Pakistan: Salman Taseer’s murder case is heard at the Islamabad High Court

Three years after the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer was murdered by his own bodyguard in broad daylight, his case was heard at the Islamabad High Court.

According to reports Justice Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Siddiqui will hear the appeal registered by Mumtaz Qadri against his death penalty. On October 1, 2011 he was sentenced to death by an Anti-Terrorism Court after being proven guilty. After the sentence Islamists and lawyers surrounded the sentencing judge’s court and demanded his resignation, forcing him to flee the country after receiving death threats,
Justice Shaukat Siddiqui has said that the court was ready for day-to-day hearings but the prosecution asked for more time to prepare and he was granted one more week.
Qadri admitted killing Taseer because of the governor’s support for Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, who had been charged with blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammad. He submitted a written statement of 40 pages, referring to 11 Quranic verses, 28 quotes from Sunnah and several other eminent Muslim jurists with reference to Islamic jurisprudence.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK has said that this is a very challenging case for the government and for the court too.
The court has said they are not afraid of hearing of this case although there will be a lot of pressure from the Islamists who protested after the initial sentence.
Several Islamists have been demanding his unconditional release. Although the case will be heard in strict security and non-related people will not be allowed in the court room.
However, Mr Saeed expressed his concerns that these measures will not be enough.
He said: “There many lawyers and a few judges who support Qadri and even if his supporters are not allowed in the court room, they can gather in the court yard.
“It is going to be difficult for the government and for judges but justice has to done.”

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