts to argue that he was justified in killing Taseer, saying that by criticising the law the politician was himself guilty of blasphemy — an argument rejected by the lead judge.

Qadri lost a petition for the Supreme Court to review his sentence in December last year.

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