SC accepts Qadri's petition challenging IHC's death sentence verdict

Written by  Published by:Pakistan Views Thursday, 14 May 2015 16:08

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) admitted on Thursday a petition filed against Islamabad High Court’s decision to uphold death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former governor Salmaan Taseer, media reported.

On March 9, the IHC had upheld Qadri’s death sentence under Section-302 of the Pakistan Penal Code but struck out a terrorism conviction, making it unlikely he will be executed soon. He had challenged his death penalty in the apex court, terming it “illegal and un-Islamic”.

Qadri’s counsel, before the three-judge bench in the SC today, argued that his client did not kill Taseer over personal enmity, but for committing blasphemy.

The bench, headed by Justice Asif Syed Khosa, decided that Qadri’s petition will be heard in October in the apex court. Khosa remarked that we have to decide in accordance with the constitution.

“If a judge does not decide according to constitution he would be betraying the country,” Justice Qazi Faiz Eesi said.

The federal government had submitted an amended appeal against Islamabad High Court’s decision to drop terrorism charges against Mumtaz Qadri, a former police guard who murdered Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in Islamabad in 2011.

The interior ministry, through Advocate on Record (AoR) Siddique Khan Baloch, filed an eight-page appeal under Article 185(3) of the Constitution, contending that Qadri’s acquittal under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 was not in accordance with the law.

“The high court was not right to acquit the convict under Section 7(a) by not appropriately considering the peculiar features of the case, in which the governor of a province, holding constitutional office was murdered mercilessly in a busy commercial area in broad daylight by a person (deputed officially as a security guard) to save and secure the life of the governor,” reads the interior ministry’s appeal.

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