In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has acquitted Asia Noreen Bibi – a Pakistani Christian woman who was sentenced to death over blasphemy charges. “….. this appeal is allowed,” SC ruled in Asia Bibi’s appeal against death sentence.
Supreme Court’s verdict says that the contradictions are sufficient enough to cast a shadow of doubt on the prosecution’s version of fact. “Keeping in mind the evidence produced by the prosecution against the alleged blasphemy committed by the appellant, the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt”, SC verdict said.
“….this appeal is allowed. The judgments 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. She be released from jail forthwith, if not required in any other criminal case,” historic verdict said.
Apex court’s three-member bench heard the case on October 8, 2018 and reserved the verdict. Her appeal case was taken up by the apex court in October 2016, but the hearing was adjourned at that time because one of the judges refused to be part of the bench hearing the case. The three-member bench that heard this case included Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar who headed this bench.
In 2009, Asia Bibi was falsely accused of committing blasphemy by her co-workers. Asia Bibi, an internationally known Christian victim of false blasphemy charges languished in the jail for almost nine years. In her early session court hearings, she denied blasphemy accusations. But the court was pressurized by local as well as national religious forces; as a result, Session Judge of Sheikhupura Courts, Muhammad Naveed Iqbal, handed capital punishment to her.
Her capital punishment was later challenged in the Lahore High Court in 201; but was upheld. Her defense counsel filed an appeal with the Apex Court. Asia Bibi’s ordeal has ended with a great acclamation of praises to God.