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SC reserves judgement in Aasia Bibi’s case

By Sohail Khan
October 09, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved judgement in the case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian lady, convicted in 2010 for blasphemy, with the caution to print and electronic media from refraining to comment or initiate debate on the matter till the announcement of the verdict.

At three-member special bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel heard the appeal of Aasia Bibi against her conviction.

Aasia Bibi, a mother of four, was convicted and awarded death sentence in 2010 under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

“We are reserving the judgement in the instant appeal with the caution that no print and electronic media would commence any debate on the matter in hand till the announcement of the verdict,” the chief justice said.

The chief justice first announced it orally after hearing the arguments of the parties, but then properly noted down the order, with strict caution to media not to comment till the announcement of the judgement.

The allegations against Aasia Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women who alleged that she committed blasphemy.

Aasia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death in 2010, despite her advocates maintaining her innocence and insisting that the accusers held grudges against her.

Commencing his arguments, Saiful Malook gave in detail, background of the matter submitting that the incident occurred on June 14, 2009 but the case was registered on June 19, 2009 by Qari Muhammad Saalim of Katanwala village, alleging that Aasia had had confessed to committing blasphemy.

Replying a question, the counsel for the petitioner contended that the Maulvi, who lodged an FIR, was not the witness of the said incident. He further submitted that there are also contradictions regarding how the notice of the incident was taken. The counsel further contended that for lodging the FIR, permission was not sought from the district coordination officer (DCO) or the district police officer (DPO), adding that the complainant in the FIR had claimed that no villager resorted to beat the accused (Aasia).

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that the prosecution in the matter came up with poor performance as there were contradictions in its witnesses produced before the court, adding that the witnesses’ statements lack the whole detail pertaining to the quarrel between the accused (Aasia) and the accuser women.