Pakistani Court Acquits Christian Woman in Capital Blasphemy Case

Oct 31, 2018

By Salman Masood

She has been isolated on death row for eight years after an accusation with little evidence that she had spoken against the Prophet Muhammad. A prominent governor who spoke out in her defense was killed by his own bodyguard, and mobs have rallied against the suggestion that leniency might be in order.

But for the first time since her arrest in 2009, Asia Bibi, the Christian Pakistani woman whose blasphemy conviction the following year rallied international condemnation of a law that has inspired violence again and again, is free.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday fully acquitted her and ordered her “released forthwith,” in an exceptionally rare ruling against a blasphemy verdict. The ruling, by a three-member bench of the court, was announced by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

“This is a landmark verdict,” said Omar Waraich, the deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International. “Despite her protest of innocence, and despite the lack of evidence against her, this case was used to rouse angry mobs, justify the assassinations of two senior officials, and intimidate the Pakistani state into capitulation. Justice has finally prevailed.”

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29 comments on “Pakistani Court Acquits Christian Woman in Capital Blasphemy Case

  • She has been isolated on death row for eight years after an accusation with little evidence that she had spoken against the Prophet Muhammad.

    It must be the work of that “Religion of Peace”!
    A “mere” 8 years in jail for an innocent woman who got into an argument with a delusional fanatic who was wearing a religious immunity badge! ! !

  • I see that in the backwaters of ignorance, “waste-of-space” politicians, are still pandering to delusional lynch mobs from that “religion of peace” instead of upholding the rule of law – pathetic as that particular law is!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-46080067

    Pakistan’s authorities have struck a deal with a hard-line Islamist party to end a protest over the acquittal of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

    As part of the deal, proceedings will begin to bar Asia Bibi from leaving the country.

    The government will also not prevent protesters legally challenging the Supreme Court decision to release her.

    Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, but was acquitted earlier this week.

    The ruling enraged some in the majority-Muslim country.

    Hardliners who support Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been taking to the streets since Wednesday’s ruling.

    Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told the BBC, “We had two options: either to use force, and when you use force people can be killed. That is not something a state should do… We tried negotiations and (in) negotiations you take something and you leave something.”

    He defended the agreement against allegations the government was capitulating to extremists:

  • Those “peaceful” god-delusions seem to have very little respect for the law, or for anyone’s right to a peaceful existence!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-46082324

    The lawyer representing a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has fled Pakistan in fear for his life.

    Saif Mulook told news agency AFP he had to leave so he could continue to represent Asia Bibi, whose conviction was overturned by judges on Wednesday.

    Officials have since agreed to bar Ms Bibi from leaving Pakistan in order to end violent protests over the ruling.

    Campaigners blasted the deal as akin to signing her “death warrant”.

    Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry defended the government against allegations that a deal reached with an Islamist party was capitulating to extremists.

    He said the government would “take all steps necessary” to ensure Asia Bibi’s safety.

    Mr Mulook, however, called the agreement “painful”.

    “They cannot even implement an order of the country’s highest court,” he told AFP before he boarded the plane to Europe.

    Mr Mulook said he had decided to leave as it was “not possible” to continue living in Pakistan, adding: “I need to stay alive as I still have to fight the legal battle for Asia Bibi.”

  • Oh, this is quite despicable of the authorities.

    The bullies at the gate? Obscene. Maximum sustained terror, their fingers crossed for an assassination.

    Its time for the British Muslims to insist she gets free passage.

  • All should complain and bring pressure, BUT…

    The great majority of Muslims in the UK are Pakistani and Bangladeshi. An early and forceful response not one looking a little belated and “me too” may do more to shame both both parties needing shaming in Pakistan.

  • There are consequences for many people when spineless politicians pander to fanatical mobs!

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-46085577
    The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada.

    Asia Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, said they were in great danger in Pakistan.

    The Supreme Court overturned Asia Bibi’s conviction on Wednesday, saying the case against her was based on flimsy evidence.

    Her acquittal sparked violent protests, and the government has now agreed to try to stop her leaving the country.

  • Phil #9

    Have to be honest here and say I am shocked and feel like we have gone back a few years to when I first joined and some where here, it seemed and may be backed by the fact they are no longer here, to just bash the Muslims. I don’t want to be dragged out of the crowd every time my country of reference fucks up and used like this. It makes me feel uncomfortable and not fully accepted. It feels more like I have to reassure those I live with that I am not like that each and every time. It seems decisive and I thought we had gone past the stage of asking every Muslim to apologise for terrorists. Telling it like how it makes me feel and not how I think you meant it but admit I am accusing you of skating on the edge maybe?

    We, the British, oppose this move seems a better move as a strategy on all ways. We the international community, as Laurie upgraded it to, even better. Giving the benefit of the doubt and letting those that agree with Pakistan speak out and show us who they are rather than expecting another “community leader” try to cover for all.

  • Olgun #11
    Nov 4, 2018 at 5:12 am
    >

    It seems decisive and I thought we had gone past the stage of asking every Muslim to apologise for terrorists. Telling it like how it makes me feel and not how I think you meant it but admit I am accusing you of skating on the edge maybe?

    I think we need to remember that many moderate Muslims, or those from minority sects, have to live with these fanatics in their homelands, so sympathy is just as much for them as for the atheists and Christians they abuse!

