ISLAMABAD: Lawyer for former elite force guard Mumtaz Qadri on Monday argued before a bench of the Supreme Court that the guard had acted on his own interpretation of the blasphemy law and teachings of the Holy Quran after being influenced by speeches of a religious scholar to assassinate ex-Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.
Mian Nazir Akhtar, arguing Qadri’s plea to overturn the death sentence awarded by an anti-terror court, said that the guard was convinced Taseer had committed blasphemy.
The three-member bench of the SC headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa noted that the real culprit was the person who had induced Qadri to commit the act.
The apex court, while hearing two identical appeals against an Islamabad High Court judgment to reject Qadri’s plea against his death sentence, further said that it had to be determined whether Taseer had committed blasphemy and whether Qadri could be given the right to judge that and commit murder.
“We have to look into whether the deceased (Taseer) indeed blasphemed or was he simply commenting on the misuse of blasphemy law,” Justice Dost Muhammad Khan observed.
Justice Khosa added that no evidence had been presented that showed Taseer committed blasphemy; rather it seemed that the slain governor had pointed out defects in the law — which did not constitute a crime.
ST activists held
At least 70 activists of Sunni Tehreek were booked on Monday by the capital police for violating Section 144 after they had gathered near the Supreme Court (SC) building, where Qadri’s appeal was being heard.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2015.