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Lahore:

The Supreme Court of Pakistan will hear review petition filed against the apex court’s verdict acquitting Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case, on January 29. A three-member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel will decide on January 29 whether or not to allow the appeal on January 29.

The petition was filed by Muhammad Salaam in the Supreme Court Lahore registry through his counsel Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry urging the SC to reconsider its decision. The lawyer, who filed the petition seeking an appeal, said that the apex court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi did not meet the standards of jurisprudence as well as Islamic provisions and the “normal principle of justice with reference to application in blasphemy laws.”

It has further asked to include a member of the Appellate Shariat Court in the bench that reviews the judgement “because this matter needs detailed in-depth consideration and due to the peculiar circumstances of the case as well as Application of Section 295-C in its time letter and spirit”.

Asia Bibi also known as Asia Noreen, was convicted in 2010 for insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a row with neighbours. On October 31, 2018, the apex court had acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was facing a death sentence for blasphemy and had ordered her release from the Multan prison immediately.

The chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had then said in the ruling that an appeal was allowed. Following the acquittal verdict, there were violent protests in the country. These protests were backed by the Tehreek e Labaik Pakistan. Enraged masses had set fire to vehicles and blocked several main routes, including motorways, for two days. The protests resulted in the closure of schools, colleges and universities. Law enforcement agencies also arrested around 1,800 individuals including the TLP chief Khadim Rizvi, under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

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