Verdict is in: Death penalty for Taseer’s assassin

Published: October 2, 2011
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Mumtaz Qadri leaves the court on January 5, 2011, a day after Salmaan Taseer’s assassination (top); Qadri’s supporters burn tyres, after the court announced the death sentence, outside Adiyala Prison, on October 1, 2011 (right). PHOTOS: AFP

Mumtaz Qadri leaves the court on January 5, 2011, a day after Salmaan Taseer’s assassination (top); Qadri’s supporters burn tyres, after the court announced the death sentence, outside Adiyala Prison, on October 1, 2011 (right). PHOTOS: AFP

Mumtaz Qadri leaves the court on January 5, 2011, a day after Salmaan Taseer’s assassination (top); Qadri’s supporters burn tyres, after the court announced the death sentence, outside Adiyala Prison, on October 1, 2011 (right). PHOTOS: AFP Mumtaz Qadri leaves the court on January 5, 2011, a day after Salmaan Taseer’s assassination (top); Qadri’s supporters burn tyres, after the court announced the death sentence, outside Adiyala Prison, on October 1, 2011 (right). PHOTOS: AFP
RAWALPINDI: 

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has sentenced Mumtaz Qadri to death on two counts for the murder of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in January this year. The self-confessed killer’s defence pleas, which invoked religious sentiments and argued the accused was provoked into the act, were dismissed by the court.

Qadri was employed as one of the governor’s bodyguards when he shot Taseer dead in Islamabad on January 4. In several court hearings, Qadri confirmed his motive for murder was Taseer’s call for a review of the country’s controversial blasphemy law.

Special Judge ATC-II Syed Pervez Ali Shah declared the judgment in the high-security Adiyala Prison in Rawalpindi. The court also imposed fines of Rs100,000 each for the two convictions of murder and terrorism.

Qadri held the unrepentant look he has maintained since confessing almost immediately after the murder. Those in court reported that on hearing the death sentence Qadri smiled, thanked Allah and said his dream had come true.

Dismissing Qadri’s pleas, the judge said: “A proven blasphemer is wajib-ul-qatal (liable to be killed). He cannot be forgiven. Only the Holy Prophet (PUBH) himself can forgive him. However at this stage two questions arise. Firstly, can a person who is leading a sinful life be termed an apostate? Secondly, if he is deemed an apostate, then who will execute him? Obviously individuals cannot be given the authority to judge someone an apostate, infidel or non-Muslim. Moreover, individuals can not be allowed to execute the punishment on such persons because it will pave the way for anarchy, turmoil, restlessness and lawlessness in society. Therefore the defence plea in this regard is not helpful to the accused.”

Rejecting the defence’s plea that the murder was a result of sudden provocation, the judge remarked: “The state ments of the governor about blasphemy laws were published in 2010, and the murder was committed on January 4, 2011. Further, it was not the plea of the accused that the deceased made these remarks in his presence. The accused himself put a provocative question to Taseer as he was coming out of a restaurant in Kohsar market and it was not the deceased who provoked the killer.”

Advocate Shujaur Rehman, one of three defence counsels, complained that his side were denied the opportunity to counter the prosecution’s concluding remarks. Qadri’s lawyers were also unhappy at the timing of the judgment, claiming they were not informed that the court would announce its verdict on Saturday. “The court conveyed the verdict to Qadri in the absence of his lawyers”, said the advocate.

According to Rehman, the defence was also not given time to file an application in court arguing that terrorism charges could not be levelled against Qadri.

Since Taseer’s assassination, only one prominent Pakistani politician has openly called for changes to the blasphemy legislation. This man, the Minister for Religious Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, was also murdered, and since his death no politician has raised the issue publicly.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011. 

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Given his stated desire for death, do you believe Mumtaz Qadri would appeal his death sentence?

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Ash Chak
    Oct 2, 2011 - 9:41AM

    You do not execute vermin such as Qadri. You exterminate them. Recommend

  • Ali Hasan
    Oct 2, 2011 - 9:55AM

    While the death penalty is a relic from the past, those with Qadri’s mentality and that of his supporters speak no other language. Ironic how the maulvi’s are the first to claim that Islam is the religion of peace, yet would rather rule through fear and intimidation.

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  • Diggvijay Singh
    Oct 2, 2011 - 10:30AM

    Mumtaz Qadri overstepped the line in a flow of emotions and devotional passion. Whether or not Salman Taseer was guilty of blasphemy, killing him was not right. But from a humanitarian point of view, taking Qadri’s life would also be wrong. People need to avoid extremism of all kinds. Qadri is just a passionate believer and his case needs to be judged keeping in mind the whole context. Mercy and forgiveness are the best virtues of mankind.

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  • Sidra
    Oct 2, 2011 - 11:24AM

    This is the best verdict that has come out of the Pakistani judicial system ever!

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  • ATTARi
    Oct 2, 2011 - 6:56PM

    Long live Qadri

    I am with you

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  • Shayan
    Oct 2, 2011 - 7:34PM

    @Ash Chak, Ali Hassan and Sidra. When does this hate end? You hate him because of your reasons and he hated him for his? Everybody things their reason is right!

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  • AN
    Oct 3, 2011 - 11:53PM

    @ Attari

    He is not going to live long. Think again!

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  • Pakistani
    Oct 8, 2011 - 8:43PM

    @AN @ATTARi

    Qadri Zindabaad!

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