Asia Bibi: Supreme Court of Pakistan to decide in accordance with the law of the land as it exists and not according to western wishes

bismillah

Aasiya, better known as Aasiya Maloona (the cursed one) in Pakistan, is a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. When her coworkers refused to drink water offered by her, she used harsh words about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of almighty Allah be upon him) and the Holy Quran.  The Christian organizations and online forums have portrayed her case as example of general prosecution of religious miniorities in Pakistan. After citing her poor family and children condition, state shared by millions of poor Pakistani Muslims as well, the criticism is diverted towards the blasphemy laws, portraying how “cruel” the laws are to convict such a poor woman. A new idea is to hit foundations of Pakistan and the two nation theory by crying how miltant and fundamentalist Pakistan has turned as opposed to “secular” values held by the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

What they forget to mention is that Jinnah fought with both the British and the secular Indian National Congress to obtain a land for Muslims which could be a “laboratory of Islamic principles”. Prior to independence in 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah defended a youth Ghazi Ilam Ud Din Shaheed in court who had murdered a publisher responsible for publishing a blasphemy book. The thinker of Pakistan Allama Muhammad Iqbal, too, praised Ghazi Ilam Ud Din and also Ghazi Qayuum Shaheed, another youth who killed a blaphemer in a court in Karachi. Equal citizenship does in no way mean free ticket to hurl hatred or disrespectful words towards our beloved The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Respect and love of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is at the core of belief of a Muslim. Smallest criticism of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) raises intense unrest among Muslims. The Muslim people in general are very silent and patient and often shun courts even to claim their legitimate rights. However the respect of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Almighty Allah be upon him) is a different matter. Thery are ready to sacrifice everything for this cause. On the contrary western people are very much concerned about their personal rights but have no respect for their religious matters. That is why we can never understand each other on these issues.

Often it is claimed that Mr. Zia Ul Haque, a military dictator of Pakistan through 1980s, is responsible for stricter version of blasphemy laws. Though it is partially true but he implemented the said amendments to pacify the public demands. The blasphemy laws were later challenged in supreme court and were vetted to be inline with constitution. The court even cancelled the life imprisonment under 295C PPC,  keeping death sentence the only punishment.

The provincial minister for miorities of Punjab Government Mr. Tahir Sindhu has represented her case in Punjab High Court and would also be representing her in the supreme court of Pakistan. He hopes for her acquittal as the date for her case hiring in supreme court is approaching fast, the 13th October 2016. The pope Benidict XVI demanded for her pardon during a sermon and stated that he had mystical links with Aasiya Noreen. While there is a collected effort of western nations to mount pressure on Pakistan to acquit the maloona, more of the pressure is directed towards criticising the blasphemy laws of Pakistan. Two top Pakistani politicians lost their lives for campaigning against the blaphemy laws. Despite their efforts the public opinion is still highly in favour of these laws as these provide a safegaurd. Otherwise people would start killing the accused in extrajudicial way.

Aasiya Maloona hails from a village Ittanwali near Nankana Sahib, Pakistan. She used to pick falsa from the gardens owned by one Mr Muhammad Idrees. On 14 June 2009 she had an argument with her Muslim coworker girls. According to her statement as described in the session court she narrates that, “Mafia Bibi and Asima Bibi quarreled with me over fetching water which was offered by me to bring for them but they refused saying that since I am christian, so, they never took water from the hand of Christian. Over this quarrel was insued and some hot words were exchanged between myself and the ladies.” We find the nature of those hot words by going through the session court and the high court verdicts where the eyewitnesses accounts are presented.

