On Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Christian woman- Asia Bibi, who had been imprisoned for blasphemy since 2010, in a landmark case which has incited deadly violence and has reached as far as the Vatican.
Reports say that the woman was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a heated argument with her neighbours. However, she has since maintained her innocence and spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement prior to her arrest.
This news understands that blasphemy is an incendiary charge in deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan, where even unapproved allegations of insulting Islam and its Prophet Muhammad can provoke death at the hands of vigilantes– and the acquittal immediately sparked large protests from hardliners.
Nevertheless, Bibi appeared to be in a state of disbelief on Wednesday, after hearing that Pakistan’s Chief Justice Saqid Nisar had quashed her conviction eight years after she was first sentenced to death.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing, will I go out now? Will they let me out, really?” she exclaimed.
Bibi added that “I just don’t know what to say, I am very happy. I can’t believe it.”
As such, the woman was set to be released immediately according to the court, that is, if she is not wanted in connection with any other case. There is still no word if any security arrangements were being made for her protection.
With great satisfaction, Bibi’s legal team celebrated the court’s decision amid beefed-up security in Islamabad.
Her lawyer, Saif-ul-Mulook told reporters at AFP that “The verdict has shown that the poor, the minorities and the lowest segments of society can get justice in this country despite its shortcomings.”
Moreover, Asia Bibi, who was born in 1971 and has four children, was the first woman to be sentenced to death under the laws.