Earlier this week, after the Islamabad High Court, (IHC) upheld Mumtaz Qadri’s death sentence under Section-302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, religious parties representing the Barelvi school of thought offered blood money to the family of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer to pardon Qadri.
Qadri, a former police man murdered Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in cold blood Islamabad in 2011 saying he objected to the politician’s calls to reform Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.
The blood money was offered after IHC on Monday rejected Qadri’s appeal against conviction and upheld his death penalty but struck out a terrorism conviction.
On Tuesday, leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP), the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and the Pakistan Sunni Alliance offered blood money to his family.
“We are ready to pay much more Khoonbaha (blood money) to the family of Salmaan Taseer (for Qadri’s release),” said Shabbir Abu Talib of the JUP.
To support his beliefs, Talib cited the case of Raymond Allen Davis, who was accused of being a CIA contractor and charged with killing two Pakistanis in a busy Lahore street in January 2011. Davis who was released by a Lahore sessions court after paying Rs200 million as ‘blood money’ to the legal heirs of the deceased.
According to Islamic jurisprudence, a killer can be pardoned by the legal heirs of the victim with or without taking blood money.
Earlier, the legal heirs of Salmaan Taseer had filed an application before the IHC requesting it to reject Qadri’s murder appeal.
Qadri has been hailed as a hero by extremists eager to drown out any calls to soften blasphemy legislation. The killing highlighted the menacing power of the extremist right wing fringe.
At his original trial, Qadri was showered with rose petals by some lawyers. His current appeal team features two judges, including the former chief justice of Lahore High Court.
The judge who convicted Qadri was forced to flee the country along with his entire family after death threats from the extremists.