Taseer to take Aasia’s clemency appeal to president

Published: November 21, 2010

Governor Punjab Salman Taseer meets Aasia, says will take up case with President Zardari.

Governor Punjab Salman Taseer meets Aasia, says will take up case with President Zardari. Aasia Bibi is seen in an undated photo handed out by family members. PHOTO: REUTERS
ISLAMABAD: 

Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer has said that he would take the clemency appeal of Aasia Bibi, Christian woman sentenced to death over blasphemy allegations, to the President.

He said he would personally request the president to use his prerogative and pardon the woman. Taseer visited Sheikhupura to meet Aasia Bibi on Saturday. Talking to the media men after the meeting, he said that Bibi denied that she had said anything disrespectful for the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) or Islam, adding that she accused the villagers who had chased her to her home of sexually assaulting her and dragging her through the streets. Taseer said that he did not want to interfere in the judicial proceeding, but he would do as much as he could in his capacity to make sure that she does not get punished for a crime she said she had not committed. He added that it was for the president to decide whether he would or would not grant her appeal.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2010.

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Reader Comments (54)

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Nov 20, 2010 - 7:22PM

    Good Job Mr. Salman Taseer. Take up this case and inform in detail not only about this case but also about this law which is not giving good name to our country. The honorable President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari is a person with merciful heart and will surely look into this case with deep concern.Recommend

  • SharifL
    Nov 20, 2010 - 7:26PM

    Thank you, Taseer. Courage is one thing lacking in our culture, he appears to be an exception. If you show weakness, the fundamentalists increase more pressure. I hope President Zardari pardons her. I will forgive AZ for many of his previous (alleged) sins, if he does. Recommend

  • Usman
    Nov 20, 2010 - 7:33PM

    The Great General Zia, Saviour of our FaithRecommend

  • Anonymous
    Nov 20, 2010 - 7:52PM

    It is good that Taseer is doing something sensible. He should be supported by PMLN.Recommend

  • Nov 20, 2010 - 7:58PM

    Well-done Taseer go ahead……Recommend

  • Ali Haider
    Nov 20, 2010 - 8:19PM

    She has not done anything wrong. Her mistake is that she is poor.Recommend

  • Hammad
    Nov 20, 2010 - 8:20PM

    We all should raise voice in order to save an innocents’ life.Recommend

  • Khalid Kamal
    Nov 20, 2010 - 8:34PM

    Well Don Gov Salman, that is great action. Keep up the good work for the entire community.Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Nov 20, 2010 - 8:38PM

    If She is Guilty Then?
    The big Question in my mind.Recommend

  • u48998
    Nov 20, 2010 - 8:53PM

    It would have been better if Taseer had studied the blasphemy law itself instead of studying this one case. Zardari should be pardoning the whole law out of existence. Unless these politicians are only looking to score points on temporary basis.Recommend

  • Nov 20, 2010 - 9:10PM

    Absence of PML N in entire episode shouldn’t go unnoticed.Recommend

  • HB
    Nov 20, 2010 - 9:24PM

    So the case is in lime light when Pope has requested (ordered) to free Asiya? Do you all know what happened there when she was caught? Truth is that not you or me know what is th real story. If there are 4-5 legal witnesses for the incident then by constitution she can be punished. What if Asiya has actually done it? I suggest a complete unbiased investigation (I mean without any pressure from so called human activists). There is no logic in making her free without listening the opinion of both sides ! Recommend

  • AA
    Nov 20, 2010 - 9:50PM

    Guilty or not, a death sentence is not the answer no matter what the evidence says. We are not living in the stone ages.Recommend

  • Nov 20, 2010 - 10:10PM

    PML-N being lip zipped in the entire issue is alarming.Recommend

  • HB
    Nov 20, 2010 - 10:22PM

    @AA
    Question here is not about death penalty, it is all about biased investigations. Where you people were when NRO was being signed. The problem is not with the law but actually with the investigation system. No one should rush to a decision !Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Nov 20, 2010 - 10:36PM

    There is no precedent in the world that any Muslim Pakistani National sentenced to death by any court of law had ever been pardoned by any foreign Head of the State.

    It only happens in Pakistan when Pakistan’s Head of the State comes under tremendous pressure by the foreign governments, NGO’s and more particularly by Pakistani columnists and media personnel.

