Aasiya Bibi case: Complainant files review petition against acquittal


—Govt denies reports about filing review petition, putting Bibi’s name on ECL

ISLAMABAD: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for a review of the court’s verdict acquitting Christian blasphemy convict Aasiya Bibi, which had triggered protests by religio-political parties across the country.

The review petition was filed by complainant in the Aasiya Bibi case, Qari Muhammad Salaam, on Thursday through his counsel Ghulam Mustafa. The petitioner has also sought the placement of Bibi’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) till the judgement is reviewed.

The petition states that the SC’s acquittal of Asia Bibi did not meet the standards of jurisprudence as well as Islamic provisions and the “normal principle of justice with reference to application in blasphemy laws”.

The petitioner has argued that Bibi confessed to her crimes during investigation, and that a delay in lodging the First Information Request (FIR) does not imply that the defendant is not guilty of the crime.

It has further asked that a member of the Appellate Shariat Court be included in the bench that reviews the judgement “because this matter needs detailed in-depth consideration and due to the peculiar circumstances of the case as well as application of Section 295-C in its time letter and spirit.”

It has also challenged the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the alleged ‘confession’ that Aasiya Bibi was forced to make by the people of her village and argued that the Supreme Court should have applied the Law of Evidence differently in this case.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has denied reports that the government was behind filing the review petition and putting Aasiya Bibi’s name on the ECL.

“Federal Government has no plan to put Aasiya Bibi’s name on ECL or appeal for a review against the court’s verdict. A review petition is been filed by the concerned party which has nothing to do with the government,” PTI wrote on its official Twitter account.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry also contradicted reports appearing in a section of media regarding the filing of any review petition against the judgment of Supreme Court in the case saying that the government had neither filed any review petition against the judgment nor had placed the name of Aasiya Bibi on the ECL.

Moreover, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari also denied the reports and wrote on her Twitter, “Some correction to clear media confusion: A protestor has filed a Review Petition in SC & in that demanded Asiya BB’s name be put on ECL – Govt has nothing to do with both these moves. Review Petition and it’s prayers are between SC and petitioner. PM’s position has been clear.”

On Wednesday, SC acquitted Aasiya Bibi, a Christian woman condemned to death on blasphemy charges, after accepting her 2015 appeal against her sentence.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, heading the three-member bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, read the 56-page verdict and announced the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict was set aside and directed authorities to release Aasiya Bibi from prison.

On Monday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday dismissed a petition seeking the inclusion of Aasiya Bibi’s name to the ECL, stating that no confined person could be placed on the list and Aasiya’s appeal against capital punishment was pending before the SC for a final decision.