Pakistan’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri, a police bodyguard who killed the politician he was supposed to protect because he had criticised Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
Salman Taseer, the Governor of the state of Punjab, was shot dead in January 2011. Qadri was convicted of his murder, but appealed on the grounds that Taseer had blasphemed.
However, the judge presiding over the appeal said that such considerations should be left to the courts and that vigilantism could not be tolerated.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that criticising a law does not amount to blasphemy and the press clippings presented in court did not provide sufficient evidence to maintain that the Governor had committed blasphemy.
“Will it not instill fear in the society if everybody starts taking the law in their own hands, and dealing with sensitive matters such as blasphemy on their own rather than going to the courts?” he said.