Jinnah Institute condemns Aasia Bibi’s sentence

Published: November 17, 2010
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Aasia Bibi is seen in an undated photo handed out by family members. PHOTO: REUTERS

Aasia Bibi is seen in an undated photo handed out by family members. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Jinnah Institute condemned the death sentence awarded to Aasia Bibi by a court in the Nankana Sahib district of Punjab, stated a press release issued here.

Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman and mother of five, is a resident of Chak 3 of the Ittanwali district. In June 2009, she was sentenced on charges of blasphemy, and has been in prison for over a year.

Aasia was sentenced under Section 295B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code, commonly known as the blasphemy laws, which was amended during Ziaul Haq’s rule.

The institute and its board of advisers joined human rights organisations and the civil society in a call for the repeal of the laws being used as a method of persecution of religious minorities and to settle personal vendettas.

According to reports, and an investigation by the National Commission on the Status of Women, Aasia Bibi’s case is rooted in a personal vendetta by a landlord who is allegedly using the issue to settle a score with the victim.

President of the Jinnah Institute Sherry Rehman said, “It is clear that Aasia Bibi is yet another victim of the shocking prejudice that pervades our institutions.” “If all institutions of the state, including the judiciary, cannot protect its minorities from abuse, they must no longer be complicit in their victimisation. The blasphemy law has been abused for over twenty years as an instrument of communal supremacism, and must be removed now.”

Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia analyst at Human Rights Watch and Jinnah Institute advisory board member said, “Aasia Bibi’s case should serve as a wake-up call to Pakistan’s independent judiciary which urgently needs to address bigotry and incompetence in its ranks and to the government that needs to find the political will to repeal the blasphemy laws.”

According to the press release, the institute called for the repeal and urgent review of the blasphemy laws by parliament and for the Lahore High Court to take up the appeal under due process in order to give Aasia Bibi a fair trial.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • el
    Nov 17, 2010 - 12:42PM

    why is dressed like a commie?! i thought she was a poor village woman . . . isn’t she?Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    Nov 17, 2010 - 12:52PM

    “The blasphemy law has been abused for over twenty years as an instrument of communal supremacism, and must be removed now.”

    The demand of removal of a law on the basis that it has been abused is not acceptable. If a law is abused, it is not the fault of the law but that of the abuser (judiciary). Any law passed by the parliament can be only rejected (and removed) if it is unconstitutional.

    According to the present constitution all Islamic laws are valid because Islamic Republic of Pakistan has an Islamic Constitution.

    Only salvation for the non-Muslims will be to replace this Islamic Constitution by a Secular Constitution.

    Personally I condemn this law and the judgement against Aasia Bibi.Recommend

  • M M Malik
    Nov 17, 2010 - 2:16PM

    The blasphemy laws do not have their basis in the Quran and the traditions.Recommend

  • Umar farooq
    Nov 17, 2010 - 2:22PM

    Question: Does any Pakistani sleep better or benefit in any way shape or form by having these blasphemy laws? Recommend

  • Nov 17, 2010 - 3:49PM

    Why do we need this blasphemy law? Feeling sorry for this woman, I wish she gets back to her family soon.Recommend

  • Mohd Butt
    Nov 17, 2010 - 4:55PM

    Lets see if PPP govt has the guts to repeal the blasphemy law. I really doubt it.Recommend

  • M.Ibrahim
    Nov 17, 2010 - 5:18PM

    I think to protect the religion they r needed so removal is not an option and Islam does not allow Muslim to make fun of other religion and hence does not accept it for itself as well

    I dont understand how people come up and say oh look that women has to be given rights and all this just for the sake of getting some fame. And Pakistan’s constitution is not totally Islamic otherwise we would have never these problems which are now in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Owais
    Nov 17, 2010 - 5:48PM

    one cannot tell that the blasphemy laws as they are APPLIED/ENFORCED in Pakistan are according to the laws of Shariah.

    Just because there was a flood in Pakistan killing people and destroying life and living, only a fool will deny the importance of water for sustaining life.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    Nov 17, 2010 - 6:32PM

    @Umar farooq,

    In Pakistan Law and Constitution are not made to facilitate the life of the ordinary people. But they are made to have an easy control to govern the people by the rulers. The present constitution has nothing to do with the life, choice, opinion. and participation of the people. The Constitution of Pakistan is of, for and by the ruling class. It is so good for the ruling class that even the opposition joined the governing party to pass it unanimously. It is not of, for and by the people.

