Pakistan, Asia Bibi has been acquitted

  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::element_type() should be compatible with views_handler_field::element_type($none_supported = false, $default_empty = false, $inline = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_query::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_query.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_field_user.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1113.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.
  • strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/abounaor/public_html/english/sites/all/modules/captcha/captcha.inc on line 61.

Pakistan, Asia Bibi has been acquitted

By Paolo Affatato/ lastampa.it

The Supreme Court orders the immediate release of the woman sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy. State of maximum alert in the country for threats from radical groups .

Asia Bibi has been acquitted. Today, October 31, at 9:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. in Italy), the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared innocent the Christian woman arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death in 2010 for alleged blasphemy, ordering her immediate release. The tragic ordeal of Asia Bibi ended after more than 9 years of imprisonment, isolation and suffering.

A stir of emotion runs through her family (her husband Ashiq and five children) and the whole Christian community, which has been waiting anxiously for the longed-for end of a story that lasted almost a decade. "We are very happy. The Lord has listened to the prayers of all those who have been close to her. Today is a beautiful day, which we will remember for the rest of our lives. Justice has triumphed and an innocent is finally free", Joseph Nadeem, the man who has guaranteed education and hospitality to Asia Bibi’s family over all these years, thanks to the Renaissance Education Foundation which he leads in Lahore, comments warmly to Vatican Insider.

The verdict was accepted in an Islamabad in a state of maximum alert. More than three hundred policemen guard the Supreme Court building in Islamabad and army units are allocated to defend the other institutional buildings, but also the diplomatic enclave, the compound that houses all the embassies, in the Pakistani capital.

In fact, in the nation there is a climate of "civil war" that tests the democratic stability of the country. Imposing security measures have been adopted, on the instructions of the Ministry of the Interior, also in other provinces and in the main cities of the country such as Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar.

The police also guard the most important Christian places of worship, above all the cathedrals. The danger of a violent reaction from extremist groups, which have announced rallies throughout the country, is imminent and to discourage mass protests the government has ordered a national blockade of mobile phones from 9 am to 9 pm.

The current bitter political and cultural confrontation is not between Muslims and Christians (a minority of 1.6% of a population of over 200 million, 90% Muslims). It is among those who support the rule of law, legality, the Constitution of a nation founded in 1947 on secular and democratic bases and those who intend to impose religious extremism, a radical and violent interpretation of Islam and Sharia law.

Among the champions of this approach that has conditioned, especially in its last phase, the trial of Asia Bibi (sentenced to death in the first degree in 2010 for contempt of the Prophet Mohammed, with the confirmation of the verdict on appeal in 2014), there is the Maulana Khadim Rizvi, known by the nickname of "blasphemy activist", founder and leader of the radical Islamic movement "Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan" (TLP).

Rizvi, a religious of the Islamic school of thought Barelvi, on the eve of the pronouncement of the judges, with the clear intention of intimidating the judiciary and the executive, released a "fatwaˮ inviting to kill the magistrates "in case of failure of justice" or if they had acquitted the Christian woman. The Supreme Court itself, in this case, according to the mentality of the fanatics, is liable to "blasphemy" and therefore becomes a target, configuring - at this point - an attempt to overthrow the democratic institutions of the state and establish a theocracy based on Islamic law.

The leader also promised "reprisals against Pakistani Christians", giving rise to violent acts and terrorists that could at any time affect communities of innocent faithful, already subject to pressure and social discrimination. An act of discrimination - not wanting to touch water "contaminated" by Asia for she is Christian - is at the origin of the ordeal of the peasant girl of Punjab who in June 2009 had a dispute with her colleagues, Muslim farm workers, who then accused her of false blasphemy for revenge.

In this delicate juncture of its recent history, Pakistan today shows that it has the courage and audacity to take a stand against the religious fanaticism that has damaged the social fabric for years and annihilated religious minorities such as Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis.

Asia Bibi’s acquittal sentence, then, becomes the test, both internally and internationally, to say that the state can actually apply the current Constitution and that it is not hostage to extremist forces, which intend to dictate the government ‘s agenda, condition the judiciary, shape structural policies and social and civil life.

Faced with an attitude of open challenge, the question remains: how much the newborn government of Imran Khan, who winked at the extremists in the election campaign, is willing to give in in terms of tolerance towards groups such as "Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan. Even launching a military operation against a popular movement across the country, supported by millions of Pakistanis, seems a difficult and rather risky way to go.

The Christian minorities and Asia Bibi in particular found themselves in the midst of this institutional and religious conflict and have often become victims in this tug-of-war started by the dictator Zia ul-haq the general who in 1986, to maintain power, came to terms with radical Islamic groups and promoted a work of Islamisation within the Pakistani society, the Constitutional Charter and the school curriculum. The military leader also approved the modification of the blasphemy law, making it the "draconian law" that it is today, an easy to use tool for private vendettas, as in the case of Asia Bibi.

In the mesh of this political-religious clash Asia Bibi found herself entangled and, when her story took on a symbolic character, she had no chance: in such a framework her innocence was completely irrelevant. Her Christian faith, at the root of the discrimination that led to the accusation of blasphemy, was an aggravating element in this dispute.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan courageously did not want to sacrifice a life to avoid street protest. And the Pakistani government, supported by the army, intends to show that the laws must be respected, keeping the reaction of the fanatics at bay.

Of course, Asia Bibi is not out of danger. Suffice it to recall the more than 40 extrajudicial executions that have plagued the nation in recent decades, to the detriment of people only accused of blasphemy. Even the Muslim lawyer who defended her, Saifool Malook, will have to live under escort.

Before them, Muslim Governor Salman Taseer and Catholic Minister Shahbaz Bhatti shed their blood in 2011 for defending the Christian woman in prison as innocent.

For her and her family now, a life abroad awaits, where they can rebuild their lives. The chancelleries of Western countries are at work and an asylum application could be accepted in Europe or the United States. The Asia Bibi family, for its part, has expressed the preference of an English-speaking country to be able to give continuity to the education of the three school-age children.

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 20:20
Comment through the site Comment through facebook

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.