Pakistan's Top Court Set to Decide Asia Bibi's Fate as Islamists Demand Her Death

1/24/2019 -- Pakistan's top court will decide next week whether a challenge brought by Islamists against the acquittal of Christian mother Asia Bibi can proceed. Muslim extremists in the country continue to demand her execution over allegations of blasphemy against Muhammad.

Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, revealed that on Tuesday, January 29 Pakistan’s Supreme Court will review a petition launched by Islamists calling for her blasphemy acquittal to be overturned and death sentence carried out.

If the court rejects the petition, Bibi will finally be free to leave Pakistan, and Islamists will undoubtedly riot. If a review is allowed, it will be clear that the Supreme Court gave into pressure and threats from extremists.

The blasphemy accusation against the mother of five is based on flimsy evidence following a dispute that took place in June 2009 between Bibi and a group of Muslim coworkers with whom she had been harvesting berries. The Muslim coworkers became angry with Bibi when she, a Christian whom they considered unclean, drank water from the same water bowl as the Muslims. An argument between Bibi and the Muslim women ensued and later the Muslim coworkers reported to a local cleric that Bibi had blasphemed against Muhammad -- an offense punishable by death in Pakistan.

On October 31, 2018, the Supreme Court acquitted Bibi of the blasphemy charges that had kept her on death row for almost a decade. Following the announcement of the acquittal, extremists in Pakistan took to the streets in protest. The protestors demanded the court reverse its decision and carry out Bibi’s execution, and submitted the petition to the high court.

False accusations of blasphemy are not uncommon in Pakistan.

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