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May-01-2014 12:42printcomments

Blasphemy Death Convicted Asia Bibi's Appeal: Delay of Justice is Injustice

Since the accusation, the woman accused of Blasphemy, Asia Bibi is languishing in jail, awaiting her appeal decision. The world is minutely observing this case.

LEAD in Pakistan

(LAHORE, Pakistan) - Bibi’s criminal appeal number 2509/2010 ‘Mst Asia Bibi vs The State etc' and murder reference 614/2010 ‘State Vs Mst Asia Bibi wife of Ashiq’ was fixed for hearing before the Lahore High Court Division Bench,Lahore. We are regularly in contact of the Lahore High Court administration and inquired about the next hearing of the case but there is no further information on it.

Since the accusation, the woman accused of Blasphemy, Asia Bibi is languishing in jail, awaiting her appeal decision. The world is minutely observing this case. The judiciary, meanwhile, faces perpetual pressure from the fanatics; a pressure that often jeopardizes the delivery of justice.

In the case of Asia Bibi and all other blasphemy cases, justice delayed is justice denied. It is a very smooth saying, it means that if justice is not carried out right away timely, then even if it is carried out later it is not really justice because there was a period of time when there was a lack of justice.

Today The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued its 15th annual report. (see: USCIRF Issues its 2014 Annual Report - 15th Anniversary Retrospective: Renewing the Commitment)

The extremist organizations’ incitements to hate and violence have sadly turned into actions and in reality, have a direct bearing on the public’s conduct towards minorities, particularly those accused of blasphemy and their advocates.

In last month, Toba Tek Singh in Punjab Province of Pakistan, a Christian couple was sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy. Shagufta and Shafqat Emanuel was blamed that they sent a text message based on blasphemy to the Local Imam of mosque. Their attorney, Aric John, told that the lawyer of the complainant had not even given a reply to his greetings and did not shake hands with him; by saying that you would not worthy of it.

He added, we take life risks to appear in blasphemy cases. In some cases it was also observed that the religious affiliation of the law-enforcers eclipsed their professional mandate as they became party to attacks against blasphemy accused.

According to Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Human Rights Defender and Chief of LEAD (Legal Evangelical Association Development), religious minorities, particularly Christians, live in constant fear for their lives, and have quietly begun migrating and fleeing to different countries to save their lives.

The lawyers, who represent blasphemy cases,are often being threatened to be killed by extremists and many have left the country to save their lives.

"We know that we are under observation of extremists who can target us any time and anywhere because of our support and advocacy for blasphemy accused and other persecuted families," said Gill.

It has been reported that for the safety of the accused, his defence lawyer and the judge, the blasphemy cases have been transferred from the courts to other ‘safer’ locations. These measures have caused hardships to the accused,the judge and the defence lawyer too. Still, in many cases, the accused in a blasphemy case was killed extra-judicially because clerics incite people and issue fatwas(Islamic decree) urging the public to kill the alleged blasphemer and his lawyer.

The ongoing battle against extremists in Pakistan cannot be won unless and until Pakistani Government scrutinies and reforms the laws and policies that give ammunition to these extremists. It is simply not enough to apprehend and uproot extreme groups like the Taliban in Pakistan without first addressing the root problem. Pakistan’s Parliament must repeal Blasphemy laws without fearing of extremists.

LEAD is an advocacy and free legal aid Christian faith based organization which request to all Human Rights Organizations to stand with us and effort with us to raise voice to repeal blasphemy law in Pakistan.Our further request to support our work with your prayers.

In Solidarity,

LEAD

http://leadfamily.blogspot.com/2014/05/blasphemy-death-convicted-asia-bibis.html




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