Mumtaz Qadri appeal case: Criticising blasphemy law is not blasphemous a Supreme Court Judge remarks

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Mumtaz Qadri

An Apex court judge declares criticising the blasphemy laws is by no means same as committing blasphemy.

According to details, a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked on Monday October 5, during hearing of Mumtaz Qadri’s appeal against death sentence that criticism of the blasphemy law does not amount to blasphemy. In 2011, Mumtaz Qadri has murdered the serving Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer who had been criticizing the blasphemy laws and advocating for the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was accused of blasphemy.

On January 4, 2011, Mumtaz Qadri a personnel of Punjab Police’s Elite Force was on duty in the security suquad of Salman Taseer when he gunned him down, shooting 27 bullets straight at him with AK-47 sub-machine gun at Kohsar Market, when Salman Taseer was returning to his car after having lunch in a restaurant.

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Mumtaz Qadri reportedly declared after killing Salman Taseer that he did this because of Salman Taseer’s opposition to the blasphemy law in Pakistan. Salman Taseer publicly opposed the blasphemy law and termed it a black law. Moreover, he was in news for advocating and supporting Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who had been on death row for blasphemy.

Mumtaz Qadri had confessed shooting Salman Taseer because he was criticising the blasphemy law. Since his death sentence was upheld by the Islamabad High Court, Mumtaz Qadri had filed an appeal case against the sentence in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The three member bench also made clear that the defence counsel of Mumtaz Qadri’s total argument will be null and void if he fails to establish that Salman Taseer who was the then Governor of Punjab had committed blasphemy. Justice Khosa while remarking about Mumtaz Qadri’s point of view said that criticising a law does not amount to blasphemy. Moreover, he upheld that the video clippings from various media sources which had been presented before the court do not establish that the assassinated governor had actually committed blasphemy.

The three -member bench which is headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa then adjourned the hearing till today October 6, asking Mumtaz Qadri’s defence counsel Justice retired Nazir Akhter to wind up his arguments.