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SC to hear Asia Bibi’s final appeal against execution on Monday

LAHORE: The Supreme Court is set to hear a final appeal by Christian woman Asia Bibi against her execution for blasphemy.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will hear the appeal filed by Asia Bibi on October 8. The bench will also comprise Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

Notices have been issued to the additional prosecutor general of Punjab to ensure his presence during the hearing.

The allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009, when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.

She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

Asia Bibi was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during the argument. Later, she was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 despite her advocates pleading her innocence and insisting the accusers held grudges against her.

Blasphemy is punishable by death under legislation that rights groups say is routinely abused to settle personal vendettas.

If the Supreme Court bench upholds Bibi’s conviction, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the president for clemency. She would become the first person in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy.

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