Death Penalty for Mumtaz Qadri Maintained
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has upheld the death sentence for Mumtaz Qadri the killer of former Governor Punjab Salman Taseer. The verdict was issued by the three-member bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
It is important to highlight here that Islamabad High Court had rejected Qadri’s application against his death sentence under the Pakistan Penal Code but accepted his application to void Anti Terrorism Act‘s Section 7. In its ruling the Supreme Court declared the IHC decision of annulling the death sentence under the Anti-Terrorism Act null and void.
During the hearing earlier the Supreme Court had asked how an individual on the basis of his own assessment could punish an alleged blasphemer. The SC asked Qadri’s counsel whether a person could himself decide to punish someone alleged to have committed blasphemy. It was also added that any law made by the parliament can be criticized by the public because it was made by representatives of the people. The SC had previously also declared that criticism of the law does not amount to committing the offence of Blasphemy.
“Will it not instill fear in the society if everybody starts taking the law in their own hands and dealing with sensitive matters such as blasphemy on their own rather than going to the courts,” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
The view taken by the lawyers shows that the restoration by the SC of the Anti Terrorism provisions against Qadri implies that the heirs cannot pardon or compound the death sentence.