    So, in answer to your question:
    “Does any Pakistani sleep better or benefit in any way shape or form by having these blasphemy laws?”
    is NO.They are simply not concerned.Recommend

  • IZ
    Nov 17, 2010 - 6:57PM

    Agree completely with Muhammad Ahsan Khan. This law should be done away with once and for all, not because just because it is being abused, but because it is an unjust law in all respects which undermines the precepts of a just society.Recommend

  • Babruk
    Nov 17, 2010 - 8:06PM

    For God’s sake repeal this blasphemy law. it reeks of intolerance and bigotry. stop this cruelty in the name of religion and justice.
    Islam does not sanction such an inhuman law. this county is a mullacrocy. will any govt. ever have the guts to stop this madness
    will we ever hear anything good about our country. this country is rotten.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 17, 2010 - 9:29PM

    Once enshrined in the Constitution of a country the Islamic character can never be revoked. Thus, blasphemy laws will stay on forever.

    The only good thing to look forward is non-Muslims will become extinct in 20-30 years in Pakistan and Blasphemy laws will lose of its victims. Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    Nov 17, 2010 - 9:34PM

    @ef

    What is the connection between her dress and her condemnation? Should all Pakistani women be condemned to hide themselves in Burqa to live in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?Recommend

  • Sikandar
    Nov 17, 2010 - 9:42PM

    Ibrahim to protect religion nothing is needed, even if somebody talks of almighty irrationally also I am sure the Almighty is always kind enough. But we as human being has no right to take another life unless they do it.Recommend

  • Sher
    Nov 18, 2010 - 1:54AM

    Why you are angry,Just read the actuall basic causes of such type of issues, Some year ago due such type of case happened in Nowshera Distt.Where people obeyed the order of Mosque Khateeb and people killed one innocent person, becuase Molvi shb have some personal problems with that person and Molvi shb took the advantage of Loud speaker and ask from people to gathered, and after few seconds people threw his life in couple of seconds.Here in our country each and eveyone use such type of rubbish cards and save his position.PPP also part of our system,how they can change the this law,already they scerifies BB for this Government and for Power.Recommend

  • faraz
    Nov 18, 2010 - 3:50AM

    Almost half of the people convicted under Blasphemy law are Muslims. It must be repealed, it has no place in Quran and Sunnah. You cannot kill a person on the basis of interpretation of a mullahRecommend

  • Humanity
    Nov 18, 2010 - 4:15AM

    @M. Ibrahim “I think to protect the religion they r needed so removal is not an option and Islam does not allow Muslim to make fun of other religion and hence does not accept it for itself as well
    I dont understand how people come up and say oh look that women has to be given rights and all this just for the sake of getting some fame. And Pakistan’s constitution is not totally Islamic otherwise we would have never these problems which are now in Pakistan.”

    The blasphemy laws are against the Quran, agaist the sunnah and hadith of the Holy Prophet (saw). These barbarian laws are a shame in the name of Islam.

    Islam is a religion of peace, mercy, and forgive. These barbaric laws make Islam a tool of revenge in the hands of ignorant people who use it for false charges.

    Please stop maligning the name of the religion of Allah because of ignorance.Recommend

  • G.Khan
    Nov 18, 2010 - 8:00AM

    Law must be re-examined. And also someone must investigate if landlord doing it to benefit from her land?Police is an equal culprit and the most corrupt on earth. Kick their rears too. it’s needed to discover the truth. death penalty must be pardoned. Recommend

  • Shahid Ali
    Nov 18, 2010 - 8:50AM

    Chief Justice fIftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry are you napping? You have wasted too much time on small issues, it’s time for you to fix the judciary which is considerd one of the most corrupt instuitution in Pakistan. Since you head this institution, i am afraid it reflects you. If you can’t make an effort to fix it, maybe it’s time for you to go. . You need to change this impression by making radical changes in the local courts etc and repeal laws like the blasphemy law. I was personally your fan but now after 2 years like many others i am very disappointed. God help you and our country. Recommend

  • Klues
    Nov 19, 2010 - 7:28PM

    Can someone tell me who is funding this Jinnah Institute.Recommend

  • Anis Qureshi
    Nov 20, 2010 - 6:13AM

    PPP and other national parties needs to get rid of mullahs in their ranks and get firm against these religious parties for protecting citizens of pakistan. same should happen to pakistan army otherwise pakistan is doomed the reason being unjust people cant survive for long. Allah is just and wants justice for his creation.Recommend

  • RASHID
    Nov 21, 2010 - 10:38AM

    @ shahid, our chief justice only touches popular issues in the name of law. he does not have to do anything with the human rights, rights of minorities. he is more of a politicians than a justice touching only popular issues. Recommend

  • Fr. John William
    Nov 22, 2010 - 10:16AM

    I herby condenm all discriminatory laws introduced and implimented on the basis of religion. No country in world holds only one religion community. I strongly appeal to the Government,honourable senators, memnbers of parlimemts and civil society to leave no stone untured for the repeal of belsphamy law and other discriminatory laws in the constitution of Pakistan. The government of pakistan must ensure the security of all citizens irrespective of creed. I also strongly appeal to the honourable Preside and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of Asia Bibi’s case and release her. Fr. John William, Islamabad. Recommend

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