LAHORE: Only a day after the Supreme Court acquitted Aasia Bibi of the blasphemy charge and overturned her death sentence, the complainant in the case on Thursday filed a review petition in the apex court, urging it to reverse its decision and restore the death penalty.

Aasia Bibi, a mother of five, was awarded capital punishment by the trial court in November 2010 for allegedly committing blasphemy. Her punishment was upheld by the Lahore High Court in October 2014.

The petition filed by the complainant’s three lawyers — Azhar Siddique, Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry and Muhammad Ozair Chughtai — at the SC Lahore registry also urges the court to put the name of Aasia Bibi on the exit control list (ECL) till decision is announced on the review petition.

Filed by Qari Muhammad Salam, the petition raises eight questions of law to be decided in the review. It says a number of legal points as well as a factual legal controversy arises and needs to be reviewed in the view of settled laws.

It urges the court to review whether the acquittal judgement met the standards of jurisprudence in view of Islamic provisions as well as normal principle of justice with reference to application in blasphemy laws.

It questions whether the apex court is bound to take into consideration the nature of the case and all the tests which are specially applicable to a normal case where the principles of inordinate delay, defective investigation and other technicalities should not be a hurdle in dispensation of justice in view of the blasphemy laws read with judgements of the superior courts.

“Whether the Supreme Court for this purpose has to take into consideration that the member(s) of Shariat Court to be included in this Bench, because this matter needs in-depth consideration and due to the peculiar circumstances of the case as well as application of Section 295-C in its letter and spirit,” the petition questions.

It further asks whether the SC has the jurisdiction to overrule facts like confession of the offence by the Christian woman, which at the time of investigation and after registration of the case has to give entirely different principles of Qanoon-i-Shahadat Order.

The petition says that the apex court did not interpret at all the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, read with Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code as well as Article 25 of the Constitution while passing the impugned judgement of Oct 31.

It pleads that there is an apprehension that Aasia Bibi may leave the country before decision on the review petition. Therefore, it asks the court to immediately suspend the operation of the acquittal verdict and put the name of the acquitted woman on the exit control list till a final decision on the review.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2018



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