10/01/2011, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Pakistan: death sentence for Salman Taseer’s assassin Mumtaz Qadri

by Jibran Khan
The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Pakistan today issued the sentence defining the murder "a heinous and unjustifiable crime ". Qadri’s lawyers argue the "inevitability" of the murder, caused by Taseer’s "reprehensible statements" on blasphemy law. Protests outside the prison. Bishop of Islamabad: "a brave judgement, now we must work together for a tolerant society."
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) of Pakistan condemned to death Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, who confessed the murder Salmaan Taseer Governor of Punjab. Passing the sentence - according to Art. 302 of Pakistan Penal Code and ATC Art. 7.8 - Judge Sved Pervez Ali Shah said: "The assassination of the governor was a heinous crime that has no justification." On January 4 Mumtaz Qadri, one of Taseer’s bodyguards, killed the Governor as he left a restaurant in Islamabad, because of his positions against the blasphemy law. Since the day of the killing, Qadri has always the murder, denying the existence of a mastermind behind his actions. Outside the Advala prison (Rawalpindi), a crowd of people protested against the sentence, calling Qadri a "hero."

Raja Shujahur Rehman, Mumtaz Qadri’s lawyer, presented his client’s gesture as a "sudden provocation" unleashed by the statements "unbecoming for a Muslim", expressed by Salmaan Taser. The governor defended Asia Bibi, a Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy, and proposed the abolition of the "black law". "My client - the lawyer said - issued a 40-page written statement, which refers to 11 verses of the Koran, the Sunnah, and 28 citations of prominent Muslim jurists." According to the Qadri defense, the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad bear out the theory of the inevitability of the murder. "If Qadri had not carried it out, someone else would have".

Meanwhile, outside the prison, the sentence sparked protests by supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, who flocked to the streets of Rawalpindi. Religious parties have announced they will launch a national campaign against the death sentence.

Bishop Anthony Rufin of Rawalpindi / Islamabad has called the ATC judges’ decision "courageous": "For the first time in Pakistan, a person involved in a high-profile murder has been condemned. Salman Taseer, who wanted to abolish the blasphemy law, was silenced for his ideas, while Qadri is celebrated as a hero. This extremist and callous ideology should be discouraged. Respect for the faith and religious sentiments of people is a human quality. "

"It is not necessary to agree with the beliefs of another person - the bishop concludes - because everyone has the right to follow their own religion. We need to work together to build a tolerant society. "


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