In 2010, Asia Noreen who is more often known as Asia Bibi was condemned of blasphemy. Blasphemy is basically the act of cursing Allah or the Prophet Muhammad PBUH and according to the law of Pakistan, the death penalty is the punishment of this crime. So according to the law, session court and the high court of Pakistan gave death sentence by hanging to death. However, due to some reasons, she was not given the death sentence and the Supreme Court of Pakistan exonerated her.
The basic history of the case was that Asia Bibi got into an argument with some Muslim women while fetching some water from the well. As they claimed it was totally wrong if Asia Bibi touched the bowl as she was a non-Muslim. The fight began here and the ladies accused Asia Bibi of insulting the Holy Prophet PBUH. This is a charge that she denies, however, she was sentenced to death by the Court.
Asia Bibi was the first person who could have received the punishment under the Blasphemy law of Pakistan. This was the major reason the case came under the attention of people around the world. Human Right organizations such as International Christian Concerns, Open Doors, and Aid to the Church is need also raised their voices. On the other hand Minister Shahbaz Bhatti and the Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab were also assassinated as they opposed the blasphemy law of Pakistan. All these conditions made the scenario worse.
Now moving on towards the reason of how all the protests started. On 31st of October 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan set Asia Bibi free taking off the charges of blasphemy from her. The court claimed that she was only kept under police protection due to death threats and was not serving imprisonment due to a crime. Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa also claimed that the women who accused Asia Bibi of blasphemy “had no regard of the truth” and also said that the women saying bad about Asia’s religion was also equal to blasphemy. This statement and the release of Asia Bibi was the major reason for the protests by the religious groups.
The protests are going on in major cities of Pakistan and especially Lahore. The whole city has come to a halt, the schools and offices have shut down as the roads are blocked. The protestors want Asia Bibi to be sentenced to death. The protestors have even claimed that all the three judges who gave the testimony of the release of Asia Bibi are Wajib-ul-Qatal and they should be killed right away. They also say that General Bajwa should be removed from his post as it is not possible that such a decision went by without his approval. They are also saying that Imran Khan is with the Jews and he should also be removed from his post.
We will have to wait and see what these protests result in.