Catholic World News

Pakistan executes governor's killer, despite threat of Islamic retaliation

February 29, 2016

The government of Pakistan has carried out the execution of a Muslim zealot who confessed to killing an official who had proposed changes in the country's blasphemy law.

Mumtaz Qadri was hanged for the murder of Governor Salman Taseer of Punjab. The execution took place amid high tensions, as Muslim activists protested, with some extremists threatening retaliation.

Governor Taseer had angered Islamic activists by defending Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who was found guilty of blasphemy despite the absence of persuasive evidence. Qadri was applauded by some Islamic zealots for killing the governor; in 2014, a mosque outside Islamabad was named in his honor.

Although Pakistani Catholic leaders had opposed the use of the death penalty, Church spokesmen acknowledged that the government had shown determination by carrying out the execution in the face of public pressure. "We appreciate the government's decision, which has shown a lot of courage," Morris Jalal, who founded a Catholic television station in Lahore, told the AsiaNews service.

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