The facts as summarised in the court verdict for the complaint lodged by Qari Muhammad Saalam, “On 14.6.2009, Asia Bibi, a Christian Preacher along with several other ladies including Mafia Bibi, Asma Bibi and Yasmin of the village was plucking Falsa (Grewia/purple berry), in the field belonging to one Muhammad ldrees where Asia Parveen uttered derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) by stating that (Maaz Allah) the Prophet of the Muslims fell ill one month prior to his death and the insects nourished in His mouth and ear. She further stated that your Prophet (PBUH) married Hazrat Khadija (R.A) just for her wealth and after looting the same, she was deserted by Him. She further stated that Holy Quran is not the book of God but a man-made book. The ladies narrated the matter to the Qari Muhammad Saalam and others. On 19.6.2009, the complainant along with Muhammad Afzal, Mukhtar Ahmad, sent for Asma Bibi etc and Aasia Bibi and inquired from her who confessed her guilt in a public meeting.”

 

Timeline of Aasia Maloona Case:

  • 14-06-2009 Sunday: Aasia commits blasphemy in Ittanwali in a garden belonging to Muhammad Idrees in front of several fellow workers in jurisdiction of Polise Station Sadar Nankana Sahib.

  • 19-06-2009: A public gathering was held in the village in presence of Qari Muhammad Saalam and Muhammad Afzal where Asia Bibi was present. She accepted that she used blasphemy words and she is sorry for that. The FIR is registered and Asia was arrested by policewomen.

  • 29-06-2009: Supredent Police (SP) Investigation Shaikhupura Mr. Muhammad Amin Bukhari suumoned both parties of which 27 persons were from the prosecutor side and five from the christian side.

  • 06-07-2009: SP Investigation meets Asia in prison to investigate her side of story

  • 13-10-2009: Asia is charged with 295-C PPC by additional session judge.

  • 01-06-2010: Witnesses recorded by Muhammad Saalam (PW-1), Mafia Bibi(PW-2), Asma Bibi(PW-3), Muhammad Afzal (PW4).

  • 06-07-2010: Investigation report by SP Investigation Shaikhupura submitted stating Aasia is not innocent.

  • 15-10-2010: Muhammad Idrees the garden owner. He witness Asia confirm her account immediately after the event and again in the public gathering in the village.

  • 20-10-2010: Asia gives her statement where she describes her account of events in question 7.

  • 08-11-2010: Session court convicts asia with 295-C and death sentence.

  • 20-11-2010: Mr. Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab, goes to Sheikhupura jail to meet Asia Bibi. There he terms blasphemy law as a “black law” and receives application of pardon from Aasia Bibi in jail and promises publicly to officially forward it to President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari saying that the president was legally and constitutionally empowered to pardon Asia Bibi who is poor, innocent and illiterate.

  •  04-01-2011, Kohsar Market in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, Punjab’s governor, Salmaan Taseer, walks out of a restaurant and steps in his car, a 26 years bearded, and forehead calloused with prayers body guard Mumtaz Qadri part of elite police force, sprays nine bullets of his official gun on governor of Punjab.

  • 16-10-2014: High cour maintains the punishment delivered by lower court.

  • 13-09-2016: Supreme court to hear the appeal of Aasia.

The case is a test for the supreme court of Pakistan whether it maintains justice inline with the laws of the country and the Islamic values or submits to the western pressure. As blasphemy law is currently in enforcement, the respected judges “…are obligated to decide this case in accordance with the law of the land as it exists and not in accordance with what the law should be.” as per their statement in case of Ghazi Mumtaz Qadri Shaheed.
There are millions of Christians in Pakistan but they are never persecuted in any way. Committing blasphemy is a different matter altogether. Do not abuse Islam and disrespect the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Almighty Allah be Upon Him) and you are safe and respected otherwise we can not tolerate whatever your religion, creed or skin color is. In general it may well be said that condition of Christians is much better as a minority in Pakistan than that of Muslims in western nations. I may quote the incident of Marwa El-Sherbini who was murdered in a German court by a sick mind and police shoot her husband instead while he was trying to help her. We heard the news of western people getting frustrated at sight of burkini and hijab. Dr. Aafia Siddique was given a severe punishment after very unjust judicial proceedings. These incidents put many of the western objections unjust.

 

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