A Pakistani Christian woman’s appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn her death sentence in an infamous 2010 blasphemy case will be heard next week, the apex court on Friday said as it gave her a new hope to escape the gallows. Asia Bibi, a mother of five from Nankana area of Punjab province, was convicted of blasphemy in 2009 and has been on death row since 2010. Her death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court in 2014 following which she lodged an appeal in the apex court.
“The Supreme Court will hear the appeal on Thursday (October 13),” according to the list of cases the court will hear next week. The court may arrange several hearing before deciding the appeal. Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, which introduced the draconian laws in 1985 in a bid to appease right wing parties. These laws have been often alleged to have been misused to settle personal scores.
Militants also target people blamed for blasphemy or those demanding changes to them. Punjab’s liberal governor Salman Taseer was killed in 2011 when he termed the regulations “black law” after meeting Asia Bibi after her conviction.