The Complete Story of Asia Bibi Case, the Accused of the Blasphemy

The asia bibi case and the blasphemy law
The Asia Bibi case

Asia Bibi Case and The Blasphemy Law in Pakistan

Asia Bibi Case refers to the first Christian who was sentenced to death under the PPC section 295-C. She was accused of blasphemy and was being trialed in the Supreme Court. After eight years of detention, in October 2018, the supreme court of Pakistan released her based on insufficient evidence.

In June 2009 Asia Bibi was held responsible for blasphemy during a conversation with two other Muslim women. While fetching water, a group of Muslim women passed an argument to not touch the bucket because of her religion, the women asked Asia Bibi to convert to Islam for which she passed offensive comments. Later she was beaten up at her home by a group of people during which she confessed to blasphemy. She was arrested in 2009 after the police investigation.

In November 2010, she was sentenced to “death by hanging” after the case hearing in Sheikhupura session court. Asia bib went on and filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court. That is where it got a worldwide attention. Various petitions were created for her release including one that received 400000 signatures. She received very less sympathy from religious leaders in her own country and more sympathy from abroad. Some of the religious leaders even called for her execution beyond the law. Maulana Yousuf announced 500000 Rs as a reward to the one who will kill Asia Bibi. Due to an immense pressure, the Lahore High Court resumed the death sentence of Asia Bibi releasing its verdict in 2014.

The last option for Asia Bibi was to file an appeal in the premier court. The accused filed the appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2015. On 31 October 2018, Supreme Court of Pakistan decided to set free Asia Bibi based on inconsistent statements of witnesses which cast a shadow of a doubt. This decision by the Supreme Court sparked protests all over Pakistan headed by religious extremist parties in major cities of the country.

Law under which Asia Bibi was convicted

Under Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code, Asia Bibi was convicted for Blasphemy for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Under the Law, the offense carries the death penalty for blasphemy.

Court Conviction for Asia Bibi

Trial Court of Sheikhupura convicted Asia Bibi for blasphemy and sentenced her to death in November 2010. The Lahore High Court resumed the death sentence in 2014. Later, in 2015 the decision was put under a review by the supreme court of Pakistan for further hearing.

Also Read: Marriage Issues of Girls in Pakistan and How to Deal with It

Asia Bibi Defense Statement

Asia Bibi stated during her defense that she had a quarrel with two Muslim women on June 14, 2009, for refusing to drink water which was brought by Asia Bibi because she was a Christian. During the argument, some bad words were exchanged after which both women alongside Qari Muhammad Salaam and his wife filed the blasphemy case against her. She showed great respect and honor for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Holy Quran and never used blasphemous remarks as stated in her defense.

Court Verdict about Asia Bibi Case in 2018

The death sentence of Asia Bibi was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018 by a three-member bench headed by Mian Saqib Nisar. The other two members of the bench were Justice Asif Saeed and Justice Mazhar Allam Khan.

Number of people executed under Pakistan Blasphemy law

According to amnesty international report, no one ever has been executed for blasphemy case. Most of them are imprisoned and are waiting for their verdict. However, people from different religious backgrounds including Muslims have been attacked and killed for blasphemy accusations.

Based on the offer of protection from different countries for Asia Bibi, she is expected to leave the country. According to the prediction of rights group the blasphemy law has been exploited by ordinary Pakistanis and some religious extremists for their personal scores. Since 1990, 65 people have been murdered over blasphemy allegations including a 23-year-old student who was beaten to death in his university. Asia Bibi Case was just highlighted because of the protests carried out by the religious extremist groups.

Umer Atiq
IT Consultant and business analyst. Keeps an interest in the affair that impact business or society.