Protests erupted in different cities by religious parties after an anti-terrorism court on Saturday handed down the death sentence to Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, dismissing the plea of the defence that religious sentiments and sudden provocation led to the murder.
Special Judge Pervez Ali Shah announced the judgment for killing Taseer and spreading terrorism in broad day light. The court also imposed a fine on the convict.
Unfazed by the judgment, Mumtaz Qadri after hearing the sentence "smiled and thanked Allah and said his dream had come true," a police official who present in the jail said. The news of the punishment sparked protests and violence in Rawalpindi and Lahore as his lawyers said they were kept uninformed about the decision to announce the judgment on Saturday. Dismissing the plea of Qadri, the judge in his order observed, "A proven blasphemer cannot be forgiven. Only the Prophet himself can forgive him. However at this stage two questions arise. Who has the authority to determine a particular person as an apostate. And who can be allowed to execute the punishment on such persons because it will pave the way of anarchy."
Rejecting the defence of sudden provocation, the judge remarked, "The statements of the governor about blasphemy laws were published in 2010 and the murder was committed in January 2011."
Blast kills 3 cops
Three policemen were killed and 10 more injured when a security vehicle was targeted with a roadside bomb in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, officials said. The bomb exploded near a police van in Tor Ghar district. of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province district administration chief Farid Khan said.
(With PTI input)