21 January 2011

US Visa ban sought for Qadri supporters

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The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been asked by four lawmakers to refuse US visas to those who praised the assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and showed support for his assassin Mumtaz Qadri.


The denial of a US visa to supporters of Qadri is considered a moral issue and an issue of national security.

In a letter sent to Secretary Clinton, Congressmen Gary Ackerman, Steve Israel, Peter King and Michael McCaul said the denial of a US Visa to supporters of Qadri was not just a moral issue but also an issue of national security.

Mr Taseer was strong advocate for religious tolerance, pluralism and democracy in Pakistan.

 “We urge you to identify those Pakistani citizens that have shown demonstrable support of the assassination of Governor Taseer,” the letter stated.

“Some of the most prominent clerics, journalists and lawyers who have praised Mr Taseer`s death and have demonstrated support of his murderer, are people who frequently travel to the US and hold American visas.”

The lawmakers requested that US Visas not be issued to such people and that applications for new visas from those who have endorsed the crime be denied.

After Governor Taseer`s assassination, thousands of supporters of extremist groups, including Jamaat-ud-Dawah, held rallies in cities to express support for Qadri.

JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is a frequent traveller to the US, addressed a rally in Karachi and pledged to defend Qadri in court.

“This unspeakable tragedy has been compounded by the public reaction of significant elements of Pakistan`s clerical, journalistic and law community who have praised the murderer and threatened the lives of other Pakistani officials who refuse to comply with the terrorisation of Christians, Ahmedis and women,” the letter said.

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