The Supreme Court of Pakistan has overturned Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence for blasphemy. After a nine-year-long battle, Asia Bibi, a Christian mother, is free to go.
Our team, who was present in the courtroom, has confirmed that Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar read the verdict, stating that the judgment of the High Court is reversed and Asia Bibi should be set free if she is not wanted in any other case.
Asia Bibi was arrested in 2009 and convicted in 2010 under section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code that punishes blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad with the death penalty. She was sentenced to execution by hanging. Asia had been accused of speaking disparagingly about the Prophet but her real crime was that she offered water to Muslim co-workers who believed Asia had made the water ceremonially unclean by drinking from the same cup. They asked her to convert to Islam, which Asia refused. Five days after this argument between the women, a Muslim cleric lodged a complaint against Asia after a mob of Muslims beat her and forced her to confess.
For more than four years, the ACLJ has relentlessly fought for Asia Bibi’s freedom, engaging in a multi-pronged legal advocacy campaign across the globe. We’ve worked through our office on the ground in Pakistan. We’ve presented Asia Bibi’s plight to the U.N. to urge intervention. We’ve sent legal letters directly to Pakistan, demanding her immediate release. We are thankful to the more than 800,000 people around the world who have signed our petition for her freedom. Today, Asia Bibi is now a free woman.
However, the danger for this Christian mother of 5 is not over. Islamabad, the seat of the highest court in Pakistan, was on high security alert today. Rangers were deployed around the court and other parts of the capital. And there are reports of mobs in the streets burning tires over the court’s decision to release her.
While this is a day of victory and celebration for Asia Bibi, her family, and all those who have relentlessly prayed for her, Asia and Christians in Pakistan need continued prayers. Today’s verdict will not make many in Pakistan happy. The death threats that have been issued against Asia and the justices should be taken seriously.
We urge the government of Pakistan to provide necessary security to Asia and give her a safe passage to a place of peace and security. And we ask each and every one of you to please pray for Asia Bibi’s safety as you rejoice at her release.
Muslims are enraged (perpetually?): Anti-blasphemy campaigners bring country to standstill in protest over acquittal of Bibi
Thousands of Islamist protesters have brought Pakistan to a standstill, burning rickshaws, cars and lorries to protest against the acquittal of a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row on false charges of blasphemy.
Traffic jams held up ambulances and forced mothers to feed their babies by the side of the road, while authorities shut schools across most of the country.
Footage from the protests shows anti-blasphemy campaigners clubbing and throwing shoes at posters of Pakistan’s chief justice and the new prime minister, Imran Khan, who on Wednesday night threatened a fierce government response if protesters did not disperse.
“We are ready to sacrifice our lives for this noble cause,” one told the Guardian, “and have rejected whatever rubbish the prime minister said in his speech”.
Police have so far shied away from arresting protesters and the powerful armed forces, which often appear to align with Islamists, have yet to issue a statement, despite TLP leaders daring to call for mutiny in its ranks.
On Thursday, rightwing religious organisations, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), a charity founded by UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, and the Jamaat-Ulema-e-Islam, announced that they would join the TLP protest on Friday, in what could become an unmanageable conflagration.
The new government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) appeared to backtrack on Thursday evening, sending a five-member negotiating team to meet Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the TLP. Government officials released contradictory statements on whether they had placed Asia on the exit control list, which would prevent her fleeing the country.
In public speeches, Rizvi has said his only demand is that the mother-of-five be put to death, the punishment for blasphemy under Pakistan’s penal code. “Our sit-in will go on until the government accepts our demand,” he told the Guardian in a phone interview, denying reports that the sit-in would soon be over.
She’s free but Muslims want her dead so she cannot be released: Protests delay release of Christian woman accused of blasphemy in Pakistan
The release of a Pakistani Christian woman who was acquitted eight years after being sentenced to death for blasphemy has been delayed.
