ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on the grounds that prosecution failed to establish its story that the accused has committed blasphemy.
She was apprehended in the year of 2009 and remained on death row for nearly seven years during the pendency of her appeals before Lahore High Court Lahore and subsequently before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
After hearing arguments of complainant and defendant’s counsels on October 08, a three-member bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel reserved verdict in the matter.
The three-judge bench announced judgment on Wednesday on Asia Bibi appeal. Reading verdict, the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said, “The judgments of the High Court as well as the Trial Court are reversed. Consequently, the conviction as also the sentence of death awarded to the appellant is set aside and she is acquitted of the charge. She be released from jail forthwith, if not required in any other criminal case”.In its detailed verdict of 56-page in the matter,(http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk/web/user_files/File/Crl.A._39_L_2015.pdf) Supreme Court said,
“Keeping in mind the evidence produced by the prosecution against the alleged blasphemy committed by the appellant (Asia Bibi), the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt”.
Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa while endorsing the verdict said that glaring and stark contradictions in the evidence produced by the prosecution in respect of every factual aspect of the matter in hand lead to an irresistible and unfortunate impression that all those concerned in the case with providing evidence and conducting investigation had taken upon themselves not to speak the truth or at least not to divulge the whole truth.
“It is equally disturbing to note that the courts below had also, conveniently or otherwise, failed to advert to such contradictions and some downright falsehood. All concerned would have certainly done better if they had paid heed to what Almighty Allah has ordained in the Holy Qur’an”, Justice Khosa said.
It is pertinent to mention that a local court of Sheikupura district had awarded her capital punishment under Section 295-c of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly defaming Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Lahore High Court sustained the punishment and confirmed death sentence in October 2014.
Filing appeal before the Supreme Court in the matter, the counsel for accused submitted that Asia Bibi was persecuted to which on July 22,2015 the Supreme Court suspended death sentence till final adjudication of the appeal.
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