UnNews:Pakistan leader soon to view death sentence

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Pakistan leader soon to view death sentence

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21 November 2010


Pakistan’s national spectator sport: executing fashion pariahs.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's president will soon view the execution of a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet, a senior Pakistani government official told CNN on Saturday.

According to uninformed sources the alleged offense occurred nearly 15 months back when Mrs. Asia Bibi, a Christian, unwittingly told local Muslim villagers that the prophet, “wore combat boots”. In Pakistan, any deviation of the prophet’s wardrobe is punishable by death.

Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer said Asia Bibi signed her petition for mercy on Saturday when he visited her at the prison where she's being held in heavy chains. Taseer said he personally submitted the petition to President Asif Ali Zardari. But the President told him that he was looking foreword to the execution, and planned to view it and review it soon.

"I want to send a strong message that we are here for the persecution of minorities," Taseer told CNN. "We want them to be targeted by these kind of laws. And we have much say in the matter when the President himself is a bloodthirsty sadist."

Earlier this month, a Pakistani court convicted Asia of breaking the country's controversial fashion law, a crime punishable with death, according to Pakistan's penal code. Prosecutors say Muslim coworkers who refused to drink from a bucket of water she had touched insulted the 45-year-old field worker. This was followed by her blasphemous remark on the prophet’s style of dressing.

In a brief news conference at the prison where she's being held, Asia sat next to Taseer and said the death sentence against her was absurd, fabricated by a group of women who insisted that the prophet wore sandals, and not combat boots as asserted by Asia. “What does it matter?” She asked tearfully.

"We had some fashion differences and this was their way of taking revenge," Asia Bibi said. "The allegation against me is baseless. I never said derogatory remarks against the prophet. There is nothing wrong with combat boots."

Asia's death penalty sparked outrage among human rights groups who condemned Pakistan's fashion laws as a source of violence and persecution against style-ignorant minorities.

Activists say Pakistani lawmakers have refused to repeal the law for fear of a backlash by Islamist groups and their followers who deem removing the law as un-Islamic. "We support this law," Taseer told CNN, "and we are in a coalition government in which everyone wants to see the sentence carried out. “

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