Rawalpindi: Taseer’s killer awarded death sentence
RAWALPINDI: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) awarded two death sentences and a fine of Rs200,000 to Malik Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, here on Saturday.
Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) No-II Judge Syed Pervez Ali Shah announced the decision at the high security Adiala Jail. During the last hearing of the case, the accused, Malik Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri, had given a written confessional statement before the ATC judge that he had killed the former Punjab governor over blasphemy.
Immediately after the announcement of the judgment, security officials, who were on high alert, escorted the judge through a back door out of the jail premises.
Earlier, when the court resumed hearing in the case at the Adiala Jail, the ATC Judge, Syed Pervez Ali Shah, drafted the decision awarding two death sentences to Mumtaz Qadri in English but the accused objected to the same by saying that he did not know English so the court should give the decision in Urdu.
The court awarded the death sentence to Mumtaz Qadri under Section 302 PPC and 7 ATA and imposed a fine of Rs200,000 on him. If the accused fails to pay the fine, he would undergo further imprisonment of 12 months.
The court informed Mumtaz Qadri that he could file an appeal against the decision within seven days. Later, talking to The News, the counsel for the accused, Malik Muhammad Rafiq and Shujaur Rehman, said the court decision was illegal as the judge neither heard them nor allowed them to file an application under Section 23 of the Anti-Terrorism Court Act for the deletion of 7 ATA from the case.
They said the police cordoned off the Anti-Terrorism Court No-II, Rawalpindi and did not allow them to enter the courtroom. “We would go in appeal against the ATC decision,” they said.
The lawyers said they met their client Mumtaz Qadri after announcement of the decision. The convict was calm and satisfied, they added.
“He recited verses from the Holy Quran and a Naat and asked his supporters to distribute sweets among the public to rejoice the decision,” they said.
The lawyers said their client did not desire to go into appeal against the court decision but the legal community would file an appeal in the High Court against the decision.
The Kohsar police station had registered a case under Sections 302 and 7 ATA against Mumtaz Qadri for killing former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer on January 4, 2011 in Islamabad.
The assassin had surrendered after the assassination of the governor. Mumtaz Qadri (belt number 6,990), is a resident of Sadiqabad, Muslim Town, Rawalpindi, and had been serving in the Rawalpindi Police for the last nine years. He joined the police in 2002 and since 2008 was performing duty with the Elite Platoon of the Rawalpindi police after the completion of police commando training.
He told the police investigators that he was married and had a two-month-old son, Muhammad Ali Raza. He had been living in Bhara Kahu, Islamabad, before shifting to Sadiqabad. His father was a mason by profession and they were 10 brothers and sisters.
Meanwhile, District Bar Association (DBA) President Malik Khalid Jawad strongly opposed the ATC decision and said they would file an appeal against the verdict. “We would adopt a further line of action against the ATC decision on Monday,” he said.
APP adds: The court announced in its verdict during the final proceedings that no one could be given the licence to kill anyone on any condition. Therefore, the killer cannot be pardoned as he has committed a heinous crime by murdering the former governor, the court said.
AFP adds: Whether Qadri will hang will remain open even after the appeals process is exhausted. According to Amnesty International, Pakistan has had an informal moratorium on executions in place since late 2008, before which it had hanged at least 36 people that year.