LAHORE: Lahore High Court’s former chief justice (retd) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif will defend Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, before the Islamabad High Court.
Qadri has filed an appeal against his death sentence given to him by an Anti Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi on October 1.
Justice Sharif submitted his power of attorney on behalf of Qadri in the court on Monday and will appear before the bench on Tuesday (today), revealed Justice Sharif’s son Khawaja Bilal.
The divisional bench of the Islamabad High Court, comprising Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan will hold the proceedings. Bilal told The Express Tribune that his father was dealing with Qadri’s case on a top-priority basis. It was further revealed that Justice Sharif would not seek any adjournment on Tuesday since he had already sent his power of attorney to ensure that on the first date of hearing, he could argue the case.
Qadri, a constable of Elite Police Force, confessed to murdering the governor at every forum — from the district magistrate to the trial court.
He tried to justify his act by saying that he had killed Taseer for supporting blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi, who was Christian by faith and whom Taseer had believed had been wrongly convicted of committing blasphemy.
Terror in the courts
Qadri’s trial has remained a controversial one, with violent protests being held across Pakistan against the verdict.
Additionally, ATC Judge Pervaiz Ali Shah who passed the death sentence for Qadri was transferred to Lahore on Friday amid protest from religious groups.
Shah was also transferred to Child Protection Court Bureau in Lahore, merely a month after he was posted to Rawalpindi due to security risks.
The judge had been unable to perform his duty due to the hostility of a certain group of lawyers and other religious groups who had been asking the authorities to hand Shah over to them.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2011.
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