The Pakistani Supreme Court today heard a review petition against Asia Bibi’s acquittal of blasphemy. After the Court had overturned her conviction on October 31, 2018, the complainant, Qari Muhammad Salam, filed a review petition asking the Court to reconsider its decision.
Asia – a Christian mother of five – was arrested under blasphemy charges in November 2009 after an altercation between two Muslim co-workers over a cup of water. Asia offered water to the two Muslim women from her cup. The women refused to drink water, saying that Asia had made the cup ceremonially unclean by drinking from it. They demanded Asia convert to Islam. Asia refused and an argument ensued. A few days later, a local Muslim cleric lodged a complaint at the police station, alleging Asia had blasphemed against the Prophet Muhammad.
Asia was sentenced to death after a lengthy trial. The Lahore High Court upheld her conviction. But after eight years, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, finding many errors that were committed during trial, found her innocent and overturned her conviction.
Minutes after the Supreme Court announced its decision, Muslim mobs began rioting, blocking roads, torching tires and cars, destroying property, and beating general public.
The Pakistani government, however, took a strong action against the riots and arrested as many as three thousand protesters and the leaders who instigated the riots. The government charged the instigators with serious offenses.
However, in an unusual move, the Pakistani government allowed a review petition to be filed with the Supreme Court.
Today, a three-member bench, comprised of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, heard the arguments on the review petition.
A team from the Organization for Legal Aid, an affiliate of our European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), was present at the hearing.
Petitioner’s lawyer, Ghulam Ikram, presented the argument. The justices asked him to prove how the verdict acquitting Asia was wrong. They further explained that the verdict was given on the basis of a careful review of the testimonies. Stating that the Court did not find any error in its original verdict, the justices dismissed the review petition and upheld the verdict of acquittal.
We are glad that justice is served again and Asia Bibi’s legal battle has come to an end once and for all. However, she needs prayers for her and her family’s security.
We’re mobilizing our offices worldwide to fight for Christian mom Asia Bibi’s freedom. Support our work and make a huge impact today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.
Christian pastor and humanitarian worker John Cao – a U.S. permanent resident – devoted the last 30 years of his life to serving the poor of China and Burma (Myanmar). Until, as we reported , he was arrested in March of 2017 by Chinese security agents and imprisoned as part of a targeted government...
Through the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), our European affiliate, we recently filed a written submission with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) expressing concern over Pakistan’s inability to protect its Christian citizens. While the Pakistani government has taken steps...
We have told you the tragic story of Leah Sharibu . Leah is a Christian schoolgirl who was kidnapped as a 14-year-old along with her fellow classmates in February of 2018. Despite the fact that most of her classmates have been released – five were killed – Leah remains imprisoned because she...
Christians within India are increasingly becoming the target of brutal persecution. And at the ACLJ, we’ve witnessed first-hand the escalation in targeted persecution of these Christians. For seven months, we fought for the freedom of our client, a Christian pastor – an American citizen – Pastor...