Aasia Bibi Verdict: PM Khan Leads From the Front, Warns Agents of Chaos: ‘Don’t Clash With the State’

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“Whoever is found involved in instigating a chaos in the name of Islam will be dealt with the law of the land”: PM Khan

“We cannot run the country from the streets. We can [only] run this country according to the Constitution and law”: PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto

ISLAMABAD, Oct 31, 2018: A day before embarking on his first historical visit (5-day) to China, Pakistan’s all-weather friend and long term ally, PM Imran Khan addressed the nation through a video message and delivered a strong and defiant rebuke to religious hardliners and the language used by a “small segment” against the State in reaction to Aasia Bibi verdict by the country’s top court.

The Supreme Court earlier today acquitted Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death by a lower court for committing blasphemy.

“To declare judges Wajib ul Qatal, to call the army chief a non Muslim, to tell the troops to rebel against the army, what kind of anti state behavior is this?,” said the premier.

“I want to appeal to nation & the common man to not let them incite this kind of violence; they are doing a disservice to the nation by talking the language of the enemies of Pakistan by trying to incite murder of judges and a rebellion against the army.”

Criticizing the protests that broke after the eagerly awaited verdict, and are still underway across the country in response to the judgement, PM Khan said people’s livelihood was being harmed through the roadblocks and demonstrations.

“The kind of language used today… and the narrative that there should be opposition against the judiciary… It is my belief that the principles on which Pakistan was founded, if they are not adhered to, Pakistan has no future.”

While “Our faith is incomplete if we don’t love our Prophet [PBUH], which government can function when people say that kill the judges, do away with the army?,” he asked the nation.

“We are already facing such tough economic hurdles. We have yet to take a day off… we are struggling continuously to uplift the people [and] to improve the conditions of the underprivileged.”

The premier’s visit to Beijing which comes a week after having succeeded in seeking a $12 billion bailout economic package from Saudi Arabia, may yield more “good news for Pakistan”, in the words of Chinese envoy to Islamabad.

Pakistan is also expected to get relief from the UAE similar to Saudi, according to media reports and observers.

On Wednesday, the value of Pak Rupee improved against the US dollar which declined by 13 paisa against Rupee in interbank market and closed at Rs132.48. And, the Karachi Stock Exchange also recorded gains –since October 23, the KSE-100 index has gained 3935 points or 10.43 percent amid news of country’s expected financial upturn in weeks and months ahead.

Observers say PM Khan’s decision to address the nation today, was bold, well-timed and statesmanship-like in dealing with these destabilizing elements. One Western observer called it “another century for IK“.

PM Khan urged the nation not to allow themselves to be “provoked” by the agitators.

“This is not a service being done for Islam. This is enmity taking place against the country,” Khan observed.

In a stern warning to the extremist elements, PM Khan said: “I appeal to these elements… do not clash with the state.

“I appeal to you, don’t harm this country in order to [increase your] vote bank.

“If you continue doing this… let me make it clear to you… the state will fulfill its duty [and] protect people’s properties and lives.

“We will not allow any vandalism [or] blockage of traffic.

“I appeal to you… do not take the state to a point where it has no option but to take action,” he concluded.

Whoever is found involved in instigating a chaos in the name of Islam will be dealt with the law of the land, the PM warned.

“Our faith as Muslims is incomplete without our faith and love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH),” the premier said. “But those provoking the masses to take to streets, and threatening to attack state institutions, judges and the army, will not be tolerated.”

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari threw his weight behind the verdict and said,”The Supreme Court is our national institution. All other institutions, including the National Assembly, should stand with the Supreme Court,” he said in a statement.

“We cannot run the country from the streets. We can [only] run this country according to the Constitution and law,” he said as he became the first top political leader to comment on the protests.

Senator Sherry Rehman and Senator Farhatullah Babar also welcomed the judgment in Twitter statements.

The 51-year-old Christian woman was on the death row since November 2010 after she was convicted on charges of committing blasphemy during an argument with two Muslim women in Sheikhupura.

Her case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for a retrial of her case and was subsequently shot dead by one of his guards, Mumtaz Qadri, in January 2011.

Aasia challenged the verdict in October 2014, however, the LHC upheld the death sentence. The apex court had stayed the execution in July 2015.

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