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ICC Note:

Protests and demonstrations in Pakistan has continued into a second day following the news that Pakistan executed Mumtaz Qadri, the confessed killer of the then governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer. In 2011, Qadri shot and killed Taseer because of Taseer’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and his public support of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman currently on death row for allegedly committing blasphemy. On Monday, Qadri was executed by Pakistani authorities after losing all his appeals and being denied a presidential pardon. Qadri’s supporters claim he was defending Islam when he killed Taseer and should be regarded has a hero instead of a criminal. Christians and other minority communities in Pakistan fear that the ire of the protesters may eventually turn against them and are keeping a low profile. 

3/1/2016 Pakistan (Christian Today) – Pakistan today executed the man who murdered governor of Punjab Salman Taseer because he publicly spoke out against the country’s blasphemy laws.

Mumtaz Qadri fatally shot Taseer near his home in Islamabad in 2011. He was hanged at approximately 4.30am local time on Monday, and street protests broke out hours later. He is considered a hero for defending the faith by some Muslim hardliners.

After his arrest, Qadri told police he killed Taseer because the governor had championed the cause of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in a blasphemy case that arose out of a personal dispute. Taseer had said the law was being misused and should be reformed.

Qadri’s attorney said his client told him he had no regrets for killing the governor.

“I have met him twice in jail. He said that even if Allah gave me 50 million lives, I would still sacrifice all of them,” lawyer Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry said.

The head of the Islamabad Bar Council called for a day-long strike of lawyers in protest against the hanging and protesters briefly blocked the main road between Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Monday after news of the execution broke. Police later dispersed them and closed off the road to prevent more demonstrations.

Chaudhry predicted larger demonstrations coinciding with Qadri’s funeral, which his legal group said would be held on Tuesday.

“From what we are seeing, this protest movement is only going to increase,” he said.

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