The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted Aasia Bibi – a Christian woman accused of blasphemy in 2010 and sentenced to death in Pakistan – and set aside an earlier judgment passed by a lower court.
Chief Justice 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 Aasia Bibi from prison.
“The appeal is allowed. She has been acquitted. The judgement of the high court as well as the trial court is reversed. Her conviction is set aside,” Justice Khosa added a separate opinion in the verdict.
The apex court added that Aasia is to be set free if she is not wanted in any other case.
Counsel for Aasia, Saiful Malook, said that her client got justice in the end and the case has been proven false. He also thanked the chief justice and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
Security was increased across the federal capital as the apex court announced the verdict in the case.
The 51-year-old Christian woman was on the death row since November 2010 after she was convicted on charges of committing blasphemy during an argument with two Muslim women in Sheikhupura.
Her case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for a retrial of her case and was subsequently shot dead by one of his guards, Mumtaz Qadri, in January 2011.
Bibi challenged the verdict in October 2014, however, the LHC upheld the death sentence. The apex court had stayed the execution in July 2015.