Numerous supporters of Mumtaz Qadri who had been executed for gunning down Punjab Governor Salman Taseer assembled for his funeral Tuesday, triggering fears of violence, as a tight cordon threw around flashpoints.
Tens of thousands of police were deployed at sensitive buildings and main junctions in the capital Islamabad as well as the nearby garrison city of Rawalpindi, officials said, including along the route set to be taken by the funeral procession of Mumtaz Qadri. Roads around the house in Rawalpindi of Qadri stayed open, yet.
An AFP reporter there said as the body was put in a ambulance to be taken to the funeral, without security forces in sight, up to 800 men and women had collected. Some of the guys were seen taking sticks.
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in the Islamic republic, and many conservatives ready to drown out calls to dampen the laws hailed as a hero Qadri.
Critics say the law — which carries the death penalty — is mostly abused, with hundreds languishing in jails under bogus charges. Analyst Hasan Askari has said that Islamabad, in determining to carry on together with the execution, had considered the risk of mass violence from the requirement to “wash away the feeling” of sympathy for militancy.
Thousands protested in cities across Pakistan after authorities declared that morning, the hanging had taken place. But with security stepped up at flashpoints all over the country of some 200 million, most dispersed calmly.”Authorities happen to be greatly deployed from the other side of the capital now,” a police official in Islamabad told AFP.”we’ve manned all the key junctions near the procession course and sensitive buildings,” he explained, adding that up to 3,000 policemen were on the roads.