Asia Bibi: Pakistan acquits Christian woman on death row

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Aliya Nazki in BBC Urdu “Sairbeen” covered these topics:

             A Pakistani court has overturned the death sentence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, a case that has polarised the nation.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours.

She always maintained her innocence, but has spent most of the past eight years in solitary confinement.

The landmark ruling has already set off violent protests by hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws.

Demonstrations against the verdict are being held in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan. Clashes with police have been reported.

            A court in India has sentenced 16 retired policemen to life imprisonment for murdering 42 Muslim menin Hashimpura village in Uttar Pradesh state’s Meerut district in 1987.

On Wednesday, a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel at the Delhi High Court reversed a lower court’s verdict, which had acquitted the accused.

The judges called the massacre a “targeted killing” of unarmed and defenceless Muslims by the police.

Dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, fondly known as the Iron Man of India, the Statue of Unity has been unveiled today by PM Narendra Modi on the statesman’s 143rd birth anniversary. Constructed at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore by construction and engineering company Larsen & Toubro Ltd the statue stands in the midst of the Narmada River, on the islet of Sadhu Bet. Sardar Patel is credited for unifying all of the 562 princely states in pre-independence India to form what is today the Republic of India. Thus, the statue has been named ‘Statue of Unity’ as a tribute to his role. “The Statue will stand high, not just in meters and feet, but much more in terms of academic, historical, national and spiritual values. My vision is to develop the place as a source of inspiration for ages to come,” PM Modi had said.