LAHORE: “Other women prisoners say that I deserve to die because I’m a blasphemer,” a woman, accused of defiling two copies of the Holy Quran, told the Additional District and Sessions court on Wednesday.
“Why are people saying I should be killed while the court has not declared me guilty of blasphemy yet?” she said.
The police, she said, had not allowed her relatives to visit her. Neither did the police give her the items or food that her relatives had brought for her, she said.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Arshad Ali was hearing the case.
The defendant was produced in the court amid under tight security.
“Abusive language was used against me while I was being led to the court,” she said. Several clerics, she said, had protested outside her house. The judge observed that people had a right to protest.
The judge told her to argue her case at the next hearing. She said it was her right to tell the court about her suffering. She complained about the spectators at the trial and asked the judge to tell them to leave.
The judge directed the security personnel to clear the room of spectators. “This is a sensitive issue,” he said. He fixed June 11 for cross examination.
Earlier, Justice Shahid Hameed Dar had dismissed the defendant’s after-arrest bail plea.
On April 8, the trial court had dismissed her acquittal application. The defendant had pleaded that Abdul Munim, the complainant, had denied initiating the FIR. He was declared ‘hostile’ by the prosecution but he had not been cross-examined, she said.
She claimed that Boota, a prosecution witness, had denounced the case as bogus. She prayed that the case against her be declared void ab initio and terminated.
Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry, petitioner’s advocate, told the court that Abdul Munim and Muhammad Boota’s affidavits were on record.
They said that they had received death threats from the defendant’s supporters. Chaudhry said that they had obtained the witnesses’ signatures and thumbprints on blank stamp papers and later produced statements favouring the defendant.
The FIR was registered under Section 295-B (defiling the Holy Quran) by Munim in Factory Area.
He had stated that he was a security guard at the Punjab Society near Defence Housing Authority.
On March 3, 2012, he was patrolling the area at 5am when Saima Bibi, a neighbour, raised hue and cry about the defendant desecrating the Holy Quran. He and Boota, a resident of the area, had gone to the defendant’s home and seen her defiling the Holy Quran.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2013.