The Pakistani government was barred on Monday by the country's high court from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.
A lawyer argued that a pardon would be illegal while the case was pending in the courts.
"Since the matter is in the high court, the government cannot now make any move to pardon Bibi," lawyer Allah Bakhsh Leghari told Agence France-Presse. more >>
A group of hard-line Muslims, including many students from Islamic schools, protested Wednesday in the city of Lahore against a possible presidential pardon for a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.
About 250 people participated in the demonstration, organized by the Movement for Protection of the Prophet’s Honor, to oppose the pardon and the effort to change the country’s controversial blasphemy law, which has been widely condemned by the international community and human rights groups.
“We are ready to sacrifice our life for the Prophet Muhammad,” protesters chanted, according to The Associated Press. more >>
Preliminary findings from an investigation into the case of Asia Bibi (also referred to as Asia Noreen by some media), the first woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, show that she is innocent, said a government official in charge of the investigation on Monday.
Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti said the conclusion is based on preliminary findings and a final report will be submitted to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday. more >>
SHEIKHUPURA, Pakistan (Compass Direct News) – Ashiq Masih, with his stooped posture, frail body and dull yellow eyes, stands in a small compartment in the Sheikhupura District Jail with his three daughters – Sidra, Eesha and Eeshum. The girls are weeping silently.
On the other side of a metal grille is Asia Noreen, the birth mother of two of the girls and the first woman in Pakistan to receive the death sentence on charges of blaspheming Islam’s prophet. Eeshum, 12-years-old and mentally disabled, whines like a baby for her mother, asking her when she will be back.
“I will be back,” she says to her daughters, as they feel their mother’s fingers through the gaps in the grille. “Don’t you worry, now.” But tears run down her face, too. more >>
LAHORE, Pakistan (Compass Direct News) – Attorneys for a Christian mother of five sentenced to death by hanging for allegedly speaking ill of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, have filed an appeal of the verdict, they said.
Bowing to pressure from Muslim extremists in Pakistan, according to the Christian woman’s husband and rights groups, a district court judge handed down the stunning sentence to Asia Noreen on Monday (Nov. 8). Additional District and Sessions Judge Naveed Ahmed Chaudhary of Nankana Sahib district delivered the verdict under Pakistan’s controversial “blasphemy” statute, the kind of law that a resolution before the United Nations condemning “defamation of religions” would make legitimate internationally.
Noreen is the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s widely condemned law against defaming Islam. more >>
An advocacy organization for persecuted Christians is petitioning the United Nations to take notice of a Pakistani woman sentenced to death for proclaiming her faith, and other religious persecutions.
Christian Freedom International formed an online petition this week calling on U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan E. Rice to shine the international spotlight on Asia Bibi.
“We believe that it is imperative that the United Nations exerts pressure on the Pakistani government to steadfastly enforce law protecting the humanitarian rights of all citizens, regardless of their religious affiliation,” CFI President Jim Jacobson said in a statement. more >>