Dissecting the Asia Bibi Case: A Critical Analysis of Blasphemy Law in Pakistan
Dissecting the Asia Bibi Case: A Critical Analysis of Blasphemy Law in Pakistan
Muhammad Sadiq Kakar
Abstract: This article critically analyses the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was accused of blasphemy and given death sentence by the Additional Sessions Judge of Nankana Sahib, Punjab in 2009 under Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). In appeal, the Lahore High Court upheld the trial court’s decision. Asia Bibi filed the second appeal in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which led to her acquittal and flying to Canada in 2018. This acquittal, on one hand, saved Asia Bibi from execution and, on the other hand, prompted extreme violence in Pakistan. The Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), which is a religious-political party, gained substantial public support in demanding execution of Asia Bibi alleging her acquittal as a violation of Shari’ah. The hierarchic courts decisions have caused confusion in society, which demands clarity on the issue of blasphemy as a crime and its prosecution in Pakistan. The public is confused because the traditional religious scholars (Ulam?) have not been able to clarify the legal and Shari’ah position on blasphemy in general and in the Asia Bibi case in particular. After this case, many Pakistanis believe that the west encourages people to commit blasphemy and then pressurise Pakistani courts to acquit them from criminal charges. This article analyses the hierarchic judgements of Pakistani courts in the Asia Bibi case in the light of Shari’ah principles to counter the extremist religious approach flamed by TLP. Analysing the blasphemy law and its impacts on society in detail, this article examines whether the trial of crime under Section 295-C PPC in Pakistani legal system is compatible with the Shari’ah principles and the standards of international human rights law, which Pakistan is bound to comply as a party to the relevant international conventions.

Please Sign in if already registered Subscriber.


Please Register and make the necessary subscription payment to activate your account.

Adobe Reader