Protestors blocking roads in Islamabad
Protestors blocking roads in Islamabad

Protests erupt across Pakistan post Asiya Bibi's acquittal

ANI | Updated: Oct 31, 2018 13:32 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Oct 31 (ANI): Soon after the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted Asiya Bibi in the blasphemy case against her, scores of people took to streets and launched massive protests opposing the verdict.
According to Samaa TV, protestors, including workers of political parties, gathered outside the Punjab Assembly after pronouncement of the verdict.
As many as 21 roads including G.T. road have been blocked by demonstrators, many of whom belong to right-wing political parties. The roadblocks have led to traffic snarls in several parts of Pakistan, after which diversions have been put in place to ease the situation.
The protests also witnessed violent outbursts as agitators burned tyres in areas of Karachi.
In the wake of widespread protests, the Punjab Home Department has imposed Section 144 in the province from October 31 to November 10, barring gatherings in public places.
A number of security threats were issued ahead of the verdict, including those by religious leaders like Khadim Hussain Rizwi, who threatened to "paralyse the country within hours" if Asiya was acquitted.
Security was heightened in several cities including Islamabad a night before the judgment, with Rangers and Constabulary being deployed to deal with any untoward incident in the aftermath 9of the verdict.
A three-judge special bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel heard Bibi's 2014 appeal against her conviction and death sentence.
Earlier today, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar read out the verdict and overturned the lower court's order which awarded a death sentence to Asiya Bibi. The said verdict by a trial court verdict was later upheld by the Lahore high Court.
CJP Nisar in his judgment said, "Keeping in mind the evidence produced by the prosecution against the alleged blasphemy committed by the appellant, the prosecution has categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The judgments of the High Court as well as the Trial Court are reversed. Consequently, the conviction as also the sentence of death awarded to the appellant is set aside and she is acquitted of the charge. She be released from jail forthwith, if not required in any other criminal case," reported Geo TV.
Justice Khosa noted that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against Asiya Bibi.
"This appeal is, therefore, allowed, the conviction and sentence of the appellant recorded and upheld by the courts below are set aside and she is acquitted of the charge by extending the benefit of doubt to her," he added.
Asiya Bibi, a Christian woman, was convicted in a blasphemy case for her alleged comments against Mohammed Prophet during an argument with three Muslim women.
Bibi had categorically denied all the allegations against her. (ANI)