News Analysis |
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of Asia Bibi and ordered her release from prison. Bibi appeared to be in a state of disbelief after being informed of this development from her lawyer.
Her legal team celebrated the court’s decision while Islamabad was put on high alert after protesters blocked main intersections connecting capital with Rawalpindi. “The verdict has shown that the poor, the minorities and the lowest segments of society can get justice in this country despite its shortcomings.”
“I don’t see any derogatory remarks vis-a-vis the holy Koran as per the FIR,” added Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, referring to the initial complaint filed in the case.
This is the biggest and happiest day of my life,” said her lawyer, as reported by AFP. Aasia Bibi herself talked with AFP from prison and said, “I can’t believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?” “I just don’t know what to say, I am very happy, I can’t believe it.”
Earlier in day Supreme Court’s Chief Justice in his ruling said, “The appeal is allowed. She has been acquitted. The judgment of the high court, as well as trial court, is reversed. Her conviction is set aside”. It is yet unclear when she will be released from jail.
Read more: Pakistan divided over Asia Bibi’s release
Security arrangements will need to be in place for her protection; as her family has already said that, they fear for her safety once she is released. Her case gained international prominence; when Pope Benedict XVI called for her release in 2010.
The court case against Aasia Bibi was filled in 2009 when she got in an altercation with two other women; who leveled blasphemy charges against her. A three-member bench of Supreme Court had reserved a judgment on October 8, 2018.
They questioned the validity of case against her, with Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, considered Pakistan’s top expert in criminal law, listing flaws in the proceedings. “I don’t see any derogatory remarks vis-a-vis the holy Koran as per the FIR,” added Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, referring to the initial complaint filed in the case.