The Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) March 9 verdict which had rejected Qadri’s application against his death sentence under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) but accepted his application to void the Anti Terrorism Act’s (ATA) Section 7,was overturned by the court.
Headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, the bench had taken up two appeals; one moved by Advocate Mian Nazir Akhtar on behalf of Mumtaz Qadri, and another moved by the federal government against the IHC verdict.
A three-member bench of the apex court allowed the government application to re-include the terrorism charges against Qadri
The appeal filed by Mumtaz Qadri for a reduction in his sentence was dismissed by the court.
Qadri still has the right to submit a mercy appeal to the president.
During the course of court proceedings on the case, Qadri’s counsel argued that the accused was a straightforward man who had a justification for killing the former governor, admitting that whatever he did was in accordance with the dictates of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), because he was convinced that the victim had committed blasphemy by calling the blasphemy law “a black law”.
“We have to look into whether the deceased (Salmaan Taseer) indeed committed the act of blasphemy or he commented adversely on the effects of the blasphemy law,” Justice Dost Mohammad Khan had observed.
Given the prevailing constitutional and legal setup, Justice Dost Mohammad observed, can the accused be given the right to judge on his own cause and commit murder in uniform of a person who was under his protection, especially when there is no evidence of him having committed blasphemy, save a few press clippings.
These questions need to be focused upon, Justice Dost Mohammad emphasised adding that the impression he had gathered from reading the facts of the case was that the deceased governor was talking about the defects in the blasphemy law, which were sometimes misused for personal benefit.
In any democratic government, the nation has the right to criticise any law made by the parliament because it was made by representatives of the people, Justice Khosa observed, and illustrated his argument with the example of the 21st amendment.
“Will it not instil fear in the society if everybody starts taking the law in their own hands and dealing with sensitive matters such as blasphemy on their own rather than going to the courts,” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had later asked.
Quoting instances such as the lynching of a Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishan, Justice Khosa had asked whether an individual has the right to act on his own in such matters without even first ascertaining the facts.
Justice Dost Mohammad Khan also stressed the need of exercising restraint because blasphemy accusations were serious and prone to misuse. Allowing individuals to deal with such matters on their own is fraught with danger, especially in divided societies like ours, where even ulema are reluctant to offer prayers with members of other schools of thought, he observed.
Sep 28, 2016 0
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