ISLAMABAD: Hearings on the appeal case of the convicted killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer are set to resume in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday, with the Islamabad advocate general (AG) expected to lead the prosecution team.
On January 28, the court had expressed annoyance over the government’s sluggish approach in pursuing the case against Mumtaz Qadri — the alleged murderer of Taseer.
During the last hearing, government law officers had sought more time as they were not prepared to pursue the case. The court had directed the government to appoint a prosecutor.
A two-member IHC bench comprising Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will take up the case on Tuesday and Islamabad AG Mian Abdul Rauf is expected to argue before them, said sources at the AG office. According to the sources, all records related to the case will be produced during the hearing.
On January 28, Rauf informed the court that he had recently taken charge and files related to the case had not been transferred to him. He had requested that the court allow him two week to prepare for the case, but the court gave him only one week.
Similarly, the government’s standing counsel, Jahangir Khan Jadoon, had informed the court that he had not received instructions from the federal government to argue the case.
Meanwhile, the police have decided to increase deployment during court proceedings as the special branch has informed the police that a large number of Qadri’s supporters are expected to gather outside during the hearing. A senior police official, who requested not to be named, said that based on the special branch report, the police will increase deployment inside and outside the court.
On October 6, 2011, Qadri had filed an appeal in the court challenging the death sentence awarded to him by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Rawalpindi on October 1, 2011. He had confessed to the crime on multiple occasions.
Qadri, a Punjab Police constable serving in its Elite Force, assassinated Taseer and claimed he did it because Taseer was attempting to get a pardon for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death in a controversial blasphemy case.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2015.