High Court in Islamabad: Nothing can justify the murder of Salman Taseer
Mumtaz Qadri, who killed the former governor of Punjab, filed an appeal against his death sentence. He asks to be judged by a Shariah court because he committed the murder "in defense of Islam." The High Court will vote in the coming weeks. The prosecution points out that the murder is contrary to the Constitution and the law of Pakistan.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - "Nothing can justify the murder of the victim", declared the judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, a member of a division of the High Court in Islamabad along with Noorul Haq Hareshi, announcing the decision to give a verdict on the appeal filed by Mumtaz Qadri against his death sentence established in 2011 by Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Court (ATP). The man is the self-confessed murderer of former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

Announced on 11 February, the sentence should be released in the coming weeks.

On January 4, 2011 Mumtaz Qadri, one of Taseer's bodyguards, killed the governor leaving a restaurant in Islamabad, for his positions against the blasphemy law. Since the day of the killing, the man has always claimed authorship of the murder, denying the existence of a principal.

Qadri's defense argued that the case it should be referred to Federal Shariah Court, since the crime regards Islam and its defense. The lawyers pointed out that the accused had killed Taseer because the latter had spoken out against the blasphemy law, calling it "a black law" and, therefore, was considered a blasphemer. Pakistan, they add, is an Islamic country and not secular, and in the history of the nation "other blasphemers" were killed for insulting religion and the Prophet Muhammad has appreciated their death.

Mian Andul Rauf, the magistrate who represented the federal government, emphasized that the murder is contrary to the Constitution and the law, and that everyone was aware of the crime committed by Qadri. Therefore, he concluded, the High Court in Islamabad must reject his appeal.

In announcing the decision to comment on the appeal request, Judge Shaukat observed that nothing can justify the murder of the victim, regardless of whether defining the blasphemy law a "black law" can be considered an act of blasphemy .