The Pakistani Supreme Court justice who recused himself from hearing the appeal of Asia Bibi, thus forcing a postponement of the case, has submitted his resignation.
Judge Iqbal Hameed ur Rehman shocked observers on October 13 when he
unexpectedly recused himself from a three-judge panel that had been
assigned to hear the controversial case of the Christian woman who faces
a death penalty for blasphemy.
His withdrawal forced the court to
postpone the hearing.
Judge Rehman said that he could not participate in the Bibi case
because he had previously been involved in the case of Salman Taseer,
the Punjab governor who was murdered after he expressed public support
Supporters of the accused woman questioned why Judge Rehman
waited until the day of the hearing to withdraw from the case.
explanation could be pressure from Islamic militants, who have demanded
Bibi’s execution and denounced her appeals.
Asia Bibi was arrested in 2009 and convicted despite the absence of
evidence to support the charge against her.
She has been jailed since
A new Supreme Court hearing probably will not be scheduled
until a judge is appointed to replace Rehman.