Lal Masjid warns government against release of Aasia Bibi

Published: October 12, 2016
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ISLAMABAD: As the top court is set to hear Aasia Bibi’s appeal against her death penalty on Thursday, Islamabad’s Lal Masjid has warned against her ‘possible’ release. Bibi, a Christian woman, is on death row for committing blasphemy.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan will hear Aasia’s appeal against the execution on Thursday, her defence lawyer Saiful Mulook has been quoted as saying.

The top court in July 2015 had stayed Aasia’s execution, admitting her appeal for hearing.

The charge against Bibi dated back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with. Later, the women went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Bibi in her petition has denied making any blasphemous remarks.

Fear, faith in Pakistan as Aasia Bibi appeals death sentence

In 2010, a local judge Muhammad Naveed Iqbal awarded her a death penalty, which was subsequently upheld by the Lahore High Court.

The “Shuhada Foundation”, which was formed after the security forces raided the Lal Masjid in 2007, said its supporters would take to the streets and will not allow the government to function if Aasia was released.

“Lal Masjid will become a centre for the anti-government movement if Aasia Masih is released,” the foundation said.

“We are seriously concerned at the efforts for the release of blasphemous Asia Masih and will consider those blasphemous who defend her, whoever they are and on whichever position they are working,” Hafiz Ehtesham Ahmad, spokesperson for the foundation said.

Ahmad in a statement also threatened of “serious consequences” if the convict was allowed to go abroad.  He claimed that some ambassadors have also lobbied for the release of Aasia. He said the mosque will mobilise public opinion and will seek the support of all schools of thought.

In 2011, former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, who spoke out in support of Aasia, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad.

Aasia Bibi’s family ‘waiting for miracle’

The state hanged his assassin Mumtaz Qadri earlier in 2016 in a Supreme Court decision that was hailed by progressives, but brought hardliners into the streets supporting Qadri and demanding Aasia be killed.

Aasia’s family have lived largely in seclusion since 2010, fearing they will be mistreated if they venture out into the brimming streets of Lahore. According to a tally by Human Rights Watch, 17 people including Aasia remain on death row for blasphemy.

Her case has reached all the way to the Vatican — Esham, her 18-year-old daughter, had a face to face meeting with Pope Francis in April last year as the head of Catholic Church offered prayers for her mother. In 2010, Pope Francis’s predecessor Benedict XVI also called for Aasia’s release.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Delhite
    Oct 12, 2016 - 5:41PM

    The real Supreme Court of Pakistan has given its judgement. I wonder what the real PM, Hafiz Saeed has to say!Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Oct 12, 2016 - 5:41PM

    Lal Masjid is still living in the medieval times. About time they should be removed.Recommend

  • curious2
    Oct 13, 2016 - 2:52AM

    @Iqbal:

    Lal Masjid is still living in the
    medieval times. About time they should
    be removed.

    Maybe – but you may notice that Musharraf had to flee the country not the Imam in charge of Lal Masjic. That should tell you much about who really controls the destiny of Pakistan. Not something that gets much focus in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Doc
    Oct 13, 2016 - 3:37AM

    Lal masjid? That malignant cancer is still there? Time to surgically remove the cancer.Recommend

  • sohail ahmad
    Oct 13, 2016 - 7:09AM

    State within state is not acceptable – for long term peace and security National Action Plan must be fully enforced without any any pick and choose policy. ! Recommend

  • SYED
    Oct 13, 2016 - 8:07AM

    LaL Masjid walo what Islam you are preaching ? Is this was the SUNNAT of your Nabi (PBUH) ? Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Oct 13, 2016 - 10:45AM

    @Delhite:
    Typical Endian problem of poking their nose in other countries affairs. Your list of problems should keep you busy for the 300 years so worry about that.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Oct 13, 2016 - 11:22AM

    @curious2

    “Maybe – but you may notice that Musharraf had to flee the country not the Imam in charge of Lal Masjic. That should tell you much about who really controls the destiny of Pakistan. Not something that gets much focus in Pakistan.”

    My reply: Dear, you need to learn how to construct analogies in order to compare two completely different matters.Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Oct 13, 2016 - 2:15PM

    Laal Masjid, an embarrassment that we pay out of our own tax payers money to keep embarrassing us all.Recommend

  • mirestan
    Oct 13, 2016 - 4:03PM

    What a country where a Masjid gives order to country Goverment?Recommend

  • Naveed Aslam
    Oct 14, 2016 - 2:49PM

    @Doc:
    when any political party demonstrate or protest against any decision of government civil society takes it as their constitutional nd democratic right. for example , IK said he will block islamabad. nobody call him “terrorist” . I don’t understand when some other organization tells government not to influence the court nd they will organize people against them if they do so,.why this is taken as threats?? and label them as terrorists? isn’t this a “liberal terrorism”??Recommend

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