    In the same way, I don’t think our European partners regard all the British as Brexiteering morons just because some are currently in office.

  • Alan

    All I’ve got going on in my head now is Del Boy as prime minister saying;

    “Rodders, go get Ahmed out the cafe. Tell him to finish his bacon sandwich and get over to the BBC. He’s got some apologising to do”.

  • Phil

    Hope that doesn’t look like I’m poking fun at you. It was with those I mentioned from when I first joined and my warped sense of humour that formed the sketch!!!

  • Looks like mob rule controls the Pakistani government.

    My heart breaks for Bibi and her family. Eight long years, and unless there is a concerted international effort made on her behalf, she will die.

    Religion sucks.

  • @Alan #12

    *

    In the same way, I don’t think our European partners regard all the
    British as Brexiteering morons just because some are currently in
    office.

    I sincerely hope the same consideration is given to those of us who have to live under the Trump regime. The one bright spot in our defense is that the majority did not vote for that clown.
    *

  • bash the Muslims

    WTF?

    British Muslims have absolutely nothing to apologise for here. Nor did I call for any. They may though be in a position of useful influence.

  • Olgun

    I do think that Phil was calling moderate Muslims to action in the best interests of a victim of extremism. But then, since I see these things through the lens of the North African struggles against religious extremists, it’s now become an instinctual reaction to sound the alarm when fundamentalists go on the rampage (wherever they are) and hope that moderates, humanists, atheists and all sorts of unchurched come to the rescue.

    In one of her books, Ayaan Hirsi Ali pointed out that In Muslim majority countries there’s no freedom of speech. Speaking out against persecution and injustice in these places has dire consequences. But when dissidents and persecuted victims are safe in a Western democracy they can take advantage of constitutional protections and rail at the regimes from the outside. There is a community of vocal Algerian exiles in France that includes journalists, writers, feminists and other progressives who chose to live to fight another day. Is there something comparable in the UK Pakistani community?

    As Vicki says above, we progressive Americans sure do appreciate not being lumped in with the Trumpeteers these days and when I’m in certain other locations I make it known that I am absolutely opposed to the American government’s devoted alliance with the state of Israel. Why should any of us suffer for the misguided policies of our governments or religions or any other group we fall into through no choice of our own?

  • I was moved recently by American Muslims raising very quickly $150,000 dollars to cover the costs of Jewish funerals after the shoot up, all in a gesture of fellow concern and a desire to go beyond “thoughts and prayers”. Doing something similar in solidarity with a Christian woman under threat from a Pakistani Government and loony terrorising group would be nice.

    Have I changed? Am I no longer trusted? I wrote about this very thing recently.

  • Phil l #17

    Didn’t come out as I intended again.

    That’s why I linked it to a strategy and said d how it makes me feel which I see as a side effect, a downside. I realised you came st it from a strategic standpoint. My shock was in you not seeing that?

    That apart, the strategy seems wrong to me also. I see greater power in siding with those ‘on our side’ automatically and not ask for a declaration separately each time.

    Don’t know if that makes it any better?

  • Not on the strategy front for me.

    Obedience isn’t morality, Ollie, and I will pressure no one to a specific act. Any pressure visibly undercuts the act.

    Everyone should be thinking for themselves and on behalf of any identities they feel. I want groups to recognise the particular power in their hands and act when moral occasion arises.

    Global and particularly Western opposition will only strengthen the loony quasi-terrorist group. Ex pat (within a few generations)”Pakistani” opposition may more forcibly shame a Pakistani government. Muslim help for a Christian raises the moral cost of any harm to her.

    I will berate anyone’s moral underachievement, however and without favour, preemptively if necessary.

  • Phil #21

    “Obedience isn’t morality……”

    My point exactly. The reason why I wondered why you made that statement in the way you did. Nothing about you changing. If I praise you any more, someone will eventually tell us to get a room. 😊 (never the less, I hope we can have a discussion about how something makes me feel without me having to apologise again. I get told off for apologising (only joking Marco))

    I want to give through my morality and not feel like I have to “move” people in the act of doing so. I wish it could be natural. My questioning your statement is more for people who don’t know you and those that might want to misinterpret. I know there is more to come from you. There always is and always for the positive and that statement needed expanding on.

    I see the problem of east and west moral tension but don’t agree that western Muslims speaking up counters that because we are then seen as western puppets anyway. I have mentioned leading by example that can’t be countered by ‘but you are dropping bombs on us’. I have countered many Turks who say the EU is a Christian club and that is why Turkey isn’t allowed in, ignoring all the wrongs in Turkey. I have to cede to the inconsistencies though.

    So, my thinking came from your statement, as it stood, to be more damaging in the wrong hands and not that you intended that way. I was sort of backed up by Laurie and Vicky in being made to feel like an outsider which I hope will be added to the equation?

  • Oh bleep, Ollie.

    I’ve screwed it again. I posted too quickly and without thinking enough about what I actually posted and what was In my head, where, of course, its all perfectly clear. You bring us back to the moral heart of the matter more than anyone.

    My sincere apologies. And you have been indecently generous. I haven’t blushed so in a long time. Nothing so reduces me to silence.

  • Not at all Phil. I’m just happy that I got my point across!

    Laurie

    I didn’t answer your post because I didn’t want to talk about Phil in the third person and make him even more paranoid 😉😁

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