Pak Outfit Demands "Death" For Judge Who Overturned Blasphemy Verdict

Pak Supreme Court To Rule On Christian Woman Facing Death Over Blasphemy

ISLAMABAD-Pakistan's top court on October 31, acquitted a Christian woman who was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in 2010, a landmark ruling that sparked protests by hard-line Islamists and raised fears of violence. Later on, in 2010, a court in district Nankana awarded her capital punishment, which was later challenged and upheld by a two-member bench of Lahore High Court in 2014. "Her conviction is set aside", said Pakistan's Chief Justice Saqib Nisar in the ruling. Asia was accused of speaking disparagingly about the Prophet but her real crime was that she offered water to Muslim co-workers who believed Asia had made the water ceremonially unclean by drinking from the same cup.

Ms Bibi was originally accused of blasphemy after an argument with several other women in June 2009, whilst they were harvesting fruit in Sheikhupura, near Lahore.

Her case has outraged Christians worldwide and been a source of division within Pakistan, where two politicians who sought to help Bibi were assassinated.

The decision is expected to come down overnight tonight and will determine if this Christian mom of five is set free or hanged for her Christian faith. Dozens have been killed following blasphemy claims, sometimes by mobs of men. "We hope this time she will be completely exonerated and this wrongful conviction will finally be overturned as this is her last chance to be heard at court".

Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook told AFP: "The verdict has shown that the poor, the minorities and the lowest segments of society can get justice in this country despite its shortcomings". Mere calls to reform the law have provoked violence, most notably the assassination of Mr Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Pakistan's most populous province Punjab, by his own bodyguard in broad daylight in Islamabad in 2011.

Human rights groups say Pakistan's blasphemy laws are exploited to settle personal scores.

Pakistan's 295-C blasphemy law is based on sharia (Islamic law) which mandates execution for those found guilty of committing blasphemy against Mohammed.

If her death sentence had been carried out, Bibi would have been the first person executed by the state under the blasphemy laws.

Ms. Bibi's representatives have claimed she was involved in a dispute with her neighbours and that her accusers had contradicted themselves.

"I have been to visit my mother in jail, and she asks the people of Britain to remember her in their prayers", Eisham added. Meanwhile, Bibi's husband Ashiq said Asia is confident she will soon be released from prison.

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