Countrywide rallies demand release of Qadri
08 October, 2011
ISLAMABAD: Thousands of people staged rallies across the country on Friday demanding the release of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, sentenced to death by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).
The ATC on Saturday found Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, one of Salmaan Taseer's bodyguards, guilty of murder and sentenced him to death. About 1,000 people gathered at Islamabad's Aabpara Chowk demanding Mumtaz Qadri's release, an AFP photographer said.
The protesters, including supporters of religious parties and students of local madrassas, chanted slogans such as "Qadri is hero" and "We salute his courage". They called for Mumtaz Qadri to be released immediately and shouted: "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the honour of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him)."
Rallies were also held in several other cities, including Karachi, Quetta, Multan and Rawalpindi, where witnesses said protesters blocked roads by burning tires. — AFP Our correspondents add: All major markets in Lahore remained closed on Friday responding to the countrywide strike call given by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) to protest the death sentence awarded to Mumtaz Qadri.
Addressing a large rally in Lahore, the SIC leaders warned the rulers of a long march to Islamabad if Mumtaz Qadri was not released and offered President Zardari a guarantee of full five-year term to his government if he pardoned Qadri. Various religious parties and groups staged rallies and demonstrations at different places demanding early release of Mumtaz Qadri according to Shariah, while prayer leaders in Friday sermons highlighted the issue of blasphemy of the holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and the 'Western-funded conspiracies' to amend the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, vowing to resist all such moves with full might.
The SIC rally, which marched from Data Darbar to Nasir Bagh, was led by its president Fazal Karim and others. Participants of the rally announced to observe a protest day on every Friday till the release of Mumtaz Qadri.
In Chakwal, Tehrik-e-Islam, SIC and other organisations took out the rally from Jamia Islamia Ghausia. In Gujranwala, a rally was taken out from the Sialkot Gate on the call of SIC . Similar rallies were also held in Khanewal, Lalamusa, Nankana Sahib and Sialkot, demanding the release of Mumtaz Qadri.