ISLAMABAD – Heavy security surrounded the Pakistani high court as the world awaited the judges’ decision on whether to proceed with the appeal against her recent acquittal on blasphemy charges. Paramilitary troops and quick response units deployed in sensitive areas in the capital as radical Muslim had called for protests.
Just a few hours ago, three members of the Supreme Court dismissed the request for the appeal. Mrs. Bibi, who has been in protective custody since her acquittal, will now be allowed to leave Pakistan and join her family who are believed to have sought refuge in Canada.
Mrs. Bibi watched the proceedings on television from an undisclosed location. A friend told Sky News reporters that she said,
I am really grateful to everybody, now after nine years it is confirmed that I am free, and I will be going to hug my daughters
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa dismissed the petition for appeal based on a lack of merit. He went so far as to say that Bibi’s accusers were, themselves, guilty of perjury.
He added that, were the case not so sensitive, those accusers would have been jailed for life.
Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a cleric of the radical Muslim TLP party said that his party will refuse to accept a ruling supporting Bibi’s acquittal. He called for members of the party to stage mass protests in the streets of Islamabad should the court refuse to hear the appeal. Some party leaders are already in jail as a result of their protests after the original acquittal was handed down in October 2018.
Asia Bibi was the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. She spent nine years in prison; eight of them on death row.
How and when she will leave Pakistan is a closely-guarded secret.
To read more news on Asia Bibi on Missions Box, go here
- Sky News, Death row Christian Asia Bibi allowed to leave Pakistan after blasphemy acquittal upheld
- BBC News, Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal upheld by Pakistan court
- Fox News, Pakistan’s top court upholds Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal; Christian woman expected to seek asylum abroad
- CBN News, Top Pakistani Court Upholds Acquittal, Frees Captive Christian Asia Bibi
- Lastampa.it, [CC BY-NC-ND 4.0]