Followed by confirmation of case hearing of Asia Bibi’s appeal in October, Pakistan’s Christians are anticipating her acquittal and release from prison. In this regard, Pakistani Church officials have expressed hopes for the blasphemy accused’s exoneration. Asia Bibi’s death sentence was temporarily halted by the apex court.
While remarking about forthcoming hearing, Asia Bibi’s defense counsel Advocate Saif-ul Malook said: “I have high hopes that she will be released. I have been threatened as well but I knew what I was jumping into.” Saif-ul-Malook took over the case after her former attorney a Christian himself lost her case in the High Court. Surrounded by threats and anticipated reprisal, he continues to pursue the case.
Father Joseph Louis- Former Executive Secretary of Caritas Pakistan, explained that conclusion of the case is hard to predict as there scenario is teeming with pressure from the hard-liners and religious fanatics. The judiciary cannot flout this pressure, “The rulers are afraid of fanatics and only want to escape any blame. They don’t care for the innocent. We can only pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to convinces the judges,” he said.
President of Pakistan Minority Alliance, Tahir Chaudhry, acknowledges pressure from the radicals as a controlling factor of the end result. Nonetheless, he still voiced hopes for favorable outcome, as he prays for release of Asia Bibi.
Previously, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) urged Christians to sign an online petition in order to pressurize the authorities to save Asia Bibi from execution. ACLJ further detailed that if her death sentence is upheld Asia Bibi’s case would be the first execution of a Pakistani citizen over blasphemy charges.