Asia Bibi acquittal upheld: Top Pakistani cleric fails to overturn blasphemy ruling | World | News



Asia Bibi was spared the death penalty in 2018 over charges of Blasphemy. Mrs Bibi was saved from the hangman by a ruling of the Pakistan’s Supreme Court. The court ordered her release in October 2018 after she spent eight years on death row.

She was originally convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

The petition was filed by cleric Qari Mohammed Salam, who had lodged the original blasphemy complaint in 2009.

But following various challenges to her acquital of charges of blasphemy, the Supreme Court in Islamabad upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi’s conviction and death sentence on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosar said: “Based on merit, this petition is dismissed,” 

The original ruling set off violent protests by religious hardliners against her conviction, who support Pakistan’s strict anti-lasphemy laws.

Days of nationwide chaos followd as a result of the judge’s original verdict. 

Ms Bibi has always maintained her innocence in a case that sent ripples through the country.

Acording to Church in Need UK, Ms Bibi’s family were being hunted by extremists in Pakistan in November.

Vigilantes reportedly went door-to-door with photographs of the farm worker in an attempt to track her down.

Ms Bibi was held in protective custody following her accquital. 

According to Al Jazeera, she is currently protected under guard at a secret location in the country, for her own safety.

The far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party said it would hold further protests if Bibi’s acquittal was not reversed today.

Her lawyer, Saiful Malook, was granted temporary asylum in the Netherlands after facing death threats while Ms Bibi’s husband pleaded for asylum. 

But Mr Mallook, who returned to the country over the weekend, dismissed the petition as “frivilous” as he walked into the Supreme Court on Monday morning.

He said: “It’s neither in accordance with supreme court’s former verdicts nor in accordance with law, it will be dismissed Allah willing,

As of Tueday morning, Ms Bibi is now free to leave the country.

Unconfirmed Pakistani media reports claim her two daughters have been granted asylum in Canada.

Meanwhile, nations such as Australia, Spain and France are said o have offered sanctuary to Ms Bibi and her family.

This is a breaking story. More to follow…


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