UPDATE: Asia Bibi, freed from death row, arrived in Canada seven months after Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned the charges against her. She had been living in hiding after Muslim mobs threatened to kill her and the justices. She gained asylum and was quietly taken to Canada, where her children are living.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court upheld its acquittal and overturned the death sentence of Asia Bibi on January 29, 2019.
Pray for her safety. She is free to leave Pakistan, but radical Islamists may always pursue her.
Asia Bibi was found innocent of all charges in October 2018. Protesters shut down cities and demanded the Supreme Court review the case. Radical Islamists threatened to kill Pakistani justices who did not find her guilty. Asia has been held in secret since then.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said of the ruling, “You could not point [to even] a single mistake in the Supreme Court’s verdict.” The accusers against Asia Bibi are guilty of perjury and would be jailed if the case had not been so sensitive, the justice said.
“The image of Islam we are showing to the world give me much grief and sorrow,” Khosa said.
Christians in Pakistan suffer under constant threat of being falsely accused of blasphemy and executed or killed by mobs. Several have cases pending, but are being held discreetly so to not inflame radical Islamists. Please pray for them.
Several countries have offered asylum to Asia Bibi.
The radical group Tehrik-e-Labbaik uses mobs and vigilantism to exact revenge on people accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, or those who defend the accused. Since October and its violent protest of Asia Bibi’s acquittal, many of its leaders have been under arrest. Hours before the Court upheld their decision, the acting chief of the group warned the court not to rule favorably for the “blasphemer”.
Pakistan’s media is reportedly underplaying the Supreme Court’s latest verdict.
Pakistan Supreme Court’s ruling relied on legal standards that are often jettisoned in cases of blasphemy. The justices rebuked the false witnesses and illegitimate prosecution against Asia Bibi – and said the witnesses had blasphemed against Asia Bibi’s Christian religion.
For a summary of the Court’s decision, read Asia Bibi Acquitted. Court Rebukes “Lies” and Blasphemy Against Asia Bibi’s Religion