Asia Noreen, publicly known as Asia Bibi is a poor Christian farmer woman who was accused of blasphemy and was sentenced to death by hanging in November 2010.
In June 2009, Asia was picking berries from a field along with some Muslim women when she drank water from a well. The Muslim women were outraged calling her impure and saying that since she was filthy she could not drink water from this well. An argument ensued and according to reports the women criticized Asia’s religion Christianity and in retaliation she uttered some words against Islam. The women went livid and Asia was reported to the police. She was arrested and a Sheikupura Judge sentenced her to death by hanging on account of blasphemy.
Since then Asia has been waiting for her appeal to be heard in the supreme court of Pakistan. Asia’s case raises questions about humanity, the rights of minority and an intolerant society. It also highlights misusing laws to settle personal goals as according to Asia, the women had already a family feud going on with her family and they used this law to avenge her.
Repercussions Of The Case
Scary fact is that this case has led to two assassinations. First of the governor Salman Taseer who was killed by his own body guard upon supporting Asia Bibi and speaking against blasphemy law and second was of Federal Minister Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti whose vehicle was sprayed with bullets while he was on his way to work. Bhatti, a Catholic Christian himself, was against blasphemy law and spoke about minority rights.
A Cloud Of Fear
In October 2016, Asia’s appeal was further delayed when one of the judges appointed on the case Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman also resigned from the case. People fear that giving a decision against Asia’s hanging will surely lead to the wrath of the public. Even the family of Asia has gone into hiding since they receive death threats and they are sure that Asia will be killed if she is pardoned.
Whatever the decision of Asia Bibi’s case may be, it will speak volumes about the psyche of the Pakistani nation and will leave a strong impact on Pakistan’s already tarnished reputation in the world.