Blasphemy case: Pakistan Supreme Court overturns Asia Bibi's death sentence

31 October, 2018, 13:54 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Aasiya Bibi from blasphemy case

Reading out the verdict on Wednesday, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said: "The judgement of the high court and that of the trial court is reversed". We are grateful to God. At the time, Asia Bibi said the case was a matter of women who didn't like her "taking revenge".

Bibi says she was falsely accused and is very respectful of Muslims and Mohammed. The party also called for the outster of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The women later went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.

The TLP's leadership called for the death of Nasif, the chief justice, and two other judges on the panel.

In February, Ms. Bibi's husband Ashiq Masih and one of her daughters met with Pope Francis shortly before Rome's ancient Colosseum was lit in red one evening in solidarity with persecuted Christians, and Ms. Bibi in particular.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of the release of Bibi, who was eight years ago accused and sentenced for "insulting Islam".

The workers had refused to drink from a bucket of water Asia Bibi had touched because she was not Muslim.

Speaking to Premier from Islamabad, Mehwish Bhatti from the British Pakistani Christian Association said: "There are so many blasphemy victims - Christian victims - who are still in prison and are on death sentence like Asia Bibi". The Lahore High Court had upheld that conviction and punishment.

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Insulting Islam's prophet is punishable by death under Pakistani law, and blasphemy accusations stir such emotions that they are nearly impossible to defend against.

The mere rumour of blasphemy can ignite mob violence and lynchings in Pakistan, and combatting alleged blasphemy has become a central rallying cry for hardline Islamists.

It is a case which has drawn global attention to Pakistan's blasphemy laws and divided the nation.

At least 1,472 people were charged under Pakistan's blasphemy laws between 1987 and 2016, according to statistics collected by the Center for Social Justice, a Lahore-based group.

Her case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for a retrial of her case and was subsequently shot dead by one of his guards, Mumtaz Qadri, in January, 2011.

"Clearly she will need asylum in a western country where she can live out the remainder of her days in peace", Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christians Association, told CBN News.

Mr Taseer had also called for Ms Bibi's release. Bibi's case was closely followed internationally amid concern for Pakistan's religious minorities, who have frequently come under attack by extremists in recent years.

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