Pakistan set to rule on woman facing death for blasphemy

Aaron Brown
November 3, 2018

It may come as a jolting shock to many civilized human beings in the world that hundreds of thousands of Muslims of Pakistan are protesting, not against something very bad that happened, but because an innocent Christian women, Aasia Bibi, who had falsely been accused of blasphemy was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on her appeal.

Pakistan's Federal Shariat Court has ruled that the death penalty should be the only penalty for blasphemy, the USCIRF said.

"The increasing political clout of religious hard-liners, who boast the ability to mobilize in a big way, suggests that the state will be under more pressure than ever before", he said.

The prime minister said that he was forced to give the address after the reaction by protestors against the verdict and the kind of language they were using against State institutions.

The timing of her release has not been shared due to security reasons.

"I salute to the honourable judges who refused to be cowed down and lit a candle in darkness and raised hopes in hopelessness", said Farhatullah Babar of Pakistan's People's Party of Benazir Bhutto.

He said that "nobody is less devout than others". France and Spain have offered asylum to the 54-year-old mother of five, who is a Roman Catholic.

But they said prosecutors had failed to prove that Bibi violated the law.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Bibi was wearing green and orange traditional Pakistani dress and a scarf when an AP reporter saw her at the facility. "But who is responsible for these ten years she spent in the jail behind bars in isolation?" "That is the only way to save my life", he said.

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Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, had returned from Britain with their children in mid-October and was waiting for her to join them, the brother said.

Protests broke out immediately after the verdict in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan. A person convicted under these laws is given death sentence.

Bibi's whereabouts were not known on Friday.

Schools across the most populous province of Punjab were closed.

A three-member bench of the top court headed by Chief Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar announced the judgment in the capital Islamabad on the appeal of Aasia Bibi who had been sentenced to death by a district court in November 2010 for blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad. Rizvi has managed to turn out tens of thousands of supporters in the past, often forcing authorities to bow to his demands on religious matters.

Since 1990, at least 65 people have reportedly been killed in Pakistan over claims of blasphemy. "I appeal to you: do not take the State to a point where it has no option but to take action", he concluded.

Bibi's lawyer, Saiful Malook, has gone into hiding as the extremists had threatened his life as well.

- "Blasphemy is a serious offence but the insult of the appellant's (Asia Bibi) religion and religious sensibilities by the complainant party and then mixing truth with falsehood in the name of the Holy Prophet Mohammad was also not short of being blasphemous", the court observed.

Asia Bibi was accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad during an argument with a group of women in her neighbourhood near Lahore in 2009.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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