Tensions High as Pakistan Court Overturns Blasphemy Conviction

Tensions High as Pakistan Court Overturns Blasphemy Conviction

Protesters took to the streets in Lahore, blocked roads and set fire to vehicles as they vented their anger against Pakistan's Supreme Court's decision to acquit Asia Bibi on charges of blasphemy for which she had been sentenced to death.

Talking tough, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan Wednesday told hardliners not to "confront the State" and refrain from vandalism after the Supreme Court acquitted a Christian woman sentenced to death for committing blasphemy.

One Islamic cleric closely associated with the TLP, Pir Afzal Qadri of the Aalmi Tanzeem Ahle Sunnat, issued a fatwa that any judge acquitting Asia Bibi should be punished by death.

However, a row broke out between Ms Bibi and the co-workers who insisted they could not touch the cup after she had drunk from it as the Christian faith is unclean.

Blasphemy is an incendiary charge in deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan, where even unproven allegations of insulting Islam and its Prophet Mohammed can provoke a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

Shortly after the ruling, hundreds of Islamists blocked a key road linking the city of Rawalpindi with the capital, Islamabad. Bibi recalled that when they disparaged her Christianity, she answered, "I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sins of mankind".

Ashiq Mesih and Eisham Ashiq, Asia Bibi's husband and daughter, speak to CNA in Rome April 15, 2015.

According to the priest, most Pakistanis will be happy with the verdict in favour of "this poor lady" who, despite being innocent had to spend about 10 years in prison in solitary confinement.

Though Bibi is being released, there is fear that she might be at risk of being attacked by militants. Many have speculated they will be forced to leave the country, but there was no confirmation of their plans. A few days later, a mob accused her of insulting Islam's prophet, leading to her 2010 conviction.

Leicester City owner's family lay wreaths after deadly helicopter crash
The chopper's black box - which recorded data and conversations inside the helicopter - has been recovered and is being analysed. Aviation expert Jim Rowlands told The Sun he believes there was a problem with the tail rotor.

Bibi has always denied blaspheming.

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. From a human rights perspective, the Supreme Court's detailed judgment underlines several of the most problematic aspects of applying the blasphemy laws.

Asia Bibi, who has four children, was the first woman to be sentenced to death under the laws.

In a televised national broadcast late on November 1, Prime Minister Imran Khan warned the protesters the government would act against any prolonged blockade.

Demonstrations are also being held in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan - and clashes with police have been reported. As the BBC noted, "The killer, Mumtaz Qadri, was executed, but has become a cult hero with a large shrine dedicated to him on the outskirts of Islamabad".

Ghulam Mustafa, a lawyer representing a provincial cleric in Punjab who had filed the initial blasphemy charges, asked the supreme court to review her acquittal.

Bibi was accused of making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbors objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not a Muslim.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws continue to generate controversy.

"They are threatening the government, the judiciary and the army but it seems the government and military are reluctant because they fear backlash", said analyst Fasi Zaka.

Related Articles

  • All the new updates from Apple's iOS 12.1

    All the new updates from Apple's iOS 12.1

    The update brings with a list of enhancements including support for Group FaceTime and 70 new emoji for the iPhone and iPad . Apple also noted that all Facetime calls are protected by end-to-end encryption. iOS 12.1 brings dual SIM support , too.
    Aasia Bibi Won’t be Executed, Pakistan SC Rules in Blasphemy Case

    Aasia Bibi Won’t be Executed, Pakistan SC Rules in Blasphemy Case

    Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti who also spoke in Ms Bibi's support was shot dead two months after Mr Taseer was killed. Pakistan's Supreme Court has acquitted a Christian woman who has been on death row for nearly eight years on blasphemy charges.
    Maury Povich offered Cardi B a free lie detector test

    Maury Povich offered Cardi B a free lie detector test

    Yeah I had to decline it because I'm doing a lot of pop records so I can't over exaggerate myself but that came to me first. Cardi says in the first video. 'Let's talk about the leaked numbers s***!' she said.
  • Some slam video of cop killer tweeted by Trump as racist

    Some slam video of cop killer tweeted by Trump as racist

    I don't regret that", the sneering Bracamontes says in the courtroom as " Democrats let him stay" flashes on the screen. Unlike typical political ads, nowhere in this video does the president declare who paid for it.
    Arsenal to face Tottenham Hotspur in Carabao Cup quarter-finals

    Arsenal to face Tottenham Hotspur in Carabao Cup quarter-finals

    Arsenal hosted Blackpool in the fifth round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday night with Unai Emery naming a young team. The two rivals last met in this competition in 2015, when Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners.
    Scalise Doesn't Object To Trump's Talk Of Ordering End To Birthright Citizenship

    Scalise Doesn't Object To Trump's Talk Of Ordering End To Birthright Citizenship

    The next sentence details protections and rights that apply to everyone in the USA , including non-citizens. Both the 14th Amendment and the INA include this clause.
  • Bus plunges into Chinese river after fight between driver and passenger

    Bus plunges into Chinese river after fight between driver and passenger

    When he refused, the woman became enraged and hit him with her mobile phone before the driver lost control of the vehicle. According to the China Daily, a female passenger named Liu had missed her stop and asked the driver to stop immediately.
    Donald Trump expects 'great deal' with China over trade

    Donald Trump expects 'great deal' with China over trade

    On Monday, Trump repeated his assertion that China was not "not ready" to strike a deal to bring an end to the costly dispute. President Trump is due to meet Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November.
    Prince Harry marks final day of Pacific tour by singing Maori song

    Prince Harry marks final day of Pacific tour by singing Maori song

    The New Zealand Pounamu necklace in a Maori design by Kiri Nathan was gifted to her by NZ Governor General Patsy Reddy. The couple were draped in woven Maori cloaks when they were greeted in Rotorua for the final day of the tour.
  • I don't think the Saudis betrayed me on Khashoggi case

    I don't think the Saudis betrayed me on Khashoggi case

    The Washington Post columnist had reportedly gone to the consulate to collect paperwork needed to marry fiancee Hatice Cengiz . Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi officials, who claim the writer died as a result of an "altercation".
    Adenovirus: 9th Child Dead In North Jersey

    Adenovirus: 9th Child Dead In North Jersey

    Both the staff at the facility as well as state authorities are continuous in the efforts to contain the spread of the virus. The health department was first notified of the outbreak on October 9, according to a statement from the agency.
    Afghans Go to Polls in Postponed Elections in Kandahar

    Afghans Go to Polls in Postponed Elections in Kandahar

    In the meantime, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the suspects should be punished in accordance with the law. Kandaharians will cast their votes in 173 polling stations across the province.