Islamabad: Accepting the 2015 appeal filed by Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death, Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside her death sentence, reported ANI, quoting Dawn News. Bibi became the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. A mother of four, Bibi has been living on death row since 2010. She was condemned for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours had objected to her drinking water from their glass as she wasn’t a Muslim.
Bibi’s case has had Pakistan’s religious hardliners oppose her release. Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) party, which makes punishing blasphemy its main campaign rallying cry, earlier warned the court against any concession or softness for Bibi. In a statement released by TLP, it said, “If there is any attempt to hand her over to a foreign country, there will be terrible consequences.”
The Pak government has made necessary arrangements of securities for protection of all areas with a minority population, places of worship and honourable courts. Cellular and internet services are likely to be suspended in major cities of the country. Islamabad Red Zone has also been sealed due to security concerns. The road from Rawal Dam roundabout to Red Zone has also been closed for traffic by placing containers to block the passage. The Sindh government also has also issued a notification of high alerts in the province to check any untoward incident.
It must be noted that insulting Islam’s prophet is punishable by death under Pakistani law. Dozens have been killed following blasphemy claims, sometimes by mobs of men.