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Asia Bibi free to leave Pakistan

by Kiley Crossland
Posted 1/29/19, 10:17 am

The Pakistani Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the acquittal of Asia Bibi, the Catholic woman and mother of five sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy against Islam. The high court dismissed a petition asking it to review its Oct. 31 acquittal of Bibi and send her back to death row. Tuesday’s ruling finally clears Bibi to leave the country and seek asylum elsewhere.

Pakistani Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, who led the panel of judges that dismissed the petition, said in court that Bibi’s accusers committed perjury, noting fabricated evidence and contradictory statements by accusing Islamic clerics. “The image of Islam we are showing the world gives me much grief and sorrow,” Khosa said. Bibi’s attorney, Saiful Malook, called the decision a victory for the Pakistani Constitution and the rule of law, expressing hope the acquittal would deter false blasphemy allegations in the future. Malook returned to Islamabad for the court ruling after fleeing the country amid death threats. Bibi remains hidden in an Islamabad safe house. After her acquittal in October, thousands of Islamists rallied across Pakistan to call for her execution.

Riot police in full gear surrounded the court Tuesday, and police searched all cars on the main road outside. Mohammad Shafiq Amini, the acting leader of the Tehreek-i-Labaik party, which has long campaigned for Bibi’s execution, sent a video message to followers rejecting the decision as “cruel and unjust” and calling on supporters to hold nationwide rallies against her release. Radical Islamists took to the streets later Tuesday to protest, calling for the killing of the judges who issued the ruling and the overthrow of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Bibi spent eight years on death row over a 2009 incident involving two Muslim women who worked on a farm with her and refused to drink water from the container she used. A Pakistani court sentenced her to death by hanging in 2010.

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Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

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  • SN
    Posted: Tue, 01/29/2019 04:03 pm

    “The image of Islam we are showing the world gives me much grief and sorrow,” Khosa said.

    Fact is, this image of Islam is accurate.  Islam is not a religion of peace.  Instead it is a brutal totalitarian ideology masquerading as a religion.  Those who pant after Bibi's blood are not extremists.  They are simply Muslims who take their Qur'an seriously.

  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Tue, 01/29/2019 04:54 pm

    I've lived with and worked alongside Muslim communities abroad, and my brother-in-law has much more experience in numerous predominantly Muslim lands, and we would feel your generalization overstated. 
    One could say the same about Christianity, by cherrypicking the numerous horrific events carried out in the name of Jesus. And one could pick out Bible scriptures to support such violence.  
    That is not to say that the way of Jesus and that of Mohammad are the same. Quite different indeed. And of course, there are large swaths of Muslim populations, such as in Pakistan, that hold these violent attitudes. I agree that Islam at its base is not a religion of peace. Followers of Jesus should abstain from violence, pray for enemies, and seek peace. Should, I say, but too often, not. 

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 01/29/2019 08:27 pm

    I would agree that the majority of Muslims are not interested in killing “infidels.”  

    Yet it only takes one fanatic to pull a trigger or set off a bomb. When there are prominent Muslim clerics teaching that the faithful should make war on infidels, and that the eternal rewards for doing so are great, I imagine there will always be a threat. Couple that with those who are happy to fund jihad, including airfare to carry the mission anywhere on earth,  and we should realize we need to remain vigilant. 

    Burying our heads in the sand, even ignoring information about threats, will eventually result in another World Trade Center. 

    Relating this to Ms. Bibi, I doubt she will ever be safe anywhere in the world unless she changes her identity and can maintain complete secrecy about who she once was.