Today, 8 October, the Supreme Court of Pakistan reserved judgment in the blasphemy case lodged against death-row convict Aasia Bibi.
Bibi, a mother of four, became the first woman to be sentenced to death when she was convicted of blasphemy in November 2010.
Her case has outraged Christians worldwide and been a source of division within Pakistan, where two politicians who sought to help Bibi were assassinated, including Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who was shot by his own bodyguard.
The ultra-religious Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) party, which makes punishing blasphemy its main campaign rallying cry and lionises the bodyguard who killed Taseer, warned the court against any “concession or softness” for Bibi.
“If there is any attempt to hand her over to a foreign country, there will be terrible consequences,” TLP said in a statement.
During the two hours, 45 minutes hearing, a three-judge special bench highlighted several discrepancies in the statements of prosecution and court witnesses in the case.
An expert in criminal law, Justice Khosa noted that the prosecution case was weak due to discrepancies in the statements of their witnesses. The statements, he observed, lacked details about the quarrel between Aasia and the accusers.
Justice Khosa pointed out that there were two versions about the filing of the complaint: the first one said the application was given to police near a river while the second stated that the application was submitted in a police station.
Bibi was sentenced to death for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim.
Bibi has always denied blaspheming and her representatives have claimed she was involved in a dispute with her neighbours and that her accusers had contradicted themselves.