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Supreme Court expected to hear Asia Bibi’s appeal against capital punishment

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Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has announced that the apex court will soon hear the appeal case of blasphemy convicted Christian woman Asia Bibi. In this regard, Chief Justice stated that a date for case hearing will be announced soon.

Blasphemy case against Asia Bibi

On Saturday, April 21 Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has confirmed that a new hearing date for Asia Bibi’s appeal case against capital punishment. At the same time, Justice Saqiz Nisar also issued directives for full security provisions for Asia Bibi.

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In 2009, Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy by her co-workers. Later, in 2010, a court in district Nankana awarded her capital punishment, which was later challenged by her defense counsel. The decision 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.

Asia Bibi, an internationally known Christian victim of false blasphemy charges is languishing in the Pakistani prison 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 challenged in the Lahore High Court in 2014 which not only left her in despair but additionally High Court’s stay order against presidential pardon made her acquittal chances very slim. Her further appeal is pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

In October 2016, Supreme Court judges called off the trial of Asia Bibi to a date yet to be determined. A Supreme Court bench consisting of three members and led by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, decided to adjourn the court after one of the judges of the bench decided to quit the bench. Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman retired from the case maintaining that he had also been part of the bench hearing the case of Salman Taseer’s murder. In 2017, the apex court had declined a petition seeking early hearing for Asia Bibi’s appeal case.