Governor's assassin also guarded Zardari and Gilani: Report

Governor's assassin also guarded Zardari and Gilani: Report

Self-confessed killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was detailed on protection duties on as many as 509 occasions in the past three years, including for US delegations who are prime targets, according to a media report today.

The reports attributed to police investigations have also cast suspicions that other elite bodyguards may have been radicalised. The media reports said this could be alarming as the police force is part of the frontline in the war against terror groups, specially Taliban and al-Qaeda. The report highlights the dangers of radicals infiltrating into the security agencies of unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan.

US has long worried about the loyalty of Pakistan's security forces, especially the powerful army, given the publicly known links with terror groups fighting in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Qadri, who surrendered after gunning down Taseer in a market in Islamabad on January 4, has told police he was angered by the Governor's criticism of the blasphemy law.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Qadri had acted alone or was part of a conspiracy.

Qadri was assigned to protect VIPs and VVIPs on 509 occasions despite being declared a "security risk" in 2004 due to his extremist leanings, The News daily quoted a report compiled by intelligence agencies as saying.

The policeman was also part of a team that was used by Military Intelligence and Inter-Services Intelligence to conduct raids against terrorist groups in 2008. Among the prominent personalities he was assigned to protect were President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

He was also part of the security detail for a foreign delegation on two occasions last year. Qadri had also been part of the security detail for several politicians, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Leader of Opposition in parliament.

The assassin served as the personal security guard for Taseer on four occasions and also performed general duties with the slain Governor on 10 occasions since 2008. Qadri was declared unfit for guarding VIPs in August 2004 because of his links with several extremist organisations.

Aftermath, the assassination of the governor, officials have said that all departments involved in public protection are reviewing  security measures and rescreening anyone working  with high profile officials and national leaders.

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