Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif on Monday directed President Asif Ali Zardari and the governor of Punjab to abstain from making any move to pardon blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi till December 6, the next date of hearing of petition on the matter.
Although the president was not made a direct party among the respondents, the chief justice categorically issued directions to the president saying, “…no action shall be taken either by the president of Pakistan or anybody working under the authority of the functionaries performing duties under supervision of the governor of the Punjab.”
The judge also issued notice to the federal government through a deputy attorney general, as well as the chief secretary Punjab and personal secretary to the Punjab governor through an additional advocate general directing them to send their comments through fax on or before December 6.
The judge issued the order in a petition seeking direction for the federal government and provincial government to abstain from making any move to get Aasia pardoned.
The petition was filed by Ch Shahid Iqbal challenging the alleged move of Punjab governor to get blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi pardoned.
The petitioner said that the federal government should be directed not to take any decision upon the appeal of Aasia submitted at the behest of the provincial governor, adding that the federal government should be directed to remove the governor from his office for allegedly being ‘non-ineligible’ for this office.
He further said that proceedings carried out by the government of Punjab as well as the governor and federal law ministry for getting Aasia Bibi pardoned of the blasphemy charges should be declared illegal, unlawful and without lawful authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2010.