Aasia Bibi acquitted by Supreme Court

Published: October 31, 2018
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Aasia Bibi. PHOTO: FILE

Aasia Bibi. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted Aasia Bibi – a Christian woman accused of blasphemy in 2010 and sentenced to death – and set aside an earlier judgment passed by a lower court.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, heading the three-member bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, read the 56-page verdict and announced the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict was set aside and directed authorities to release Aasia Bibi from prison.

“The appeal is allowed. She has been acquitted. The judgement of the high court as well as the trial court is reversed. Her conviction is set aside,” Justice Khosa added a separate opinion in the verdict.

The apex court added that Aasia is to be set free if she is not wanted in any other case.

Counsel for Aasia, Saiful Malook, said while talking to The Express Tribune that her client got justice in the end and the case has been proven false. He also thanked the chief justice and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

Security was increased across the federal capital as the apex court announced the verdict in the case.

SC reserves judgment in Aasia Bibi case

The top court had reserved verdict on the accused plea against the conviction on October 8. The federal police had deployed a heavy contingent of police officials and secured entry points of the red zone with containers.

The 51-year-old Christian woman was on the death row since November 2010 after she was convicted on charges of committing blasphemy during an argument with two Muslim women in Sheikhupura.

Her case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for a retrial of her case and was subsequently shot dead by one of his guards, Mumtaz Qadri, in January 2011.

Bibi challenged the verdict in October 2014, however, the LHC upheld the death sentence. The apex court had stayed the execution in July 2015.

Top court set to to announce verdict in Aasia Bibi case

After a three-year hiatus, a three-judge special bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, heard the appeal.

The hearing lasted nearly two hours and 45 minutes, during which both the prosecution and defence presented their points of view over the conviction.

Members of civil society, including veteran politician Farhatullah Babar, were in attendance during the proceeding. Unlike previous hearings, a few religious clerics were present inside and outside the courtroom.

The bench restrained the media from discussing, publishing or airing any comment about the proceedings till the announcement of the judgment. During the hearing, the bench pointed out several discrepancies in the statements of the prosecution and the witnesses.

The verdict

 

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Ahmad
    Oct 31, 2018 - 10:13AM

    Justice served!Recommend

  • Sahir Khan
    Oct 31, 2018 - 11:48AM

    Great job.Recommend

  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Oct 31, 2018 - 4:22PM

    Very refreshing news from Pakistan. The Judiciary needs to be lauded. Who pays for the ordeal and what she has gone through. The government should come forward and compensate her for her unlawful detention, loss of ten years of precious time and the insult to meted out to her. She must be compensated to restart her life. Maybe given a chance to go abroad to avoid harrassment and attacks in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 31, 2018 - 5:21PM

    We seriously need to reconsider a law that had become a tool to intimidate and persecute minorities.

    One of Islams’ gift to the world is the rule of law, fact based judgements and prohibition against self incrimination. Yet these very principles are ignored when Blasphamy cases are filed and mobs take over the judicial process.

    I implore every one to PLEASE read the verdict itself and see why the judgement against Asia bibi was vacated

    Let us stop venerating murderes of Salman Taseer and come to our sencesRecommend

  • Nadir Sadiq
    Oct 31, 2018 - 7:10PM

    Yahooooooo! Justice done, wah wah CJP. Now there should be a case against the three horrible women who lied to get Aasia killed and put behind bars for as many hours as Aasia.Recommend

  • Zarrwer
    Oct 31, 2018 - 8:45PM

    Why she had to suffer years in imprisonment ?

    The false accusers should be punished.Recommend

  • Raheel
    Oct 31, 2018 - 9:35PM

    Very good decision. Minorities need to be protected from false accusations.Recommend

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