Bibi’s lawyer Allah Bakhsha Leghari told AsiaNews that the chief justice of the Lahore High Court, Khawaja Sharif, yesterday barred the country's president from pardoning the Christian woman before it ruled on her appeal. When contacted by AsiaNews, Justice Khawaja Sharif refused to comment the claim, but his clerk denied the Lahore High Court has issued any such orders.
“The Lahore High Court cannot issue an order telling the president what he can do or not do. So far, we have not received anything in written. Some people are trying to politicise the matter and create a gap between the judiciary and the government,” presidential spokesman Farharullah Babar told AsiaNews.
“The President has not denied the pardon to Asia Bibi, he is only waiting for the Lahore High Court to issue its orders,” presidential legal expert Bilal Hussain told AsiaNews.
“A session court in Quetta sentenced a Muslim woman to ten years, without hearing her side of the story,” he explained. “She was accused of throwing and tearing a copy of the Qur‘an during “a fight with her mother in-law. When her husband came home, the mother told her son that his wife has misbehaved with her. The wife went inside and brought the Qur‘an and swore on it that his mother was lying. The husband did not believe her. She then threw the Qur‘an on the floor in anger, and the Qur‘an came apart. She did not intend any disrespect, but her mental state is not stable, and her actions were unintentional. In the end, the High Court acquitted her. In the case of Asia Bibi, I feel the same; she was sentenced without hearing her side of the story."
Meanwhile, AsiaNews’ online petition on Asia Bibi’s behalf continues. So far, more than 5,000 e-mail messages have arrived at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Italy, about a thousand signatures were collected on paper from the town of Correggio. More than a hundred came from the Residenza Assistenziale San Giuseppe in San Benedetto del Tronto.