Salmaan Taseer, the then Governor of Punjab, was shot multiple times from the service weapon by Mumtaz Qadri a Police Elite Force commando deputed on the Governors Guard duty, in Kohsar Market in Islamabad on January 4, 2011. The Governor received 28 bullets and died on the spot.

Qadri in his statement said he had shot Salmaan Taseer because of his views on the blasphemy laws and for speaking in favor of Asia Bibia, a Christian lady accused of blasphemy. Qadri was applauded for his act by many members of the religious community and the lawyers’ fraternity, which led to his gaining a sizable following in the masses also.

After due process of law, and various hearings in the courts, the Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the death sentence and his mercy petition was rejected by the President Mamnoon Hussain. Mumtaz Qadri was executed by hanging till death today at 4:30 am, making this the first hanging of its nature since the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty.

While people from various walks of life both rejoiced and opposed the hanging, majority look forward to the fresh lease of life for Asia Bibi and revisiting the blasphemy laws as was the stand of the late Salmaan Taseer.

The Nation spoke to some people to get their views of people on this issue including Ashiq Masih, Aasia Bibi’s husband. He said they were “not going to celebrate this hanging as it is against our teachings, but Mumtaz Qadri has been punished by the law. He had no right to kill Salmaan Taseer even if he did not agree with his views. The case was already in the court regarding his statement on blasphemy law. He should have waited for the verdict and abided by it.”

Ashiq added: “Aasia bibi is still in jail but hopefully things may change now and we look forward to her returning home safely.”

Marvi Sirmed, a social activist and journalist, talking to The Nation said, “Even though Mumtaz Qadri had taken law in his hand, I still believe he should not have been hanged. The Supreme Court should have upheld the death penalty, but when he filed a mercy plea the President should have converted the death to solitary life imprisonment.” She further added, “Qadri was a threat to others and was a bad influence on others too, and even tried to kill an inmate of the jail accused of blasphemy. Hanging him will change nothing. We have to focus on the mindset. Until and unless extremist mindset is not eradicated, we will not gain any fruit by hanging one or more Mumtaz Qadris.”

The Nation also asked Jibran Nasir, a lawyer and a social activist, to comment of the hanging of Qadri. He said, “The court played its role, implemented the law and the writ of the state has been established. Today we should not be celebrating his death as this is against our norms. Even the liberals should know that if they celebrate his death they are going against their own ideology.”

He further added, “Hanging Mumtaz Qadri would do no good because Hanif Qureshi is still roaming free and preaching. He needs to be arrested too. Apart from this we need to revise (revisit) our pre-Partition narrative because if we call Mumtaz Qadri a terrorist today, then we should do the same with Ilm Deen also. Today our text books (glorify) him (Ilm Din) as ‘ghazi’.”

Regarding Aasia Bibi he said, “If Qadri could submit a mercy plea despite killing the Governor of Punjab in broad daylight and later boasting about it too, then Asia Bibi can be granted a relief as she has been apologizing for something that she did not even commit. Islam enjoins forgiving people; the state should consider this soon and make her life easy.”