COURT COULD REVERSE CHRISTIAN’S ‘BLASPHEMY’ CHARGE by ART MOORE – WND
Muslims demanding death for Asia Bibi
Pakistan’s Supreme Court next Tuesday will review a petition by radical Muslims to overturn the acquittal of Christian mother Asia Bibi.
The review is part of a deal the government struck with Muslim extremists who have threatened to kill Bibi, the judges who acquitted her and any of her supporters. Pakistan agreed to keep her in the country until the high court reviews the petition against her Oct. 31 acquittal.
If the court rejects the petition, she will be allowed to leave Pakistan, reported the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
The acquittal sparked three days of mass protests calling for her death, led by the radical Muslim party Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan. The protests stopped only after the government agreed to keep her in the country and not oppose the filing of any review petitions against the Supreme Court judgement.
Bibi was on death row for eight years after her conviction in 2010 under section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code, which punishes blasphemy against Islam’s prophet. She was sentenced to execution by hanging.
Her problems began when Muslim co-workers refused to drink water from a cup from which she had taken a sip and demanded she convert to Islam. Her refusal prompted a mob to later allege she had insulted Muhammad.
The Supreme Court ruled that the basis of the blasphemy charge was a “concocted” story and overturned the guilty verdict.
After her release from Multan, Pakistan’s women prison on Nov. 7, Bibi was flown to Islamabad and taken to an undisclosed place amid tight security, Dawn reported.
A three-member bench will hear the review petition filed by Qari Muhammad Salaam, a local cleric who lodged the original blasphemy complaint in 2009.
The petition contends the Supreme Court’s acquittal did not meet the standards of jurisprudence as well as Islamic provisions and the “normal principle of justice with reference to application in blasphemy laws.”
The court is also asked to consider “the nature of the case” and alleged technical faults.
Following her acquittal and the death threats, Bibi’s supporters asked the United States to grant her asylum after she apparently was rejected by Britain.