Aasia Bibi blasphemy conviction quashed by Pakistan Supreme Court

Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Photo: Usman Ghani
Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Photo: Usman Ghani

We would like to express our delight that the Pakistan Supreme Court has quashed the conviction for blasphemy of Christian woman Aasia Bibi, who has been on death row for eight years.

Speaking in Islamabad on Wednesday, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said, “This appeal is allowed. The judgements of the High Court as well as the Trial Court are reversed. Consequently, the conviction as also the sentence of death awarded to the appellant is set aside and she is acquitted of the charge.”

Aasia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in November 2010 by a trial court in Lahore, following an argument with two neighbours.

Pakistan’s blasphemy law has come under significant international criticism over the years, not least over its use in this case. The law is open to the same sort of obvious abuses which led to the injustices of the witch trials in England in the seventeenth century — and which appear to have taken place in Aasia Bibi’s case.

Nevertheless, the law is fiercely — and often violently — guarded by Islamist sections of Pakistani society. One Islamist party in Pakistan has threatened to paralyse the country within hours if the Supreme Court released Aasia Bibi.

In many ways, therefore, this is a brave decision by the Pakistani Supreme Court. We pray for divine protection for the justices who reached this verdict, and of course for Aasia Bibi herself and her family.

 

 

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