ISLAMABAD - The apex court yesterday dismissed the review petition of Mumtaz Qadri in the then Punjab governor Salman Taseer’s murder case.

The court also rejected the plea to constitute a larger bench for hearing his appeal. Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa said it was the prerogative of the bench either to accept or reject the petition for setting up a larger bench.

Qadri’s lawyer said they would not file a mercy petition before the President of Pakistan. Talking to The Nation, Main Nazir Akhtar said: “Qadri does not need mercy.” He, however, said the President under the Constitution had authority to pardon a convict or reduce his sentence.

The top court in October this year upheld the Anti-Terrorism Court order and also restored death sentence under the terrorism law.

The ATC in January 4, 2011, awarded death sentence to Mumtaz Qadri for murdering the former Punjab governor under Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act. However, the Islamabad High Court maintained death sentence under PPC, but dropped the charges of terrorism.

Qadir, a former commando of Punjab Elite Force, assassinated ex-governor Salman Taseer as he had met with Aasia Bibi, a convict of blasphemy, in jail and declared the blasphemy law as a ‘black law’.

A three-judge bench, which heard the case, observed many misapprehensions had been expressed in the review petition and that they had not examined all the documents. They said the court had announced the verdict after inspecting the documents.

The judge asked Qadri’s counsel that he had to prove whether the governor had committed blasphemy, but the documents submitted before the court did not prove it, so a larger bench could not be constituted. The bench said at every stage Qadri had confessed to the killing of the Punjab governor.

Nazir Akhtar argued that in the judgment the aspects of Hadd and Qisas were not considered. It’s not the case of Hadd, but that of Tazir, Justice Khosa said.

Qadri’s lawyer contended it was a case of Hadd, but conditions were not fulfilled. Justice Khosa said if it was the case of Hadd, then Section 302-A of PPC was applicable and its punishment was death.

Nazir said there was a need to interpret Section 295-C. Justice Khosa said they were also saying this and even Salman Taseer had also asked for it.

Qadri’s father, brother and around 150 followers tried to reach the Supreme Court to witness the hearing of the review petition, but the police stopped them at Nadra check post.

Nazir told The Nation that Qadri’s father, brother and his followers were not allowed to reach the apex court. He was accompanied by around 20 young lawyers who believed Qadri’s action to kill Salman Taseer was justified.

Nazir, who is a retired judge of Lahore High Court, said on December 5 he had met with Mumtaz Qadri in Adiala Jail, adding he was satisfied, happy and believed he had done nothing wrong. “He also says if Allah gives him thousands of lives, he will sacrifice them in His way,” the

The counsel said Qadri had asked him to convey his message to the whole nation that he had no remorse over the killing of the Punjab governor as he had uttered blasphemous words. The lawyer said Qadri had great love for the holy Prophet (PBUH), so no one could defeat him.

The counsel said he had pleaded the case on the basis Islamic values and principles, but the judges were not convinced and dismissed the petition. “I consider myself successful,” he said.