2016-10-15 15:44:00

Pakistani Islamist extremists demand hanging of Asia Bibi

Sunni Muslim groups have coordinated mass demonstrations across Pakistan, chanting slogans and displaying signs calling for the Christian woman Asia Bibi to be hanged.  Their protests were sparked by the Supreme Court’s postponement of the decision on the case of  the mother of five, sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010, and still waiting for the judgement in her final appeal.  Hundreds of members and supporters of Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah gathered this week in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore to protest against the woman, now in prison for six years on charges of blasphemy.  

“It will be a war if accursed Asia escapes. We are united to guard the honor of Rasool Allah, we are His servants,” Mukhtar, on one of many protesters in Lahore supporting the hanging of the Christian woman told AsiaNews.  “Was Pakistan formed to hang the lovers and spare blasphemers. Why is Asia Bibi not hanged even after the death sentence by Lahore High Court and Supreme Court,” he asked, warning “the government will pay if it acts on foreign agenda and betrays us.”   

Meanwhile, a high ranking Punjab judge has offered to become part of the appeals panel and sya he would confirm the death penalty  issued in the first instance by the High Court of Lahore. "I have long studied the case - the Assistant Attorney General Chaudhry Ahmad Zubair Farooq said yesterday - and overwhelming evidence and testimonies have emerged against the defendant".

Bishop Shukardin Samson of Hyderabad, Sindh Province, explained to AsiaNews that it is the competence of the Supreme Court, to decide "whether to listen or not" to the opinion of the prosecutor. The problem, said the prelate, "is that there are extremist groups who are paying great attention to a story that has taken on international significance." 

Meanwhile, many Christians and members of activist groups have vented their frustration on social networks.  Benjamín Yousaf, Executive Director of NGO Dignity First, in defense of the Christian, wrote on Facebook that "the judges seemed unprepared" despite studying the case for 15 months. Timna Khan explained that "even the jury knows she is innocent, but they cannot judge because the mullahs hold the law hostage”.  

A firm condemnation of the protests of the Islamic extremist groups was expressed by Muhammad Tahseen, a Muslim and leader of a forum that includes more than 50 associations and movements in defense of human rights: "The case against Asia Bibi is wrong and the blasphemy laws should be removed from the Constitution" of the country, he stated.  (Source: AsiaNews)


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