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  1. #251
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    Pakistan delays ruling on blasphemy death sentence case

    By Kathy Gannon
    The Associated Press

    Pakistan's Supreme Court postponed its ruling Monday on the final appeal of a Christian woman who has been on death row since 2010 after being convicted of blasphemy against Islam.

    The judicial panel listened to Asia Bibi's defense lawyer challenge statements by those who accused her of insulting Islam's prophet, an allegation punishable by death that can incite riots in conservative Pakistan.

    The three-judge panel, headed by Pakistan's Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, did not say why they reserved their judgment or when they would announce their decision. It ordered everyone present to refrain from commenting on the case, in an apparent attempt to avoid inflaming public opinion.

    The charge against Bibi dates back to a hot day in 2009 when she went to get water for her and her fellow farmworkers. Two Muslim women refused to take a drink from a container used by a Christian. A few days later, a mob accused her of blasphemy. She was convicted and sentenced to death.

    Bibi's lawyer, Saiful Malook, argued that the many contradictions in witnesses' statements tainted the evidence. The two Muslim women who leveled the charges against Bibi denied they were quarrelling with her, saying her outbursts against Islam were unprovoked. Yet several independent witnesses who gave statements recounted a cantankerous exchange between the women.

    The prosecution's case centered mostly on religious texts that vilify those who make blasphemous statements.

    Ahead of the hearing, Malook expressed optimism that he would win the last legal appeal for Bibi. But if not, he planned to seek a review, which could take years to complete.

    "I am a 100 percent sure she will be acquitted," Malook told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on the eve of the hearing. "She has a very good case."

    He refused to comment at the end of Monday's hearing, citing the judges' orders.

    Bibi's case has generated international outrage, but within Pakistan it has fired up radical Islamists, who use the blasphemy law to rally supporters and intimidate mainstream political parties.

    Even defending Bibi in court is dangerous.

    "I have lost my health. I am a high blood pressure patient, my privacy is totally lost. You have to be in hiding," her lawyer said ahead of the hearing. Everyone on his tree-lined street knows his identity, he said. "They look at this house and they know this is the home of a person who can be killed at any time by angry mullahs."

    Police provide round-the-clock security around Malook's home, in the city of Lahore.

    Members of Pakistan's religious minorities have campaigned against the law, which they say is invoked to justify attacks on them. For them, Bibi's case is seen as a watershed. Her husband recently traveled to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis.

    Joseph Francis, an activist for Pakistan's Christians, said he currently is aiding 120 Christians facing blasphemy charges. His organization, Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, provides legal aid as well as finding a safe haven for Christians who are targeted even after being cleared of blasphemy allegations.

    "This law is misused and it is not only misused against Christians but also against Muslims," he said.

    France, Spain and Germany have all offered to welcome Bibi should she be acquitted, said Francis, who said he will help secret her out of the country.

    But Khadim Hussein Rizvi, the leader of a radical Islamist party, warned after the postponement that "no blasphemer will be able to escape punishment.

    In 2011, Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, was shot and killed by one of his elite guards for defending Bibi and criticizing misuse of the blasphemy law. Malook prosecuted his killer, Mumtaz Qadri, who was hanged for his crime.

    Qadri has since become a martyr to millions, who make a pilgrimage to a shrine erected in his name by his family outside the capital, Islamabad. His supporters have called for the immediate killing of anyone accused of blasphemy.

    Pakistan's newly elected government is led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, a former cricket star who has embraced religious conservatism and bowed to some of the demands of radical Islamists. Last month, a member of his government offered prayers at Qadri's shrine, drawing outrage from rights activists.

    An unprecedented number of religious parties participated in the July elections that put Khan in power. As in previous elections, they garnered less than 10 percent of the popular vote, but they have allies among all the major parties.

    According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, 71 countries have blasphemy laws — around a quarter of them are in the Middle East and North Africa and around a fifth are European countries, though enforcement and punishment varies.

    Pakistan is one of the most ferocious enforcers.

    At least 1,472 people were charged under Pakistan's blasphemy laws between 1987 and 2016, according to statistics collected by the Center for Social Justice, a Lahore-based group. Of those, 730 were Muslims, 501 were Ahmadis — a sect reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretical — while 205 were Christians and 26 were Hindus. The center said it didn't know the religion of the final 10 because they were killed by vigilantes before they could get their day in court.

