Home News Analysis TLP protest: Did government place Asia Bibi’s name on ECL?

TLP protest: Did government place Asia Bibi’s name on ECL?

Asia Bibi’s

News Analysis |

As the situation continues to remain uncertain and chaotic in Lahore and Islamabad due to the protest led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court calling for a review of the court’s verdict acquitting Asia Bibi. In the review plea filed in the apex court’s Lahore registry on Thursday, the petitioners urged the court to have Asia Bibi put on the Exit Control List (ECL) and have her barred from leaving the country until a decision on the petition.

The petitioners have argued that Bibi confessed to her crimes during investigation, and that a delay in lodging the First Information Request (FIR) does not imply that the defendant is not guilty of the crime. It is worth mentioning here that the electronic media aired a news, stating the government will file a review petition and the name of Ms. Asia has been placed on the ECL.

PM Khan also made it clear that it was the responsibility of the state to protect the life, property and liberty of people and if anyone tried to disrupt the order, the state would be in action.

The government categorically rejected the development and maintained its earlier position on the matter. Dr. Shireen Mazari, Minister for Human Rights, stated in a tweet that “some correction to clear media confusion: A protestor has filed a Review Petition in SC & in that demanded Asiya BB’s name be put on ECL – Govt has nothing to do with both these moves. Review Petition and it’s prayers are between SC and petitioner. PM’s position has been clear.”

Read more: Will government use force against the TLP protesters?

A clarification was also presented on PTI official account “Minister for Information and Broadcasting @fawadchaudhry has denied reports of placement of Asia Bibi’s name on the Exit Control List. The Government of Pakistan has nothing to do with any review petition or ECL.”

Background of the Case

According to details, Asia Bibi, a Christian woman and a death-row prisoner was convicted of blasphemy in Nov 2010. Media reports suggest that in June 2009, Aasia was involved in an argument with a group of women. Subsequently, she was accused of blasphemy (she allegedly insulted Islam and used derogatory words against the scared personalities). In 2010, a lower court after listening to the arguments from both sides and looking into the available evidence awarded her the capital punishment.

In 2014, the Lahore High Court (LHC) upheld her death sentence despite criticism from some segments of civil society and international media. However, the apex court had issued a stay order on her execution in July 2015. The stay order was issued by the top court since the case had become controversial and complex which demanded more deliberation to be concluded.

Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court calling for a review of the court’s verdict acquitting Asia Bibi.

On 31st October the SC acquitted her and reversed the orders of the lower courts. After the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Ms. Asia Bibi supporters of the TLP took to the street and main roads in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi and sealed off the cities. The leaders of the TLP and other religious parties reportedly demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister and Judges who were part of a three-member bench, and suspension of the verdict of the top court.

Read more: “Strict Action”: Polls show a majority of people against TLP Actions

Initially, the government did not pay any attention to the protesters across the country. But on the eve of Wednesday Prime Minister spoke to the nation and urged people not to become a part of those threatening the writ of the state. PM Khan also made it clear that it was the responsibility of the state to protect the life, property and liberty of people and if anyone tried to disrupt the order, the state would be in action.

The government is reportedly in contact with the troublemakers and all efforts are being made to deal with the situation without the use of force. But the ministers and PM have clearly said if the protesters cross redline the government shall be compelled to take action.


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