Asiya Bibi verdict protests: Pak CJ seeks report on vandalism

Islamabad: Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar on Tuesday sought a report from the central and federal governments over the damage caused to public and private property by the demonstrators during the nationwide protests against the verdict in the Asiya Bibi case last week.

According to a statement by the Pakistan Supreme Court, Justice Nisar took notice of the vandalism for the sake of compensating the affected citizens, Geo News reported.

On October 31, mass protests had erupted in various parts of Pakistan after the country’s top court announced its verdict acquitting Asiya, a Christian woman in a blasphemy case. The demonstrations, led by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and other religious parties, blocked roads and vandalised public and private property.

A three-judge special bench headed by Justice Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel had heard Asiya’s 2014 appeal against her conviction and death sentence and overturned the ruling in favour of her.

Even after rejecting reports of putting Asiya on the Exit Control List (ECL), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government succumbed to pressure and reached an agreement with the TLP for taking legal actions to not allow Asiya and her family to leave the country.

Asiya was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly insulting Islam during an argument with three Muslim women.

The Pakistan government, however, decided to take action against miscreants involved in vandalism, torture and arson during the demonstrations, leading to a crackdown on rioters across the country.

On Monday, around 1,800 people were arrested by law enforcement agencies. Pakistan’s Interior Ministry had said that the demonstrators were booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).