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Mar-16-2014 11:09printcomments

Be Blessed, CLAAS Pleads for Asia's Justice

Hitting a sensitive nerve, one particular case has shed light on how the Pakistani government has been taken hostage by militant extremists.

Asia Bibi
Asia Bibi

(ISLAMABAD) - The Supreme Court of Pakistan endorsed the Islamabad High Court's decision setting free the juvenile girl Rimsha, who was accused of blasphemy in the capital. This case made history in blasphemy cases in Pakistan and the decision was appreciated nationally and on international grounds.

Four years ago, Asia Bibi, was considered to be “unclean” by some Muslim women. A dispute ensued and her fellow women complained that she blasphemed against the Prophet Muhammad. She was sentenced to death by hanging, and has been languishing in a jail ever since.

The case has prompted widespread international condemnation but in Pakistan, some of those who publicly called for Asia’s release were murdered, people like Governor Salmaan Tasee, and Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti.

Asia’s case has been widely featured in media reports around the world; scores of victims accused of blasphemy vanish into the shadows without the public hearing of them.

Despite the international and domestic uproar, Asia is still in Jail. Farmer President Asif Ali Zardari dropped plans to issue a presidential pardon after hard-line pro-blasphemy groups staged massive demonstrations against the measures.

In the situation, CLAAS, after careful consideration, has pled in Lahore High Court - LHC for Asia’s case. Joseph Francis, chief of CLAAS, believes that God will soften the hearts of the Judges and they will follow the international norms and justice will prevail. Talking on the telephone, Francis said that Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws.

Several sections of PPC forbid damaging or defiling a place of worship, outraging religious feelings, defiling the Quran and prophet Muhammad. Those accused of blasphemy are frequently threatened or attacked, even before any investigation has been carried out.

Hitting a sensitive nerve, the case has shed light on how the Pakistani government has been taken hostage by militant extremists. Pakistani judges are under pressure from mobs waiting outside their courtrooms, ready to spark riots. Lawyers fear assuming the defense of the accused. Rather than doing what’s right, it’s easier for Pakistani authorities to turn a blind eye.

Releasing Asia would inflame and place Pakistani society at the mercy of religious extremists. It would help Pakistan demonstrate that it will not bow down to those who threaten the rule of law through violence and intimidation.

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About Shamim Masih

"I am a Christian rights activist and freelancer Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christians rights for the different papers in the world. My aim is to create a peaceful environment in the society and to help eliminate Christian persecution through my writing as I bring the plight of these brave people under the spotlight of the whole world."

Shamim Masih was born in Sheikhopura's village and raised in Gujranwala, a city in Pakistan's Punjab province. He earned his Bachelors Degree from the University of the Punjab, Lahore majoring in English, Economics and Statistics; he also received a Masters Degree in Business Administration

As a freelance writer and author, Shamim has written for different papers in the world; his expertise is in writing articles highlighting different social issues. He has served as freelance chief reporter and column writer in “Minority Times” in Islamabad, and a number of Shamim's articles have been published in local papers as well.

You can write to Shamim at this address: shamimpakistan@gmail.com

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