    While Pakistan's law carries the death penalty for blasphemy and offenders have been sentenced to death, so far no one has ever been executed.

    https://abcnews.go.com/International...phemy-58350248

  2. #252
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    Pakistan executes Kasur child rapist and murderer

    Execution of Zainab Ansari's assailant takes number of state-sanctioned killings to nearly 500 since late 2014.

    Islamabad, Pakistan - Pakistan has executed a man convicted for having raped and murdered a six-year-old girl in the eastern district of Kasur, jail authorities and the girl's family have said.

    Imran Ali was hanged to death at the Kot Lakhpat jail in the eastern city of Lahore early on Wednesday, jail officials told Al Jazeera. They spoke on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

    Ali, 24, was executed in the presence of Muhammad Amin Ansari, the father of six-year-old Zainab Ansari, whose brutal rape and murder in January sparked a widescale manhunt.

    "He walked by himself to the gallows, and stood there comfortably," Muzammil Ansari, Zainab's cousin, told Al Jazeera by telephone.

    "They put the noose around his head, he did not resist. He did not ask for any forgiveness from us."

    Zainab's body was found in a trash heap in Kasur on January 9, sparking nationwide outrage and protests. In Kasur, riots broke out, with police clashing with angry protesters demanding justice be done in the case.

    Police arrested Ali two weeks later, after closed circuit television footage showed her being led down a narrow lane in her neighbourhood. Police said that DNA tests also linked Ali to at least six other cases of rape and murder.

    In February, a trial court convicted Ali for the kidnapping and murder of Ansari, handing down a death sentence on four counts, including kidnapping, rape and murder.

    He was later sentenced to death for the rape and murder of four other children in Kasur.

    Public hanging request denied

    On Tuesday, the Lahore High Court rejected an appeal by Muhammad Amin Ansari, the victim's father, for Ali to be hanged publicly, saying it was not the prerogative of the court to make that judgment.

    The provincial government had denied an earlier, similar request by Ansari, as it did not conform to Pakistani law.

    Ansari's family said they made the demand in order to deter other potential criminals.

    "To the parents of other daughters, I would say just this: this request we had made for a public hanging, the objective was so that the whole world could see it, and it would have a good effect," Zainab's father, Muhammad, told reporters gathered outside the jail shortly after the execution on Wednesday.

    "But even now, given how much the electronic media has highlighted this, because of this families and children have all gained a lot of awareness and become a lot more conscious [...] about how they should bring them and take them to school and other places," Ansari added.

    Muzammil Ansari, Zainab's cousin, said she was "not just our daughter, but a daughter of the nation."

    "Our daughter's gone, she will never come back. But we wanted to save the other daughters of the nation, by creating fear in the hearts of those who do such horrible things," he added.

    For years, Pakistan maintained a moratorium on executions, which it lifted in late 2014 after an attack on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed more than 130 schoolchildren.

    Since then, the state has executed at least 497 people, with a death row population of more than 4,687 people. Rights groups say the use of death penalty in Pakistan is problematic, given numerous fair trial concerns in an overloaded criminal justice system.

    The eastern district of Kasur had earlier come to prominence in 2015, when police arrested a gang of paedophiles in the district. The gang had allegedly been involved in the sexual assault and video filming more than 280 young boys.

    Years later, family members of the abused children told Al Jazeera they are still awaiting justice.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/...071112350.html

  3. #253
    Senior Member Member Steven's Avatar
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    Asia Bibi: Pakistan acquits Christian woman on death row

    A Pakistani court has overturned the death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, a case that has polarised the nation.

    BBC

    Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

    She always maintained her innocence, but has spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.

    The landmark ruling has already set off protests by hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws.

    There was a heavy police presence at the Supreme Court in Islamabad as many feared violence could break out.

    People have also been gathering for protests against the verdict in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, and hundreds blocked a road between Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Dawn newspaper reported.

    Chief Justice Saqib Nisarm, who read out the ruling, said Asia Bibi could walk free from jail in Sheikupura, near Lahore, immediately if not wanted in connection with any other case.

    She was not in court to hear the ruling, but reacted to the verdict from prison with apparent disbelief.

    "I can't believe what I am hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?" AFP news agency quoted her as saying by phone.

    What was Asia Bibi accused of?

    The trial stems from an argument Asia Bibi, whose full name is Asia Noreen, had with a group of women in June 2009.

