Criticising blasphemy law does not amount to blasphemy: Justice Khosa

Published October 5, 2015
Qadri had confessed  shooting Taseer dead outside an upmarket coffee shop close to the latter's residence in Islamabad on Jan 4─ Reuters/File
Qadri had confessed shooting Taseer dead outside an upmarket coffee shop close to the latter's residence in Islamabad on Jan 4─ Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa of the Supreme Court of Pakistan said on Monday that criticism of the blasphemy law did not amount to blasphemy.

The judge gave the remarks while hearing the appeal by Mumtaz Qadri — the killer of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer — against his death penalty.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa adjourned the hearing till tomorrow when Qadri’s counsel Justice retired Nazir Akhter is expected to continue his arguments.

During today's hearing the bench observed that the entire argument of Qadri’s counsel would be rendered irrelevant if it is not established that then governor Taseer had committed blasphemy.

Justice Khosa in his remarks said that criticising a law does not amount to blasphemy and the press clippings presented in court do not provide sufficient evidence to maintain that the former governor had committed blasphemy.

Related: Mumtaz Qadri files appeal against death penalty

Qadri, a former commando of Punjab police’s Elite Force, was sentenced to death for assassinating former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market. Qadri said he killed Taseer over the politician's vocal opposition to blasphemy laws of the country.

He had confessed to shooting Taseer dead outside an upmarket coffee shop close to the latter's residence in Islamabad on Jan 4.

Following the sentencing, Qadri's counsels had challenged the ATC's decision through two applications the same month.

The first petition had demanded that Qadri's death sentence should be quashed and the second asked for Section 7 of the ATA to be declared void from the sentencing.

In its ruling on the appeal, the IHC rejected Qadri's application against his death sentence under the PPC but accepted his application to void ATA's Section 7.

Qadri's counsels the challenged IHC's decision to uphold his death penalty in the Supreme Court.

Related: IHC upholds death sentence for Mumtaz Qadri

Opinion

Editorial

Crime against humanity
Updated 03 Dec 2021

Crime against humanity

The government has yet to fulfil its long-standing pledge to criminalise enforced disappearances.
03 Dec 2021

Revised valuations

THE revised property valuations notified by the FBR for 40 cities for the purpose of collecting federal taxes —...
03 Dec 2021

PWD await rights

ON the International Day of Disabled Persons, it is important to take stock of how far Pakistan has come in ensuring...
02 Dec 2021

Funding for polls

THE PTI government’s autocratic mentality is again on full display, even as it feigns adherence to the law....
02 Dec 2021

Soaring prices

PRICES are surging. And they are increasing at a much faster pace than anticipated, burdening millions of...
Ali Wazir’s bail
Updated 02 Dec 2021

Ali Wazir’s bail

IT has been a long time coming, but MNA and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader Ali Wazir has finally been granted bail...