Blasphemy case: Minister to submit report to president today

Punjab governor says Aasia was gang raped, has appealed for mercy


Express November 21, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti will submit a report about Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy, to President Asif Zardari on Tuesday.

“The minister (Bhatti) has been asked to dig out facts in the case,” presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar told The Express Tribune on Saturday. He added that there were conflicting media reports with some suggesting that Aasia was implicated in a blasphemy case to settle some other dispute.

Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who visited Aasia on Saturday, reportedly claimed that the woman has appealed for clemency to the president. He said she had steadfastly denied any instance of blasphemy and declared that she was being wrongly accused of the crime, besides being dragged in streets and gang-raped. Taseer said he would personally carry her clemency request to the president.

However, the presidential spokesperson said it would be premature to say if the president would accept any such plea. He added that the presidency has not received any clemency application so far. He added that under the law such pleas come to the president only through the ministry of interior.

In most cases people convicted in lower courts on charges such as that of blasphemy are exonerated during the process of appeals in the higher courts. The presidential pardon is considered as a last option.

According to estimates, between the year 1988 and 2005 some 647 people were charged under the blasphemy law, which was enforced by General Ziaul Haq. Fifty per cent of the people charged were non-Muslim. Twenty of those charged were murdered soon after their sentences.

Aasia, a 45-year-old Christian woman, was sentenced to death by additional district and sessions court in Sheikhupura last week for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Aasia, mother of five children, has denied the charge of blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted for her faith.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2010.

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COMMENTS (8)

Palvasha von Hassell | 10 years ago | Reply If Asiya was raped, it is she who should be seeking to bring the criminals to justice. Let this be a test case for a reasonable and just Pakistan!
Aisha | 10 years ago | Reply Allah is The Most Merciful indeed and He is Our Creator and The Most Wise. He chose Prophet Munhammad(may Allah's Peace and Mercy be upon him) among all the humanity and raised his staus to the final Prophet. Allah made him the most respected and respectable among mankind. and it is incumband upon every muslim to love him more than the love of everything. My question is if somebody badmouths you or your ancestors or any of your close relative what would be your response? this man made law of "freedom of expression" is acceptable to us if somebody disrespects the one we should always follow and should respect. shame on all the muslims who claim to be a muslim but they fail to be a muslim. Facts should be gathered and the one accused of commiting this crime must be brought to justice. as Allah is The Most Judge. Allah is going to account everybody for what they utter and what they do.
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