Islamabad, Pakistan (The News International) | The Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on the appeal of Asia Bibi against capital punishment handed to her under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
A three-judge special bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the appeal of the Catholic mother of five, who was sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy.
Reserving its verdict, the apex court directed media to refrain from any discussion on the case.
Bibi's lawyer Saiful Mulook told the bench that the incident took place on June 14, 2009, and its case was registered five days later on June 19.
The complainant, an Imam in Katanwala village, alleged that Bibi had confessed to committing blasphemy, the lawyer said.
Justice Nisar asked Bibi’s lawyer, "Are these things on record?" However, Mulook told the bench that the Imam (prayer leader) himself was not a witness to the incident.
“There are also contradictions regarding how the notice of the incident was taken and the complainant has said the decision to register an FIR against Bibi was taken amid a group of people,” he added.
Mulook said permission was not taken from the district coordination officer (DCO) or the district police officer (DPO) to register the FIR.
The lawyer added that the Imam in the FIR said that the villagers had not attempted to beat up Bibi.
To this, Justice Khosa remarked, “From your statements we have gathered that the Imam himself did not witness the incident as it happened and no blasphemous words were said in his presence.”
Justice Nisar then added, “As per the prayer leader's statement, a panchayat was held in a house and 1,000 people had gathered for it."
“The FIR states that Bibi was a Christian preacher, was she really?” the chief justice asked. Mulook responded in the negative and said, “She was never a preacher.”
After hearing the arguments, the top court reserved its judgment on Bibi's appeal. 


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