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Pakistan court sentences 40-year-old woman to life for burning pages of Quran

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LAHORE: A Pakistani court in Punjab province has sentenced a 40-year-old woman to life in prison after finding her guilty of burning pages of Islam’s holy book, a court official said on Friday. Asia Bibi, a Muslim resident of the thickly populated Bedian Road area of Lahore, was arrested by police in 2021 on a complaint by a man of her locality who accused her of burning a copy of the Quran outside her house.
“The Lahore sessions court on Thursday handed down life imprisonment to Asia Bibi on the charges of desecration of the Holy Quran,” a court official told PTI.
She was subsequently booked under the stringent blasphemy laws of the country.
Her counsel, advocate Sarmad Ali, pointed out fundamental flaws in the case against Asia saying she did not commit any blasphemy and she was implicated wrongfully by her neighbour to settle a personal score.
Besides, there have been glaring contradictions in the statements of the prosecution witnesses, he said, and questioned as to why the principal complainant was replaced by a police officer who was not a witness to the incident.
Prosecutor Mohazib Awais, however, said Asia was caught red-handed while burning a copy of the Quran which was also recovered from the spot.
Sessions court judge Imran Sheikh announced the verdict observing that “the prosecution has established its case beyond any shadow of a doubt”.
Sarmad Ali said Asia Bibi will challenge the verdict in the Lahore high court and expressed hope to get relief from the higher judiciary.

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