We all have heard this quote “justice delayed is justice denied”, however, within Pakistan, there are many vulnerable prisoners who are suffering in notorious jails and one of them is Asiya Noreen, who was charged under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. Sadly, she has been languishing in prison for more than nine years, without justice. No doubt, her case is a pure illustration of injustice against religious minorities. Dolefully in most cases, those accused under 295-C languish in jail for years, before they are even heard at a trial. Asiya Noreen is living in a confined cell, cooking for herself as the jail administration fears that she may be poisoned, as other Christians accused of blasphemy have been poisoned or killed in jail before.Asiya’s case is a violation of every citizen’s right to a fair trial and right to life, since no court, not even the Supreme Court has upheld her rights. The fifty-three year old woman, a mother of five, was arrested in June 2009, after her fellows claimed that she had made derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). A year later, she was sentenced to death under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law, despite strong opposition from national and international human rights groups. She was convicted and sentenced to death by a Pakistani Sessions Court in November 2010. At that time, then president Asif Ali Zardari hinted at a pardon, for which Salman Taseer, the Governor of Punjab visited Asiya Bibi in the Sheikhupura district jail to gather solid information on the case. But former Punjab governor, who spoke out in support of Bibi, was gunned down in broad daylight in Islamabad by his own guard Mumtaz Qadri. The assassin was sent to the gallows in early 2016, after the court found him guilty of murder. I would like to take a moment here to salute the late Salman Taseer, he was a true leader and a hero for me. Just as Shahbaz Bhatti, the previous federal minister for minorities’ affairs, who bravely spoke out in favour of Asiya Bibi and was also assassinated.This is the dark reality and truth of Pakistan; that the accused has to suffer prolonged periods of pre-trial detention, until appeals are decided. Additionally, lawyers and judges in blasphemy and such other cases live in a climate of fear and face very real threats of extrajudicial violenceHowever, later in 2014, the High Court of Lahore, not only upheld the verdict of the session court against Asiya, but issued a stay order against the presidential pardon which remains in force till today. However, in 2015, the Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended her death sentence and formulated a three judge bench, to listen to the case once again but unfortunately, on October 13 2016, the day of her hearing at the Supreme Court, one of the judges, Justice Rehman, refused to be part of the bench due to a conflict of interest. According to the judge, he was involved in the bench, which decided the case of Mumtaz Qadri. This is the dark reality and truth of Pakistan; that the accused has to suffer prolonged periods of pre-trial detention, until appeals are decided. Additionally, lawyers and judges in blasphemy and such other cases live in a climate of fear and face very real threats of extrajudicial violence. Resultantly, the accused persons in such cases are often unable to engage a lawyer for their defence largely due to lawyers’ well-founded fear of intimidation and attacks by ‘interested’ parties (who are at times members of, or supported by, armed Islamist groups). This results in a denial of the accused’s right to an effective defence, and to a fair trial before an independent, impartial judiciary.In Asiya bibi’s case, the trial court in 2011 concluded that the testimony of witnesses was satisfactory even though there were glaring discrepancies in their accounts, which her defence counsel failed to duly highlight. In its appellate judgment, the Lahore High Court observed “the defence has not defended its case with the required seriousness as the most relevant aspect of the prosecution case remained un-rebutted”. Yet, despite acknowledging the possible violations to the right of a fair trial, the Lahore High Court upheld Asia bibi’s conviction and confirmed her death sentence. Hereby, I want to highlight for my readers that Pakistan is a state Party to the ICCPR. The Human Rights Council has clearly stated in General Comment No. 34 that “Prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with the covenant”. Yet Pakistan continues to punish people for mostly false charges in violation of the ICCPR. Therefore, we urge this council to investigate this case and discuss the freeing of innocent victims such as Asiya Bibi, and bring the perpetrators of hate inspired violence to justice.For this write up, I have spoken to many renowed jurists regarding Asiya Bibi’s case, and all of them were of the view that the right to a fair trial should be provided to her, and this case should not delayed any longer than it already has. One of the legal experts I spoke to, who frequently fights human rights cases, Barrister Sarmad Ali said that, “I have gone through Asiya Bibi’s legal proceeding’s records and the session court verdict, I personally believe that there were certain errors of law ignored by the High Court but the Supreme Court will repudiate the verdict of the lower court to set Asiya free after long imprisonment, which itself will be a question on the judicial system of Pakistan”. Furthermore he added that, Pakistan’s top judges have issued over two dozen suo motu (on its own motion) notices in a month on a range of issues including extrajudicial killings, security barricades, child abuse, VIP movement, human rights, money laundering and the state of health facilities in the country. Despite this record-breaking series of notices, the case of Asia Bibi has failed to draw the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s attention.Conclusively, I call upon human rights organisations and the international community to continue supporting Asiya Bibi’s cause. Moreover, any further delays by the apex court will be great injustice to Asiya Bibi, her family and to all those who still believe in the integrity and fairness of the highest court in the land. How many more years does this poor innocent woman have to wait for justice? How many rapists, murderers and terrorists are roaming free while an innocent mother awaits justice? I can only wish Naya Pakistan brings the hope of life for Asia Bibi.The writer is a social and political activist based in Lahore. He has done his Maters and MPhil in Communication Studies.He can be reached at email@example.com, tweets at Salmani_saluPublished in Daily Times, September 10th 2018.