Pakistan on alert as governor’s assassin is hanged

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Monday hanged the assassin of a governor seeking reform of the country’s blasphemy law, officials said, in a blow to Islamist supporters who feted Mumtaz Qadri as a hero and had threatened violence if he was executed. Officials stepped up security in the garrison city of Rawalpindi as hundreds of people began gathering at Qadri’s family home early Monday, and some roads were closed in the nearby capital Islamabad as authorities braced for protests from hardliners. Qadri, a former police bodyguard, shot liberal Punjab governor Salman Taseer 28 times in an upscale market in Islamabad in 2011. He later admitted the killing, saying he objected to the politician’s calls to reform controversial blasphemy laws — a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the sentence sparked rallies in which Islamist groups said that if Qadri were executed those responsible should also be put to death.

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AFP

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