Maintaining that no one can take the law into their own hands even if someone has committed blasphemy, a Pakistani court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking annulment of the case against Punjab Governor Salman Taseer's assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri.

According to reports, the court observed that “although death sentence can be handed down to those who [have] committed blasphemy by a court of law after due procedure, nobody can be encouraged to kill others in violation of laws.''

The petitioner's claim was that Qadri had not committed any offence since the punishment for blasphemy is death. After gunning down Taseer on January 4 in Islamabad, Qadri claimed that he had killed the Governor for describing the blasphemy laws of the country as a “black law”.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari has asked Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti — who is himself under threat from some Muslim clerics for supporting changes in the blasphemy laws — to continue with his consultations with ulemas and religious scholars to evolve a consensus mechanism for protecting minorities from misuse of laws.

Keywords: Salmaan Taseer

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