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In a long drawn out hearing of a devious and infamous petition submitted to Lahore Supreme Court by Qari Muhammed Salaam on behalf of firebrand preacher Khadim Hussain Rizvi which sought to quash the acquittal received by Asia Bibi, a positive result has led to the end of Asia Bibi's long running saga!
Asia Bibi, Pakistan's longest serving and most famous blasphey victim has finally won her freedom. A three judge panel has declared her innocent and now no further right of appeal against her acquittal exists. A three-member bench Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa; Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, heard the review petition that was filed by Qari Muhammad Salaam. (click here)
Mehwish Bhatti, who was present at the court said:
"I thank God for today, this news will break the hearts of the evil haters in ths world but all people of good conscience across the globe will no doubt be sighing a deep breath of relief.
"I feel like singing and dancing, I just want to praise and worship the Lord our God as Kind David di many years ago.
"Today as in the time of Moses God has come to rescue one of his own!
High security outside the Supreme Court Building
According to The Express Tribune,
"Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked the complainant counsel's to assist in deciding what should be the punishment for those witnesses who made the false statement. The CJP said that under the law, the false witnesses in such cases should be awarded life imprisonment after the summary trial."
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
"Today is a day of rejoicing, come what may in the aftermath of this decision.
"Asia Bibi has always been innocent and it is a blight on Pakistan that it took almost ten years to come to this decision to free her.
"Her freedom is a massive step in the advancement of equality and justice in Pakistan.
"I am sure years from now her bravery in the face of such malice and her steadfast and resolutene faith in Christ despite the pressure to adopt Islam, will become a galvanising cry for change which will topple the deepset intolerance in Pakistan.
"Asia is an international figure now and can represent not only the Pak-Christian cause but the cause for all persecuted Christians and minorities. This woman's sacrifice deserves a noble peace prize and I know soon many key figures across the globe will be challenging for this to happen.
"No humanitarian group can rest on their laurels our work is not complete.
"Over 40 other blasphemy victims reside in Pakistani jails of which close to 50% are known to be Christian - Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws must be abrogated speedily to prevent this ever happening again!."
Lord Alton, said:
"This is a very welcome and courageous judgment from the Supreme Court.
"Inevitably, it will test the Pakistan Government's resolve in dealing with the intimidation and threats posed by Tehrik-e-Labbaik, who have threatened mass public protests. But mob rule must never be allowed to overpower the rule of law - and in ensuring due process Pakistan's highest legal authorities deserve our greatest possible respect."
"I feel huge admiration for the Supreme Court justices who, by taking this decision, have been willing to put the rule of law above every other consideration.
"Pakistan's remarkable founder, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, passionately believed that minorities should have a place of dignity and respect in Pakistan. It's a principle even woven into the country's flag.
"How countries treat their minorities is a crucial litmus test and Pakistan simply needs to look at its own foundation principles to see that they are failing the Jinnah-test, as minorities face discrimination and persecution.
"Asia Bibi has endured hell. Imprisoned on a trumped up charge, she has spent nine years in prison, facing execution. Her two daughters have had a short childhood - one largely without their mother.
"Yes, this is a significant day, but we must not forget that this long overdue outcome has been paid for in blood. Two great Pakistanis - Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer – Christian and Muslim - were murdered for their advocacy on this case.
"Asia Bibi has spent nine years in prison, facing execution. She now needs to be reunited with her family and given time and space to rebuild her life."
Following the decision, rioters are beginning to holler for Asia Bibi's death and we are very concerned for her safety. She will need to continue to be subjected to security measures, while these extremists fixate on her. She must exit Pakistan as soon as possible! She has already needed to remain under guard, another three months following her acquittal.
Asia Bibi must be able to flee to her family in the safety of their new home. Diplomats have confirmed that Asia's family have been re-located to Canada, now she must be able to join them in freedom. The time has come for them to be together. (click here)
British Pakistani Christian Association, continues to provide advocacy and humanitarian aid to Christians in Pakistan and the Pak-Christian diaspora. We cannot do it without your help please donate by clicking (here)