    They were harvesting fruit when a row broke out about a bucket of water. The women said that because she had used a cup, they could no longer touch it, as her faith had made it unclean.

    Prosecutors alleged that in the row which followed, the women said Asia Bibi should convert to Islam and that she made three offensive comments about the Prophet Muhammad in response.

    She was later beaten up at her home, during which her accusers say she confessed to blasphemy. She was arrested after a police investigation.

    Fallout to continue

    By Secunder Kermani
    BBC News

    Islamabad - The court delivered its verdict quickly, no doubt aware of the sensitivity of the case and the danger of a violent reaction to it.

    Asia Bibi's lawyer, closely flanked by a policeman, told me he was "happy" with the verdict, but also afraid for his and his client's safety.

    Even after she is freed, the legacy of her case will continue. Shortly after her conviction a prominent politician, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, was murdered for speaking out in her support and calling for the blasphemy laws to be reformed.

    The killer - Mumtaz Qadri - was executed, but has become a cult hero with a large shrine dedicated to him on the outskirts of Islamabad.

    His supporters also created a political party - campaigning to preserve the blasphemy laws - which gathered around two million votes in this year's general election.

    It's the same party which many fear could be responsible for violent unrest in the coming days.

    What is blasphemy in Pakistan?

    Laws enacted by the British Raj in 1860 made it a crime to disturb a religious assembly, trespass on burial grounds, insult religious beliefs or intentionally destroy or defile a place or an object of worship, punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

    Several more clauses were added in the 1980s by Pakistan's military ruler Gen Zia ul-Haq:

    • 1980 - up to three years in jail for derogatory remarks against Islamic personages
    • 1982 - life imprisonment for "wilful" desecration of the Koran
    • 1986 - "death, or imprisonment for life" for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad


    What did the Supreme Court say?

    The judges said the prosecution had "categorically failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt".

    The case was based on flimsy evidence, they said, and proper procedures had not been followed. The alleged confession was delivered in front of a crowd "threatening to kill her".

    The ruling heavily referenced the Koran and Islamic history. It ended with a quote from the Hadith, the collected sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, which calls for non-Muslims to be treated kindly.

    Why is this case so divisive?

    Islam is Pakistan's national religion and underpins its legal system. Public support for the strict blasphemy laws is strong.

    Hardline politicians have often backed severe punishments, partly as a way of shoring up their support base.

    But critics say the laws have often been used to get revenge after personal disputes, and that convictions are based on thin evidence.

    The vast majority of those convicted are Muslims or members of the Ahmadi community, but since the 1990s, scores of Christians have been convicted. They make up just 1.6% of the population.

    No-one has ever been executed, but some people accused of the offence have been lynched or murdered.

    Asia Bibi, who was born in 1971 and has four children, was the first woman to be sentenced to death under the laws.

    Internationally, her conviction has been widely condemned as a breach of human rights.

    What happens now?

    There are fears that there could be a violent response to her acquittal.

    As with her previous trials and appeals, large crowds gathered outside the court in Islamabad on Wednesday demanding her conviction be upheld and the execution carried out.

    She has been offered asylum by several countries and was expected to leave the country if acquitted.

    Her daughter, Eisham Ashiq, had previously told the AFP news agency that if she were released: "I will hug her and will cry meeting her and will thank God that he has got her released."

    But the family said they feared for their safety and would likely have to leave Pakistan.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-...p+news+stories
    Last edited by Steven; 10-31-2018 at 11:23 AM.

  4. #254
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    Pakistani Protestors Who Sought Christian Woman Hanging Charged With Terrorism

    In October, Pakistan's Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi, who had been put on death row for blasphemy several years ago, bringing thousands of protesters to the streets, demanding that the mother of three be executed in public..

    Pakistani authorities announced Sunday that leaders behind the Pakistani Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party will face charges of terrorism after they were in charge of violent protests across the Middle-Eastern state seeking execution of a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy, the ABC news reported.

    According to Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi had been "charged under sections of sedition and terrorism" in a police station in the city of Lahore. At the same time, three more top figures will face similar charges.

    The verdict comes after Khadim Hussain Rizvi and other officials were detained last month following violent protests organised in response to Pakistan's Supreme Court's decision to overturn the conviction of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who was put on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan almost ten years ago, following allegations by Muslim women she worked with that she insulted Prophet Mohammed. Bibi denied the claims but was jailed and sentenced to hang on November 11, 2010.

    https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/2...woman-hanging/
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  5. #255
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    Man awarded three death penalties for raping, killing minor girl in DI Khan

    By Ramzan Seemab
    THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

    DI KHAN: Additional sessions judge Usman Wali Khan on Saturday awarded three death sentences and slapped a Rs900,000 penalty on Muhammad Bilal for raping and murdering a six-year-old girl last year.