    The Judge of the Nankana lower court, after hearing all the arguments of both sides of the lawyers as well as of disputing parties have announced the verdict against Aasia Bibi.

    The President of Pakistan has all the powers to pardon a condemned prisoner, irrespective of the nature of crime or offence he or she has committed. Recommend

  • Nov 20, 2010 - 11:32PM

    This is one of the gifts to the Pakistani nation by General Zaiul Haq. He singlehandedly harmed generations of Pakistanis like no other person in the nation’s history.Recommend

  • FC
    Nov 20, 2010 - 11:53PM

    What a completely messed up country and society. How can anyone support the death of a person for what they said… There are two people commenting on what if she is guilty!… First what evidence is there apart from the word of some racist illiterate women that accused her, and second you are talking about killing a woman of four kids… What possible good will come of this? How will society benefit?

    And lastly, why can’t the governor pardon her? She was arrested in Punjab, what use is a governor if he can’t do this? Why should this become a federal matter? Recommend

  • Jahanzeb Afzal
    Nov 21, 2010 - 12:08AM

    Though the punishment is ultimate and the same shall be executed. Otherwise another bad precedence is on the cards to purposefully exploit the Blasphemy law to seek pardon and obtain British US nationality by committing this horrible act.

    Remenber, Mukhtar Mai case is not old enough…!Recommend

  • Kamran
    Nov 21, 2010 - 12:22AM

    Even if she said something .. does it mean she should be hanged?????

    How would we Muslims react if a Muslim citizen of India said something about Hindu gods and the Indian govt sentences the individual to death?

    It’s time we start showing some respect to our minority brothers and sisters. Recommend

  • Yasir
    Nov 21, 2010 - 12:36AM

    There is no precedent in the world
    that any Muslim Pakistani National
    sentenced to death by any court of law
    had ever been pardoned by any foreign
    Head of the State.

    @Syed A. Mateen:

    There is no precedent in the civilised world that any Muslim Pakistani National is sentenced to death by any court of law for his faith. PERIOD. Since there are no cruel laws like those of Islamic Pakistan, there s is no prosecution and conviction and hence no need for pardon. Pakistanis have full right to practice and preach their faith without any hindrance in most of the world including the right to criticise other faiths and religions. It’s the cruel laws of Pakistan that put one in such ridiculous position of asking for pardon even when one has done no wrong. Asia Bibi’s only crime is that she happened to be born in Islamic Pakistan and has to deal with the cruelty that prevails here under the apartheid way that law is applied. This is akin to the way that apartheid South Africa treated its black citizen’s except tat that it was racial over there and in Pakistan apartheid is based on religion. Pakistan is constitutionally and procedurally an apartheid state, no doubt about it.Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Nov 21, 2010 - 12:58AM

    Laws only get implimented if they reflect the society. Zia imposed these inhuman law.

    Thank God, No one has been hanged after all these decades! I’m sure Asia Bibi will be free too. Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Nov 21, 2010 - 1:50AM

    Why wasn’t this law touched in the 18th Amendment? Why? Recommend

  • MilesToGo
    Nov 21, 2010 - 2:16AM

    Either she should be punished. If not that means that the accusation was false and in that case those who falsely accused her should be punished as per Islamic Law. Recommend

  • Maulana Halwa
    Nov 21, 2010 - 3:31AM

    Governor Tahseer, At least you have the guts to stand up for some thing that lots of us believe is Unjust. We appreciate your courage!!! Recommend

  • SS
    Nov 21, 2010 - 4:00AM

    The tragedy is that Aasia Bibi is a Christian national in a country in which the blasphemy law is enforsed. This law is a threat to all Christians in Pakistan and is often used to plot against poor, defenseless and innocent Christians. It serves more as a door to death than as a regulation of protection. I strongly urge the government to spare the life of Aasia and to elimate any laws from the constitution that are a threat to human rights, and put laws in place for freedom of speech and protection of human rights. Recommend

  • Omar Shahzad
    Nov 21, 2010 - 4:42AM

    I hope this case gets reviewed by Asif Zardari and Aasia Bibi is acquited. As one person remarked – we are not living in the stone age. This is not about biased or unbiased review – we are talking about a human being’s life. To base the death penalty on heresay on a topic as personal as religion is ludicrious. Even If she did commit blasphemy and is sentenced to death, how does that help ANY cause? Does it make the pious more pious, the ‘unbelievers’ into believers?,…

    Apart from spreading hatred amongst the varying communities that live side by side in our country, division, fear, negative media and human rights attention, manipulation and sorrow – is there any productive outcome that one can think of?

