The case of Asia Bibi is a test for Pakistan. The Supreme Court has found itself as the arbiter in many crucial verdicts that have shaped our political landscape in the recent past - now it faces another momentous decision. Asia Bibi’s case has become the touchstone for the debate on the misuse of the blasphemy law in the country, post 2009. Not only are its legal contents important – as their interpretation will act as a precedent on key questions related to the misuse of the blasphemy law – the chain of events which the case set off – culminating in the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and the death sentence given to Mumtaz Qadri – are veritable benchmarks in our nation’s collective journey down this contentious debate.

The detailed judgment of a special three-member bench of the SC is yet to come before the public as the verdict has been reserved. Till then the honourable Chief Justice has directed the media not to comment on the issue. His instructions are apppropriate and in fact necessary. Media, indeed, needs to show restraint considering the emotional response to issues relating to blasphemy.

From the legal point of view the case has two important aspects: firstly there are certain discrepancies in the case against the defendant, which if not identified and finally snubbed, will be a blot on Pakistan’s reputation on the treatment of its minorities. Secondly, the case carries importance for there are many jurisprudential misconceptions regarding the blasphemy law that have been deliberately used and misused to muddy the environment in our beloved country.

The courts in Pakistan should be wary of interpreting the vague and generalised section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) in the most conservative fashion. The importance of the precedent that will be set in this case cannot be overemphasised.

Unfortunately, gaining political mileage on the highly delicate topic of the blasphemy law is nowadays a norm in Pakistan. The court has had to deal with an unforetold amount of pressure in the run up to the announcement of the verdict. It cannot be overstated that it is the bravery of the honorable Justices that the case has been fully heard. The urgency of this moment will see a historic judgement from the SC, no matter what the decision is. Aasia Bibi’s trials will end - one way or another.