The Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother facing execution for blasphemy, in a landmark case which has incited deadly violence and reached as far as the Vatican.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Justice Saqib Nisar announced the landmark verdict. “The appeal is allowed. She has been acquitted. The judgement of high court as well as trial court is reversed. Her conviction is set aside,” said Justice Nisar.
Bibi appeared to be in state of disbelief after hearing the decision from her lawyer. “I can’t believe what I am hearing, will i go out now? Will they let me out, really?” Bibi told AFP by phone from prison after the ruling.
In 2011, former Punjab governor Shaheed Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed earlier in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.
As soon as the SC announced its landmark verdict, social media users paid tributes to Mr Taseer for his bravery and for raising his voice in times when not many dared to. Users also paid tributes to Shahbaz Bhatti, the previous federal minister for minorities’ affairs, who bravely spoke out in favour of Aasia Bibi and was also assassinated.
Read also: Salmaan Taseer — the defender of minorities
Daily Times Editor Raza Ahmed Rumi said ‘one can not stop thinking of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti – precious lives lost while standing up for the weak’.
Leaving for district jail Sheikhapura 2 see Aasia bibi wth mercy petition for Prezdnt Zardari. Hum ne gulshan ke tahfuz ki qasm khae hae
‘Never tell me the odds’
Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir said reforms to prevent abuse of religious laws to target innocent people – that were advocated by Mr Taseer – were need of the hour.
Prayers for well being of #AsiaBibi and her family. Today’s verdict once again highlights need for reforms to prevent abuse of religious laws to victimize innocents. The same reforms which Salman Taseer advocated and was martyred for. That is the only way forward.
Journalist Umar Ali paid tribute to both Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti.
Twitter user @KaalaKawaa lauded Shaheed Salman Taseer calling him a ‘true lion-heart’.
Nine years later, Salman Taseer stands vindicated. A true lionheart. The media that fanned the flames of hatred against him (including those who still have cushy jobs at Dawn News) should forever be ashamed of their role. And Mumtaz Qadri remains the pitiful coward he always was.
‘A brave man who raised his voice for Aasia Bibi and sacrificed his life’ says @Majid_PSF
“I was under huge pressure sure to cow down rightist pressure and blasphemy. Reused. Even if I am the last man standing” Shaheed Salman Taseer.
‘The lion of Punjab’
Journalist Ammara Ahmed: ‘Salman Taseer stands vindicated today’
‘Made a statement and stood by it like a fearless lion’ says @haimanejaz
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