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Landmark Verdict – Asia Bibi Acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court

On a momentous day, October 31st, 2018, in Berlin, the Supreme Court of Pakistan delivered a groundbreaking judgment that resonated across the nation and beyond. Asia Bibi, a Christian woman previously condemned to death on charges of blasphemy, was finally acquitted. This pivotal decision was delivered by a distinguished three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, along with Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

The Journey to Justice

The case of Asia Bibi drew international attention when in 2010, she was sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy in 2009. The accusations stemmed from an incident involving her co-workers, which led to her being charged under Pakistan’s stringent blasphemy laws. After years of legal battles, Bibi’s appeal reached the Supreme Court, culminating in a reserved ruling on October 8, 2018.

Challenging the Lahore High Court’s decision from October 2014, which upheld the initial judgment, the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2018 marked a significant turn. Justice Saqib Nisar, in a detailed 56-page judgment, declared the acquittal, setting aside the previous judgments of both the high court and the trial court. Complementing his ruling, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa expressed in a separate note, “Tolerance is the basic principle of Islam, which condemns injustice and oppression,” emphasizing that the misuse of blasphemy laws not only undermines religious harmony but constitutes a grave injustice.

The Religious and Social Implications

Justice Khosa also highlighted that blasphemy is indeed a grievous offense. However, he noted that the circumstances involving the manipulation of the truth and the disrespect shown towards Asia Bibi’s religious beliefs by the accusers bore a semblance of blasphemy itself.

Despite the acquittal, Chaudhry Ghulam Mustafa, representing the plaintiffs, expressed strong dissent, citing that Bibi had allegedly confessed to the derogatory remarks in a bid for a pardon. Nonetheless, Asia Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Mulook, remarked to AFP that the verdict demonstrated the capacity of Pakistan’s justice system to uphold the rights of minorities and the underprivileged.

Pakistan’s Societal Response

Following the verdict, major backlash ensued within Pakistan, orchestrated predominantly by Islamic organizations led by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan. Many urban centers, including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Peshawar, witnessed substantial disruptions. The Pakistani Government swiftly responded by elevating security measures for Christian communities and places of worship across the country.

Reflecting on Rights and Religion

Notably, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded the judgment by referencing a Hadith from the Prophet of Islam, emphasizing the rights of minorities—an apt reminder of the foundational principles of justice and equality inherent to Islam.

Asia Bibi’s acquittal is not merely a legal victory but a beacon of hope affirming that justice, fairness, and religious tolerance can prevail in the face of adversity.

Original article from ECSPE.org

By Max Gibson

Max Gibson, also known as Mosheh, holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has competed on his college's crew, cross country and track and field teams. Max co-founded the College Republicans and has run successful businesses, including Apex Web Services, which serves as CTO for non-profits Farrukh Saif Foundation and 'Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved.' He has been in a leadership position in the non-profit sector since 2011. In addition to his business pursuits, Max is a combat veteran of three major wars and is known for his generosity and strong belief in God.
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