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May 24, 2019
Latest Pakistan Top Stories

Security beefed up in Islamabad as SC taking up review petition against Asia Bibi’s release

ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court is set to take up the review petition against its verdict to acquit Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case on Tuesday, stringent security measures have been taken in the federal capital.

The capital administration has deployed paramilitary troops in Islamabad’s sensitive areas.

The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has rejected the SC bench formed to hear the review petition. The religious group threatened to launch a protest movement if the court upheld it earlier verdict to release Bibi in the case.

In the wake of TLP’s threat to protest, the Islamabad district magistrate has sought deployment of Pakistan Rangers personnel in the city “to avoid any untoward incident” during the hearing of a “sensitive case” on January 29.

The magistrate has suggested the Chief Commissioner Office approach Rangers authorities to deploy quick response forces (QRFs) of the paramilitary force in aid of the civil administration to bolster the capital’s security.

The review petition filed by Qari Muhammad Salaam pleads the apex court to maintain the capital punishment awarded by the trial court to Aasia Bibi.

A bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel will hear the review petition.

On Oct 31 last year, a five-judge SC bench had reversed the judgements of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and the trial court thus setting aside the conviction and death sentence awarded to Aasia Bibi, who had been accused of committing blasphemy during an argument with a Muslim woman in Sheikhupura in June 2009.

In a video message, TLP’s central acting emir Shafiq Amini said that the government had promised them that a larger bench including Sharia court judges would be formed to hear the review petition against Bibi’s acquittal. He demanded that the full bench headed by the CJP be dissolved and new larger bench be constituted to hear the review petition.

He asked the TLP workers to be ready for the protest. He vowed that the TLP would not show any leniency on the issue.