Does Mumtaz Qadri deserve to die?

“Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the self-confessed murderer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, has been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court today”reads the latest breaking news.

Ten months after he drilled Salmaan Taseer’s body with 25 bullets  for the ‘crime’ of supporting Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy Qadri has been sentenced.

The former governor’s killer had been regaled as a hero and showered with rose petals. YouTube videos of him defending his actions turned the stomach. What kind of man would do this I wondered? Kill an innocent man and then proudly recite naats as if he was one of God’s chosen ones?

Is he a man who deserves to die?

I have seen the Taseer family wait patiently for some form of justice to be served for their father. They have watched while religious leaders discussed the blasphemy law on television. And they continue to wait while their son Shahbaz Taseer remains missing, today.

In true Hollywood fashion the Taseers have come to symbolize  a spirit of resistance in the face of suffocating hopelessness. They have bravely spoken out against injustice and have refused to abandon their country. It is this family that has always stood up and supported what is right, no matter what the  consequences be. Their fight has become our fight, their enemy has become our enemy.

And Mumtaz Qadri is the man that attacked them.

So, naturally when I heard this verdict in the morning my first instinct was to celebrate. After all, justice has been served. But when I stared receiving texts that said:

“Yay”

“I’m so happy”

I had to reconsider.

My inner-hypocrite demands an eye for an eye but deeper inside I can’t bring myself to blind the world for a vengeful justice. Perhaps life imprisonment, is only appealing to my humanist mind and would not work in a country like Pakistan, where criminals can find numerous ways to escape. I realize this is a country where, as I write, men rot in jail for no reason greater than that of the fact that those in power do not like them.

I am not here to condemn the verdict or to offer another verdict; let me clarify that I am happy that justice is being served.

However, I can’t help but wonder, do two negatives make a positive?

This war will continue for much longer than we would like and I do not want to turn in to someone who celebrates death. Someone who thinks they know who deserves to die. Someone like Mumtaz Qadri.

Although I am fiercely opposed to the death sentence, if I had a choice to send one person to the gallows, Qadri would, most definitely, be my choice. I am very happy for the Taseer family, for they have borne more than their share of suffering. I ardently hope that they receive more good news and that Shahbaz Taseer returns home.

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