Pakistan frees Christian woman facing death in blasphemy case

Pakistan frees Christian woman facing death in blasphemy case

Pakistan frees Christian woman facing death in blasphemy case

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa heard the case during which, Asia's appeal against her execution was approved. Thanks to Jesus Christ that she is acquitted.

Several points on the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway, including the Babu Sabu, Faizpur, Sheikhupura and Kala Shah Kaku interchanges have been blocked by protesters demonstrating against the Supreme Court's verdict.

After knowing about the landmark verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, 53-year-old Asia Noreen Bibi was struck by disbelief.

Aasia Bibi, whose case has become iconic of fair-trial concerns in such accusations, was freed in a move the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party has said it will respond to with countrywide protests.

Before the verdict, Bibi's lawyer told AP: "I have lost my health".

According to available information, Aasiya Bibi also known as Asia Bibi was allegedly involved in an argument with a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries after the other women objected to a non-Muslim touching the bowl in which she fetched water.

She was later beaten up at her home, during which her accusers say she confessed to blasphemy. They asked her to convert to Islam, which Asia refused. In 2011, Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province was shot and killed by one of his elite guards for defending Bibi and criticizing misuse of the blasphemy law.

No one has ever been executed in Pakistan on blasphemy charges even though dozens have been jailed or extrajudicially killed, at times, in mob lynchings.

Earlier, security in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital and the city where the country's Supreme Court is located, was heightened in view of the verdict.

The women went to a local cleric and accused Ms Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, a charge punishable by death under colonial-era legislation.

His announcement is a victory for human rights activists, who say religious minorities in Pakistan are routinely targeted and baseless allegations of blasphemy levied against them to settle personal vendettas. A previous appeal hearing was adjourned in 2016 on a legal technicality. The assassin, Mumtaz Qadri, has been celebrated as a martyr by hard-liners since he was hanged for the killing, with millions visiting a shrine set up for him near Islamabad.

Ms Asia Bibi's case drew the attention of worldwide rights groups and swiftly became the most high-profile in the country.

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