Christians in Pakistan have expressed concerns that their community will endure “severe repercussions” following the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the self confessed killer of Salman Taseer. In 2011, Qadri killed Taseer, the then governor of Punjab, because of Taseer’s outspoken defense of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, and for standing against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. At Qadri’s funeral, thousands gathered and declared that his death would be the start of a revolution and that all blasphemers should be punished by beheading. Christians fear that continued rioting could eventually turn against their already persecuted community.
3/4/2016 Pakistan (Christian Today) – Christians in Pakistan are living in fear following the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, who murdered former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011.
Nasir Saeed, director of the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) which works on behalf of persecuted Christians in Pakistan, has warned that there may be “severe repercussions” for religious minorities in the country after Qadri’s execution.
“Christians are scared and cautious,” Saeed said. “The [Qadri’s] execution will also enhance the threat to the lives of those who are charged under blasphemy law and are currently detained in various prisons.”
Qadri fatally shot Taseer 28 times near his home in Islamabad in 2011 because the governor had spoken out against Pakistan’s blasphemy law, saying it was being misused and should be reformed.
After his arrest, Qadri told police he killed Taseer for championing the cause of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in a blasphemy case that arose out of a personal dispute.
Qadri’s attorney said this week that 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.
Qadri was hanged at approximately 4.30am local time on Monday and street protests broke out hours later. Tens of thousands of Islamist supporters then gave him a martyr’s funeral on Tuesday. He is considered a hero for defending the faith by some Muslim hardliners.
A crowd of at least 15,000 chanted “Qadri, your blood will bring the revolution” and “the punishment for a blasphemer is beheading” at the funeral in Rawalpindi, just south of Islamabad.