RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Pakistan has closed all schools and stepped up security in the capital, Islamabad, and the adjacent city of Rawalpindi ahead of the funeral there of an executed former police officer who assassinated a governor in 2011, accusing him of blasphemy.
Police official Ashfaq Tarar says the measure is a precaution against violence by supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, the executed killer whose supporters are converging on Rawalpindi for the funeral later Tuesday. Roads around government buildings, the Parliament and diplomatic compounds have been closed off.
Qadri's hanging Monday triggered street protests in several Pakistani cities as some religious, political leaders and militant groups have publicly defended him.
Qadri was on guard duty when he fatally shot secular Gov. Salman Taseer who had called for reforms of the country's harsh blasphemy laws.