Human rights activists want the controversial legislation repealed, saying it was exploited for personal enmity and encourages extremism. – File Photo

LAHORE: A Christian mother of five has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, the first such conviction of a woman, sparking protests from rights groups on Thursday.

Asia Bibi, 45, was handed down the death sentence by a court in Nankana district in central Punjab on Monday.

Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy. Ms Asia’s case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she should not touch the water bowl.

A few days later the women went to a local cleric and alleged that Ms Asia made derogatory remarks about the Prophet (peace be upon him). The cleric went to police, who opened an investigation.

Ms Asia was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295-C of the PPC, which carries the death penalty.

Husband Ashiq Masih, 51, said he would appeal her death sentence.

Human rights activists want the controversial legislation repealed, saying it was exploited for personal enmity and encourages extremism.

“The blasphemy law is absolutely obscene and it needs to be repealed in totality,” Human Rights Watch spokesman Ali Dayan Hasan said. —AFP

Opinion

Editorial

Updated 16 May, 2022

Electoral reforms

EARLY elections or not? That is the question. And it seems to be weighing heavy on the mind of everyone in the...
16 May, 2022

Iran deal revival

WHERE the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 is concerned, a great deal of fluidity exists regarding its fate....
16 May, 2022

Deprived of funds

THIS May, Pakistan’s former Fata region will complete its fourth year of merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The...
Imran’s lesson
Updated 15 May, 2022

Imran’s lesson

Patronage of the security and intelligence apparatus exacts a heavy price and almost never delivers any long-term dividends.
15 May, 2022

Small mercies

AT a time when Pakistan is getting closer to the brink with its foreign currency reserves dropping to just around...
15 May, 2022

Child sexual abuse

IT is interesting that despite the strictures of society and political leaders on community evils, there is little...