25 April 2017
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  • » 04/20/2017, 13.06

    PAKISTAN

    Pakistan, Asia Bibi's trial could resume in June

    Kamran Chaudhry

    The Christian mother charged with blasphemy has been on death row for seven years. Her final hearing was postponed to a date to be determined after the retirement of a judge. The case of Asia Bibi returns to the spotlight after some imams demand her execution by hanging.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) - Asia Bibi, the Christian mother condemned to death by hanging for alleged blasphemy, could return to trial shortly, perhaps in the first week of June according to Saiful Malook, the woman's lawyer. He reports that "the request to reopen the hearing was submitted to the President of the Supreme Court of Pakistan last week. The case continues to be postponed due to the problems of this country. We are in the midst of a continuing war between Islam and Kufr (infidels). But our hopes for her release are many. "

    The lawyer spoke of the reopening of the case before the Supreme Court judges in an interview with AsiaNews. His comments came as news anchors and political commentators discussed the abuse of laws punishing offenses against the prophet Muhammad and the climate of intolerance in society in television broadcasts this week.

    Last October 2016, judges of the Supreme Court postponed the trial against Asia Bibi to a date to be determined. The court, consisting of three judges and led by Mian Saqib Nisar, decided to postpone the final hearing after one of the magistrates - Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman - retired from the case, claiming he was also a member of the court that decided on the trial of Salmaan Taseer,, the late governor of Punjab province.

    The spotlight returned to Asia this week after fierce statements by some prominent imams demanding her execution as "deterrent" for the violence that led to Mashal Khan's lynching. The Mardan University student was killed, denuded, and tortured for allegedly glorifying the Ahmadi faith.

    The Lutheran Bishop of Mardan, Rev. Jimmy Mathew,  says " both religious minorities and the majority suffer the blasphemy laws. There is total fear and confusion. In addition, the police and the university authorities continue to blame each other for the death of the student. " The Reverend complains that "the courts and the security forces become active only when violence has already occurred", while "people like Asia Bibi continue to suffer despite the evidence being insufficient. The blasphemy charge is itself a death sentence. "

    Indeed, in Pakistan, suspicion of offending the prophet can trigger the reaction of the most radical Muslims. For this reason liberals and bloggers kidnapped in January and released after a month, who now face a blasphemy trial, have fled the motherland or disappeared. The only one who had the courage to stand, Ahmad Waqas Goraya, spoke of unprecedented torture. He also fears that the violent campaign against him by Islamic extremists on radio and television channels that paint him as a blasphemer can follow him to Europe where he has fled.

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    See also

    23/07/2015 PAKISTAN
    For Muslims and Christians, Asia Bibi’s misfortune can be an opportunity to reform the blasphemy laws
    Iftikhar Ahmad, coordinator of South Asia Partnership Pakistan, calls for a "serious discussion" to achieve change. Religious groups are "more powerful" than the state, and laws are being used against the innocent. For Pakistani priest, the justices’ decision sends a "positive signal". Bibi should be released and get compensation for the “psychological harm” she received, Christian activist said.

    22/07/2015 PAKISTAN
    After Supreme Court stays Asia Bibi’s execution and orders new hearing, Paul Bhatti hopes to see her free
    This morning, the Supreme Court ordered a new hearing after staying the execution of the 50-year-old Christian mother of five children. All the records that led to her conviction will be re-examined. A former minister is now “optimistic” that she will be released “in accordance with the law” and that her case will not be “influenced by external elements.”

    14/04/2017 18:19:00 PAKISTAN
    Christians and activists outraged by student lynched for alleged blasphemy (Video)

    Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University was attacked after rumours spread on campus that he had posted favourable comments about the Ahmadis on Facebook. For one observer, “we have created a society where students become murderers." For another, “We all are responsible”, politicians, authorities, radical parties that remain silent and support extremism.



    13/10/2016 12:34:00 PAKISTAN
    Asia Bibi’s final appeal postponed once again. The local Church invites us to pray

    The final appeal was set to be heard today in Islamabad, after having been postponed from 2014. A judge refused to show up, perhaps out of fear. She is accused of blasphemy, but has always denied any wrongdoing. She has been in prison since 2009. Muslims call for a "quick hanging".

     



    03/08/2015 PAKISTAN
    Asia Bibi’s lawyer speaks out: Pakistani government is solely responsible for situation
    AsiaNews interviews Saiful Malook, who is defending the Christian woman on death row on blasphemy charges. The lawyer, a Muslim, says: "People, even judges, say I am crazy to have taken on this case. They say I am an enemy of my own daughters".



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