This bears watching closely. A potential flash point for Pakistan. If the public accepts this death sentence there is the potential at least for Pakistan to rise from its descent into medieval, theocratic rule. My suspicion is riots so major will take place and soon, that the gov’t will somehow try and let this person off while pretending to carry it out in some way to appease Western nations. In any case, this is an important moment for Pakistan and Western relations with it as well.
By Augustine Anthony
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan | Sat Oct 1, 2011 9:06am EDT
(Reuters) – A Pakistani court sentenced to death on Saturday the killer of the governor of Pakistan’s largest province after he had called for reform of a law against blasphemy, a defense lawyer and state-run media said.
Mumtaz Qadri was a bodyguard for Punjab province Governor Salman Taseer and shot him dead in the capital, Islamabad, on January 4.
Taseer was an outspoken critic of predominantly Muslim Pakistan’s blasphemy law and Qadri is viewed as a hero by many people who thought Taseer himself was a blasphemer by calling for the law’s reform.
Qadri had said he was enforcing divine law by murdering a blasphemer.
The killing highlighted a growing gulf between conservatives and more liberal elements in society.
Qadri’s supporters took to the streets to denounce the sentence soon after it was handed down at a hearing in a jail where he is being held in the city of Rawalpindi.
“By punishing one Mumtaz Qadri, you will produce a thousand Mumtaz Qadris!” one man shouted through a megaphone outside the jail.
There are significant facts there still.