ISLAMABAD, Jan 17: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge in Rawalpindi on Monday refused to issue warrants for the arrest of two clerics whose fiery speeches reportedly provoked the Elite Force official to assassinate Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, police said.

The investigators in the governor’s assassination case submitted an application to the ATC Judge Malik Mohammad Akram Awan seeking warrants for the arrest of the clerics - QHQ and IS.

The investigators pleaded that the governor’s assassin Malik Mohammad Mumtaz Qadri had told them that he got motivated from the speeches of the two clerics which they delivered in a religious congregation held near his house in Sadiqabad, Rawalpindi, on December 31, 2010.

The court was informed that the two clerics would be interrogated about their speeches during which they had reportedly justified killing of any blasphemer.

Though Mumtaz Qadri told the investigators that he was solely responsible for the assassination but he also admitted that he was motivated by the speeches of the clerics and killed the governor considering him a blasphemer, the court was further informed. After hearing the arguments, the judge, however, refused to issue the warrants for their arrest.

Police said QHQ was employed as a teacher at Madressah Darul Uloom Zia, Chirah Road in Muslimabad, Rawalpindi, while the other cleric was working with Amna Masjid in the same locality.

Shortly after the killing of the governor, the two clerics relocated to another religious seminary in the city to avoid arrest. The investigators feared that there would be law and order problem if they raided the seminary to arrest the two men because over 2,000 students were living in the institution.

Meanwhile, Chief Commissioner Islamabad Tariq Mehmood Pirzada in a notification ordered hearing of the governor’s killing case and trial of the assassin inside the Adiala Jail due to security concerns and law and order situation.

The notification was issued in response to a request made by the capital police on January 10.

A letter sent from the office of the senior superintendent of police (SSP) Islamabad to the capital administration stated that the police were expecting security issues and law and order situation in Islamabad and Rawalpindi during the hearing of the case.

The police also expressed the fear that the prosecution and defence counsel’s arguments over the motive of the assassination of the governor during the hearings could also provoke people and hurt their sentiments leading to more complications for the law enforcers.

The shifting of the assassin to Pims, DHQ hospital and the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi after his arrest was kept secret by the police.

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