    The law on its own should be thrown out of our constitution. Any law that can be so easily manipulated, with the accused,in this case, almost always invariably being a minority with limited resources at the best of times is, is not worth upholding or legislating. What is it deterring? If anything it makes our country unsafe for anyone who is not in the main stream and further strengthens the incentive for citizens to bail out (those who have the means to leave or immigrate) and leave (a sinking ship?)Recommend

  • Anis Qureshi
    Nov 21, 2010 - 5:39AM

    Where is the champion of justice ( Iftikhar CH.). Take suomotto notice.Recommend

  • faraz
    Nov 21, 2010 - 8:29AM

    This law is just shocking. I say, Mr. X passed blasphemous comments. Mr. X says he didnt. Law says, he should be killed. Why is the court killing the lady when she is openly declaring that she respects the Prophet (PBUH) ? Recommend

  • sirius
    Nov 21, 2010 - 8:31AM

    Pity what the Quaid anted Pak to be and what the “Qari’s” the “Jahils” want Pak to be ….going back to middle ages!Recommend

  • Naveed Ahmed
    Nov 21, 2010 - 9:32AM

    what i think is that v should not b exploited,whether she is poor or rich woman,neither her being minority should come in the way of justice,if she is innocent then she should b free on the other way round v should follow constitutional rules.but v should not change constitution.Recommend

  • Ahsan Shaikh
    Nov 21, 2010 - 10:05AM

    we all should vote in favour of Aasia bibi,even though IF she is guilty then also free her as in our religion we are asked to forgive.Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed
    Nov 21, 2010 - 10:12AM

    I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Liaqat Ali..the Govt of Pakistan should not only repeal the Blasphemy Laws and Hudood Ordinance, but it should publicly apologise to all Pakistanis, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, for ever having introduced such rubbish into our legal system..Recommend

  • G.Khan
    Nov 21, 2010 - 11:15AM

    This law is Unislamic and must be abolished. No Ifs and Buts. Enough is enough. she has already seved 14 months in jail . She must be paid recompensaion for all loses including wrongful detention ,family losses, financial losses and psychlogical torture. Its a shame that we have such stupid laws in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. what was the teaching of Prophet when a hating Jewish woman used to throw trash on him everyday when he walked near her house on the street on his way to the mosque. He never said a single word to her and when one day she did not do that he went up to see her and offered her help. This is what Prophet taught not what what this alw is doing.
    Law of Blasphemy is for everyone , “if at all a law”. It must equally protect then Christian , Hindus , Sikhs and all other minorities religious figures from abuse if there is justice to be done. One way Justice is Tyrany. This law should be abolished.Recommend

  • sanjithmenon
    Nov 21, 2010 - 11:21AM

    when the nation, burns, pakistani`s are busy choosing the colour of the window drapes? As the sanskrit saying goes, ” vinasha kaale, vipareedh budhi” “when times of destruction are there, even wisdom chooses to walks the other way”. Recommend

  • kashif
    Nov 21, 2010 - 11:36AM

    @Hammad:

    “We all should raise voice in order to save an innocents’ life.”

    Why “an”?

    We all should raise voice in order to save all innocents’ life.” Why mr. barak obama not pardon Afia? Why thousands of innocent Muslims still in Guantanamo Bay prison ? Why hundreds of innocent lives in indian and isreali prisions? Asia did something wrong, it should be punished and it is our law. and everyone has to follow the law. She is not poor, she did a poor act. Why everyone rememb human rights when a non-muslim and forget every rights when a muslim??Recommend

  • HB
    Nov 21, 2010 - 2:11PM

    Racism can not be eliminated 100 %, not even in developed countries like USA, UK etc. And for you kind information law is equally applicable on every person in Pakistan even if he/she is Muslim. I can read some one calling witnesses racist illiterate . With all due respect if education is the standard, then you are depriving 60 % people of Pakistan from becoming witnesses. What if I call you racist literate then how you will feel? You think that education and so-called social status has given you the right to declare anyone racist illiterate then grow up please ! Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Nov 21, 2010 - 4:08PM