Her release was delayed following protests by radical Islamists, who want her publicly hanged, and failed talks between them and the government.
Ms Bibi’s acquittal has posed a challenged for Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan, who came to power this summer partly by pursuing an Islamist agenda.
He condemned the Islamists after cleric Afzal Qadri urged supporters to kill the three judges who acquitted Ms Bibi, revolt against army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and overthrow Mr Khan’s government.
Islamists were to hold nationwide rallies after Friday’s prayers, stoking fears of violence.
Schools and colleges have been closed after radical cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, announced that “talks” between his deputies and the government about Ms Bibi’s fate had failed.
“We are ready to die to show our love for the prophet,” he told an emotionally charged rally in Lahore.
Mr Rizvi’s envoys wanted Ms Bibi barred from leaving the country, but information minister Fawad Chaudhry rejected the demand and said the government would not be dictated to.
Apparently the government has negotiated with the jihadists and will review the Supreme Court ruling so Bibi freedom is by no means imminent. via Pakistan works to stop Asia Bibi leaving after blasphemy protests
Pakistan’s government has been accused of signing the “death warrant” of Asia Bibi after it said it would begin the process of preventing her leaving the country.
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) administration signed an agreement with the anti-blasphemy group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) on Friday night, giving in to many of its demands in the face of massive, countrywide protests calling for Bibi to be put to death.
In a document signed by the PTI’s religious affairs minister and the TLP’s second-in-command, Pir Afzal Qadri, the government promised not to oppose a court petition to reverse Bibi’s release. It also pledged to work in the meantime to put her name on the exit control list (ECL) which would prevent her leaving the country.
“Placing Asia Bibi on the ECL is like signing her death warrant,” said Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association. Bibi, a mother of five, remains in the same prison where last month two men tried to kill her, although she has been shifted out of her windowless cell.
The agreement was a “historic capitulation”, tweeted analyst Mosharraf Zaidi. On Wednesday night, the prime minister and leader of the PTI, Imran Khan, defended the verdict acquitting Bibi and suggested the government would clamp down on protesters it termed “enemies of the state”.
The TLP has agreed to call off its protests, which saw thousands of Islamists blockade the country’s major motorways, burning cars and lorries and chanting that they were ready to die to protect the honour of the prophet.
Meanwhile, the government has promised to free any TLP workers arrested during the three-day protest. The group has only apologised for the damage it caused, the cost of which one government official estimated at $1.2bn (£900m).
Afzal Qadri told the Guardian “the government has almost accepted our maximum demands” and that if it backtracked “we can come [out on the streets] again”.
Islamists poured on to the streets after Friday prayers in a show of force that briefly unified extremist groups from the majority Barelvi sect, which the TLP springs from, and the more traditionally hardline Deobandis. Terrorist-linked outfits including Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat held rallies in Islamabad, alleging that the EU had pressurised the government into releasing Bibi.
Her lawyer fled for his life: Fearing for life, Asia Bibi’s lawyer flees Pakistan; requests govt to protect family
The lawyer of Asia Bibi fled Pakistan early Saturday after fearing for his life amid countrywide protests by hundreds of radical Islamist hardliners against the acquittal of the Christian woman who was sentenced to death for committing blasphemy, media reports said.
Her lawyer Saiful Malook claimed that he was facing life threats from sections of lawyers and it was difficult for him to practice in the prevailing situation, the Express Tribune reported.
He, however, clarified that he would return to Pakistan to represent his client at the hearing of the review petition if the army provided him security.
“My family is also facing immense security threats and the federal government should provide security to them,” Malook said.
This the same sharia blasphemy law that Muslim groups like CAIR, ISNA, MSA, Muslim Advocates and others are working diligently to enforce in the United States.
It is the mindset of millions of Muslims already in, and still flooding into the U.S. They don’t have to be “terrorists” to be a threat to you and your children and their children.
The sharia mindset is more than enough to disqualify them from being allowed into America.