Support in Pakistan for Murderer of the Pakistani Governor Who Had Opposed Blasphemy Punishment

I noted Tuesday, quoting the Washington Post that Salman Tasser, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, “was assassinated … allegedly by one of his own security guards [who told the police] he was angered by Taseer’s recent public endorsement of a pardon for a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) now has this follow-up:

AP reported yesterday on [suspect Malik Mumtaz Hussain] Qadri’s first appearance in court:

A rowdy crowd slapped Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri on the back and kissed his cheek as he was escorted inside the court today. nbsp;Lawyers not involved in his case tossed rose petals, while hundreds of sympathisers chanted slogans in his favour and one gave him a flower necklace.

According to a report from 660 News Radio, a group of influential clerics and scholars from the anti-Taliban Barelvi sect praised Taseer’s assassination. A statement from their organization, Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, said: “The supporter is as equally guilty as one who committed blasphemy,” and warned that a lesson should have been learned from Taseer’s “exemplary death.”