Blasphemy law victim Asia Bibi still jailed and facing execution in Pakistan

by Michael Nugent on July 15, 2012

Asia BibiAsia Noreen Bibi, a 41-year-old Christian mother from Pakistan, has now spent three years in prison and faces execution by hanging after a farcical blasphemy conviction. And last year two Pakistani politicians who questioned her sentence were murdered: the governor of Punjab Salman Taseer, killed by his own bodyguard, and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who predicted his death.

Asia BibiIn June 2009, Asia went to fetch water while picking fruits in the fields near her village. Some Muslim women co-workers objected to Asia touching the water bowl because she was a Christian and therefore unclean. Five days later, the Muslim women claimed that Asia had made critical comments about Muhammad, and a mob gathered to punish her. The police arrested Asia (and not, of course, the mob) and she was charged with blasphemy. She languished in jail for a year and half until November 2010, when she was found guilty and sentenced to hang.

The Pakistani blasphemy law is imposed arbitrarily, and with little due process. Often, the accusers have other unrelated grudges against the person they are accusing. In this case, Asia Bibi had been involved in a dispute with her neighbors, because a goat belonging to Asia had damaged a trough belonging to one of her neighbors. And it was her Muslim co-workers in the fields who first taunted her about being an unclean Christian, which of course was not considered to be an act of blasphemy against Asia’s variation of the Abrahamic god.

After Asia was convicted, the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, predicted that the President would pardon her if she did not win an appeal. And Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti conducted a preliminary investigation into the case, which found that she had been falsely accused and the charges were groundless.

Within months both politicians had been murdered, because of their interventions in support of Asia Bibi and against her death penalty.

In January 2011 Taseer was shot dead by one of his bodyguards, and his killer was feted with flower petals by lawyers when he entered court for his trial. In March 2011 Bhatti was also shot dead. He was the only Christian member of the Pakistani government, he had sought but failed to get extra security, and he had recorded a video predicting his assassination.

Today, three years since she was first thrown in prison, and a year and half since she was sentenced to hang, Asia Bibi is awaiting a hearing date for her appeal to the Lahore High Court. Poor Pakistanis can often wait years for such hearing dates. Asia Bibi needs the support of the outside world more than she ever did. International pressure can make the difference in cases like this.

We must also campaign for the repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and an end to the mob rule hysteria that often accompanies accusations of blasphemy. Just two weeks ago, a homeless Pakistani man, who was reported to be mentally ill, was arrested for damaging a Quran. A mob attacked the police station, dragged the man outside, beat him to death and set him on fire.

Pakistan Christian Congress

Just this week, the President of the Pakistan Christian Congress, Nazir Bhatti, appealed to President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon Asia Bibi due to her ill health, so that she can receive medical support. He also said that justice is never ensured to religious minorities in Pakistan.

Bhatti elaborated that “Pakistani Christians have lost their confidence in the judicial system, judiciary and higher courts because it protected and released Muslims who attacked Churches, killed worshipers, burnt alive women and children, gunned down pastors, never punished Muslims who filed false blasphemy cases against Christians, and never charged Muslims who enforcedly converted Christian women to Islam and gang raped Christian girls after kidnapping.”

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anna B McCabe July 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

If there were a god she would be shocked by what people are doing in her name in Pakistan and would no doubt put an end to it. How sad that mankind as a species can stoop so low.

2 Suren May 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

“There is no GOD higher than Truth” M.K, Gandhi

Long Live Asia Bibi

I have just completed treading the book –

3 Wilson Chowdhry July 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Hi I am MC wizard AKA Wilson Chowdhry who raps in the ooberfuse song about Asia Bibi. I am hoping you could promote our petition through your netwok as we will be submitting it to the High Commission of Pakistan in March and wished to show fairly global support: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/justice4asia

4 Nabeel Bokhari November 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Hello. I am a Muslim , i have studied the case completely and it appeared to me that it was all a trap for her, We must keep in mind that what ever happens now is because of what we did in the past. Same was the case with her, She had some personal grudge with her neighbours and afterwards this Blasphemy Law came forward so the fault lies within the Judiciary System , the Judge should have seen through the game and should have let her free. As a very honest Muslim i want to tell you one thing, We stick on the things said by Holy Quran and what our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) said. Our Prophet himself said that we can eat and drink with Christians as you people also have the book of God which means Christians are Ehl e Kitab for us ,Now my question is when our Prophet has said to drink n eat with christians , than why the hell the Muslim fellows pass insulting remarks to her at the first place. I think the blasphemy law should be imposed firstly on those Muslims who said that and afterwards the case it self is solved.

5 Sylvia Ford October 25, 2014 at 11:44 pm

God bless AsiaDidi. Long May you live dear one.

6 MIKE MAUNDER May 27, 2015 at 6:14 pm

CHECK IT OUT: We Christians love those who question the divinity of The Lord Jesus, and make time to show the truth. Even, when by obstinacy before the facts, we still love and pray for them. Islamists just kill them ! This is the action of those who are far from God, and will never know heaven. Muslims, (of the right sect), say they are duty bound to kill those who don’t follow Mohammed, and yet accept that we are all given life by God, so the Muslim cancels out some of God’s creative work ! ? ! – Rather than bowing down several times a day, would it not be better to pray first for basic intelligence ?

7 MIKE MAUNDER May 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Mohammed was, and is a fraud. – Does that mean I will be tracked down and have my head chopped off ? – Do please try ! – I am 70 now and have been a follower of the Lord Jesus for 40 years. I made sure I was onto the right religion by checking the world’s faiths out. I came across this in the gospel of John, Jesus speaking – “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) but by me.”……. So, nice try Mohammed, and peace be upon him !

8 MIKE MAUNDER May 27, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Pakistan has sentenced to death a Mother of five children. Wow ! what decisiveness, what power ! Who did she murder ? – She had the nerve to speak of the Lord Jesus ! She was taken to court and found guilty of blasphemy against a caravan driver, who centuries ago got lucky and married a rich widow. – Gosh ! she must be put to death. Asia Bibi is just a poor woman with the intelligence to ask questions, but not sufficient of it to guard what she said in a Moslem country, and now the government is running scared of the mob ! – God Bless you Asia Bibi. You will see heaven, and your Lord God.

9 MIKE MAUNDER May 27, 2015 at 7:18 pm

PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT: You have been given a way out of this disgusting farce, by Anne Hibalgo, the Mayor of Paris, France. She has made ASIA BIBI an honorary citizen. Why ever did she do that ? Because the Mayor is trying to help you. – Your reluctance to grasp that, must be because although Asia would be out of the way and free, you and your government would be at the mercy of the mob, and lets face facts, when that becomes the reason for not saving someone’s life, you loose the reason for continuing your own ! ! !

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