Asia Bibi Update

A local Muslim leader has offered a $6,000 reward to anyone who murders Asia Bibi. The family of Asia Bibi is also getting death threats. Due to these threats Asia remains in her prison cell for 24 hours a day and she neither meet anyone not eat food from the prison. She only eats the food which she made herself from the groceries provided by her husband.

Asia Bibi, 45, an agricultural worker and mother of five, is the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy. Ms Asia’s case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women laborers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she should not touch the water bowl. A few days later the women went to a local cleric and alleged that Ms Asia made derogatory remarks about the Prophet .The cleric went to police, who opened an investigation. Asia was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295-C of the PPC, which carries the death penalty.

The case of Asia Bibi calls a lots of international outrage and demands for the repeal of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, Asia’s sentence has not yet been commuted – because, even as thousands of Christians and human rights activists are calling for her release, thousands of fundamentalist Muslims are still calling for her execution.

Along with this her family and relatives are also facing lots of problems. Anyone who tried to contact them got serious death threats. Christian Freedom International (CFI) co-workers in Pakistan recently reported that when they attempted to contact Asia’s family through Kamran Michael, the Christian minister in Asia’s hometown, he warned them that Muslim fundamentalists in the area are keeping a close watch on anyone who tries to contact Asia’s friends and siblings, and that continued attempts at contact could prove to be deadly.

As Asia is in prison but still her husband and daughters got threats which made their movement very difficult. They have a constant fear that if they move out they will also become victim of violence.

“As Asia’s life hangs in the balance, her situation remains as volatile as ever.

Please remember to pray for her safety, as well as the safety of her friends and family, and pray that she will ultimately be spared from the sentence of death,” CFI said in a statement. Human Rights Watch spokesman Ali Dayan Hasan told ASIA NEWS that “The blasphemy law is absolutely obscene and it needs to be repealed in totality,” it is primarily used against vulnerable groups that face social and political discrimination.


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