The ruling has sparked violence across the country

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has overturned the death sentence of a Christian woman by the name of Asia Bibi. Bibi was convicted in 2010 of blasphemy after she was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a fight with her neighbors.

Bibi has repeatedly said she’s innocent, but despite this, she has spent the last eight years in solitary confinement. This ruling is a breakthrough for Pakistan as more than 60 people have been killed over accusations of blasphemy. In fact, this figure was cited by the court while acquitting Asia Bibi.

The ruling has sparked violent protests across the country by extremists who are in favor of blasphemy laws. Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Multan have already experienced demonstrations against the verdict. There have also been scuffles with the police.

The story of Asia Bibi began in June 2009 after an argument with a group of women. After harvesting fruit, an argument broke out over a bucket of water. After Asia Bibi used a cup of water from the bucket, the women claimed she had made the water unclean, and so they could no longer touch it. They said the water was unclean because she was of a different faith.

The women then said Bibi should convert to Islam in the scuffle that followed. They also alleged that she made three offensive statements about the Prophet Muhammad. After this argument, she was beaten up in her own home and allegedly admitted to blasphemy.

The judges of The Supreme Court of Pakistan have said the prosecutors have failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. They elaborated by saying that the case was based on flimsy evidence and the procedures set in place hadn’t been followed. Bibi’s ‘confession’ was in front of a crowd who threatened to kill her.

Since the confession resulted out of coercion and the prosecutors failed to prove their case, the judges concluded by saying the appellant is innocent and deserves acquittal.

One of the judges has even made an accusation towards Bibi’s accusers saying they have violated a covenant which was made by the Prophet Muhammad with Christians in the seventh century. This covenant is still valid today.

This is a landmark step by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in trying to establish secularism in Pakistan as the country has so far not separated religious matters from the state.

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