02/29/2016, 12.36
PAKISTAN
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Pakistani Catholics: Qadri’s hanging shows political will to tackle terrorism

by Kamran Chaudhry

The Islamic radicals are protesting in the streets around the country. The confessed murderer of the former governor of Punjab Salman Taseer was hanged this morning. The choice of President Hussain not to grant a pardon is "courageous. Justice has been done despite the pressure of the fundamentalists ". Director of Justice and Peace: "Taseer was killed because he defended Asia Bibi, who still languishes in jail."

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Islamic fundamentalists have taken to the streets across Pakistan to protest this morning’s hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer.  "Broadcasters have stopped airing news of his execution. But the international community has turned the spotlight on this case, " Morris Jalal, the founder of a Catholic television in Lahore tells AsiaNews. He adds: "Justice has been done despite the pressure of the fundamentalists. We appreciate the government's decision, which has shown a lot of courage. The president is under threat".

Tension is high in the country, where Qadri supporters have blocked several cities. In recent days, they had threatened retaliation if President Mamnoon Hussain rejected the appeal presented by Qadri’s lawyers. The threats have forced the Hussain family to take refuge in the presidential palace, monitored by security guards. In addition, two days ago, police arrested two drivers of the presidential convoy, made suspicious by the fact that they had a slower pace than expected.

Qadri’s execution, says Fr. Jalal, "is a very brave choice, especially for minorities. This means that in the future false cases of blasphemy will be discouraged. It is a clear message to the terrorists to repent. No one is above the law and the government is determined to root out the problems in the country. "

Qadri was hanged this morning in Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad. He was one of Taseer's body guards of and January 4, 4 January 2011, Qadri, one of Taseer's body guards, killed the governor as he left a restaurant in Islamabad, over his positions against the blasphemy law, which imposes life imprisonment or the death sentence for those who desecrate the Qur’an  or the name of the prophet Muhammad. Qadri has always claimed responsibility for the murder saying he wanted to punish the governor, who had also spoken in favour of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman charged with insulting the Prophet.

Immediately after the murder of Taseer, Qadri was exalted by fundamentalists as a "national hero." His image is everywhere in Pakistan, on the tuck tucks [the characteristic two-wheel taxis, ed] and election posters.

According to Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, director of the National Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference, "the murderer's death shows that the civil and military leadership are on the same level". "The merit - he adds - also goes to our courts, which did not give in to the pressure of religious groups. Finally there is the political will to deal with terrorism. We may have a violent reaction, but the authorities must not be afraid. "

The priest concludes, "Taseer had the courage to take a stand for a poor woman from a minority community. Asia Bibi is still languishing in prison. We demand her immediate release".

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