Radical parties rally in support of Qadri

Lahore: Pakistan`s radical religious parties rallied in support of the assassin of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer after he was sentenced to death today, shouting slogans against the judge who delivered the verdict and calling for the release of Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri.

The hundreds of supporters of Qadri, who was given the death sentence by an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi this morning, marched in a rally from the Data Darbar shrine to Governor`s House on Mall Road in Punjab`s provincial capital Lahore.

Two more protests were held at Samnabad and Mozang areas of the city. Hardline religious parties have warned the government that it will not be easy to carry out Qadri`s death sentence.

Qadri, who was part of Taseer`s security detail when he gunned down the Governor in January, can appeal against the death sentence within a week.

The protest on Mall Road, one of the main thoroughfares of Lahore, clogged traffic and caused several traffic snarls.

An ailing man from Nankana Sahib died on the road as the ambulance could not reach a hospital due to the traffic jam.

The protest on Mall Road was led by the Sunni Tehrik while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and a group named "Lovers of Qadri" held demonstrations in Mozang and Samnabad.

Unconfirmed reports said the Tahaffuz-e-Namus Risalat Mahaz announced a reward of Rs 50 lakh for anyone who killed the judge who convicted Qadri.

The protesters burnt tyres and forced traders to shut their shops. Carrying batons and sticks, they shouted slogans against the judge and the government.