The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has asked President Asif Ali Zardari to use his special powers to grant amnesty to Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, a local English daily has reported.
Qadri had confessed to killing Salmaan Taseer in the ATC court which subsequently found him guilty and pronounced the death penalty for killing Taseer and breaching his oath as a policeman. His defence counsel had filed an appeal against the sentence in the Islamabad High Court.
“[JI] urges the President to announce amnesty for Qadri like many other cases especially under the NRO,” said a resolution adopted by JI Shura. “The government should withdraw the case against him for murdering Taseer in the public interest.”
The JI referred to the thousands of cases against criminals and politicians which had been withdrawn under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) whereas Qadri was not given any such concession; The JI leadership observed in a meeting adopted numerous clauses on hot issues. “Qadri gunned down Taseer for criticising the Blasphemy law in line with the sentiments of the masses.”
JI quoted Article 45 of the Constitution by which powers of president of the state enable granting pardon to anybody. “The President shall to grant, reprieve and respite and to remit, suspend any sentence pass by any court, tribunal or authority,” the article reads. Generally, a mercy petition is forwarded to the Presidency in such cases like Qadri, said a retired judge of the Supreme Court who did not want to be named. It is pertinent to mention here that Salmaan Taseer had initiated a similar process seeking the pardon of blasphemy law convict Aasia Bibi whom he believed had been hard done. Qadri, inflamed by this act and other statements of Taseer against the blasphemy law, proceeded to execute Taseer.
“Qadri has been awarded death sentence under section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act which is non-compoundable, even the legal heirs compound his offence,” he said and added, “It’s also not possible in the law under section 3/2 (Qisas and Diat),” the JI Shura noted.
The government, JI leadership demanded, should categorically announce that the blasphemy law would not be changed. Europe and the US should also be asked to stop criticising this law because it’s Pakistan’s internal matter, it added.
JI also voiced its disappointment with Zardari saying the president and the co-chairman of Pakistan’s largest political party had shocked people when he termed Taseer, a hero while the trial court also let down the people wishes when it awarded death sentence to Qadri. “Nation stands united on the issue of sanctity of the holy prophet (PBUH),” the JI leadership said.