Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a tough religious political party chant slogans during a protest on Wednesday against the court's…
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Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday announced the detachment of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic woman sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy in a case that has split the South Asian country and triggered international outrage
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar read the ruling from the bench in Islamabad, saying that the prosecution “categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt,” reports the BBC.
Her original conviction stemmed from an argument with her Muslim female colleagues on a farm about whether Bibi as a Christian was clean enough to share his water. The event led to allegations that she had blasphemed the Prophet Muhammad.
If her death penalty had been committed, Bibi had been the first person to be executed by the state under the blasphemy laws.
The Supreme Court’s verdict was officially Decided on October 8, but not publicly announced Wednesday.
Bibi, a wife and two midwives and three grandchildren, were on death row and were held in single birth for more than eight years. A previous appeal appeal was terminated in 2016 on legal technology.
Bibi’s case has been extremely fragmented in Pakistan. The hard religious right has repeatedly urged her to hang. Following the announcement of Wednesday’s judgment, the Pakistani islamist party Tehreek-e-Labaik or TLP demanded the death of the court’s supreme justice and two other judges who angry the conviction. The party also invited Foreign Minister Imran Khan.
Associated Press Reports:
“In front of the verdict, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a harder clergy who has taken tens of thousands of people in the streets for past gatherings, urged his followers to gather in all major cities to express their love for the Prophet and to protest if Bibi was released. The authorities have increased security in churches around the country.
Soon after the ruling hundreds of Islamists blocked a keyway connecting the city of Rawalpindi with the capital of Islamabad. The Islamists in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi and in the northwestern city of Peshawar also gathered for protests. Similar rallies were held elsewhere. Police urged protesters to spread peacefully. “
Aamir Qureshi / AFP / Getty Images
When she is released, Bibi is expected to leave the country, says AP.
Her case has provoked international interest since it began.
In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI demanded her release. Pope Francis met his family in 2015. The same year, the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo Bibi declared a honorary citizen in the French capital.
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the death penalty to break them have been affected by international rights organizations, “not least because they are sometimes abused to solve swords, land or pursue religious minorities by making false claims”, Pharrip Reeves has reported.
The state has never enforced anyone under the law, but the vigilantes have punished the accused in their own hands. A young Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy was assassinated by a mob in 2014.
Blasfemivagen was made more stringent during the 1980s during the military government by Zia-ul Haq, who tried to break his power through the laws of Islamist “pakistani”.
The laws are strongly supported by the country’s religious right. A provincial governor who pronounced himself in favor of Bibi and against the blasphemy laws was murdered in 2011 by his bodyguard, which was later hailed as a martyr of hard rockers.
Most Pakistani politicians and officials prefer to avoid discussing blasphemy publicly completely altering due to the dangers involved, Reeves reports.