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Hate, hate and more hate - Is there any hope for Asia Bibi after judge resigns through fear?

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Image shows banner placed up by a Barelvi Sunni cleric in Lahore. The bone-chilling words on the banner translate as 'Anyone who even tries to free this blasphemer, the accursed Asia Bibi is also worthy of receiving death."

Judge who withdrew himself from Asia Bibi's appeal hearing now resigns from the judiciary!

Asia Bibi's future is hard to predict.  After her already delayed Supreme Court appeal for her blasphemy conviction seven years previous was postponed, many Christians became deeply disheartened.   Apparently a judge who should have been on a panel of three presiding over her trial, failed to recognize until the day of the trial that Asia Bibi's case was closely connected with the murder of Salmaan Taseer.

Justice Iqbal Hameed abstained himself from sitting on the panel claiming a conflict of interest, but few believe he discovered this barrier to judicial independence on the day of the trial.  Asia Bibi is Pakistan's most famous blasphemy victim ever and her name would have been bandied about during the trial of Salman Taseer. Mr Hameed would have been aware of her case for months and his actions seem only to be an act of cowardice, a chance of self preservation despite his vaunted position in a creaking national justice system.

Well yesterday Mr Hameed sent shockwaves through the Pakistani justice system when he resigned from his post as a Judge without giving any reason.  By doing so he is paving the way for many similar resignations by weak men of justice, that will cause the collapse of an already corrupt Judicial system.  Justice Hameed was the judge presiding over a commission that probed the Gojra riots of 2009.  An act of violence that resulted in 9 people shot dead, 200 Christian homes and two churches razed to the ground and the creation of the BPCA. Despite over a hundred arrests of implicated murderers and rioters not one person was convicted for the crimes. Mr Hameed's resignation then comes as no surprise, as his previous inability to stand for truth has come back to haunt him. I can only surmise that realizing the implication of a watchful international media, Mr Hameed did not want to face the outright condemnation that people in the west would have for his sentencing of Asia Bibi to death by hanging. 

To be honest, I cant help but think his role in the three man judging panel was somewhat contrived.  As an old school judicial bastion for the position held by the government and general society, perhaps there was great expectation that their 'good Muslim' man could finally kill off Asia Bibi.  That plot has failed so what now? Perhaps a chance for justice still exists for Asia?


The hand-written letter of Justice Hameed.

The duress this 'champion of justice' caved into, illustrates the power of extremists who are the real authority in Pakistan. Shattering western perceptions that Pakistan is the last bastion of moderate Islam, in an Islamic world collapsing to fundamentalist ideology. A truth the rest of us have known for decades.

Just why Britain and America continue to believe Pakistan is an ally in the war against terror baffles me.  Bin Ladin was assassinated in a covert operation after the US temporarily lost faith and despite ploughing billions into upgrading Pakistan forces the country has failed to curb the rise of the Taliban. Moreover, if anything the instability serves Pakistan immensely as it means they can continue to leech the west for their foreign Aid.  Both Britain and America have made Pakistan their largest recipient of tax-payers money much to the chagrin of their citizens.
 While a further delay will now extend Asia Bibi's already lengthy seven year incarceration to an unprecedented stay, on trumped up charges, one can only hope the delay will be a long one.  The dreaded pronouncement of her death by a Supreme Court adamant it will not see justice for this innocent mother of five, will be a painful jolt for all humanitarians who have been campaigning for her freedom.

I like many other supporters of Asia Bibi have been praying for her freedom.  But every day that passes I fear that she will either be killed in custody and that her death will be masked as a natural death, or that she will finally fail her Supreme Court hearing - as this would be  the most popular decision in a country riven with hate.  Sadly that position is even held by much of the Judiciary who have also been blinded by the hate agenda promulgated through media and the education system in Pakistan.  The very same education system that Britain sends £225million pounds of UK tax-payers money to annually.

There is no greater evidence of the hatred towards Asia Bibi then the daily protest occurring across the country by group after group, which is ensuring every Muslim in the country gets their chance to call for her blood. Thank God the country has not enacted a referendum to decide her fate. Read more (here)

I believe Asia Bibi's only real hope for freedom lies with a presidential pardon.  Never before has this constitutional power been utilized and it will take great bravery for President Mamnoon Hussain to make the right decision. That said the more international pressure that can be placed on the Government of Pakistan the more likely Asia will be set free.  It would be a blessing for all if Asia is exonerated by the Supreme Court of Pakistan but hope is diminishing for a fair trial when the judiciary is clearly not independent of socio-political factors. Moreover, the corrupt nature of the Judiciary leaves only shreds of hope. It is with this in mind that I challenge people to sign our petition and to place your name besides the 16,000 plus people that have joined us to call for freedom for Asia.  If you would like o sign please (click here)

If you would like to contribute to help the family of Asia please donate to our ongoing appeal
(click here)
 

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