    The verdict was based on section 364-A, 376-C and section 302 of Pakistan penal code, which included the sections of abduction, rape and murder.

    Speaking to The Express Tribune, the father of the victim expressed satisfaction on the court verdict, saying the severe punishment will set an example for others to refrain from committing such heinous crimes against minors.

    The prosecutor told the media that the culprit has the right of appeal against the verdict in upper courts within fifteen days of the court orders, adding that he would have to contact the jail administration to do so.

    The six-year-old victim had disappeared from a wedding function on January 26, 2017 in DI Khan after her family was threatened by the convict on refusing her hand for marriage.

    The body of the deceased was recovered from a sugarcane field two days later.

    Police arrested him on the grounds of doubts and during physical remand, he admitted to the charges of abduction, rape and murder by strangling.

    During the investigation, it was revealed that the convict was also involved in abducting and raping two other minor girls from the same village.

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/1858243...-girl-di-khan/

  6. #256
    Senior Member Member Steven's Avatar
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    Army chief confirms death sentences awarded to 22 'hardcore terrorists': ISPR

    Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday ratified the death sentences awarded to 22 hardcore terrorists, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

    The convicts were reportedly involved in heinous terrorist offences, including attacks on armed forces, law enforcement agencies, explosions of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (IED) to carry out sectarian killings, destruction of communication infrastructure, police check posts, educational institutions, and killing of innocent civilians.

    According to the military's media wing, the convicted terrorists were responsible for the deaths of a total of 176 people, including 19 armed forces personnel, 41 police and Levies officials and 116 civilians, and causing injuries to 217 others. Arms and explosives had also been recovered from their possession.

    Special military courts had awarded death sentences to these convicts. The courts also handed down imprisonments to 15 convicts and acquitted two accused after finding them not guilty.

    All 22 of the terrorists were found to be members of banned organisations. They confessed to their offences before a judicial magistrate and in their statements during their respective trials, according to the ISPR.

    Details of death penalty convictions provided by the ISPR are as follows:

    Khairuddin s/o Muhammad Yousaf, Muhammad Ishaq s/o Asim Khan, Inamullah s/o Khakay Khan, Alam Sher s/o Qayyum Khan, Irfan s/o Zar Khan Yousafzai and Muhammad Shafique s/o Azizullah Jan

    The convicts were found to be involved in the killing of civilians by exploding a vehicle-borne IED in Karachi's Abbas Town. The attack resulted in the deaths of 57 people and injuries to 79 others. They were also found in possession of firearms and explosives.

    Sultan Mehmood s/o Syed Talib

    He was found guilty of abetting a suicide bombing on April 11, 2006, at Nishtar Park in Karachi, which caused the deaths of 54 persons and injuries to 113 others.

    Muhammad Tahir s/o Talimand

    The convict was involved in the killing of a civilian and attacks on armed forces personnel, which resulted in the death of Maj Hafiz Attique Ahmed, Capt Amir Butt, Havildar Abdul Aziz and five other soldiers. Firearms and explosives were recovered from him, according to the ISPR.

    Zafar Ali s/o Muhammad Naeem

    The militant was sentenced for his involvement in attacks on the armed forces, which resulted in the deaths of Naib Subedar Muhammad Hanif, Havildar Muhammad Naseer, Havildar Muhammad Qayyum Ahmad, Naik Iftikhar Ali and two soldiers, and caused injuries to nine other soldiers.

    He was also found in possession of firearms and explosives.

    Umar Karim s/o Umar Rahim

    He was found to be involved in the killing of a civilian and attacks on armed forces personnel, which resulted in the deaths of Maj Hafiz Attique Ahmed, Capt Amir Butt, Havildar Abdul Aziz and three other soldiers.

    Muhammad Sher Wali Khan s/o Usman Ghani and Rahmat Shah s/o Fawaz Khan

    Both the convicts were involved in attacks on law enforcement agencies personnel, which caused the deaths of Assistant Sub Inspector Noor Zaman, Naib Subedar Hussain Faraz and three other soldiers, and injuries to five others.

