“Do the judges have families, sisters, mothers, or not? Do they have a heart?” said Najibullah, brother of the Afghan girl Farkhunda who was earlier attacked at a shrine for opposing sale of fake alums, stoned by a mob, run over by a car and later her body was set on fire. She was accused of blasphemy by burning a copy of the Holy Quran, which was proved false during the case hearing in May. Based on eyewitnesses’ testimony and video recordings of that horrible and inhuman event, four men were awarded death sentence while a number of their accomplices and policemen present at crime scene were given different jail terms. Now an appeal court which held its sessions in secrecy wherein no journalists or observers were allowed, even Farkhunda’s family was not represented, has acquitted the keeper of the shrine and overturned the death sentence of four murderers, changing it to jail term of 10-20 years.
Farkhunda’s brother is correct to term this appeal court as a ‘real theatre’. She was killed because she was a woman, her murderers were acquitted or didn’t receive death sentence because they killed a woman. The message coming out of Afghanistan is that it shall not be acceptable to turn the country again into a heaven for Taliban and their centuries old tribal customs.
Farkhunda’s family shall appeal in the Afghan Supreme Court and shall be supported by world class lawyers. Now put this aside and ask: Has Pakistani government found few able lawyers to contest Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) verdict on Mumtaz Qadri who earlier murdered Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer who he accused of blasphemy? IHC has removed the terrorism clauses from Qadri’s case paving a way for his possible acquittal. What a shame in the name of justice. It’s true justice is in the dock while the devil is dancing.
Jubail, Saudi Arabia