Protests break out after Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquits Aasia Bibi

Pakistan acquits Christian woman Bibi in landmark blasphemy case. Protests break out after Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquits Aasia Bibi.

The trial court and Lahore High Court’s verdicts sentencing her to death have been overturned.  The court has also ordered that she be freed immediately if she isn’t wanted in any other cases. The verdict on Aasia Bibi’s appeal challenging her death sentence was announced at 9:35am. The special bench hearing the appeal consists of Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.
“As noted above, no one could be allowed to defy the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and be left unpunished, but there is another aspect of the matter; sometimes, to fulfill nefarious designs the law is misused by individuals leveling false allegations of blasphemy,” read the court order.
“Stately, since 1990, 62 people have been murdered as a result of blasphemy allegations, even before their trial could be conducted in accordance with law. Even prominent figures, who stressed the fact that the blasphemy laws have been misused by some individuals, met with serious repercussions. A latest example of misuse of this law was the murder of Mashal Khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, who in April 2017 was killed by a mob in the premises of the university merely due to an allegation that he posted blasphemous content online,”
“Moreover, it is also pertinent to mention that awarding a sentence is the duty of the State and no one else has the authority to take law into his hands and punish anyone on his own.”
The court added that there were many discrepancies and inconsistencies in the statements of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Protests break out
Reports of protests breaking out as of 9:41am outside the Punjab Assembly after the verdict was announced. Workers of  right wing political party began gathering outside the assembly.
Islamabad’s hospitals have been put on high alert and the leaves of all paramedical staff have been cancelled. The metro bus service has been suspended in Lahore. Several schools have announced early closure and are sending children home.
Owing to prevalent law and order situation, everyone is advised to please restrict their movement for the next few hours, said the Islamabad deputy commissioner. Faizabad, Aabpara, Barakahu and the Kashmir Highway are blocked by protesters, he said, adding that they have arranged for alternate routes that will be shared soon.
At 9:50am reports of minor unrest emerged from Karachi’s Numaish. Traffic on the EBM Causeway in Karachi’s Korangi has also been suspended.
Traffic at Merewether Tower in Karachi has been blocked, as have roads in Baldia Town. The protest in Baldia is being led by MPA Qasim Fakhri. Protesters have begun burning tyres at Tower. Traffic has been blocked on the ICI Bridge in Karachi because of the protest at Tower.
Protests break out after Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquits Aasia Bibi Protests break out after Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquits Aasia Bibi Reviewed by Unknown on 2:29 AM Rating: 5

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