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Who did Pakistanis support in Asia Bibi’s case?


News Desk |

In a major development, Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its much-awaited verdict in Asia Bibi’s case on Wednesday, October 31, acquitting her of charges and ordering her immediate release.

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was accused of committing blasphemy in 2009. A trial court had found her guilty of the crime and awarded her death punishment. The Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence. As a last resort, Asia Bibi approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan to repeal her death sentence.

However, JUI-F strongly opposed the recommendations and called them an attempt to change the blasphemy laws to ‘please the foreign masters’.

An immediate and strong reaction has been seen on roads as well as on social media platform. On the call of their leader Khadim Rizvi, TLP followers besieged all main points of metropolitans, including Capital City. Life has been paralyzed and traffic suspended as the mob in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad have staged the sit-in.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has announced that it will hold countrywide protests on Friday against the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Asia Bibi case. Jamaat-i-Ahle Hadees, a religious party has also called for demonstrations against apex court’s verdict.

On the other hand, social media users called it the victory of the justice system in Pakistan. Politicians, analysts, and celebrities either came forward supporting the decision or given the sensitivity of the issue, preferred to not comment on the verdict.

Read more: SC acquits Asia Bibi & orders immediate release

People’s party leadership applauded the decision of the Supreme Court and urged the government to take measures for the security situation across the country.

It is pertinent to mention that Salman Taseer, leader of Pakistan People’s Party was gunned down by his own guard for supporting Asia Bibi.

Analysts mostly reported on the worsening situation resulted due to the protest.  They showed concern over the protection of Asia Bibi and her family.

Not a lot them openly supported the decision but a few did.

Celebrities and civil society members embraced the decision as a great achievement.

The Senate human rights committee in March this year had recommended that anyone falsely accusing a person of blasphemy should be awarded a similar punishment prescribed for a convict of blasphemy. However, JUI-F strongly opposed the recommendations and called them an attempt to change the blasphemy laws to ‘please the foreign masters’.

Curbing the extremist approach of these parties without hurting the followers seem a tough task for the government and law enforcement agencies.

During recent years with the emergence of social media, the number of blasphemy cases has shockingly increased. Horrendous incidents involving blasphemy allegation– like the lynching of Mashal Khan, a student of Abdul Wali Khan, killing of Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi, a Christian couple burnt alive in Kiln in Kot Radha Kishan, mob attacking the Joseph Colony in Badami Bagh Lahore and many more– have shaken the society.

Some analysts believe it is more about setting personal vendettas in disguise of Blasphemy, some opine–given the SES (Socioeconomic Status) of people involved in such incidents, this frustration and extremism are the result of the strong divide in society when it comes to law and justice and basic human rights.

Read more: Asia Bibi case: Opportunist Khadim Rizvi threatens judiciary, NGOs and the…

However, this aspect can’t be denied that certain religiopolitical parties only work on religious sentiments of people and never let go of exploiting the opportunity whenever they see one. Curbing the extremist approach of these parties without hurting the followers seems a tough task for the government and law enforcement agencies.

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