Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday said it will take up the final appeal of a Christian woman, who was awarded death sentence in a blasphemy case, next week.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhe will hear Asia Bibi’s appeal on October 8.
Asia Bibi was given capital punishment by a court in 2010 for passing derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.
Her case hit the headlines after former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who spoke out in support of Asia Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad in 2011.
His assassin Mumtaz Qadri was executed in 2016 after the court found him guilty of murder.
Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in Pakistan and the accused face threat of being targeted by the extremists.
So far nobody has been convicted under blasphemy laws which were introduced by former military dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1980s.
If Asia Bibi’s appeal gets rejected by the Supreme Court, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the President for clemency. If that fails, she could become the first person in Pakistan to be executed for blasphemy.