Supreme Court of Pakistan has acquitted a Christian Woman who has been on death row for eight years on charges of country’s blasphemy law. In decisions statement of Supreme Court it was highlighted that it was a weak case, as the FIR was delayed for 5 days, and during that time a conspiracy was hatched against her. Court also noted that it was a huge difference between statements of witnesses and her admission of committing blasphemy has no value in the front of court.
As CNN quoted, A verdict in Asia Bibi’s favor, sends “out a message of hope and will be a step in addressing human rights abuses, religiously motivated discrimination and violence targeted at religious minorities and even Muslims who are accused of committing blasphemy.”
Asia Noreen Bibi mother of five is a Christian and resident of village Attan-Wali district Nankana Sahib located almost 50 Km from provincial capital Lahore. The whole saga started in 2009 when Asia was working in a local farm, during this an argument broke out between Asia and 3 other women over drinking water. This escalated later in heated exchange between the group, it was reported that two women claimed that Asia bibi passed derogatory comments about Mohammad ﷺ . In that evening villagers were gathered in front of her house and demanded to come out but she refused due to her safety. The local Imam latter reported the incident of derogatory comments and filed a report against Asia Bibi. It was mentioned in the FIR that she has admitted passing such a comments.
She was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 under the panel code 295c. Although she always maintained her innocence, in a press conference which she held in 2010 said the allegation were lies concocted by group of women who didn’t like her. She challenged her conviction in High court. After four years in 2014 High Court ordered that death sentence be stayed. In January 2015 she challenged the Lahore High Court decision in Supreme court. A three-member panel of Supreme Court judges in Lahore said it would consider the appeal and ordered that the death sentence for Asia Bibi be stayed. On 8th October 2018 three members bench reserved the decision after 3 hours long hearing. 31st October 2018 in its historic decision Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her on blasphemy charges. She won her appeal against the conviction and subsequent death sentence on Wednesday.
Bibi wrote about her ordeal in a 2012 book called “Get Me Out of Here.” The book includes a letter she wrote to her family urging them to have faith in God.
— Catholic Herald (@CatholicHerald) July 22, 2015
In 2011, Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer was gunned down by his own police guard for raising a voice in favour of Asia Bibi.
His only sin was to raise a voice against religious extremism and meet Asia bibi in jail.