Court upholds death sentence for Pakistan governor killer

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - A Pakistani court on Monday upheld the death sentence handed to a former police bodyguard for murdering a provincial governor who sought reform of blasphemy laws.

The Islamabad High Court dismissed an appeal against the sentence by Mumtaz Qadri, who shot dead Punjab governor Salman Taseer outside an upmarket coffee shop in Islamabad in 2011.

Mr Qadri admitted shooting Mr Taseer, saying he objected to the politician's calls to reform strict blasphemy laws which can carry the death penalty.

Judges Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi and Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui dismissed the appeal, an AFP reporter at court said.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim Pakistan. Mr Qadri has been hailed as a hero by many conservatives eager to drown out any calls to soften the legislation.

At his original trial, Mr Qadri was showered with rose petals by some lawyers. His current appeal team features two judges, including the former chief justice of Lahore High Court.