Asia Bibi’s defence counsel Advocate Saif-ul-Malook, has expressed hopelessness for clemency. He said that Asia Bibi might not get Presidential Pardon, during a DW interview; he also portrayed the sensitivity of the matter. Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian woman who has been on death row since 2010. Her appeal against capital punishment is pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In 2016, Asia BIbi’s husband Ashiq Masih had written a letter to the President of Pakistan urging for a Presidential Pardon for his imprisoned wife. He requested the President to grant him permission to move his wife to France. Asia Bibi is currently behind the bars, as she has been since 2009.
Advocate Saif-ul-Malook said that she is fine, “I can assure you that she is being treated well. I visit her quite often. She has no complaints against the prison officials, who are all women.” He said that he is hopeful for date for a final hearing on her appeal case.
Asia Bibi appeared before the Supreme Court in October 2016, but the hearing was postponed because one of the judges Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman withdrew on the pretext he had also been part of the bench hearing the case of Salman Taseer’s murder. He said that Asia Bibi’s case was not of much priority for the apex court.
Talking about the likelihood of a Presidential Pardon for his client he said: “I don’t think so. The opposition from a large section of the Pakistani society is so immense that I don’t think that Bibi would get a presidential pardon. According to the country’s constitution, the president acts on the prime minister’s advice, and I don’t think any civilian premier in Pakistan can afford to make such a request to the president.”
He said that the international pressure has not effectually had any impact on the case, but support from the international community encourages Asia Bibi. “You feel strong when your work is appreciated and supported. When I tell Bibi that so many countries want to grant her citizenship, it gives her courage and makes her forget that she has been imprisoned for nine long years,” he told DW.
Asia Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy by her co-workers back in 2009. Later on, in 2010, a court in district Nankana awarded her capital punishment, which was later challenged by Asia’s defense counsel and was upheld by a two-member bench of Lahore High Court in 2014. Her appeal case is currently pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.