LHC restrains president from pardoning Aasia -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

LHC restrains president from pardoning Aasia

LAHORE: Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court Khawja Muhammad Sharif on Monday barred President Asif Ali Zardari from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy. Aasia bibi, a 45-year-old mother of four, requested a pardon from the president after a lower court sentenced her to death.

The CJ wrote in his order: “Let report and para-wise comments be called from respondent No1 (Federation of Pakistan) through deputy attorney general and from respondent No3 and 5 (government of the Punjab through chief secretary and personal secretary of governor of Punjab respectively) through the additional advocate general before December 6.”

“Meanwhile, no action shall be taken either by the president or anybody working under the authority of the Punjab governor,” the order said. The petition was filed by Ch Shahid Iqbal, challenging the alleged move of the Punjab governor to get blasphemy convict Aasia acquitted.

He prayed that proceedings carried out by the Government of Punjab as well as the Punjab governor and the Federal Law Ministry for getting Aasia bibi acquitted be declared illegal, unlawful and without lawful authority.

The petitioner, represented by a seven-member panel of lawyers, has further prayed that personal secretary to the governor be directed to explain that under what authority, the governor had given the statement declaring Aasia innocent. He submitted that the secretary be further directed to ensure that no further interference would be caused from the office of the governor in this matter.

The petitioner asked the court as the matter was pending before the court, all inquiry committees constituted by federal and provincial governments may very kindly be declared illegal and be suspended.

The petitioner said that federal government be directed not to take any decision upon the appeal of Aasia submitted at the behest of governor of Punjab, adding that the federal government be directed to remove the governor from his office for ineligibility.

The petitioner said the governor used objectionable language towards the Section 295-C of PPC. He said that matter of Aasia was sub judice and giving remarks by the governor regarding innocence of Aasia showed his malafide intentions.

He said such moves of the governments indicated that rulers of federal and provincial governments had no confidence in courts of law, rather they depended on their own personal opinion and inquiry committees, which amounts to contempt of court.
Source: The News
Date:11/30/2010