Asia Bibi isn’t just another name in Pakistan. Since last 8 years, she is carrying death sentence on blasphemy charges. In a landmark and an unexpected judgement, Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her from all the charges and released her. When the Chief Justice Milan Saqib Nisar announced the judgement in a packed courtroom, a sense of fear ran through many, but many smiled.
Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was sentenced to death in 2010 on blasphemy charges. In 2009, she went to get some water for her and for her co-workers.
However, the Muslim women refused to drink water used by a Christian. It was matter of few days when a mob accused her of blasphemy. In Pakistan, many non-muslims have been killed on such charges without any evidence. Many are serving death sentence or imprisonment. Aisa Bibi was convicted and sentenced to death. Only rumours of blasphemy have ended many lives in Pakistan and it was tough for her to fight.
She got support from Salman Taseer, the then Governor of Punjab in Pakistan. He was shot dead by his own body guard Mumtaz Qadri. The hardliners have set up a shrine in the name of Qadri after he was hanged. The case was very closely followed by the international community.
This should give some boost to the religious minority in Pakistan. However, the hardliners have already started blocking the roads in major cities against the ruling. Aisa Bibi has been kept at undisclosed location and would most likely leave the country for security reasons.