Supreme Court dismisses Qadri’s review petition against death sentence

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday dismissed the review petition filed against the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri, the man convicted for the murder of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, on the basis of non-maintainability.

The court also upheld the execution of death penalty. During the course of hearing, the Constitution Avenue was blocked and security forces were deployed in order to maintain law and order situation. A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that the blasphemy against Salmaan Taseer could not be proved.

The bench observed that guidance from the Islamic Sharia could only be sought if 295C would be proved against the late Taseer. Advocate Mian Nazeer Akhtar who was representing Mumtaz Qadri requested to form a larger bench for the detailed argues. However, the bench said that no such point was upraised which could be reviewed.

It said that judges do not decide the fate according to the newspapers’ cuttings. The three member bench observed that the points included in the judgment were on records and Mumtaz Qadri was arrested from the crime scene and he had been confessed on every phase of his hearing. The review petition was dismissed on non-maintainability.

In the first week of October, the Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri who had challenged the Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict on his death sentence in the apex court. In its ruling, the court also declared the IHC decision of annulling the death sentence under the Anti-Terrorism Act null and void. A former commando of the Punjab Police’s Elite Force, Qadri was sentenced to death for the murder of Salmaan Taseer in Islamabad’s Koshar Market on January 4, 2011.

Qadri had admitted to the murder, saying he was opposed to Taseer’s calls to reform the blasphemy law. In March 2015, the IHC has also dismissed Qadri’s appeal against his death sentence but accepted his appeal of ordering the removal of terrorism charges from his case, annulling the sentence under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). A 64-page verdict by the IHC said that the conviction of appellant recorded by the trial court under Section 7(a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act is set aside, the appeal to this extent is allowed and appellant is acquitted from the said charge whereas conviction and sentence recorded under Section 302 (b) PPC is upheld and appeal to this extent is dismissed.

The IHC bench said: “It is amazing to note that the appellant (Mumtaz Qadri) took protections and rights guaranteed by the constitution but deprived deceased (Salmaan Taseer) from all constitutional guarantees.” An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) had awarded death sentence to Qadri on October 01, 2011 with Rs0.2 million as fine and compensation to the legal heirs of Taseer.

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