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Published:December 4th, 2010 17:26 EST
Muslim Cleric Sets Bounty on Christian Woman`s Head

Muslim Cleric Sets Bounty on Christian Woman`s Head

By Ernest Dempsey

This is one of the most horrible news in the ongoing controversy of a Christian woman`s death sentence on account of accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan. A senior Muslim cleric Yousaf Qureshi (in the photo) based in Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) has gone overboard in supporting the death sentence of a court in Nankana (Punjab) announced to the accused Christian woman named Asia Bibi. Yousaf Qureshi has publicly announced that anyone who kills Asia Bibi will get a reward of half a million rupees from him.

 

The controversial case got international attention and wide media coverage as Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a sessions court in Nankana last month. According to new sources, a group of Muslim women first reprimanded Asia Bibi over trying to touch their drinking water bowl, one the basis that she was a non-Muslim, in 2009. Later, they went to her house and tried to convert to her to Islam. Upon Asia`s refusal they went to a local cleric and a few days later the group accused Asia Bibi of blasphemy. The court sentenced Asia Bibi to death in November 2010.

 

While the international community is exerting pressure on Pakistani government to release Asia Bibi, the fundamentalist elements have become active to make sure Asia gets executed.  Cleric Yousaf Qureshi, however, has gone to the fanatical extreme of actually fixing a bounty on Asia Bibi. His announcement has been followed by wide condemnation from minorities groups as well many others from the Muslim community in the country. Meanwhile, the blasphemy law has been challenged by Sherry Rehman in the National Assembly, calling for amending the law and eliminating death setnece from its terms.