Pakistan court approves death sentence for governor’s killer

Pakistan's top court upholds death sentence for Mumtaz Qadri murderer of Punjab's governor

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Thousands of supporters take part in a rally to call for the release of the confessed killer of Mumtaz Qadri.

Pakistan’s supreme court approved the death sentence for Mumtaz Qadri, who is a former commando of the Punjab Police's Elite Force and is also being charged with being the killer of Punjab’s governor, Salman Taseer in 2011, after he had called for the reform of the blasphemy law.

Salmon Taseer was shot dead by Mumtaz Qadri, after he had attempted to secure a presidential pardon for a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

Qadri was arrested and judged by the anti-terrorism court, which gave him the death sentence in the same year.

Both the court and the high court of Islamabad, sentenced Qadri to death. He rejected the supreme court’s decision.

"The criminal appeal filed by the convict is dismissed," the supreme court said in its ruling. "The appeal filed by the state is allowed. The conviction and sentence by the trial court are restored."

The court declined Qadri’s lawyer’s plea that blasphemy was a religious issue and people can be sensitive towards religious issues.

Killings over blasphemy in Pakistan shows a growing rift between conservatives and more liberal elements in society. According to Reuters, at least 65 people have been killed in 1990 for blasphemy.

After the decision of Pakistan's highest court, fate of Qadri is not known, but he still has a little hope as he can file mercy appeal with the president. He will be hanged if the mercy appeal is rejected and the president is obliged to take the approval of relatives of the victim before pardoning a killer.

TRTWorld and agencies