Imprisoned Asia Bibi, has expressed happiness over the fact that the jail authorities had allowed her to keep the rosary sent to her by the Pontiff. Asia Bibi is on death row and is currently behind the bars, as she waits for her appeal case to be heard by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She said that it was a “miracle” that she was allowed to keep a religious object with her first time in nine years of imprisonment.
On February 24, Asia Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih and daughter Eisham called on Pope Francis. During this meeting Pope Francis presented them with a rosary sent especially for Asia Bibi. The Pontiff told them to convey his message to Asia Bibi saying that he is praying for her.
“I received the Pope’s gift with devotion and gratitude” Asia Bibi reportedly said. It was also reported that this gift has brought relief as she knows that the Pontiff is praying for her. “International awareness of my case is fundamental for me. It is thanks to this that I am still alive” she said reportedly. Asia Bibi thanked Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The organization, a Papal charity that supports persecuted Christians across the globe.
Earlier the Colosseum-Rome’s most famous landmark was lit up in red on Saturday February 24, 2018 in an expression of solidarity with persecuted Christians across the globe. The event took place at 6 in the evening; local time the event was witnessed by the family of Asia Bibi. This event was also an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need. Addressing those present, Ashiq Masih, said: “This is just hate against Christians, who are considered impure.” He claimed that his wife was ensnared in a false blasphemy case. Eisham broke down in tears while addressing the gathering.
Asia Bibi was accused of committing blasphemy by her co-workers back in 2009. Later on, in 2010, a court in district Nankana awarded her capital punishment, which was later challenged by Asia’s defense counsel and was upheld by a two-member bench of Lahore High Court in 2014. Her appeal case is currently pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Asia Bibi appeared before the Supreme Court in October 2016, but the hearing was postponed because one of the judges Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman withdrew on the pretext he had also been part of the bench hearing the case of Salman Taseer’s murder. Her defense counsel maintains that Asia Bibi’s case was not of much priority for the apex court.