Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri. — File Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The judge who sentenced to death the killer of liberal Pakistani politician Salman Taseer on Tuesday failed to show up at work and may be transferred after his courtroom was ransacked, lawyers said.

Judge Pervez Ali Shah on Saturday convicted police bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri over the January 4 assassination that exposed huge faultlines in Pakistan.

Qadri said he killed Taseer over the politician's opposition to blasphemy laws which sentence to death those convicted of defaming the Prophet Mohammed.

Qadri's actions made him a hero in the eyes of religious extremists.

On Monday, dozens of furious lawyers ransacked Shah's courtroom, smashing windows to protest against the judgement.

“After yesterday's protest and the attack on his office, the judge is not attending his office,” Malik Khalid Jawad, president of the district bar association in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, told AFP.

Asked about media reports that Shah has gone on indefinite leave, Khalid said: “What I know is that he is not coming to his office. The bar has also requested his transfer because it can create a law and order situation.”

Lawyer Farooq Sulehria confirmed Monday's attack and said lawyers would boycott Shah's court because of the “unacceptable” sentencing.

Shah heard the Qadri case behind closed doors in the high-security Adiyala prison, largely in order to protect proceedings from protests and attacks.

The religious right holds increasing sway in Pakistan and the government says it has no intention of reforming the controversial 1986 blasphemy law.

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