Pakistan upholds death in blasphemy killing

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Oct. 6 upheld the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri, a former police guard respected within Pakistan for killing politician Salmaan Taseer over his support for a woman convicted of blasphemy. Taseer, governor of Punjar at the time of his death, was leaving a restaurant in January 2011 when he was shot and killed. Taseer had drawn ire from religious conservative groups when he took up the cause of a Christian woman sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammed. The next possible step for Qadri will be an appeal for a presidential pardon, which is unlikely to be granted. 

Pakistan has faced international scrutiny in recent years for its enforcement of blasphemy laws. In March a judge in Pakistan's Lahore District and Sessions court sentenced Liaquat Ali to death for blasphemy. Last October the Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence for Aasiya Noreen (better known as Asia Bibi), who was convicted of blasphemy in 2010. In July of last year a Pakistan court convicted and sentenced Zulfiqar to death for blasphemy after he was arrested in 2008 for writing blasphemous statements against Islam on walls.

From Jurist, Oct. 8. Used with permission.