Two-member panel dismissed Qadri’s mercy plea a week after withholding judgment.
The Islamabad High Court on Monday upheld the death sentence for Mumtaz Qadri, the former police bodyguard who murdered then-Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer over advocating reforms for blasphemy laws.
The court dismissed an appeal against the sentence by Qadri, who shot dead Taseer outside an upmarket coffee shop in Islamabad in 2011. Qadri confessed to shooting Taseer, saying he objected to the politician’s calls to reform strict blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty.
Judges Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi and Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui dismissed the appeal, according to Mian Nazir, a former judge who is representing Qadri in court.
Three of Taseer’s children—Sara Taseer, Shaan Taseer and Sanam Taseer—had submitted an application in court last week, requesting Qadri’s mercy plea be rejected. The accused is “a traitor of the country” and does not deserve any mercy, their plea added.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan. Many conservatives, including lawyers and former judges, have hailed Qadri as a hero for “protecting” the blasphemy laws. At his original trial, a large crowd of lawyers showered Qadri with rose petals. In addition to Mian Nazir, his current appeal team also features a former chief justice of the Lahore High Court.