ISLAMABAD: Aasia Bibi has wrongly been accused of blasphemy, said the minister for minorities in a report submitted to President Asif Ali Zardari.
“The report and its supporting documents have concluded that the blasphemy case against Aasia Bibi has been registered on grounds of personal enmity and the story narrated in the FIR was made up and mala fide. The report recommends pardon for Aasia Bibi and provision of security to the woman and her family,” said Presidential Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar.
Aisa Bibi, a Christian woman, was convicted and sentenced to death under section 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code by a lower court in district Sheikhupura on blasphemy charges.
Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, while presenting the report, said people from minority communities know the consequences of blasphemy and can never think of committing such an offence.
He said that before the introduction of the blasphemy law by General Ziaul Haq, not a single case of blasphemy had ever surfaced against minorities, but after the promulgation of the law hundreds of non-Muslims have been wrongly accused for blasphemy. Many people have been killed without recourse to judicial process, while others have fled the country, Bhatti said, adding that no action has been taken against the culprits.
The president asked the minister to propose names for a committee of scholars and experts to recommend reforms in order to prevent misuse of the law for personal and political reasons. The committee to be headed by Bhatti should draw up its recommendations in consultation with political parties and stakeholders and present it to the government, he said.
Babar quoted the president as saying that the government will not allow anyone to misuse the blasphemy law and will take appropriate measures whether administrative, procedural or legislative, to achieve this objective.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2010.