Asia Bibi case: review petition fixed for hearing on Jan 29

Web Desk
January 24,2019

The Supreme Court on October 31 had overturned death sentence of Christian woman Asia Bibi who was convicted on charges of blasphemy

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ISLAMABAD: The review petition against Asia Bibi's acquittal has been fixed for hearing in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on January 29, Geo News reported on Thursday.

The TV channel reported that a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Faiz Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam would conduct hearing on the petition.

The Supreme Court on October 31 had overturned death sentence of Christian woman Asia Bibi who was convicted on charges of blasphemy .

The review petition was filed by Qari Muhammad Salam.

AFP adds

If the court refuses to allow the appeal, it will remove the last legal hurdle facing Asia Bibi.

Bibi was on death row for eight years for blasphemy, a hugely sensitive charge.

The Supreme Court´s decision in October last year to overturn her conviction ignited days of violent demonstrations.

On January 29, "the court will determine if our appeal against her acquittal is admitted", Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, the lawyer who filed the petition seeking an appeal, told AFP.

"Usually the court decides on the same day if the appeal is admitted or not," he added.

Under Pakistan´s legal system any private citizen can petition the courts on any matter of public interest or human rights, as in the Bibi case.

However legal experts said it would be highly unusual for the Supreme Court to overturn its own decision, especially one that as carefully drafted as the Bibi ruling.

"It is very rare," lawyer Saad Rasool told AFP.

The three-member bench that will hear the petition will be headed by new Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, considered the country´s top expert in criminal law and who helped draft the decision to acquit Bibi.

The allegations against her date back to 2009, when Muslim women accused her of blasphemy.

Her case drew the attention of international rights groups and swiftly became the most high-profile in the country.



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