LAHORE: Newly appointed Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashhood says that protection of Dr Tahirul Qadri's life and property is responsibility of the government and it will perform this job diligently.

"Keeping in view a 'fatwa' Dr Qadri passed in the past, there is a threat perception to his life and we have to protect him," he told reporters at a press conference on Saturday.

He said former premier Benazir Bhutto was also martyred by terrorists despite the fact she knew threats to her life.

The law minister said since military was busy in operation at North Waziristan, the government would permit holding political rallies by any party in Lahore on the roads where section 144 was not imposed.

Talking about the Model Town incident, the law minister said the government would accept the decision of judicial commission and implement it in letter and spirit. "Nine people and not 11 died in the incident. We are tracing out the policemen, who sprayed the protesters with bullets."

He said if Dr Qadri had no trust in the judicial commission, he could challenge this or the government would appreciate if the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the incident.

He said former law minister Rana Sanaullah resigned from the job just to save democracy. He said the people fond of staging rallies actually wanted to derail democracy.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2014