BARAKAHO, Pakistan — The Pakistani capital was shut down and on high alert Wednesday because of a regional economic summit. English-language posters lined the road from the international airport, welcoming foreign leaders and their partnership in development projects the impoverished Islamic republic desperately needs.
But in this gritty suburb few miles away, posters of Koranic verses welcomed thousands of devotees to a shrine honoring a “hero of Islam.” His name was Mumtaz Qadri, and as a 26-year-old security guard in 2011, he shocked the nation by assassinating a provincial governor. He was convicted of murder and hanged in prison one year ago.
“What he did was for the love of our prophet. He was a peaceful man who did a great service for his faith,” said Basit Ali, 36, an accountant who traveled 250 miles for the anniversary of Qadri’s death. “We are not people of bombs and guns,” he explained. “But when someone insults our prophet, we cannot bear it. It is a matter of inexpressible emotions.”