    2 questions to all the citizens of my country. First: Why 99.99% of lynching, burning and blasphemy types of barbaric acts only take place in the province of Punjab. Secondly: Why PML (N) has put tape on their lips (gungay ho gai heiN) because they are either “Birds of the same feather fly together” or Fish of the Same Pond”. If someone even says any thing against any Prophet why should he or she be put to death ???? Prophet is not God and mind you all the Blasphemy Law was only applicable in the case of only The Most High. You can call Him Allah, God or Bhagwan, having said this it is not applicable in any NUCLEAR Country. God and Prophets know how to protect their dignity who are we to hang each other ????Recommend

  • Samuel Niaz
    Nov 21, 2010 - 7:15PM

    There is stark difference between Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Aasia Bibi. Let me elaborate -

    1.Educational Status :Neuroscientist – Illiterate
    2.Religion :Muslim – Non Muslim ( child of a lesser God)
    3.Nationality : Pakistani Green Card holder and mother of 2 American citizens (for me no less than an any American citizen as she might have exercised her right to vote for a US congresman or US President) – Pakistani
    4.Profession : Involved in blood diamond trade involved in financing Al Qaeda, money laundering – housewife cum laborer
    5.Allegations : Involved in terrorist activitires and shooting at American soldiers – Blaspheming against the Prophet Muhammad
    6.Related to someone FAMOUS : Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (alleged al-Qaeda chief planner of the September 11 attacks), Siddiqui’s second husband’s uncle – NONE
    7.Sentence : Life imprisonment of 86 yrs – DEATH SENTENCE
    8.mpact :Her activites has left not only a scar not only in war torn Africa, but the whole world – Even if she dies, it doesnt make a difference to a normal Pakistani. Next Eid another non – Muslim Bakra will be ready to face Death sentenceRecommend

  • FC
    Nov 21, 2010 - 9:56PM

    Oh my god, I just believe the number of stupid people commenting and trying to justify the killing of a Pakistani woman for what she may or may not have said. And yes her accusers are racist illiterates. Racist because they treat a non Muslim like a non human. Illiterate because they don’t even know their own religion. So yes I will stick to my point

    How is it we pardon known criminals and terrorists despite all the evidence, and yet are happy to kill a Pakistani based on what clearly racist people alleged she said. This is a sick society. Even more so for all the idiots trying to justify it because of what Americans are doing elsewhere. In case none of you notice but pakistanis kill more pakistanis than any foreign force combined. Sick people, sick mentality, sick society, sick countryRecommend

  • asher
    Nov 22, 2010 - 1:15AM

    People we are living in Pakistan , How can u expect Justice here ?
    When the supreme court Judge is silent watching all this what would u expect ? When the thakeydar’s of punjab MR SHARIFF SAAB is quiet what would u expect ? When few people here are still commenting on all the realted articles about Asia Bibi be hanged what would u expect ? When innocent people are mudrered in the court what justice would u expect ? Even if she is freed do u think fanatic minded people will let her live peacefully ?Recommend

  • Kamal Haider
    Nov 22, 2010 - 2:24AM

    She must be punished upon the proof of having said anything against the most beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Hear no this and that, no ifs or buts and just act according to the law.Recommend

  • Amin
    Nov 22, 2010 - 9:01AM

    This woman has been proven guilty by the court of Pakistan so she doesn’t deserve any sympathy and President Zardari has no right to pardon this lady and deport her from Pakistan. Recommend

  • Azeem
    Nov 22, 2010 - 10:21AM

    Cheap publicity. requesting a pardon doesnt means that the women is requesting for mercy. a pardon will wipe out the conviction and the sentence but its not a reversal of the wrongful conviction. Justice will only be truly served if the court declares her “Not Guilty”.