    They were also found to be in possession of firearms, the military's media wing said.

    Bakhtawar s/o Muhammad Bar Khan and Rasheedullah s/o Shah Naseem

    The two convicts were involved in the murders of two civilians and attacks on law enforcement personnel, which resulted in the deaths of 28 Levies/police officials and caused injuries to four policemen.

    Faheemuddin s/o Andaz Gul

    He was involved in the killings of police/Levies personnel and attacks on law enforcement officials, which resulted in the deaths of six soldiers.

    Zahir Shah s/o Syed Badshah

    The convict was sentenced for his involvement in the killings of Sepoys Gohar Ali and Aamir Sher of Levies/Khasadar force.

    Said Muhammad s/o Sabzi Aman

    He was involved in an attack on armed forces personnel, which caused the death of Havildar Allah Dita and Sepoy Bacha Hussain.

    He was also found responsible for the destruction of Government Girls Middle School, Gulibagh, as well as the abduction of a civilian for ransom.

    Arab Jan s/o Shahi Khan

    The convict was involved in an attack on law enforcement personnel, which resulted in the death of Sepoy Said Amin.

    Muhammad Ishaq s/o Muhammad Ghafoor

    He was found to be involved in an attack on the armed forces, which caused the deaths of three soldiers, and the destruction of an educational institution. He was also found in possession of firearms.

    Tanhaj Ali s/o Muhammad Zeb Khan

    The convict was involved in an attack on armed forces personnel, which resulted in the death of Naib Subedar Muhammad Hanif, Sepoy Shoukat Ali, and caused injuries to three other soldiers.

    Firearms and explosives were also recovered from him.

    Abdul Rafee s/o Sarkamand

    He was found guilty of attacking the armed forces and law enforcement personnel and thus resulting in the deaths of Naib Subedar Muhammad Hanif, Sepoy Ikhlas Ahmed, Sepoy Shoukat Ali, and caused injuries to six other soldiers.

    He was also involved in the destruction of Government Primary School, Langar and possessed firearms and explosives.

    Muhammad Ishaq s/o Muhammad Ibrahim

    The convict was sentenced for causing the deaths of two civilians and being involved in an attack on law enforcement personnel, which resulted in the death of police constable Yasir Ali and caused injuries to two other persons.

    https://www.dawn.com/news/1454113

  7. #257
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    Execution of death-row prisoner diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia set for Jan 15

    By Rana Bilal
    Dawn.com

    A district and sessions court in Lahore on Friday set the execution of Khizar Hayat, a death-row prisoner diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, on January 15.

    According to the death warrant issued by the office of district sessions judge Khalid Nawaz, the execution will take place at Central Jail Lahore.

    Hayat, a former police constable, was convicted in October 2001 for killing a fellow policeman, while a trial court had handed him a death sentence two years later.

    In December 2018, the Lahore High Court had rejected his mother's petition to stay Hayat's execution.

    Following the court's order, the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) called for a halt in the execution of Hayat.

    "The warrant stands in blatant violation of the orders of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) that had categorically abstained the authorities from issuing Khizar’s death warrant until the Supreme Court decides the matter of mentally ill death row prisoners in a precedent-setting case currently pending before a larger bench," JPP said in its press release.

    “Executing Khizar, while the Supreme Court is still deciding on the question of executing the mentally ill, is not just unnecessarily cruel but also in violation of Pakistan’s international obligations," Executive Director of JPP Sarah Belal said.

    "By obtaining the death warrants of a mentally ill prisoner, the prison officials have paved the way for another wrongful execution. This display of utter disregard towards the orders of the country’s foremost authority on human rights by the jail authorities underscores the need for immediate reform to protect the most vulnerable prisoners on death row,” she added.

    Black warrants for Hayat have been issued thrice previously, in all instances his execution was stayed.

    On June 10, 2015, a black warrant was issued but the LHC had granted him reprieve at the last minute.

    In July 2015, a district and sessions judge halted his execution for death warrants issued for July 28, 2015.

    Following this, in January 2017, a district and sessions judge in Lahore had issued execution warrants for Hayat. The decision was once again stayed by the high court.

    The order had been passed by a division bench of the LHC, headed by Justice Shahid Hameed Dar, on a petition filed by Hayat's mother Iqbal Bano, through Barrister Belal of JPP.

