The execution of Mumtaz Qadri at the Adiala Jail in the wee hours of Monday 29th February has received contradictory response from people of different walks of life, with regards to the Nawaz Sharif government and the judiciary. It has infuriated conservatives, who regard Qadri as a hero and has rejoiced liberals who consider him a coldblooded murderer.

Mumtaz Qadri had killed the then governor Salmaan Taseer in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market on January 4, 2011 over alleged opposition to blasphemy law of the country. No evidence against Salmaan Taseer had been presented to show that he had committed blasphemy. He had pointed out some loopholes in the existing law of blasphemy, which is manmade and not divine.  He had called for reforms in it, which in fact does not constitute crime.

The conservatives express their concern that Raymond Davis walks free after paying blood money but Mumtaz Qadri was hanged to death. This is double standard of law in the country. Having quoted this example they entitle him martyred (Shaheed) and a tout him as a hero of Islam.

The dissent expressed by the people of differing views on the news report 'Mumtaz Qadri hanged to death' published in The Nation was evident in the comments section. 

No doubt, Qadri has widespread support among conservative and extremist minded Pakistani Muslims. Within hours of the news of his execution, there were protests in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi and other cities of the country. He belonged to Barelvi school of thought, but he was supported unanimously by all sects. Sunni Tehreek, a political wing of Pakistan’s majority Barelvi has proclaimed to mount nationwide protests.

Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office Director in the aftermath of hanging Qadri to death, said:

“Salmaan Taseer was a brave voice for religious tolerance in Pakistan and his murderer should be brought to justice. But carrying out more killings is a deplorable way to honour Salmaan Taseer’s life and message. The death penalty is always a human rights violation, regardless of the circumstances or nature of the crime.”

Further Amnesty International urged the Pakistani authorities to urgently reform the laws to be in line with international law and standards. It says the existing blasphemy laws fuel intolerance and a simple accusation is sometimes enough to put people at risk of vigilante mob violence. Everyone in the country, whether Muslim, Christian or from another minority religious group, is at risk.

Well known media and political commentator Mr Moeed Pirzada commended the Nawaz government for sending all the right signals to the world by taking a good decision of hanging Mumtaz Qadri to death. And 1,500 likeminded people have endorsed his comment.

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