    Having said that the blasphemy law is a joke and the way it is implemented is enough to make us all hang our heads in shame.Recommend

  • Rajah
    Nov 22, 2010 - 11:25AM

    Now, they will protect her … right…??? let the court do the justice… not the presidency…

    no compromise on the Respect of our HOLY PROPHET (S.A.W.W).Recommend

  • fahad
    Nov 22, 2010 - 1:13PM

    @Samuel Niaz
    Great post. Only someone devoid of any logic could compare a harm less Christian woman and a mother of four with a convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui who happens to be the wife of the famous al-qaeda terrorist Ammar Al Baluchi.
    .
    I live in a predominantly christian country. Muslims are guaranteed equal rights. If any mullah thinks that muslims are being targeted then they are sadly mistaken. Guantanamo bay is full of convicted killers whose soul aim was to kill innocent people. They are the same people who blow themselves up in mosques whenever they get a chance.
    .
    Comparing a Christian mother with Jihadis is blasphemy in itself.Recommend

  • Sarmad Rizvi
    Nov 22, 2010 - 2:52PM

    No compromise on anything against the dearest of all Prophets, the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him).Recommend

  • Tony Khan
    Nov 22, 2010 - 2:55PM

    People drawing parallel between Aasia and Aafia, and how the West treats the East and East treats the West must remember that we are the followers of the Holy Prophet (saw) the Rahmat lil Alameen and not just Rahmat lil Muslameen.Recommend

  • Yasir
    Nov 22, 2010 - 2:59PM

    death sentence should be awarded to her bcz she disrespected prophetRecommend

  • SUB
    Nov 22, 2010 - 3:36PM

    Since most people around here are enlightened, moderate Islamists and every body sounds like an expert of law while commenting on the constitution’s articles regarding blasphemy; I have a few questions and an opinion too

    I believe Ms. Aasia is not the only victim who may be a target of this misuse and/ or misinterpretation of law or the legal system. How many other poor souls Mr. Governor has ever visited and tried to help them by talking to the president? I believe the jails and police stations are full of such victims in this God forsaken country. If he has ever done so for any body at any level in his political life, for whom dear Mr. Pope has not commented

    Alexander John Malik gave a very valid suggestion while talking on Kamran Shahid’s programme that both the accused and accuser should be locked up till the trial is complete & judgement issued on the highest level (Supreme Court I suppose)

    Why PMLN or any body else should comment or take sides in an argument when the judgement is issued at the lowest level of judiciary and can yet be addressed in higher courts

    If there was no blasphemy law, can we still ensure that people, Muslims/ non Muslims would not be murdered in the name of blasphemy? We have known some Muslims even a Hafiz Quran being targeted, abused by this law to settle personal vendetta.

    Why President has this power of amnesty above the law of the land for any body convicted by the court of law? Since we have presidents by the reputation of Gen. Zia, Yahya Khan & Mr. Certain percentage

    Why not keep the blasphemy law and only add the same punishment for the accuser if proven wrong, actually hang him/ her twice if he/ she has lied or made it up to settle some personal grudgeRecommend

  • Samuel Niaz
    Nov 22, 2010 - 5:57PM

    @Fahad n Tony Khan : The comparison was compulsory. People still consider Dr Aafia Siqqiqui as the QAUM KI BETI. Why is Aasia Bibi being deprived of this right? Is she any less. she is even more grounded to home soil than Dr Aafia.
    This answer was for Kashif and others who think (Why mr. barak obama not pardon Afia?) she is a hero

    @SUB : The idea aint that bad. people will think twice before placing such an accusation on the other person. Yes. both parties should be locked and the proceedings should be held in the Supreme court. Recommend

  • Farhan
    Nov 22, 2010 - 6:51PM

    I think Taseer is doing the right thing. I heard the woman on TV that her colleagues always ask her to convert to islam. I am a muslim, but i dont want every christian or hindu to be a muslim so that i can accept him or her.

    I personally knew a girl, a christian, who recently shared that her office colleague, also a girl, asked her to convert to islam as she ultimately doesnt have any right choice.

    For God sake, dont we have time for other constructive things?Recommend

  • Maulana Halwa
    Nov 24, 2010 - 4:18PM

    Thank God !!! I live in a Free CHRISTIAN countryRecommend

  • Adeel M
    Dec 3, 2010 - 11:45AM

    She wont be pardoned. It is all drama.
    Even if she is pardoned (which has 1% chance), people wont let her and her family live peacefully.

    Therefore, in that case she has earned USA visa…congrates Aasia Bibi… :)Recommend

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