Aasia Bibi’s court hearing postponed for a 7th time
The appeal hearing for Aasia Bibi was delayed again on September 9 as one of her lawyers was unable to attend court.
CLAAS’ lawyers Tahir Bashir, Nasir Anjum and lead counsel S K Chaudhry appeared before Justice Anwar Ul Haq and Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi to present Aasia Bibi’s case, but unfortunately because of the absence of Naeem Shakir, the hearing could not go ahead.
Although the judge was willing to proceed with the appeal, Mr Shakir’s (a lawyer hired by Ashiq Masih) assistant said he was out of the country, and asked for the matter to be adjourned so he could attend.
The appeal hearing is now due to be heard on October 16, and the judge said there would be no more delays.
There were several lawyers present in court but it is difficult to say whether all these lawyers were present to build pressure on the court or just to hear the arguments and the decision.
CLAAS-PK’s Director Joseph Francis, who was also present in court, said he was quite disappointed CLAAS’s team was fully prepared to present their arguments and were hoping that a decision could have been made in favour of Aasia Bibi, who has been suffering in prison for years.
Tahir Khalil Sindhu, a lawyer and a Provincial Minister for Minorities Affairs and Human Rights, was present in court who and requested that he be allowed to present arguments in Aasia Bibi’s case, but the judge refused to listen. CLAAS hopes that on the next hearing there will be a good news for all those who support and pray for Aasia Bibi.
On August 25 another victim of blasphemy law Zaffar Bhatti’s hearing was postponed because of political unrest in Islamabad. His next hearing is due on the 17th of this month.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK has said it is very unfortunate that Christians are continuously becoming victims of this controversial blasphemy law, demonstrated by the recent registration of a case gainst 55 Christians in Samundri/ Faisalabad. 14 people have been arrested while the rest of them have fled the village.
CLAAS is supporting these victims and trying its best to end the case with reconciliation out of court.