On the afternoon of January 4th 2011, the-then Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was murdered by his security guard,Mumtaz Qadri. The reason for this murder was Salmaan Taseer’s criticism on the Blasphemy Law and his support for Aasia Bibi who had allegedly committed blasphemy. After four years of wait, running errands to the court, and being under constant threat, the Taseer family has finally managed to see the Supreme Court uphold the verdict of Islamabad High Court. Upon hearing the verdict, Salmaan Taseer’s son, Shaan Taseer expressed his opinion.

While answering a question regarding the verdict and how he sees it, Shaan Taseer said, “Murder trials have taken longer in Pakistan. I think we should look at the bright side. The Judiciary has upheld the principles of justice and rationality and refused to bend to the forces of obscurantism. We must celebrate their stance. This is good for Pakistan and its future. This was not for justice, for my father. The accused was just a misguided bullet. The real culprit is the mindset behind him. Convicting him won’t repay a drop of my father’s blood. My father’s justice will come when the Pakistan he gave his life for becomes a reality; a Pakistan of equality and justice for all Pakistanis.”

Salmaan Taseer lost his life for helping Aasia Bibi. When asked about her, ShaanTaseer replied, “No blasphemy accusation has ever held up in a superior judiciary principally because the evidence is typically so contradictory and thin, as charges are leveled to settle personal scores. In the case of Asia Bibi, the charges were brought against her a week after the supposed incident by people who were not even present at the time. I have no doubt that the SC will throw this bogus case out too. However, a grave injustice is being perpetrated on her every day that she languishes in prison on a false charge. The guilt for the injustice to Asia Bibi should weigh heavily on us as a nation.” Regarding reforms in the Blasphemy Law and Justice Khosa’s statement on the blasphemy law, Shaan said, “Everything is possible in Pakistan, eventually. After the 16th December Peshawar attack, Pakistan is slowly and surely addressing all issues of extremism.”

Shaan further commented on the protests arranged by supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, “The state needs to do what it is supposed to do with any common criminal, regardless of their religious persuasions. Arrest them and charge them for incitement of violence, hate speech and Takfir. There are laws in place, the state simply has to implement them.Their behavior is quite typical. First they pretend they have a rational argument. Once they lose the debate they resort to intimidation.”

Mumtaz Qadri has a right to appeal to the President of Pakistan. When asked if Salmaan Taseer would get justice there, Shaan replied, “I should hope so.”

Mariam Awan Taseer, Salmaan Taseer’s elder sister, and his oldest blood relative said, “It is not enough for the sentence against Qadri to be carried out –Aasia Begum for whom my brother died has to be released.”

Regarding the verdict of the Supreme Court Tahir Ashrafi said, “Pakistan is a land where the law exists and whatever decision the Supreme Court takes it should be accepted.” Regarding protests in favor of Mumtaz Qadri he said, “There is no point in these protests against the verdict. Everyone should abide by the law. If you want action against the Taliban then you should not be supporting such incidents too.”

Tahir Ashrafi spoke about the reforms of the Blasphemy Law too, “The Islamic Ideology Council has worked hard on this topic and it believes that there is no need for reforms but the misuse [of the law] should be stopped. No innocent person should be charged with false charges and anyone who misuses this law should be held accountable in the same charge and punished in the same manner. There is no way an innocent person can be punished for a crime he did not commit.”

Barrister Gauhar also spoke on the Salmaan Taseer-Mumtaz Qadri case. He said, “This verdict holds great significance not only in this case but also for Pakistan. No one should be allow to get away with murder may it be of a Governor or a common man, especially in the name of religion.” He also commented on the protests in favor of Mumtaz Qadri: “Every citizen of Pakistan has a right to protest but freedom of speech should not cross the line to such an extent where people are threatened and others’ lives are put in danger.”