Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) from the Freedom of Religion or Belief Cross-Party Group have written a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, urging him to stop the delays in the hearing of Asia Bibi blasphemy case.
Belonging to the Christian minority community of Pakistan, Asia had been imprisoned since 2010 for allegedly committing blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a charge that she had repeatedly denied.
The Supreme Court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the blasphemy case without which the accused cannot hope for a change in the earlier decision given by the court. The hearing was postponed after one of the three justices refused to hear the case.
The MSPs said in their letter, “Ms Bibi has since been waiting for the Supreme Court to fix a date for hearing her case. Can we urge you to please make sure that the court schedules a hearing date as soon as possible?”
Glasgow Shettleston MSP and Freedom of Religion or Belief Convenor John Mason, while speaking to a media group, said, “It is not easy for the Pakistani government and the courts to give a quick verdict in the blasphemy case because people have faced persecution for supporting a blasphemy accused in the past.” He also said, “If a country wants to improve its system, then it is important that the government and the courts take a firm stand to bring reforms in the society.”
Talking in connection with the letter sent to CJP Nisar, Mason said that the past is full of examples where some governments have taken strict notice of certain issues when the international community started speaking about those issues.
He said the Asia Bibi blasphemy case had also attracted international attention and people were talking about the case all over the world. He said even though the case was ‘pretty flimsy’ but the hearing could provide the accused a chance to fight the case and win her freedom.