Islamabad: In a rare relief, Pakistan's Supreme Court has granted bail to a woman jailed for over three years for allegedly committing blasphemy.
Waliha Arafat is held in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore since 2012 under the charges of blasphemy.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, yesterday accepted her bail application and ordered authorities to release her once she submits surety bonds worth Rs 25,000. It is very difficult for a blasphemy accused to get bail in Pakistan.
Her lawyer told the court that she is innocent and being a Muslim, she could not even conceive of committing such a heinous crime.
Blasphemy laws were enacted by former dictator Ziaul Haq in 1980s to appease the religious parties.
Several accused have already been killed by militants and those accused prefer to live in jails than going out over fear of attacks.
But now even jails are not safe and inmates can be attacked by fellow prisoners or even police guards deployed for their security.
Last year, a Pakistan-British jailed for allegedly committed blasphemy was attacked by police guard in Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi and severely wounded.
Former Punjab governor Salman Taseer was killed in 2011 for calling these laws as black laws.
But court have also become more assertive and the death penalty of killer of Taseer was upheld by the Supreme Court this month despite pressure by extremists.