Lifting the last hurdle in the blasphemy case, Pakistan's Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the acquittal of Asia Bibi.
The Christian woman was convicted back in 2010 on the accusations of insulting Prophet Muhammad. Despite years of captivity, Asia Bibi had always maintained her innocence.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa pronouncing the final verdict said, "Based on merit, this review petition is dismissed."
Amid the agitation of Islamic extremists and the government refusing to reveal her whereabouts, the speculations of where the mother-of-two will seek asylum are already doing the rounds.
After eight years of captivity, her death sentence was overturned by the Pakistan Apex Court in October last year, that triggered rampant protests around the country. Although the country is expecting a burst of protests by extremist groups, the hardline clerics responsible for the violent protests last year are still serving jail-time.
The petition was filed by religious radicals, who expressed their displeasure with the abolishment of her death sentence. They also called the killing of the judges who acquitted her and demanded to overthrow the Imran Khan government.
The political party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), responsible for leading the protests demanding her execution are geared up for action.
The accusation against the Christian woman emerged after a row with her neighbour.
Blasphemy persists to be an issue in Pakistan, back in November, as reported by ANI, Nadeem Nusrat, Chairman of Voice of Karachi, pointed out how the Pakistan Government is gradually losing grounds to the whelm of religious extremist groups. He further mentioned how Pakistan found its image to be “already-maligned” globally.
Nusrat further applauded the ‘courageous’ decision of the Pakistani Supreme Court to revoke the death sentence of Aasia Bibi, blamed of blasphemy. He detailed how the law of blasphemy is exploited to consistently mauling the nation’s religious minority.
Activists from the Christian minority in Pakistan said in September 2018 that they are being persecuted, discriminated and forced to leave the country. Now living in exile, these members of the Christian community participated at the ongoing 39th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and demanded the safety of minorities in Pakistan, and emphasized on the abolition of the blasphemy law.
Noyal Malik, a human rights defender and member of the Pakistan Minorities Alliance, who now lives in Italy, said;
"Not only Christians but all minorities in Pakistan are also facing discrimination and getting persecuted. They are feeling unsafe and are leaving the country. We have participated in the United Nations and request the Pakistan government to provide security and safety to the minorities, which are being denied to them as of now."
"The minorities in Pakistan are paying a huge price for safeguarding their own identity. They are living in fear and have no freedom. We are being offered jobs of sweepers in Pakistan," he added.
(With ANI inputs)