Roundtable on Blasphemy Law in Pakistan: Asia Bibi v. The State (Nov 2018) Last month the Pakistan Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges, bringing Asia Bibi v. The State to a judicial conclusion. Asia Bibi’s case has drawn international attention since she was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad in 2010. A controversial case both domestically and abroad, the October 8th decision was not made public until earlier this month. The Pakistan Supreme Court’s decision brought forth questions about evidence, judicial independence, procedure, and the state’s authority in matters of law and religion. A detailed summary and text of the Supreme Court decision may be found here; the appeal — originally dismissed by the Lahore High Court—may be found here. Three scholars of Islamic constitutionalism and law in Pakistan weighed in on the implications of the decision. Zubair Abbasi (LUMS) underscores how the judgment conveys to the general public that “only the State has the authority to prosecute for the offense of blasphemy through its courts.” Imran Ahmed (UNE) points to the procedural problems of prosecuting blasphemy. And Rachel Mazzarella (Georgetown) advises that the Supreme Court judges highlighted several factors that complicate the history of blasphemy law in Pakistan as a result of complex interactions between British colonial rulers and Islamic legal norms. Read the full Roundtable. Image credit: Wikipedia


Asia Bibi v. The State (2018) : Pakistan Supreme Court Vacates Blasphemy Conviction of Christian Woman The Pakistan Supreme Court has acquitted Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges, removing her from death row. A Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was arrested in 2010 after a dispute with her Muslim co-workers in which they claimed that she insulted the Prophet Muhammad. The state prosecutor charged her with blasphemy and the trial court sentenced her to death. The courts subsequently dismissed her appeal to the Lahore High Court . After a lengthy series of appeals, the Pakistan Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges, vacating her sentence. The decision navigates between affirming the law and reversing its application to Ms. Bibi. Read more. Image credit: Supreme Court of Pakistan/Wikimedia


Asia Bibi v. The State & Another (Lahore High Court) : Trial Court Blasphemy Conviction of a Christian Woman in 2014 The Asia Bibi case presents a recent manifestation Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. At trial, the Court sentenced Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, to death after accusers alleged that she uttered blasphemous statements against the Prophet Muhammad to fellow Muslim field workers. Despite serious questions regarding the quality of her defense and the credibility of the allegations against her, and despite the questionable Islamic legal basis for the decision, the trial court convicted her and the Lahore High Court dismissed the appeal. Read more. Image credit: Lahore High Court/Wikimedia 


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