Asia bibi case hearing resume-: Lawyer tells SC witnesses lied ,SC reserves verdict

A special three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Monday reserved the judgement  in the blasphemy case lodged against death-row convict Aasia Bibi.  Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 .She is behind bar for the last eight years. During the three hour hearing, a three-judge special bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, highlighted several discrepancies in the statements of prosecution and court witnesses in the case.The apex court restrained media from publishing comments on the matter until announcement of verdict.Justice Khosa – who is the head of the bench hearing criminal appeals in murder blasphemy cases – has been part of the previous special bench dealing with Bibi’s case. He had also authored the verdict that justified the death penalty handed to Mumtaz Qadri in the murder case of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, are hearing Bibi's 2014 appeal (Asia Bibi v. The State, etc).
Asia Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook told the bench that the June 14, 2009 incident was reported on June 19. A case was filed against Bibi by a prayer leader in the village of Katanwala in Nankana Sahib, according to which Asia Bibi had confessed to committing blasphemy, he said.
"Are these things on the record?" the CJP asked Saiful Mulook.
"No permission to file the FIR was taken from the district coordination officer or the district police officer," he said, adding that the prayer leader in the FIR said that the villagers had not attempted to beat Asia Bibi.
"What we can conclude from your statements is that the prayer leader himself did not witness the incident as it happened," Justice Khosa observed. "No blasphemous language was uttered in the presence of the prayer leader."
"According to the prayer leader, a panchayat [to discuss the matter] was held in a house. It was said that 1,000 people were gathered for the meeting," the CJP said.
Asia Bibi and two Muslim women had a heated exchange, the lawyer told the court. The reason behind it was that the women had refused to drink water from the same dish as Asia.
The statements of the Muslim women, Asma and Isma, are contradictory, the lawyer said.
The lawyer recalled that, according to a witness statement, the owner of the land where the incident took place was present when Asia confessed. All the witnesses were trying their best to ensure Asia does not get away, he added.
The investigation was faulty and grounded in malicious intent. In such a situation, Section 295-C is inapplicable, the lawyer argued.
The CJP wondered whether the assistant superintendent police's probe could be relied upon, to which the lawyer replied that police had wrongfully registered the case, according to Asia Bibi.
"The witness testimonies did not state that she had used blasphemous language for the Holy Quran," he said. "No blasphemous words were used at all. Asia, in her statement, said that she could not even conceive of committing blasphemy," the Saiful Mulook said.
He added that she respects Islamic education and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) with all her heart.
"She simply had an argument with two women. During that argument, they exchanged harsh words," the lawyer said.
"What kind of incident is this? That you were argued with, harsh words were used for you, and then the case was also filed against you?" the CJP wondered.
"Are you suggesting it is possible that the person who filed the case, the prayer leader, is being used by someone else?" Justice Khosa asked. "That he is a frontman and someone else is behind him?"
"It is possible that this is the case," the lawyer said. He went on to say that the witnesses are lying.
The hearing is ongoing.

Asia Bibi's case

The allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.
Asia Bibi, accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 despite her advocates maintaining her innocence and insisting the accusers held grudges against her.
She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.
The women went to a local cleric and accused Bibi of blasphemy against the Prophet, a charge punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.
In 2011, former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad. His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.
Bibi's supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute, and the Vatican has called for her release.
The top court had last taken up the appeal in October 2016, but had to adjourn the matter without hearing after one of the judges recused himself from the SC bench.
Successive appeals have been rejected, and if the SC bench eventually upholds Bibi's conviction, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the president for clemency.
If that fails, she could become the first person in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy.

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South Punjab News : Asia bibi case hearing resume-: Lawyer tells SC witnesses lied ,SC reserves verdict
Asia bibi case hearing resume-: Lawyer tells SC witnesses lied ,SC reserves verdict
What we can conclude from your statements is that the prayer leader himself did not witness the incident as it happened," Justice Khosa observed. "No blasphemous language was uttered in the presence of the prayer leader."
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