SC adjourns hearing of Mumtaz Qadri appeal against death sentence

ISLAMABAD: A two-member bench at the Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing pertaining to an appeal by Mumtaz Qadri — the killer of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer — against his death penalty, directing the government to submit their appeal as well.

Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Umar Ata Bandial adjourned the hearing till May 14. The two-member bench has summoned an application from the government regarding the Islamabad High Court’s decision to cancel Qadri’s death penalty under section seven of the Anti Terrorism Act.

Previously the government had submitted an application in the apex court against the IHC’s decision to void the penalty under ATA’s Section 7, but had taken back the application to make amendments. The bench in today’s hearing directed for the submission of that application in order to hear Qadri’s appeal and the government’s appeal in the same hearing.

While the IHC cancelled Qadri’s penalty under the ATA, the court still upheld his second death penalty for murder under section 302 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Qadri had appealed in the apex court against this penalty.
Last week, The counsel for Qadri had filed an appeal at the apex court against his death sentence. Qadri’s lawyer had maintained that the Islamabad High Court’s ruling of a death sentence for Qadri is not in accordance with the law and constitution of Pakistan as the murder was caused by ‘provocation’.
Last month, the IHC rejected Qadri’s application against his death sentence under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) but accepted his application to void ATA’s Section 7, after which Qadri’s counsels decided to challenge the IHC’s ruling in the Supreme Court.

Qadri’s petition had demanded that his death sentence should be quashed and the second asked for Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) to be declared void from the sentencing.
In Oct 2011, an anti-terrorist court (ATC) in Rawalpindi had sentenced Qadri to death on two counts under section 302 PPC and 7 Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) for killing Taseer. Following the sentencing, Qadri’s legal team had challenged the ATC’s decision through two applications the same month.

Qadri had confessed to shooting Taseer dead outside an upmarket coffee shop close to the latter’s residence in the capital on January 4, 2011.