Aasia Bibi, the Christian woman on death row whose blasphemy conviction was decried as unjust by slain former governor Salmaan Taseer, faces a wait of at least another two years behind bars before her appeal is likely to come up before the Lahore High Court.
Bibi, 45, has been jailed since June 19, 2009, when her neighbours in a village near Nankana Sahib accused her of making derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). An additional district and sessions judge convicted and sentenced her to death in November 2010, pending confirmation of the decision by the LHC.
The case attracted the attention of then Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, who visited Bibi in jail and denounced her conviction as well as the blasphemy law. A couple of months later, Taseer – and any hope Aasia Bibi had of a quick release was killed in a hail of bullets fired by his own bodyguard.
Some two-and-a-half years later, Bibi is waiting for a date to be fixed for the hearing of her appeal. The court has a large backlog of cases and is currently hearing appeals filed at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. Appeals filed at the end of 2010 are due to come up in 2015.