ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court questioned whether individuals had the authority to punish a blasphemer today.

Hearing former elite force guard Mumtaz Qadri’s plea, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the main issue in the case is whether individuals can presume the authority to punish a blasphemer.

Justice Khosa expressed apprehension that if people took the authority to punish blasphemers then a “trend will start” which will be “dangerous for society.”

The apex court has directed Mian Nazir Ahmed, counsel of the petitioner that the court should be informed whether individuals have the authority to punish the blasphemers despite the presence of blasphemy law. The three-judge bench of the apex court expressed apprehension that if people took the authority to punish blasphemers then a “trend will start” which will be “dangerous for society.”

The counsel of Mumtaz Qadri in his arguments informed the court that the worst punishment has been proposed of blasphemers, such elements are quarrelsome and even in the Holy Quran it has been directed not to keep one’s voice louder than voice of prophet.

The counsel further said that it had quoted the examples of Holy Prophet (PBUH), the Islamabad High Court did not accept them as sunnah and declared them good deeds (Uswa-e-Husna). On this, the court observed that the IHC does not have the power to do that and that this power refers to only the Federal Shariat Court. The IHC cannot give verdict in this regard under the articles of 203 (G-G) of constitution.

Justice Asif said that nothing can be said about Shariat and it was our obligation to give verdict of criminal cases and that he would try his best to announce a better verdict. “May Allah Almighty give us courage to do so,” he added.

The court directed the counsel of the petitioner to complete the arguments.

The court adjourned the hearing of petition till Wednesday.