SC dismisses Mumtaz Qadri’s review appeal against death sentence

PakistanSC dismisses Mumtaz Qadri's review appeal against death sentence

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Supreme Court Monday rejected Mumtaz Qadri’s review petition against his death sentence which was first awarded in 2011 by an anti-terrorism court, for murdering the then Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa heard the appeal. Qadri had challenged the October 6 verdict against him.

Nazir Akhar and Justice (retd) Khawaja Sharif appeared on behalf of the former police commando.

Rejecting Qadri’s plea, the bench remarked that Qadri’s counsel had failed to “establish blasphemy” in the case and also rejected the formation of a larger bench to hear the arguments.

“Mumtaz Qadri has confessed the killing at all stages and was arrested from the crime scene,” the court remarked.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan remarked “It is our responsibility to safeguard the law and we stand by our oath”.

In Oct 2011, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi had sentenced Qadri to death on two counts – under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) – for killing Salman Taseer.

Following the sentence, Qadri’s counsels had challenged the ATC’s decision through two applications the same month.

The first petition had demanded that Qadri’s death sentence be quashed and the second asked for Section 7 of the ATA to be declared void from the decision.

In its ruling on the appeal in March 2015, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected Qadri’s application against his death sentence under the PPC but accepted his petition to void ATA’s Section 7.

In October 2015, the Supreme Court, dismissing Qadri’s appeal against the death sentence, restored the trial court’s “conviction and sentence,” and also overturned the IHC verdict that removed Section 7 of the ATA, which asks for capital punishment for acts of terrorism.

Qadri, a former commando of Punjab Elite Force was arrested for the murder of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer on 4th January 2011. After Qadri confessed to the murder, on October 1, 2011, the Anti-Terrorist Court of Rawalpindi sentenced Mumtaz Qadri to death twice.

Source: APP

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