PM says Asia Bibi verdict constitutional, warns agitators of stern action

'The decision of judges is according to constitution and Pakistan's constitution is according to teachings of Islam'


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday fully backed the Supreme Court's decision in the Asia Bibi case, warning protesters against clashing with the State.

The prime minister's address came after a three-judge bench acquitted and ordered the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was earlier sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.

"I'm here only because a Supreme Court verdict was announced today. The way a small section reacted to it and the language that they used, I am forced to address you," Khan said.

"The decision of the judges is according to the constitution and Pakistan's constitution is according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah," he said, referring to Asia Bibi's acquittal by the apex court.

The prime minister condemned some protesters for declaring the judges of the Supreme Court 'Wajib ul Qatl' and the army chief a 'non-Muslim'.

"They are inciting you for their own political gain, you should not get trapped by them for the sake of the country, they are doing no service to Islam," he said in the televised broadcast.

The prime minister noted that because of Pakistan's efforts, the European Court of Human Rights was forced to agree that disrespect of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is unlawful.

"How can a government or a country be run when individuals stand up and call for the execution of judges," he questioned.

"Only enemies of the state call for execution of judges and rebellion against the army chief."

Khan appealed to the nation not to listen to such elements, warning the agitators not to clash with the state or hurt the country only for their vote bank and political gain.

"If you do this, the state will fulfill its responsibility," he said.

He warned of exercising the state's powers in case of incitement to violence.

"The state will then exercise its power if you decide to incite any kind of violence at a time when the whole country is trying to rise together," the prime minister said.

"Don’t force us into taking action."