Asia Bibi tortured by Sheikhupura jail staff

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Asia Bibi has been detained in a special cell in Sheikhupura jail due to severe security threats.

According to sources, the warden of the jail, identified as Khadeeja, “tortured” Aasia Bibi after alleging that certain prohibited items were found in her cell.

Other staff members who were present during the incident acted as silent spectators.

The Deputy Superintendent of Sheikhupura Jail Ghafoor Anjum has not taken any action against the staffer who was responsible for the incident. However, Superintendent Sheikh Khalid Pervaiz later suspended Khadeeja, and an inquiry into the incident has been initiated.

After recording Asia Bibi’s statement, the intelligence agency has sent a report regarding the incident to its provincial headquarters.

The agency stated in the report that the episode happened due to the negligence of the jail administration and feared that the matter might go out of hand. The government and the related authorities should take a strict action and provide protection to Asia Bibi.

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. Asia was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295-C of the PPC, which carries the death penalty.

Her lawyer filed an appeal, requesting a pardon from the Office of the President. President Asif Ali Zardari had asked for a review of the facts of the case. However, on November 29, 2010 Khawaja Sharif, the then chief justice of the Lahore High Court, had issued an interim order ruling that while the matter is pending before it, the president could not issue a pardon for Aasia Bibi.

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.