    The lawyer had argued that Hayat had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and executing him would violate local and international laws.

    https://www.dawn.com/news/1456909/ex...set-for-jan-15

  8. #258
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Freed from death row, Pakistani Christian woman still fears for her life

    Pakistan's Supreme Court acquitted Aasia Bibi of blasphemy after eight years on death row on Oct. 31. As she awaits the final verdict, extremists and angry mobs are still calling for her death because she refuses to convert to Islam

    By Kathy Gannon
    Associated Press

    Islamabad, Pakistan - Aasia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian acquitted of blasphemy, still lives the life of a prisoner, nearly three months after her release from death row, awaiting a final ruling on her fate.

    She spends her days in seclusion for fear of being targeted by angry mobs clamoring for her death. In her hideout, she longs for her children who were taken to Canada for their safety.

    Pakistani security forces guarding Ms. Bibi prevent her from opening a window in her hiding place, let alone go outside, a friend said.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is weighing a petition by Islamist extremists and right-wing religious parties that rallied against her acquittal and demand her execution.

    Her case goes to the core of one of Pakistan's most controversial issues – the blasphemy law, often used to settle scores or intimidate followers of Pakistan's minority religions, including minority Shiite Muslims. A charge of insulting Islam can bring the death penalty.

    Just making an accusation is sometimes enough to whip up vengeful mobs, even if the courts acquit defendants. A provincial governor who defended Bibi was shot and killed, as was a government minority minister who dared question the blasphemy law.

    Bibi's ordeal began on a hot day in 2009, with a row with fellow farmworkers after two Muslim women refused to drink water from the same container as a Christian. They demanded she convert, and she refused. Five days later, a mob accused her of blasphemy. She was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 for insulting the prophet Muhammad.

    After eight years on death row, the Supreme Court acquitted her on Oct. 31.

    At the time, her lawyer Saif-ul Malook, who has since been driven into exile fearing for his life, argued that the many inconsistencies in the testimony of her accusers vindicated her. Bibi had always maintained she was innocent.

    But the acquittal sparked nationwide protests, spearheaded by the radical Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, which sees the protection of the prophet as its single-point agenda. The party's leaders – Khadim Hussein Rizvi and Mohammad Afzal Qadri – are in jail, charged with inciting violence, including with calls for Bibi's public hanging and for the death of the three judges who acquitted her. They also called for mutiny in the powerful army and the overthrow of Prime Minister Imran Khan's new government.

    As street protests by extremists calling for Bibi's death swelled, Khan's government pledged she would remain in the country until the Supreme Court reviews the petition against her acquittal.

    From her secret location, which authorities maintain is for her own protection, Bibi is not allowed by Pakistan's security forces to give interviews. Even her friends and those few who have access to her are afraid to be identified and agreed to talk to a reporter only on condition of anonymity.

    One of her friends says Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, who was wounded by a gunshot fired by a protester calling for Bibi's death, is with her in hiding. Her two daughters, Eisham, 20, and Esha, 19, were spirited out of Pakistan.

    Bibi's hiding place is comfortable enough, but it's still a jail of sorts, the friend said, adding that Bibi's only hope is that someday the family will be reunited abroad.

    However, it's unclear when the review of Bibi's acquittal will be completed.

    Bibi's friends say she has hoped it would be done before Supreme Court Chief Justice Saqib Nisar retires at the end of the week. Mr. Nisar and his successor, Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, were part of the three-member panel that acquitted Bibi. In their decision, a 52-page judgment, they cited both Pakistan's statute law and Islam's holy book, the Quran, to justify the acquittal.

    Mr. Malook, the defense lawyer, told The Associated Press by phone from the United States that he is confident the petition would be thrown out. But he fears it could take months, even years, if the court is reluctant to decide.

    "I have read the arguments for the review, there is nothing there," he said. "It will be thrown out."

    Arguing for the petitioners, attorney Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry is just as confident. He told the AP that he, too, is pressing for an early decision. Without offering any details, Mr. Chaudhry said he has a strong case for overturning Bibi's acquittal.

    Malook says his life in self-imposed exile has been devastating for his family and that he wants to return to his home in the eastern city of Lahore.

    "My daughter calls, and she weeps, my wife calls and she weeps," he said. "I think now I would rather be killed in my country than live in this situation."

    Bibi's friend worries about her health and the heart disease she has suffered from for the past five years.

    "She is receiving medication for her heart, but she is still in pain," the friend said.

    https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia...s-for-her-life
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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