SC reserves judgment in Asia Bibi blasphemy case

SC reserves judgment in Asia Bibi blasphemy case
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ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court Monday reserved verdict in the appeal of Asia Bibi against her conviction in blasphemy case, under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

A three-judge special bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel reserved the verdict after hearing the arguments placed by litigants counsels.

During course of proceedings, Asia Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook pleaded that the incident took place on June 14, 2009 and the case was registered on June 19 by an "Imam" in Katanwala village who alleged that Bibi had confessed to committing blasphemy.

Mulook further informed the bench that the Imam (prayer leader) himself was not a witness to the incident.

He said that there were contradictions regarding how the notice of the incident was taken moreover permission was not taken from the district coordination officer (DCO) or the district police officer (DPO) to register the FIR, Mulook added.

Justice Nisar said as per the Imam's statment, a panchayat was held in a five marla house and 1,000 people had gathered for it, moreover prayer leader said that the villagers had not attempted to beat up Bibi, the CJ added.

"Bibi was a Christian preacher", the CJ asked the counsel. To this Mulook respondented in negative and said, “She was never a preacher.”

"From your statements we have gathered that the Imam himself did not witness the incident as it happened and no blasphemous words were said in his presence.” Justice Khosa remarked.

The counsel respondented in positive.

Justice Khosa pointed out that there were two versions about the filing of complaint, first one said the application was given to police near a river while the second stated that the application was submitted in a police station.

Subsequently, the bench after hearing the arguments reserved the judgment to announce it later.

Aasia was accused of blasphemy in 2009 and in 2010, a lower court awarded her capital punishment. In 2014, the Lahore High Court (LHC) upheld her death sentence.

However, the apex court had issued a stay order on her execution in July 2015.

APP

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