ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has said that the Supreme Court will soon take up the case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who has been on death row since November 2010 after being convicted in a blasphemy case.
“Your appeal in Aasia Bibi [case] is going to be fixed soon as I myself will preside [over] the bench,” Chief Justice told Saiful Malook, the counsel for 51-year-old Bibi, on Saturday.
Malook expressed the hope that the case might be listed for hearing in the next couple of weeks as the CJP had also assured him that all criminal appeals would be decided by July.
In 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld Bibi’s death sentence, but the Supreme Court stayed her execution in July 2015.
The last time her case was taken up was on October 13, 2017 by a three-judge bench of the top court headed by the incumbent CJP. The bench also included Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik.
The hearing was, however, quickly adjourned because Justice Rehman recused himself saying he was the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court when it heard the Salmaan Taseer assassination case.
The chief justice also asked the Punjab police to restore police security for Malook, and asked the advocate-general of Punjab to consult the inspector general of police in this regard.
Malook is also representing four other blasphemy accused, and was the prosecutor in the Salmaan Taseer assassination case.
During the hearing, the CJP said he personally knew Malook and his need for police security was genuine.
Earlier, Malook moved an application in the apex court’s Lahore Registry through Mahmood A Sheikh on Saturday, stating that on Friday night, he had been intimated by the Punjab police that they were withdrawing his three police guards in view of the CJP’s fresh directives.