Lahore: Pakistan on Mondayexecuted former police commando Mumtaz Qadri, convicted for assassinating former Punjab governor Salman Taseer who sought reforms in the country’s controversial blasphemy laws, at a prison in Rawalpindi.
Qadri, who killed the liberal Punjab governor in 2011 in an upmarket locality of Islamabad for criticising the blasphemy laws, was hanged in Adialia jail early this morning, Express Tribune reported.
Fearing a possible backlash after the execution, police have beefed up security in Rawalpindi to maintain law and order and to deal with any untoward situation.
Rangers and police in riot gear were deployed outside Qadri’s home in Rawalpindi.
Qadri shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in an upscale market in the capital Islamabad in January 2011.
He later admitted the killing, saying he objected to the the governor’s calls to reform the blasphemy laws.
Taseer, who died aged 66, had come out it in support of a Christian woman charged with blasphemy and termed the regulations as “black laws” drawing the ire of extremists.
An Anti-Terrorism Court had convicted and condemned Qadri to death in the same year, a ruling also upheld by the Islamabad High Court and the Supreme Court.
A review petition of Qadri was also turned down by the top court on December 14 last year, leaving him with the last option of to file a clemency appeal to President Mamnoon Hussain.
His mercy appeal was also rejected by the President.
Religious parties had threatened nationwide protests if Qadri is hanged.
Radical religious groups had been demanding that Qadri should be forgiven as he killed a “blasphemer”.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, with even unproven allegations often triggering mob violence.
The controversial law was introduced by former military dictator Zia-ul Haq in 1980s and so far hundreds of people have been charged under them