Governor's killer 'inspired by clerics'


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The Independent Online

The bodyguard who murdered the liberal Pakistani Governor Salmaan Taseer says he was inspired by sermons from two Islamic clerics.

Police said they were hunting the two men who preached to 26-year-old Mumtaz Qadri, who said he killed the politician because he had criticised laws that carry the death penalty for insulting Islam.

Qadri told a judge in written evidence that he decided to kill Mr Taseer after he attended a meeting on 31 December organised by Shahab-e-Islam, a small Islamist group that operates in Rawalpindi, outside the capital, Islamabad. He said speeches by a cleric Qari Hanif, and another member, Ishtiaq Shah, played a major role in his decision.

Police put Qadri before the judge a day early to avoid crowds who have showered him with rose petals, kissed his cheek and shouted in his favour.