President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday called for a report from the ministry of minorities affairs over the sentencing to death of a Christian woman for alleged blasphemy in Nankana Sahib last Monday.
Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said the president asked Minorities Affairs Minister Shabaz Bhatti to submit a report within three days.
Aasia Bibi, a resident of Nankana Sahib in Punjab, was sentenced to death under Sections 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code, following an incident in which an altercation took place between her and her co-workers over the issue of fetching water from the fields.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI has called for the release of Aasia Bibi and expressed “spiritual closeness” to her.
Earlier, the international human rights advocate Amnesty International (AI) had called for the release of Aasia Bibi, reported the Associated Press.
According to the report, AI had also called on Pakistan to revise the blasphemy laws under which Aasia Bibi was convicted.
On Thursday, Minister of Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti and Governor Punjab Salman Taseer had both expressed their support for re-investigation of the case and a fair trial in the Lahore High Court, respectively.
On Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI had also called for her release and had said Christians in Pakistan were “often victims of violence and discrimination.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, representatives of the Jinnah Institute had also condemned the sentencing of Aasia Bibi. 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,” while 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."
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