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Asia Bibi's court hearing adjourned after judge abstains from the panel


Australian Senator Eric Abetz gave a statement in favour of Asia Bibi this morning.  
Asia Bibi's Supreme Court appeal hearing has been adjourned for an indefinite period of time after Justice Iqbal Hameed  ur  Rahman abstained from the 3 member bench hearing the appeal of Asia Bibi. The bench was formed comprising Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Manzoor Ahamd Malik who were to hear the appeal which was submitted by Asia Bibi in Supreme court on 24th November 2014.  

Justice Iqbal Hameed, member of the bench told the court, "I was a member of the bench hearing the case of Salman Taseer and this case is related to that." He abstained from the bench and the hearing was adjourned.

Saif ul Malook, the lawyer representing Asia Bibi objected to the adjournment but his objection was overruled and the bench refused to hear his objection. 

Asia Bibi was not present in the court due to security concerns but her husband Ashaq Masih could be seen looking very nervous throughout the hearing.  With Ashiq Masih was Saif ul Malook, the lawyer representing Asia Bibi and Tahir Khalil Sandhu, Minister for Human Rights among others.

The security levels at the Supreme Court were raised to the highest level and no members of the general public were  allowed to enter.   

A  BPCA officer, who is a licensed reporter was present at the hearing. He spoke with the BPCA:

"I was present at the hearing and it only took 1 or 2 minutes and the hearing was adjourned. I looked at Ashiq Masih and saw the anguish and anger in his eyes.  As he left the court he was visibly shaken by yet another postponement in the exceedingly long legal saga of Asia Bibi.  I myself felt very saddened as the  nature of the postponement is very unusual, for Asia it must be another huge blow to her confidence."

Wilson Chowdhry met Australia's New South Wales Parliamentary Secretary for Justice the Honourable David Clarke MLC whilst the postponement was announced. Mr Chowdhry shared his disappointment, he said:

"Asia Bibi has suffered another postponement in her attempts to seek justice against the fabricated blasphemy charge that has left her imprisoned in isolation for seven years. Throughout her ad infinitum legal saga she has remained staunch and true to her faith, firmly believing God will set her free.

"However each postponement, of which there were five during her failed High Court appeal, part of her fortitude was palpably diminished. This latest debacle evidences that the vaunted Supreme court is not independent of societal, cultural and political pressure, indicating that justice may not be as easy to achieve as hoped due to a frightened judiciary.

"Failing the exoneration of Asia Bibi that the whole world is awaiting through Pakistan's failing legal system, her only hope will be a Presidential pardon. 

"No president has ever exercised this authority before and President Mamnoon Hussain will be a very brave man to do this. 

"Under the existing climate of extremism that has pervaded Pakistani society through intolerance bred through hate ideology inculcated via the Education system in the country, minorities find themselves at risk. 

It is a political failure that fundamentalism has hijacked the nation of Pakistan, but will Pakistan's politicians be brave enough to make the right decision for a change and free poor Asia Bibi and in doing so make some amends."

Cllr Naji with Wilson Chowdhry

Councillor Naji Peter Najjar from Canterbury-Bankstown City Council (South West Sydney NSW Australia) also met with Wilson Chowdhry.  Councillor Najjar was dismayed at the continuous imprisonment of an innocent mother of five children who has languished in prison for the last seven years. He stated:

"...alleged crimes of this nature should not exist in the 21st century in any country or culture".  Councillor Najjar added:

"... these draconian blasphemy laws of Pakistan are in breach of international human rights obligations. They simply must be abrogated." 

British Pakistani Christian association is asking people of good conscience to sign their petition (click here)

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